Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SATNUC: Lances of Star Fire

The business end of a very bad day...

Back in good ol' 3rd Edition, one of the most glorious bits of overkill ever put to print for the system was the SATNUC. A cross over from the Ogre universe,the SATNUC was self guiding submunition  similar in concept  to the (sadly canceled) Brilliant Anti-Tank munition with one major difference; rather than a self forging penetration, it uses a shaped charge micro-nuke! Of course in the gaming universe this bit of ridiculousness originally existed in there are AI controlled multi-thousand ton tanks armed out of pure win and awesome this kinda weapon does make some sense... in others.... not so much... But gawd damn was it a fun bit of tech!
 

Of course when for 4th edition came out, sadly this little gem was left out. But hey... that's what you guys have me for! Follow me after the jump where I cover not only my take on what SATNUCs should look like in 4th ed but I also throw in a shaped charge version of the mininuke and a design system where you can craft your very own custom SATNUCs and shaped charge nukes!
 




SATNUC (TL9)

SATNUC: SATuration NUclear Cluster. The ultimate in anti-armor technology though also the ultimate in over kill. Each SATNUC round consists of a skeet containing a small but precise targeting system, a small rocket motor and airfoil and its business end, a "clean" (uses the same "pure fusion" detonation system as the mininuke, Ultra-Tech pg. 156) shaped charged micro-nuke with a high density liner. Once the skeets carrier platform reaches the targets area one or more SATNUCs are deployed, unfolding their airfoils to loiter over the area while scanning for a target. Once a target is found the skeet sheds its airfoils and engages its rocket motor and speeds towards it at mach 4 (or higher at later TL). Once the warhead is a few yards away from its target, it goes of sending a spear of star hot plasma racing at it at over 12 kicks as second rending even the thickest of armors like butter! SATNUCs are available for any warhead 40mm or larger.

Once deployed a SATNUC skeet will either attack what it was targeted at if aimed or search for the biggest target if fired indirectly at an area. If there are multiple valid targets it will target the one closest to it. In order to hit its target it must roll 3d vs.TL+2 + the targets SM. If there thick overhead cover such as in a forest the attack is made at -3 (though the cover isn't going to be there for long!). If multiply friendly SATNUCs are fired at the same area they will coordinate their attack and make sure that as many valid targets have at lest one SATNUC designated on them as possible before they start doubling up, starting once more with the largest target and working their way on down.

Do to their greater power, the shaped charge jet caused by a SATNUC has a much greater standoff range then a conventional HEAT rounds and acts more like a really short ranged energy beam. To this end the primary damage caused by a SATNUC has a half damage and max range.


It is possible for a larger warhead to carry many smaller SATNUCs in place of a full sized one. A 64mm warhead can carry two 40mm SATNUCs while a 100 mm warhead can either 6 40mm SATNUCs or 2 64mm ones.

The primary penetrating jet does burning damage with the surge modifier and a armor divisor of (10).

The secondary blast effect does burning damage with the explosive, radiation and surge modifiers.

 As with HEAT rounds, Laminated and Electromagnetic armor protects with double or triple their normal DR respectively against SATNUCs.

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SATNUC Warhead Table 
Warhead                Damage/Range
40mm                    6d×20(10) burn sur/  (3/9)
linked                    6d×42 burn ex* rad sur

64mm                   6d×27(10) burn sur/ (3/9)
linked                   6d×55 burn ex* rad sur

100mm                 6d×37(10) burn sur/ (4/12)
linked                   6d×74 burn ex* rad sur


*Divide damage by distance from them blast center times 2 rather than times 3.

Multiply both main and linked damage by 1.37 at TL10 and increase the range to (4/12) for the 64mm.

Multiply both main and linked damage by 1.84 at TL11 and increase the range to (4/12) for the 40mm warhead, (4/12) to the 64mm, and increase range to (5/15) for the 100mm warhead.

Multiply both main and linked damage by 2.5 at TL12 and increase the range to (4/12) for the 40mm warhead,  (5/15) to the 64mm, and increase range to (6/18) for the 100mm warhead.  

Cost is 15 times normal. LC 0.

SATNUCs are fine and all but they're also pretty complex weapons with a good amount of their weight bogged down by the rocket's, fins and overall assembly. What if you just want a simple shaped charge nuke that you can just stick on the end of a missile and be done with it?

Well, I got cha' homes.

Like this but teenier....
Shaped Charge Mininuke
This is a version of the mininuke found in Ultra-Tech on pg. 156 rigged up to go off as a shaped charge blast. Outside of being designed to focus its blast like a SATNUC it is otherwise identical to the normal mininuke. This weapon is the epitome of overkill.

The primary penetrating jet does burning damage with the surge modifier and a armor divisor of (10).
The secondary blast effect does burning damage with the explosive, radiation and surge modifiers.


As with HEAT rounds, Laminated and Electromagnetic armor protects with double or triple their normal DR respectively against Shaped Charge Mininukes.
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Shaped Charge Mininuke Table
Warhead        Damage/Range
0.01 Kiloton  6d×318(10) burn sur (11/33)
linked             6d×167 burn ex* rad sur

0.1 Kiloton    6d×1,004(10) burn sur (19/58)
linked             6d×529 burn ex* rad sur

1 kiloton     6d×3,175(10) burn sur (35/104)
linked          6d×1,673 burn ex* rad sur

*Divide damage by distance from them blast center times 2 rather than times 3.
Cost is 1,000 times normal. LC0.
And of course, since there's always the chance you're gonna need weapon for your setting that doesn't follow the limited options from Ultra-Tech, here's how you build your own SATNUCs and Shaped Charge Nukes. Enjoy!

