The US M15 series was first introduced in the 2060s to replace the last of the Bradley line of multi-role armored vehicles. (The Iron Heart Armaments Iron Maiden is a simplified, watered down version of the late model Bradleys with a few added weapons.) This design, although similar in appearance to the Bradley, was actually a completely new design that used state of the art design techniques and materials in it's construction. In pre-cataclysm times it was produced and deployed in large numbers in all branches of the US Army and in many of the US Allies military forces. It's basic chassis was even expanded upon and developed into a vast assortment of military vehicles. (Including MLMS (Multiple Launch Missile System), TBSV (Tactical Battlefield Scout Vehicle), IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle), APC (Armored Personnel Carrier), CRAD (Close Range Air Defense), TCV (Tactical Command Vehicle), & TAAV (Tactical Anti-Armor Vehicle) variants.) In the 2080s the type was appointed to rear echelon positions as it was replaced by a more modern low profile, cost effective, wheeled chassis. Some were sold off to nations in central asia and the middle east, but most were scrapped. Reserves of the vehicles MAY be found among the ruins of major military bases, especially at places such as the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Yuma Proving Grounds, etc. - they saw vast service as stripped down targets for testing new armored vehicles and weapons. (Many M15s and their derivatives fell to the Glitterboy's RG14s in this role.)

      S-Mart began production of the IFV M15s in 114PA, calling it Commando-A, both for the N.O.M.A.D. Military and for commercial distribution. By 117PA 348 had been produced by S-Mart, including those produced for the N.O.M.A.D. Military. (This breaks down to 150 for Desert Star, 100 for the Barony of Hope, 48 for Larsen's Brigade, 25 for Kingsdale, and 25 for various kingdoms and mercenary bands.) In the summer of 118PA Desert Star plans to unveil a hover IFV that can more easily keep up with and match the performance of the Stonewall. When they have produced enough of the new "Battlefield Taxis" as they're planning to call them, they will retire the Commando-As in their service and sell them back to S-Mart for resale.

      S-Mart began to look at the TAAV M15 for commercial production potential in late 116PA. The TAAV variant resembled the IFV in many respects save that it lacked much of the heavy armor plating the IFV carried, and had a completely different turret design. This turret would be unmanned (ie. Controlled from within the hull of the vehicle.) and contain a 30 mm cannon, a five shot medium range missile launcher, and a 15 shot short range missile launcher. Appropriately used, it was no wonder it was expected to be an effective seller - it was a true died in the wool tank killer! As a result S-Mart retooled their factories soon after the final production runs of the Commando-As in mid 117PA and began rolling these out - strictly for commercial purposes. This production run is planned to end in March or April of 118PA, with a total of 50 or so newly produced vehicles having been produced. An additional 100 are planned to be converted from former NOMAD Commando-As, as they are retired and sold back to S-Mart. (These numbers break down to 50 for the Barony of Hope, 25 for El Paso, 15 for Lazlo, 12 for Larsen's Brigade, 10 for Water Point Preserve, 10 for Ft. Commanche, and 25 for various kingdoms and mercenary bands.)

Model Type: US M15 and it's derivatives, Commando-A, and Commando-B.
Class: IFV & TAAV.
Crew: 2 for each; Pilot & Gunner. The Commando-A can accomodate 8 passengers.
M.D.C. by Location: (See the note below!)
    RFFC-16 - 75.
    30 mm Cannon - (40).
    Turret - 250 (160).
    Medium Range Missile Pod - 100 (50).
    **Tracks(2) - 100 each (100 each).
    ***Main Body - 500 (320).
    Reinforced Pilot's Compartment - 100.

(Stats listed in parentheses are for the lighter armored Commando-B tank killer variant.)

* Depleting the M.D.C. of the tread means that 1D4 of the plates have been blown apart. An experienced tech can repair this damage in 1D6x10 minuites under no fire. (If under fire, the tech will feel stressed and aquire a -20% to his/her mechanical engineer roll.) Due to the treads shielded position it can only be struck at a penalty of -1.
** Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body means that the vehicle's hull is in tatters, and subsequent shells/rounds have a 01-20% chance of striking the ammo-magazine detonating all remaining rounds. 21-75% will strike the Reinforced Pilot's Compartment, and 76-00% simply punches holes in the already "shattered" hull.
Note: The Commando in both versions utilizes a Pre-RIFTS defense mechanism called Reactive Armor, which protects it from shaped charge weapons; (ALL impact missiles, direct impact cannon shells, etc.) When struck by such weapons on either it's main body or turret these attacks inflict only 1/2 damage! The way this armor "functions" is that it's made up of a series of hollow panels with the interior lined with a layer of an explosive substance and when a missile or shape charged cannon shell strikes this protective armor, it detonates outward in response to the attack, thereby destroying the offending missile or shell! The only shortcoming is that any time a specific area has been hit, it's reactive plates in that location must be replaced - or full damage will be endured on the next impact. For game purposes regard each side of the main body/hull as a separate target, and each side of the turret as a separate target. Once the front of it's hull has been hit - it's vulnerable to full damage on the next attack from the dead on front. A cunning driver will take the oportunity after that impact to turn a new side towards the enemy - while the gunner redirects the turret towards the enemy and continues hammering them. The Commando's Reactive Armor does not cover it's entire surface, however. In both versions the very top of the vehicle is devoid of reactive plates. In the Commando-B the turret is only defended on the right side. Note that the image above displays the reactive armor plates as boxes with bolts in the corner, giving the vehicle an almost "riveted cast iron" appearance.

