Horizont class Dive Transport DTTS-12

Dive Transatmospheric Troop Shuttle

Horizont, Mars Division

The Horizont is the smallest vessel in the REF fleet. Unlike the larger combat spacecraft, the Horizont is a troop carrier. Its purpose is to transport troops, mecha, and supplies to and from the battlefield. To accomplish these tasks, the shuttle carries two armoured supply bunkers which can be "dropped", detached, at landing. Troops and supplies can be unloaded while the Horizont flies into space to get another load/bunkers. The troop bunkers do not have to be detached for the troops to disembark; however, a "hot" landing zone (LZ) seldom offers the luxury of time to land, wait for the unloading and fly off without the shuttle taking damage. The detachable bunkers enable the Horizont to quickly land/hover, drop its two bunkers and fly to safety before the enemy has time to focus an attack. In many respects, the Horizont can be thought of as the space-age equivalent to the helicopter in the Vietnam War (Earth, circa 1964-70).

The transport shuttle is operated by a pilot, copilot, two communications engineers and an Alpha and Beta pilot. The crew is located in the nose of the spacecraft. If necessary, the nose can detach from the rest of the vessel, functioning as an emergency escape pod. The escape pod can function only in space (drops like a rock in atmosphere) and can accommodate only 5 or 6 additional human-size passengers.

Inside the neck of the Horizont is a troop compartment which can hold 12 Cyclone riders (in armour) with the Cyclone mecha folded and stowed in compartments above each soldier.

The rear section is all engine except for the passageway that connects to the Alpha and Beta Veritech Fighters attached to the belly of the Horizont. The two Veritechs represent the only defense and assault weapons at the shuttle's disposal.

They are especially important when delivering troops or rescuing wounded in a "hot LZ," a landing area under heavy attack. As the shuttle makes its final landing approach, the Alpha and Beta (connected together) detach to lay down suppressing fire and distract the enemy. If the situation requires it, the Alpha and Beta act as two "combat" Huey helicopters engaging the enemy while a transport chopper picks up the wounded or drops off troops. Once the Horizon's job is done it leaves, with the two Veritechs flying escort. The Alpha and Beta can connect and reattach to the shuttle at any time.

Stats:

Crew: 5, plus 12 Cyclone Riders, and 2 VF Pilots
Speed: Mach 6.2 in atmosphere, Mach 10 in space
Height: 60ft
Width: 224ft
Length: 198ft
Weight: 2200 tons