Custom SATNUC
Like with normal Shape Charge weapons, the warheads diameter is the main thing that determines the SATNUCs overall performance. So start off by picking the warhead diameter in millimeters you need and then follow the formulas below.


Primary Penetration Damage
Fundamentally works like a normal shaped charge and even uses a liner of high density material to give the jet extra punch, just on a much large scale. Does burning damage with the explosive,and surge modifiers and has an armor divisor of (10).

Pen Damage =  Wd(2/3)×TL.

Wd is the warheads diameter in millimeters.
TL is 10.3 at TL9, 14 at TL10,  18.9 at TL11 and, 24.9 at TL12.

Plasma Jet Range
Given the sheer level of output a SATNUC puts own, the high-density jet generated when it goes off has quite a bit more range than a conventional shaped charge. It still loses energy quickly but its range does give a better chance at surviving point defense systems.

Half  Damage Range = square root of (D)×0.25.

D is the SATNUCs dice of damage.

Max Range = 3×Half Damage Range.

If half Damage Range is less than 1 yard note it as C for contact.

Secondary Blast Damage
While most of the weapons energy goes into the penetrating jet, SATNUCs still generate a impressive thermal pulse. Does burning damage with the explosive, radiation and, surge modifiers. Divide damage by distance from them blast center times 2 rather than times 3.

Blast Damage = Wd(2/3)×TL.

Wd is the warheads diameter in millimeters.
TL is 20.5 at TL9, 28.1 at TL10,  37.8 at TL11 and, 51.7 at TL12.

Weight
This includes the weight of the micro-nuke as well as the rockets, maneuvering system and frame. It also includes the targeting system but this makes up a negligible portion of the systems weight.

Warhead weight is equal to Warhead diameter(mm)×0.0000002

Cost
The cost of the unit is based on the cost of the mini-nuke scaled, just scaled down since not all of the units weight is nuke plus the cost of the frame and support systems.

Warhead cost is equal to SATNUCs weight in pounds times $300.

A larger Ultra-Tech Warhead can carry a number of smaller SATNUC rounds equal to (Larger Warheads Diameter/SATNUC Diameter)2. Round down.

Shaped Charge Nukes
This work just like SATNUCs but lack the independent targeting ability. Also to make scaling a bit easier, these figures are based on how many kilotons of energy the nuke delivers.

Primary Penetration Damage
Fundamentally works like a normal shaped charge and even uses a liner of high density material to give the jet extra punch, just on a much large scale. Does burning damage with the explosive,and surge modifiers and has an armor divisor of (10).

Pen Damage = square root of (K)×19,050.

K is the warheads yield in kilotons.

Plasma Jet Range
Given the sheer level of output a Shaped Charge Nuke puts own, the high-density jet generated when it goes off has quite a bit more range than a conventional shaped charge. It still loses energy quickly but its range does give a better chance at surviving point defense systems.

Half  Damage Range = square root of (D)×0.25.

D is the nukes dice of damage.

Max Range = 3×Half Damage Range.

If half Damage Range is less than 1 yard note it as C for contact.

Secondary Blast Damage
While most of the weapons energy goes into the penetrating jet, Shaped Charge Nukes still generate a impressive thermal pulse. Does burning damage with the explosive, radiation and, surge modifiers. Divide damage by distance from them blast center times 2 rather than times 3.

Secondary Blast Damage = square root of (K)×10,038.

K is the warheads yield in kilotons.

Weight
This simply the same weight progression of the Mininuke from Ultra-Tech.

Warhead Weight = K×TL

K is the warheads yield in kilotons. 

TL is 2 at TL9, 0.5 at TL10, 0.125 at TL11 and 0.03125 at TL12.

Cost
This is the same cost progression of the Mininuke from Ultra-Tech.

Warhead Cost = Weight(lbs)×$20,000.

4 comments:

  1. I'm not sure when I'll find a use for this, though one game I'm in, if it continues, I could see my gadgeteer building one just in case she ever needs to fight a Kaiju (unlikely but it's the kind of game where you really can't rule it out, and it's better to have something ready in case).

    As a related question, this applies to the UT micronuke as well as these weapons.

    How 'clean' are they? I know they put out a chunk of radiation to start with, but how much of that is going to linger? How much of an issue will these cause with fallout?

    Do they just cook everything in the area (along with burning, pulverizing, and generally traumatising them) or do you need to plan on not using the ground or anything downwind for a while?

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    1. Fallout is going to be a non-issue, especially for a nuke this small (though there is never going to be a 100% clean nuke, we can get it to small enough to be a non issue).

      However "Pure Fusion" bombs actually produce a more powerful radiation flux when they go off and the area around ground zero is going to be hot for a few days afterward. With in a radius of about (Yield in KT)^0.4×27 meters of the point of the blast, use the fallout rules on pg. 196 of High-Tech.

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  2. That's an impressive amount of Armour penetration.

    For kicks my brother and I compared the damage to the stats for the Earth in GURPS Underground Adventures.

    A 10 kiloton nuke could on a good roll beat the DR of the Earth, though you'd still need to do a lot more damage to actually significantly hurt it.

    We were reminded that in Stargate SG-1 Season 2 they fired a pair of Gigaton nukes at Apophis' mothership. Just one of those would do enough to force the Earth to make a HT roll or "break".

    The SGC were a bigger threat to Humanity than the Goa'uld ever were.

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    Replies
    1. I do remember seeing proposals to use a 10mega ton shaped shaped charge to create a path to send a probe near the core so these things do have some scary penetration.

      That being said the way GURPS scales explosive damage does break down when it comes to nukes and a cube root scaling should be used rather the a square root one. This would still give these shaped charge nukes scary penetration but you would need to get into the megaton range before you threatened the crust heh.

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