|Designer||Flutter Designs, Inc.|
|Manufacturer||Cal-Boeing of Dorwinion|
|Mission||Strike, Harrasser, Cavalry|
After the Filtvelt Coalition declared its independence from the Federated Suns in 3072, it faced a problem: How could it equip its troops with effective weapons with its limited industrial base? Though the bulk of the weapons procurement programs went to 'Mechs and infantry, a small group of designers saw a solution in the old Cal-Boeing of Dorwinion VTOL plant on Filtvelt. By designing a quick VTOL platform with a heavy weapon, they thought the Filtvelt Citizen's Militia could engage a heavier force at range and withdraw. This would allow the Citizen's Militia's limited supply of 'Mechs and vehicles to operate more effectively, as they would be engaging an already damaged foe.
The biggest problem the designers faced was deciding on the weapon. Filtvelt had some ties to the Federated Suns, but with the Suns involved in the Jihad, advanced technology weapons were reserved for AFFS units. Rocket Launchers were cheap, but lacked the damage potential the designers wanted. The answer came from the Clan Invasion. Many Enforcer BattleMechs had their AC/10's replaced by the new LB 10-X AC, leaving a stockpile of functional Federated Autocannon/10's languishing in warehouses. Though not the newest or best autocannon on the market, the combination of range, damage potential, and (most important) price convinced the design team that they'd found the main gun. The fact that the Federated autocannon could use the special munitions developed by the Federated Suns provided another benefit.
Though initially skeptical the Coalition Council was persuaded to back the venture when they realized that production at the Cal-Boeing VTOL plant would provide more jobs. Named after a pest that can kill the Filtvelt thunderbeast, the Stingbat's designers hope that the VTOL will be just as damaging to pirates.
The Stingbat can easily keep pace with most scout 'Mechs, and outrun heavier 'Mechs. To keep costs low, the designers chose to use an ICE engine. Capable of burning diesel, ethanol, or conventional fighter fuel, the Stingbat can deploy on any world in the Coalition with a light logistical tail. The heavy autocannon can cripple a scout 'Mech and inflict serious damage on larger 'Mechs, particularly when the Stingbat operates in pairs or groups of four. To make sure the Stingbat can remain in the fight, the designers provided an ammunition bay that can carry two tons of ammunition. This also allows a pilot to carry a ton of standard ammo and a ton of specialty munitions when they're available. One of the more interesting aspects is the autocannon mount: It basically bolts onto the bottom of the Stingbat's fuselage, allowing a technical crew to remove and replace the whole autocannon in a few minutes.
To make the best use of existing resources, the Stingbat uses the same Protech Light Standard armor as used on the Ferret scout VTOL. As the Filtvelt Citizen's Militia has a limited supply of pilots, the Stingbat carries four and a half tons of armor. This allows the nose to withstand a close-range hit from even a Heavy Gauss Rifle, while the sides can each withstand a Gauss Rifle hit. The Stingbat's tail boom can withstand a hit from a Large Laser. The only real weakness is in the rotor system: Like all VTOLs the Stingbat can't carry much armor on spinning blades, but the designers maximized the armor protection.
Though not a true OmniVehicle, the Stingbat's single heavy weapon and ammunition bay were designed to be modified relatively easily. Many Stingbat crews add a single Machine Gun with a half ton of ammunition at the expense of one ton of autocannon ammunition. As the main weapon takes up nearly half of the VTOL's weight, engineers have a lot of room to work with once it's removed.
- Armored - This variant drops half the ammunition capacity and replaces it with an extra ton of armor.
- Rocket Launcher - This variant carries nine 20 tube Rocket Launchers and an extra half ton of armor. It is most frequently used to attack slow moving ground vehicles.
- LRM - This version replaces the autocannon and ammunition with a single LRM-20 and three tons of ammunition.
- Ballistic - This version uses an Autocannon/5 with two tons of ammunition for long range hitting power. For anti-infantry work it mounts two Taurian-built Heavy Machine Guns with a ton of ammunition. An extra ton of armor improves protection.
- Laser - An unpopular variant, this version carries a single Large Laser with five heat sinks. The remaining space is occupied by power amplifiers. Though it is popular with commanders, many crews feel it lacks the stopping power of the autocannon.
There are also some modified Stingbats that use more advanced equipment:
- Armored - This version of the Stingbat replaces the Protech Light with Ferro-Fibrous Armor. The Filtvelt Coalition would like to refit all Stingbats to this standard, but the cost is prohibitive.
- LRM (Artemis) - This version uses a LRM-20 with Artemis IV FCS and two tons of ammunition.
- LB 10-X - This version replaces the Federated Autocannon with an LB 10-X autocannon and an extra ton of armor.
- "Sniper" Stingbat - This variant pairs a two-ton Targeting Computer with an Autocannon/5. The two ton autocannon ammunition bay is reduced to one ton, but a single LRM-5 with one ton of ammunition is added for extra firepower.
- Rotary AC/5 - This variant uses a single Rotary AC/5. The techs are having some difficulty keeping the Rotary AC/5 attached to the Stingbat; When firing at maximum rates for several minutes, the Rotary AC tends to work the bolts loose. An extra two tons of armor helps protect the Stingbat. (Engineers considered replacing the additional armor with a Targeting Computer, but this required the reduction of the RAC ammo bay to one ton as well as removing some armor. Stingbat crews unanimously opposed this change.)
There are a few versions on the drawing board that use Experimental Technology. These variants have not yet seen production.
- Chemical Laser - This version would use two Clan-made Large Chemical Laser]s as its main armament. A pair of Chaff Pods provides additional defense.
- Crew Protection - A modified "Sniper" Stingbat, this variant uses a Combat Vehicle Escape Pod] and Chaff Pod to protect the crew. A single Autocannon/5 with one ton of ammunition provides firepower. The Combat Vehicle Escape Pod replaces the Targeting Computer and LRM system.
- Extended LRM - This version would mount a single Extended LRM-15 with twelve effective salvos (2 tons of ammunition).
- ThunderBat - This version would carry a single Thunderbolt 15 missile launcher with twelve missiles (three tons of ammunition.)
Cruising MP: 7 Flank MP: 11 Armor placement: Front: 27 Left/Right: 17 Rear: 9 Rotors: 2
- ↑ Masters and Minions, p. 47