Sketches – Brussels Class Lander

Designed concurrently with the Bastille Class Assault Battlecruiser, the Brussels Class Lander was a next generation multipurpose ground interface craft. Featuring a powerful open-cycle fusion engine, respectable armor and a flexible weapons suite, the Brussels is effective at almost every role it can be assigned. Series production initially started in conjunction with the first Bastilles, but production continued even after the initial order was completed, and soon enough she became a common sight in EU and UN fleets.

More commonly called a dropship, the Brussels class was originally designed to carry two full companies of troops in a single drop. As the design moved through the various approval and review stages with the Marine Spatiale Européenne (MSE) however, her design specifications began to change. Feedback from the fighter bureau pointed out that the craft would need both armament and armor in order to survive an opposed landing. Espatier Command required ballistic ordinance so that the Brussels could provide both pre- and post-landing fire support. Fleet Command Pointed out that a belly lander meeting the above requirements could never fit inside the Bastille’s shuttle bays. In the end, the various design requirements would be met (barely).

The production design of the Brussels is often given as a perfect example of design by committee, and perhaps more fitting of its namesake than the designers would prefer, but most crews (grudgingly) admit that the Brussels can at least do all its tasks adequately. It can still carry a full company in a single lift, her onboard laser turrets provide both effective air defense at the landing zone and some staying power in actual combat. Two VLS racks provide a quick one-two punch that can either clear a landing zone or an air corridor. While less maneuverable than a belly lander (which invariably also has various flight control surfaces), the tail lander means it has its pick of landing zones.

Designing the Brussels was, as the writing suggests, hand in hand with the (re)design of the Bastille. It also borrows from a few other classic “lander” tropes, most clearly from BattleTech. The tail-lander dropship there isn’t so much a meme as a way of life; they are ubiquitous. Still, they’re not as common as they are in BattleTech, given the existence of much more effective interplanetary drive systems. It’s internal layout would look quite familiar to anyone studying a Union class dropship. One little detail is that the drive system fitted has a lot of similarities to the “cold fusion” powerplant that is in service with several different polities, in this instance feeding its energy output to heat up reaction mass in order to provide thrust before it engages its own main drive.

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