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UEF Designation Code: BW
TIC-101 Black Widow
The spider-like TIC units are the UEF's dedicated dropship craft. Designed purely for the purpose of getting troops, supplies and vehicles down to the ground from space, TIC craft are vital to the UEF war effort. They are capable of carrying a surprising weight between their six retractable 'legs'. When not toting a vehicle, these remain tucked up against the fuselage, however when toting, they latch around it like a claw.
Capable of carrying a hundred fully-armoured UEF soldiers and/or one vehicle/supply crate, the Black Widow is a way to get troops from their mothercraft to the ground with all due speed. The legs make an excellent grappler for vehicles, or alternatively can be used to latch onto an enemy craft after careful angling by the pilot. An underbelly-mounted cutting laser (nicknamed the 'stinger' by the pilots) for boring through the hull and enabling a boarding action to take place.
Many sections of the hull are retractable, including the bottom and sides, however generally troops load up via a loading ramp at the rear of the end into the abdomen. These retractable sections enable the High Altitude Fast Descent drops to take place, and the underbelly retractable is also used in conjunction with the 'stinger' for boarding action.
The Black Widow is lightly armed, with a simple twin laser cannon situated to the front near the cockpit to provide a light defence-clearance solution, however neither arms or armour are sufficient to cope with more than a token 'hot LZ'.
The legs are also used in conjunction with the AT-11 Aerotech, in a pair of manoeuvres nicknamed the 'Fly escapes Spider', and 'Spider catches fly'. In 'Fly escapes Spider', the Black Widow totes the Aerotech into the planetary atmosphere before releasing it 60,000ft into the air. The Aerotech then ignites its engines and begins free flight, landing on the ground for the duration of operations. At the end of operations comes 'Spider catches Fly', where the Aerotech flies up to around 50,000 feet, and is then latched onto by the Black Widow. The Black Widow can pick the Aerotech up from the ground, however a hot LZ or a need for a quick escape can often necessitate the 'Spider Catches Fly'.
- Twin Light Laser
Range - Medium
Power - Low
ROF - fast (10 per second)
Coverage - Frontal
- Cutting Laser
(Used only to cut through hulls, therefore details of range, power and ROF are moot)
High Altitude Fast Descent
The HAFD drop is an advancement over a regular paradrop as done by many real-world nations. While some forces in the War Games universe make use of dropships to land troops directly on the ground, or drop pods to transport troops to ground at a high rate of speed, the HAFD gives the best of both worlds. It both preserves the dropship at a hot LZ, and also gives a fast route for the troops to reach the ground without the obvious possibility of burning up in the planet's atmosphere in a drop pod.
The troop compliment aboard simply jumps from the retractable zones in the walls and floor of the TIC unit at between 10,000 and 60,000 feet before freefalling down, using breakfall membranes stretching between the arms and torso to slow descent and give additional guidance until reaching such a point (roughly a hundred feet above the ground) as to deploy their backpack-mounted retrojets to bring them to a safe speed for landing. With the weapon clamped to the chest during the descent, it is possible to unclamp and fire the weapon while still descending under retrojet.
This HAFD gives the soldier much more control over their descent using the membranes, making their landings at least twice as precise as those of a regular paratrooper, and also minimises their profile to AA fire as they descend to the ground.