The Copperhead was designed by S-Mart exclusively for Allied Naval Fleet use, after requirements were laid down in September of 114PA. These requirements were for a suit of marine power armor with heavy armor, deep sea diving capabilities, and be issued weapons that would be best suited for such an environment of operations.
A year of research and development later saw the first batch of 20 Copperhead-As reach operational service the same year that the first Dalmir submersible class carrier was commissioned. This new design vaguely resembled the Triax Hopper Power Armor in the face. It's body design however was unlike anything else in North America, with a very angular appearance, and very strong mechanical musculature design. At it's side, was a new experimental over and under rifle that was both a pulse laser operating on a blue-green frequency and a mini-torpedo/missile launcher.
By September of 116PA, a total of 420 were in service in the Joint Naval Force. (The Joint Naval Force was later coined the Allied Naval Fleet.) During the Battle of St. Lawrence, it distinguished itself well fighting against the Coalition States own marine types, such as the Sea SAMAS. A tactic practiced meticulously by the Joint Naval Force power armor troopers during peace time paid off very well in this battle. The tactic was to remain underwater, and come rocketing out of the water using the water jet thruster pack, to attack airborne power armor units that were actively searching for them, and either destroy the enemy unit on that attack, or plunge back into the water a split second later, and then rocket off into the depths, before the enemy could possibly catch up.
Copperhead are typically painted light gray, with a copper colored head and shoulder region. By February 2nd of 118PA 1,611 Copperhead Power Armor suits have been produced, and of them 1,200 are in active service. (The remainder are in storage either in Wa-Daisho, Desert Star, or Kyatashiro.)
An update package is under development by S-Mart, in which the "Pufferfish" system will be revised with the late model floatation devices, and the S-Mart HPL-4B will be replaced with a blue green frequency version of the S-Mart HPL-7A, known as the HPL-7D, coupled with the MML-3. This updated version of the Copperhead will be known as Copperhead-B.
Model Type: Copperhead-A
Class: Armored Deep Sea Assault Unit
M.D.C. by Location:
*Head - 115.
Arms(2) - 115 each.
Legs(2) - 225 each.
EMT-4 Underwater Turbines (2) - 100 each.
Composite Marine Combat Rifle - 85.
*L & N Vibro-Weapons Retractable Vibro-Sabre - 20.
*Forearm Pulse Laser - 30.
**Main Body - 350.
* These designated areas of the armor are small and difficult targets to hit, so therefore may only be struck with a penalty of -3 to strike.
** Once the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the armor shuts down completely, and is useless. Unlike other suits of power armor the Copperhead has a special safety feature that results in several strategically placed panels all over the power armor to jettison, revealing sacks that fill up with air, like a series of air bags. Unfortunately no systems are capable of remaining online to determine whether or not the suit is actually submerged or even anywhere near water. This has resulted in several embarrassing encounters where a Copperhead's main body has been depleted on a shore line assault, and resulting in the air bags inflating. This has earned the Copperhead the nickname of "Blowfish" and "Pufferfish" among non-power armor pilots.
Maximum Running Speed: 60 mph; Note that the act of running does tire out it's operator, but at 5% the usual fatigue rate.
Leaping: The powerful robot legs can leap 15' high or across. Leaping out of the water using the underwater thruster pack allows the Copperhead to leap up to 50' high or across. In this way the Copperhead is extremely effective in surprise boarding operations.
Maximum Swimming Speed: 4 mph using typical swimming type motions; 40 mph with the underwater thruster pack.
Maximum Safe Diving Depth: 1.2 miles.
Weight: 883 Lb. fully loaded, not including the weight of the pilot.
Physical Strength: Equal to a P.S. of 40.
Power System: Nuclear, average energy life of 5 years.
Cargo: A storage locker inside contains enough space for a survival kit, a side arm, a hand held radio, and a few energy clips.