Performance:
Maximum Speed: 80 mph for the Commando-A, and 110 mph for the Commando-B; hence the entire reason for lightening the armor.
Maximum Water Surface Speed: 20 mph; Only the Commando-B can float, as a truly amphibious vehicle that can enter the water and come out at any point and continue with combat. The Commando-A's heavy armor prevents it from being used in this fashion - as it sinks like a rock. To compensate for this it is outfitted with a snorkel system that allows it to travel along the bottom of any body of water up to 25' deep.
Maximum Depth Tolerance: The Commando-B cannot submerge as it is too light, but the Commando-A can button up and use it's snorkel in water up to 25' deep. Buttoned up tight it can endure depths up to 250'.
Maximum Effective Range: Unlimited; Thanks to the Nuclear Power Supply.

Statistical Data:
Height: 9'8" - 15'6" including the whip antennae. (9'2" - 14'6" for the Commando-B.)
Width: 12'.
Length: 24'. (22'10" for the Commando-B.)
Weight: 20 tons fully loaded for the Commando-A, 14 tons fully loaded for the Commando-B.
Cargo: Both variants have a small cargo space inside containing room enough for some personal effects for the two crew members, and enough reactive armor plates to completely replace those on the exterior ONE time. (Takes about 15 minutes for anyone with even basic mechanics.) The Commando-A has sufficient room inside to contain 8 fully loaded combat soldiers, while the Commando-B carries additional missile stores. In addition to this standard equipment, the Commando-A & B can carry up to a ton and a half or can pull up to 6 tons of weight. Note that the Commando-B will not float if it's total weight exceeds 15 tons! (If overloaded the maximum depth of the Commando-B is 250' - it is NOT however outfitted with a snorkel system.)
Power System: Nuclear; 15 year life.
Market Cost: 18 million credits for the Commando-A and 16 million credits for the Commando-B, each fully loaded and brand new. The 50 Commando-A sold on surplus from the NOMAD stores will cost 16.56 million credits - but the nuclear power system will only have an 11-12 year life remaining. The 100 Commando-B converted from surplus NOMAD stores will cost 15.6 million credits, with the same nuclear power system service life remainder. Cost to completely replace the reactive armor plates for the Commando-A is 18,000 credits, and 16,000 credits for the Commando-B.)

Weapon Systems

1. Rapid Fire Field Cannon 16 - RFFC-16 (Commando-A Only.): The primary weapon of the Commando-A is this heavy Rapid Fire Field Cannon. This is a specially designed 20 mm cannon with Electro-Magnetic accelleration coils along the barrel, that fires a rapid succession two round burst. Although heavy it's range is only fair, but it's damaging power is matched only by the HEAT rounds of a 120 mm cannon. With this weapon the Commando-A provides EXCELLENT battlefield support to the troops it carries into battle.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: 2D6x10 M.D. per rapid succession dual shell burst.
Blast Radius: Minimal - approximately 4'.
Rate of Fire: Equal to the gunners combined hand to hand attacks.
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000'.
Payload: 100 shells - enough for 50 rapid succession dual shell bursts.
Bonus: +2 to strike targets in motion due to weapon stabilization.
Reload Cost: 400 credits per 20 mm 200 series cannon shell.

2. SM-333 30 mm Auto-Cannon (Commando-B Only.): Mounted on the right side of the Commando-B's turret is a 30 mm Auto-Cannon used by this purpose built tank killer to chew through enemy armor with 20 round bursts of cannon fire. Given it's relatively short range compared to tank mounted weapons, it is typical practice for this weapon to be held in reserve to defend itself against light attackers and tanks that get too close for comfort. Cost for shells and deployment is also quite prohibitive - especially for small mercenary outfits.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Armor.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: 2D4x10+10 M.D. per 20 shell burst.
Blast Radius: A combined burst of explosive shells has about a 5' blast radius.
Rate of Fire: Equal to the gunners combined hand to hand attacks.
Maximum Effective Range: 5,000'.
Payload: 200 shells - enough for 10 bursts.
Bonus: +2 to strike targets in motion due to weapon stabilization.
Reload Cost: 350 credits per 30 mm 300 series cannon shell.

3. Box Style Medium Range Missile Launcher (Commando-A Only.): Mounted on the left side of the Commando-A's turret is a box style medium range missile launcher containing seven missiles. The typical use of this weapon system is to destroy armor or fortifications that bar the route of the troops this IFV is escorting into battle.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Armor/Installation.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type.
Blast Radius: Varies with missile type.
Rate of Fire: Single missiles, or volleys of 2, 4, or 7.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile type. The lack of radar however typically limits the range of these missiles to line of sight - which varies widely according to visibility.
Payload: 7 missiles.
Reload Cost: Varies with missile type.

