(IFV) T-4406 Minotaur
A versatile Infantry Fighting Vehicle with emphasis on providing Imperial Ground Troops and Exo-Suits with a heavily armed and armoured vehicle able to allow infantry units to travel with armoured divisions and dismount alongside them, while receiving direct fire support from the embarked vehicle, while also providing a variety of utility roles such as Drone Control and In-Field Recovery and repair.
Mechanised Units have always been an important part of the Aquarian Military's inventory, that has not changed with the dawn of the Imperial Era. During the transition, Imperial Military Command commissioned two new vehicles to be developed to replace the aging T-446 and T-502 tracked combat vehicles in service with the somewhat neglected UAS Planetary Forces. Some of the latter, being in service since the Old Federation era, and, despite heavy upgrades, were becoming obsolete by 46th century standards. The new design would also call for a vehicle to allow for the early retirement of the relatively new HPAV-2205G MBT, which was somewhat unreliable due to the design not being innately designed for Gravimetric Propulsion.
The Imperial Military Research and Development branch of the ATIS Imperial Planetary Forces began researching and designing a new vehicle standard to replace the existing vehicles shortly after the transition to the Imperial Date System in 4404 A.D. (1 I.D.S).
The result of a decade of research assisted by essentially limitless experimental designs and prototyping provided by direct approval from the ATIS Council Directorship's Office; the IMRD laid down the groundwork for a hull that would provide a base for a multitude of vehicle variants designed to serve the IPF and Mechanised Marine units well into the future, potentially beyond the dawn of the 6th millennium A.D.
The two main vehicle types required by the IPF were a Main Battle Tank- a vehicle able to engage enemy ground-based armour directly while providing the highest level of protection to its crew. The vehicle would also be required to fill a number of additional roles alongside armoured warfare; such as indirect and direct fire artillery support (Self-propelled Artillery Piece) and Low-Level Anti-Orbital fire support on a mobile chassis for anti star ship capability by forward mechanised units, allowing great flexibility.
The second vehicle was to be an Infantry Fighting Vehicle with emphasis on providing Imperial Ground Troops and Exo-Suits with a heavily armed and armoured vehicle able to allow infantry units to travel with armoured divisions and dismount alongside them, while receiving direct fire support from the embarked vehicle. Infantry remained a strong focus on combined-arms mechanised warfare even on the 46th century battlefield; but the new IFV would also need to be able to carry and operate the IPF's extensive arsenal of weaponised drone-units and robotics to provide additional support to armoured divisions. The IFV would need to be flexible enough to carry field-swappable modules for re-configuring 'on the fly' for different roles, while retaining a capable standard weapons platform focused on providing direct fire support for infantry units, while retaining anti-tank and anti-air capability.
The T-4406 Minotaur is designed for maximum flexibility, while retaining the protection of heavier Main Battle Tanks. As such, the vehicle is based on the same up-armoured chassis as the heavier T-4406 Ogre, but with slightly weight-optimised (reduced thickness) side integrated NERA composite armour arrays; not only to reduce weight but also to increase internal space for troops and their equipment. The frontal protection of the vehicle, however, remains the same as the MBT.
The Primary armament of the Minotaur is an offset turret-mounted dual-linked FIMD-75 (75mm) Chain gun with a cyclic maximum rate of fire of 250 Rounds per minute, per barrel, for a total of over 500 rounds per minute in short bursts. The Autocannons are optimised for destruction of light / soft-skinned vehicles and infantry/exo-suits with high explosive fragmentation warheads, with support for configurable fuses including timed airburst and proximity, with friend or foe recognition and collateral reduction heuristics from the vehicle's targeting computer.
In addition to the main armament, the Minotaur's turret carries side-mount pods for standardised missile launch platforms; the standard being vehicle-optimised (surface to surface) MPM-3/AG Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, but retaining the platform's Multi-Purpose capability as it maintains reasonable effectiveness against airborne targets. MPM-3/AG is a ground-optimised derivative of the MPM Multi-Purpose Missile platform used on larger vehicles, including space-craft. The MPM-3/AG allows the Minotaur to engage and effectively neutralise any heavily armoured threats the vehicle or its squad might encounter, without the necessity of support from an MBT. The vehicle carries four missiles externally which must be reloaded manually by the operator/loader once depleted.
The commander possesses (as standard for IPF vehicles) a fully independent, traversable multi-spectrum optics swivel with a variety of active and passive sensors to assist in target acquisition and harsh-environment visibility. Furthermore, the Minotaur posses a pair of CVPCAPS hardpoints for Active Protection against ballistic and energy weapon threats.
Due to the vehicle using the chassis base for the MBT design, the Minotaur has extremely strong frontal armour protection, including the heavier vehicle's DAP (Dynamic Armour Package) modular armour system with Nano-dynamic self-adaptive, self-healing compounds. These DAP modules are standard on most IPF vehicles, including some drones. The Minotaur is no exception in carrying DAP modules along the entire visible surface, except for the top, though there are mount points for top-DAP modules to counter top-attack munitions, though most vehicles rely on the CVPCAPS to save weight.
Minotaur has internal space for up to 12 fully equipped Imperial Planetary Forces Troops or Mechanised Marines in standard armour, in seated positions. There are standing-charge/maintenance pads for up to 4 Exo-Suits in locked positions for transit, alongside the 12 embarked troops. Furthermore, a single Wasp Support Drone can be carried as standard, even without the additional Drone Control Module.
The vehicle is equipped with two multi-function module bays for modular equipment with in-field configuration capability (modules are able to be swapped out relatively simply in the field, such as at a forward vehicle bay). The modules allow the vehicle to perform a variety of additional functions atop of its IFV use, such as a Deep Recon Drone Command vehicle, Command & Control, Over-The-Horizon ML/RADAR, C/EWS, and Dedicated Surface-To-Air and Surface-To-Orbit weapons platforms. Furthermore, the vehicle can be actively configured to serve as a recovery and repair platform for MBTs and other IFVs with a nano/macro assembly and repair module and additional towing apparatus.
The vehicle is powered by a 4-Cylinder Helical High-Temperature Fusion Engine. It functions by using Fuel rods contained in magnetically suspended cylinders. The fusion reaction is contained within internal magnetic shielding within each rod and generates extreme heat. As the heat increases, pressurised nanogel medium fluid is pumped into a series of radiators around the cylinder and vaporises as it passes the radiator and increases in pressure. pressure is increased until it is released into a turbine at the base of the cylinder where the fluid rapidly expands upwards, turning the cylinder in the magnetic field (10000+RPM) and generating electrical potential. The condensed fluid then liquifies and returns to the injection port
Electrical charge is then used to power the vehicle's Gravimetric Gyro to negate up to 2G (up to around 95%) at peak efficiency, while suspended within the field of reduced gravity, waste helium-isotope plasma from the H-H reaction is exhausted via magnetic nacelles towards the ground to provide upward thrust.
The T-4406 Minotaur is in service with all units of the Imperial Planetary Forces and Marine Mechanised Expeditionary units in a huge number of roles.