Market/Black Market Cost: S-Mart provides these A.N.F. power armor units to Allied Nations at a cost of 2.5 million credits each. The black market has only managed to acquire four of these suits in the few years the Copperheads have been in service, and that was only when the transport plane carrying these suits to Wa-Daisho crashed due to technical problems, which was witnessed by a group of Bandits loosely affiliated with the Black Market. All four of these suits were sold to a mercenary company based out of Republican (Washington DC.) for a price of 5.8 million credits each! The Allied Naval Fleet acquires these from S-Mart at cost for 1.78 million credits.
1. Composite Marine Combat Rifle: This is the primary weapon of the Copperhead-A. It combines an HPL-4B, a high intensity blue-green frequency pulse laser rifle, with an MML-3, an eight shot mini-missile launcher, in an over and under style weapon. The laser is on the top of the weapon, with the eight slot mini-missile launcher underneath of it.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Anti-Ship.
Mega-Damage: Blue Green Laser: 3D6+2 M.D. per single pulse and 1D6x10 M.D. per triple pulse burst. Varies for mini-missiles or mini-torpedoes.
Rate of Fire: Standard; Aimed, Burst, Wild for the laser. The missile/torpedo launcher can fire one at a time or in volleys of 2, 4, or 8.
Maximum Effective Range: 2,000' for the pulse laser, but varies for the mini-missile/torpedo launcher.
Payload: The laser is effectively unlimited, thanks to the nuclear power supply. The mini-missile/torpedo launcher has a payload of 8 mini-torpedoes or mini-missiles. (See page 117 of RIFTS Mercenaries for details on torpedoes, or see page 46 of the RIFTS RPG book for details on mini-missiles.) Typically the loadout would be four mini-missiles and four mini-torpedoes for general operations. Otherwise the weapon is loaded, mission specific, with the appropriate type - either missiles or torpedoes.
2. S-Mart LPL-3 Light Pulse Laser Forearm Weapon: Mounted in the right forearm is a light pulse laser, roughly in the same class as the LPL-7A, as used by the N.O.M.A.D. Military grunts. This secondary weapon is intended as a secondary weapon in case the primary were ever damaged or destroyed. It has also proven itself well as a defensive weapon for when the bulky primary weapon may not be the best weapon to use.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: 2D6 M.D. per single pulse and 6D6 M.D. for a triple pulse burst.
Rate of Fire: Standard; Aimed, Burst, Wild.
Maximum Effective Range: 1,600' - 800' underwater.
Payload: Effectively unlimited; Thanks to the nuclear power supply.
3. L & N Vibro-Weapons Retractable Vibro-Sabre: Mounted in the left forearm is a retractable vibro-sabre of the finest quality, produced by L & N Vibro-Weapons. This weapon is reserved for close quarters combat, stealthy attacks, for sabotage or to sink ships from underneath - a task which the Copperhead excels at.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: +2D6 M.D. (This adds to the punch damage.)
4. Systems of Note: This unit incorporates all the usual environmental features found in power armor including environmental protection, environmental control, air filtration, an independant 10 hour supply of air, heat and radiation shielding. In addition to the usual systems it includes one further environmental system, not typical of power armor, electronic gills - described below.
1. E.C.H.U.D. Wideband Interface & High Boost Control System: The Environment Calculating Heads Up Display Wideband Interface, is very similar to the traditional H.U.D. Wideband Interface found commonly throughout power armor produced on RIFTS Earth. The difference lies within the system's computer, which does a great deal of additional work. This includes computing power to determine the geometry of surrounding terrain, distances, angles of deflection, interpretations, etc. This system can be programmed to identify known thermal signatures of creatures and vehicles, it can be programmed to identify specific sonar signatures, it can even be programmed to translate foreign languages. It translates this sort of data symbolically if not graphically. The targeting computer is advanced still further than the H.U.D. Wideband Interface available from S-Mart, allowing the simultanious training of three separate weapon systems on a target. External audio is excellent, and will allow the operator to hear sounds as quiet as a mouse's squeek at 100 yards. Thankfully sound filtration prevents the operator from being deafened by loud explosions and similarly loud sounds. The actual controls of the Copperhead are of the high boost variety that monitors the neural impulses that actually control muscle actions - thereby allowing the power armor to actually react slightly before the body of the pilot actually would! To the uninitiated the use of this system is unnerving because it feels like the suit is moving in anticipation of the operators intentions!