4. Tube Style Medium Range Missile Launcher (Commando-B Only.): Mounted on the left side of the Commando-B's turret is a quintet of tube like medium range missile launchers, each containing one missile each. The typical use of this weapon on the Commando-B is to hide in covered terrain or in a well camouflaged position and surprise an enemy tank with a full volley of these missiles, followed by a volley of Short Ranged Missiles.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Armor.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type.
Blast Radius: Varies with missile type.
Rate of Fire: Single missiles, or volleys of 2, 4, or 5.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile type - but are typically reserved for use in a range close enough so that Short Range Missiles may finish off a target not utterly annihilated by these missiles.
Payload: 5 missiles in the tubes and an additional 5 missiles stored in the hull of the vehicle. These may be reloaded by anybody with the skills of Weapons Engineer, W.P. Heavy, W.P. Heavy Energy, or Weapon Systems at a penalty of -10%.
Reload Cost: Varies with missile type.

5. Short Range Missile Launcher (Commando-B Only.): Dominating the central portion of the Commando-B's turret is a short range missile launcher unit, containing 15 short range missiles - each with their own exit port, and exhaust port at the back of the turret. The typical use of this weapon system is to fire them once the medium range missiles have been used, as a follow up strike. Between this system and the MRM Launcher, only the strongest armor would survive an onslaught - and during a surprise rear attack, VERY few armored vehicles could survive.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Armor.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type.
Blast Radius: Varies with missile type.
Rate of Fire: Single missiles, or volleys of 5, 10, or 15.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile type.
Payload: 15 missiles in the launcher and an additional 30 missiles stored in the hull of the vehicle. These may be reloaded by anybody with the skills of Weapons Engineer, W.P. Heavy, W.P. Heavy Energy, or Weapon Systems at a penalty of -10%.
Reload Cost: Varies with missile type.

6. Smoke Dispensers (Both Commando types.)(4): These dispensers release a dense cloud of IR resistant smoke in the form of a smoke screen preventing the use of optical sensors, thermal systems, IR sensors, or any kind of non-radar guided missiles. Thus all attacks against the Commando would then be made at a -3 to strike.
Payload: 30 "puffs" (40'x40' areas) or up to 5 mins of constant dispersal. (Per Dispenser!!)
Recharge Cost: Smoke dispensers can be "recharged" at a cost of 30 credits a puff.

7. Additional Systems of Note: This vehicle incorporates all the usual environmental features found in robot vehicles including environmental protection, environmental control, air filtration, an independant 12 hour supply of air, heat and radiation shielding.
    1. 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 vehicle 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.
    2. 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 N.O.M.A.D. soldier in an S-Mart Assassin, overflying an armored collumn, 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. Those Commando that are sold DO include this system but it is programmed as a civilian system, readily read by N.O.M.A.D. Military programmed I.F.F. transponders.
    3. Laser & Visual Rangefinders: This is a combination of a special form of laser targeting and a complex targeting sight that aids gunners in ranged combat, providing a bonus of +2 to strike at all ranges exceeding 1,000'.
    4. Inertial Navigation Computer: This system assists the vehicle in navigation through the use of three ring laser gyros by indicating exactly how far, in what direction, at what altitude, and at what speed the vehicle has traveled - down to an accuracy of 1/1000 of a mile. If available, coupled with a map of the region loaded into this nav comp, this system becomes nearly fail safe - provided that the crew using the system can read a map. This provides crews with a Navigation skill a +20% to all skill rolls. Every few hundred thousand miles of travel this system requires recalibration, which is easily done by a push of a button inside of the vehicle. S-Mart has maps available of the entire surrounding region (250 mile radius) of each Desert Star, Wa-Daisho, Lazlo, the Coalition States, Northern Gun/Manistique Imperium, and the Colorado Baronies available at a cost of 200 credits per programming package.
    5. 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.
    6. Thermal Imaging Optics: This is very similar to Infrared Optics in the sense that it detects heat, but unlike the imprecise nature of 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. Physical Attacks: Like any vehicle, it in itself can be a very efficient weapon;
    Ramming Vehicles/Creatures/Buildings More Than 2 tons: 3D4 M.D. (2D4MD for the B) per 10 mph.
    Ramming Vehicles/Creatures/Buildings Less Than 2 tons: 1D6 M.D. (1D4MD for the B) per 10 mph, and typically will run it over inflicting an additional 6D6 M.D. from it's weight alone!

      The picture used above was inspired by the image and description of the U.S. M-15 Infantry Fighting Vehicle & U.S. M-50 Tank Hunter as displayed in R. Talsorian's Games Inc. Cyberpunk 2020's Sourcebook Maximum Metal. This image was by no means created in an effort to steal the credit for such an impressively styled vehicle from the illustration team of R. Talsorian Games Inc., but was included here in an effort to emulate a well designed vehicle in the RIFTS role playing game.




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