The Assault Scout

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by Tom Stephens

The Assault Scout is probably the iconic Star Frontiers starship.  It graces the cover of the Knight Hawks rules and several of the modules.  I even used it when creating the 30th Anniversary logo and patch last year.  And while there has been some debate in the various Star Frontiers forums about its true practicality as warship, there is no doubt that it is a great ship for a small adventuring group.  Moderately armed and armored, fast and maneuverable, and capable of interstellar travel, the Assault Scout provides an excellent ship for a band of adventurers.

The Stiletto Class Assault Scout

We commonly refer to the standard, iconic Assault Scout model as the “Stiletto” Class.  I’m sure it got this name since UPFS Stiletto is name of the Assault Scout in very first Basic Rules scenario in the UPF Tactical Operations Manual (board game rules).  Here we present the detailed Knight Hawks ship statistics for an “average” ship of this class. 

Stiletto Class Knight Hawks Statistics

Name: UPFS Stiletto

HS: 3

HP: 15

Engines: 2 Class A Atomics

Max ADF/MR: 5/4

DCR: 50

Life Support: up to 12 beings (primary and backup)

Crew Accommodations: 4 double bunk rooms

Passenger Accomodations: none

Cargo Capacity: none

Computer Level/Function points: Level 4 / 179 FP

Computer Programs: Drives 4, Life Support 1, Alarm 2, Computer Lockout 4, Damage Control 2, Astrogation 4, Laser Battery 1, Assault Rockets 1, Communication 1, Computer Security 5, Information Storage 4, Installation Security 4, Robot Management 4, Skin Sensors 1

Astrogation Equipment: Standard Starship

Communications Equipment: Videocom Radio, Subspace Radio, Intercom with 12 speaker/mikes

Sensor Systems: Radar, 10 portholes, Energy Sensors, Skin Sensors

Weapons: ARx4, LB

Defenses: RH

Ship's Vehicles: small launch

Other Equipment: Engineer's Toolkit x2, Laser Power Torch, 2 refills for life support system

Total Cost(unfueled): 1,088,470 cr.

 

Remastered Deck Plans

The back of the battle map provided with the Knight Hawks rules had two sets of deck plans for the Assault Scout.  Those deck plans were drawn at a two meter per square scale.  I have reproduced them, as identically to the original as possible, but at a one meter per square scale.  This makes the decks a little larger and easier to work with.  Each square is ½ inch in size and the plans can be directly used with the counters from the original games.  We’ve printed the “green” deck plans here.  You can get the “blue” ones as well on the magazine’s website.

In working on these deck plans, I’ve come to realize that there are few things missing from and/or different than what I would expect a hull size 3 vessel to have.

1. Only 4 crew rooms – The description in the Campaign book says it has a crew of 4-6 but I believe this is a little small for a full interstellar warship.  The four rooms are sufficient assuming a crew of 4-6 but for a larger crew (>8) you need more rooms.  This can be accomplished by simply adding in a second crew’s quarters deck (deck 4) into the ship.

2. These deck plans are for a smaller than average ship – The total volume of these decks, as laid out and give the profile presented with them, only amounts to about 800 cubic meters of space (assuming each deck is 3m (10ft) high.  The typical volume of a HS 3 ship is 2500 cubic meters.  Or more than 3 times larger. There is some of that space taken up by the unoccupied nose of the ship (filled with equipment) but that is less than the occupied volume and so can’t account for all of available volume.  Clearly the Assault Scout could be much bigger than it is.  And so adding in another deck for more crew rooms is completely reasonable.  It would just stretch out the lines a little on the ship as drawn.

3. No ship’s launch– By the time you have a HS 3 ship, there is no reason not to have a small launch associated with it.  The detailed stats above include such a launch but the deck plans don’t allow for it.  Again, the space is there, simply adding in another deck to hold the launch would completely fit within the HS 3 volume budget.

Look for a future article here in the Frontier Explorer with a set of redesigned Assault Scout deck plans that take these features into account.

Other Assault Scout Classes

Of course, if we have a Stiletto class Assault Scout, that begs the question, are there other types of Assault Scouts?  And if so, what are their characteristics and roles.  Here are a few other types of Assault Scouts that might exist.  The complete details of the ship design are left as an exercise for the reader (or possibly for a future article).

Osprey Class

If the Stiletto class is the one favored by the UPF, this is the one typically used by the planetary militias. It is slightly longer than the Stiletto Class and sports a second crew deck and a life support capacity of 16 beings.  It has a command crew of 4 and can hold up to a 12 being boarding party.  This class is used for cargo inspections and boarding of other (non-military) vessels.

While capable of interstellar travel, it would be a little cramped if fully crewed as the crew quarters are designed around short stints in space of only a few days on patrol and then off time on station or planetside.

The Osprey Class Assault Scout has the same armament and performance as the Stiletto Class.

Lancet Class

This class trades the heavy hitting power of the Assault Rockets for the longer range and more rapid firing rate of the Laser Battery.  This variation on the Assault Scout is relatively new and is seeing a lot of use in the smaller, mobile operations groups used by the UPF as well as in the order of battle for Strike Force Nova.  Armed only with a pair of laser batteries, there is no worry about resupply when on assignment away from the core worlds where armament supplies could be scarce or non-existent.

This class has a typical crew compliment of 8 beings and sports a pair of laser batteries instead of the usual laser battery and four assault rockets.

Endeavor Class

The Endeavor Class is geared more toward Scout rather than Assault.  It is more of a survey ship than a warship.  This class, like the Lancet Class, trades in its assault rockets for a second laser battery.  This class is larger than the other Assault Scout classes as it also sports two atmoprobes and a laboratory deck plus a second and third crew’s quarters deck for a total crew capacity of 16 beings.  It also carries the deluxe astrogation package instead of the standard one.    This extra size comes with a slight performance hit and the Endeavor Class only has an ADF of 4 instead of the ADF of 5 typical of the Assault Scout ship design.

This class is primarily designed to scout out new star routes and open up new systems for further investigation.  The ship will jump into a system, perform preliminary surveys and then return home, paving the way for follow on mission and identifying high priority systems for more detailed study by dedicated research ships.