2. Anti-Dazzle Protection: This is essentially nothing more than a polarized film on the sensors that react to the ambient light. Thus if a bright flash occurs in the face of the Copperhead, the lense turns nearly black for an instant, and then quickly changes back to normal - protecting the operator from being dazzled.
3. Infrared Optics: This system allows the user to see the heat emanating from an object. It can be set to be white hot or black hot, depending on operating status. If in combat black hot would be best to avoid being blinded by explosions and similar. While in passive mode, outside of combat, white hot would be best, so as things like body heat would better stand out. The range of this system is 2,000'.
4. Nightvision Optics: This system uses the ambient light from starlight, moonlight and similar to allow a sort of green-tinged vision beyond normal visual ranges for a human. The range of this system is 2,000'.
5. Macrovision Optics: These optics are essentially like a microscope, capable of magnifying objects hundreds of times, from a distance of 6'. This is a useful system for analyzing clues in the field, such as tracks, spent shell casings and similar.
6. Telescopic Optics: These are exactly as they sound, telescopic optics that enhance the image of far away objects. At a range of 6,000' an object appears only 100' away, as an example. The range of this system is 6,000' effectively - but it can enhance the image of objects further away yet still, they just are not quite so well detailed.
7. Thermal Imaging Optics: This is very similar to the Infrared Optics in the sense that it detects heat, but unlike the imprecise nature of the infrared optics, this measures the heat signature precisely displaying them in colorful shades of reds, yellows, greens and blues with various degrees of heat. The thermal imaging optics are also far more sensitive than the infrared optics, actually allowing them to see heat through walls of structures at certain distances. The range of this system is 2,000', but it can only see heat through an obstacle such as a brick wall from 100'.
8. Military Radio & Scrambler: This is the same radio equipment, bolt for bolt, microchip for microchip, as the system found on the USA-G10 Glitterboy. The broadcast range is a modest 50 miles. By resetting the radio transmitter inside the armor to an elevated position, however, the same transmitter can achieve a fairly consistent 500 mile range using atmospheric bounce. Atmospheric anomalys can extend this range still further or can completely disable the radio system within a set radius, it just depends on the circumstances. The scrambler system allows the radio signals to be scrambled to all those not equipped with the correct scrambling codes.
9. I.F.F. Transponder System: This system transmits data such as alpha-numeric designation code, course, mission, base of operations, and unit, via radio signal, to other similarly equipped military stations, vehicles, and power armor suits that have been programmed with the correct access codes. This allows a friendly A.N.F. soldier in an S-Mart Assassin, overflying a squad of Copperheads, to quickly determine who these individuals are. This also allows field commanders to keep far better track of their military assets. A further feature of this system is that it functions well as a distress beacon. A note towards the safety of I.F.F. - is that the codes are very difficult to break. Since the N.O.M.A.D. Military periodically changes their I.F.F. safety codes - attempts to crack the codes that have taken weeks of supercomputer analysis - are for naught.
10. Sonic Communication System: This is a form of underwater communications that utilizes very short frequency vibrations through the surface of the power armor suit, to communicate with other sonic communications systems. The only disadvantage to this system is that it is not directional and can be intercepted by anyone within the 10 mile range. Thankfully this type of system is quite rare. Thus far the Coalition States have not come close to breaking the code used by these communications systems, but whales complain that these devices are noisy and annoying. Any time the S.C.S. is in use if someone is using Sonar within five times the range of the communications system, grant the sonar operations officer a +10% bonus to locate the source/direction of the sound.
11. Sonar System & Tracking Computer: This system passive/active sonar sensor. In the passive role, a series of six sensitive hydrophones simply listen for noises in the waters surrounding the power armor unit and displays locations of echoes with approximate ranges and direction on a screen similar to a radar display. In the active role a loud pulse of sound, known in the submariner world as a "ping" is sent out. This "ping" will automatically reveal the location of the power armor unit, but it will also reveal the precise location of most any non-organic object within the range of the sonar. The range of the active and passive sonar is 20 miles, however the passive sonar CAN detect loud sounds in the water, like explosions, up to 100 miles away. About the only information possible from such "hot noises" is approximate direction of origin. The tracking computer, linked with the sonar, can track up to 50 objects within the range of the sonar.
12. Laser Targeting System: On the exterior of the helmet, just beside the visor, is an advanced laser targeting system and range finder that provides a true point of impact for a weapon's aim, by shining a laser on the target. This provides a +1 to strike when targets are within 6,000'. (The range is reduced to 3,000' when underwater.)
13. Sonar Baffling Modifications & Absorbant Coating: This modification is designed to make the Copperhead more quiet, combined with a sonar pulse absorbant rubberized coating. These modifications make the suit quieter than normal power armor, without the hum of electronics, and without the mechanical sounds that they typically make while moving. (Improves the prowl capacity of the suit by +20%, when in the proper conditions.) The rubberized coating absorbs sound waves fairly effectively, giving a sonar operator a -80% to detect the suit, when undamaged. For every 5 M.D.C. inflicted to the suit decrease this percentage -10%, as some of the rubberized coating is ripped, blasted, or burned away. The rubberized coating has little to no effect on vibro-weapons, despite the fact that they use sonic emissions to inflict damage.
14. Electronic Gills: This system draws oxygen straight from water, during underwater operations and processes it for the pilot to use. With this system the breathing duration of the pilot, while underwater, is essentially indefinite, limiting the pilot only by his or her need for rest, food, drink and relief. When in water too murky for the electronic gills to function, or if submerged in liquids other than water, the suit automatically switches over to it's own independant oxygen supply.
15. Emergency Floatation Device: This is a series of compressed tanks of air mounted internally with deflated air sacks - similar to an automobile air bag. If the Copperhead experiences power loss or is incapacitated this system automatically activates. Explosive bolts holding panels of armor onto the suit blast them off, and the air sacks are rapidly filled with oxygen - bringing the suit to the surface of the water. Unfortunate events have occurred where the suit was disabled or badly damaged on land, and this system has automatically deployed. This has earned the Copperhead the rather unglamourous nickname of "Pufferfish" and "Blowfish". Newer versions of this system are provided with a pin activation system, where the pilot merely must pull the pin, and THEN the bags will activate. These newer types are intended to supplant the older version in the Copperhead-B when it is released.
16. Improvements Available: The Copperhead's basic layout is far from overextended in fact there remains a GREAT deal of room for improvement in terms of the number of systems that can be carried. Remaining system requirement slots are as follows, the first number is internal, second is external. Head 7.5/20, Left Arm 15/22.5, Right Arm 15/22.5, Left Leg 22.5/32.5, Right Leg 22.5/32.5, and Main Body 7.5/10.
5. Hand to Hand Combat Abilities: In addition to Power Armor Basic or Elite pilot training, the Copperhead enjoys the following bonuses;
+2 to initiative.
+3 to strike with ranged weapon systems. (+2 at ranges exceeding 3,000'.)
+2 to strike.
+2 to parry.
+2 to dodge.
Punch: 2D4 M.D.
Power Punch: 4D4 M.D.
Kick: 2D4 M.D.
Leap Kick: 4D4 M.D.
Body Flip/Throw: 3D4 M.D.
Body Block/Tackle: 3D4 M.D.