Like the Far-Trader, this design also hails from the Chanestin Kingdom's Mercantile Support Bureau, in which they took an existing design, and heavily modified it adding armour, weaponry and power plant at the expense of cargo space and large staterooms. Towards the end of the kingdom's life the need to ensure consistency of service to member worlds in the wake of attacks and reprisals from the Imperium (not to mention the large number of opportunistic raiders and privateers who sensing weakness had also entered their space, causing severe disruption to the trade lanes and the loss of essential personnel from the main battlefront with the Imperial Navy) necessitated this design.
In short the so called secure trader is in fact a courier vessel with formidable firepower and warship grade armour capable of being able to also serve as an armoured VIP transport and small fleet auxiliary or blockage runner, this aspect of the design was considered essential as a handful of Chanestin worlds were interdicted by the Imperium whilst they were being pacified by ground forces. This class of ship was ideal to run the blockade and deliver essential supplies to the Chanestin resistance cells active on each world, its tough armour shielding making it ideal handle hazardous or security cargos and mail transfers.
Routine operations meant that its service route would be controlled by the government and consist solely of a short dash to jump point, a week in jump followed by another short dash to the target world, as many of these worlds were occupied by enemy forces refuelling at a Starport would have been difficult to say the least hence fuel scoops and purification equipment were deemed essential even though they would have detracted from the ship's cargo capacity. In order to offset this shortfall, dedicated power plant fuel was cut back only two weeks as opposed to the more nominal 4 weeks duration and manoeuvre fuel was cut back from a planned endurance of 20 G hours to 13.5; additional fuel for both the power plant and the m-drive could be drawn from the jump tankage if required (assuming there was any left - not the craft to be stuck in if you miss-jump).
Typical operations allow up to 2G Hours to be expended achieving orbit and heading out to jump point before activating the jump drive burning the jump fuel before arrival in the destination system, any remaining fuel would be used for course corrections etc, assuming that they keep a further 2G hours fuel in reserve for final deceleration and landing.
One notable feature of this design, is that cargo is stowed in two lateral bays, in the event of any difficulties these bays can be ejected away from the craft if need be, reducing hull tonnage accordingly and allowing an increase in performance if required or less reaction mass to be expended when breaking. This is sometimes done to try and save the cargo, as the bays are fully sealed and armoured to the same standards as the rest of the ship though they lack independent life support, but this can be easily overcome by using reefer containers and the like.
With the dissolution of the Chanestin Kingdom many of these vessels have found their way into the hands of merchants or their former crews who have decided to make a life for themselves as deserters, terrorists or revolutionaries. Needless to say these vessels are not economically capable of competing against typical merchant ships but in areas of conflict can make a good living, hiring themselves to those desperate enough to pay over the odds for their services, such as freighting or speculating in the pirate infested Lishun sector. So surprisingly they can make their owners a good profit. Also captured members of this class are well liked by pirates. Small mercenary units also like them, and indeed Imperial sanctioned privateers, so surprisingly resale values for this class of transport tend to be quite good, after all they can easily survive situations and encounters that would destroy a typical merchant ship.
The passenger and crew cabins, whilst small are also plush, and can support high passage requirements though more often than not mid passage tends to be the norm; unlike other vessels this class does not carry any low berths. The crew lounge is fairly spacious and situated between the turret accesses on deck 2, just before the passenger lounge
Many wealthy owners further customise these ships such as removing the Heplar Thruster and replacing it with a standard Imperial thruster, which can increase the range and versatility of the craft not to mention allowing a reduction in fuel requirements and a subsequent increase in cargo space that can add to profitability.
MSB -- Secure Trader, Heplar Version
Class: Secure Trader Type A2 Ep Output: 8 Tech Level: 12 Agility: 0 Size: (Medium 200 Tons) Initiative: 0 Streamlining: Streamlined AC: 17 Jump Range: 1 x Jump 2 Repulsors: None Acceleration 2G Heplar/CG Nuclear Dampers: None Fuel 72.0 Tons (Liquid Hydrogen) Meson Screens: None Duration: 2 weeks Black Globes: None Crew: 4-6 AR: 7 Staterooms: 0 SI: 115 Small Cabins: 8 Main Computer: Model 2 Bunks: none Sensor Range: short (model 2) Couches: none Comm. Range: short (model 2) Low Berths: none Cargo Space: 30 Tons Cost: Mcr: 109.132 (Mcr 87.305 in quantity) Atmospheric speeds Noe= 875 kph Cruising = 825 kph Maximum = 1100 kph Other Equipment: Ejectable Lateral Cargo Holds, fuel scoops and fuel purification machinery refines 72 tons in 2 hours 53 minutes. 2 x Laser Battery USP=3
Minimum Requirements: 1 x Bridge, 2 x Gunner
Recommended: 2 x Bridge, 1 x Engineer, 1 x Steward/Medic 2 x Gunner
Costs & Revenues (Cr 434,173) Per Operational Month
Life support: Cr 32,000 (Passengers & all crew/month)
Crew Costs: Cr 24,000 (Assuming 6 well paid crew)
Unrefined Fuel: Cr 14,400 (Cr 100 x 72 tons x 2)
Mortgage: Cr 363, 773
Mortgages are rare on this class of ship as most are owned by former Chanestin crews or pirates & criminals that have gained them through other means, typical resale values are anything between 40% & 80% of discount purchase price for the odd few that have changed hands legitimately. The mortgage figure above assumes that it is for a Brand new examples of this ship design, doubtless several imperial shipyards will soon release a competing design utilising the very best of imperial technologies that will hopefully see either a decrease in price or an increase in potential revenue.
Totals: Cr 434,173
Revenues (Mcr: 0.540) Per Operational Month
5 x Premium Price Mid Passage 5 x Cr 24,000 = Cr 120,000 x 2 = Cr 240,000
30 x Premium Price freight 30 x Cr 5,000 = Cr 150,000 x 2 = Cr 300,000
The above amounts are typical of freight/passage rates in war zones and other dangerous areas though of course crews can and often will charge all that the market will bear as the work is far from safe or reliable.
Typical Profits made, Mcr 0.540 Mcr 0. 491 = Cr 49,000
Design Worksheet. Installed Component Tonnage MCR Ep Notes. Hull +200 20.0 ---- Cylinder Improved Streamlining ---- 1.0 ---- Streamlined Improved Armour 32 6.7 ---- AR=7 AC+7 Bridge 20 1.0 ---- Computer 0.2 8.0 ---- Model 2 Avionics 0.8 (1.8) ---- Model 2 Sensors 0.6 (1.2) ---- Model 2 Commo 0.4 (1.0) ---- Model 2 Heplar 4.0 2.0 -2.0 Heplar 2G (1 EP/G) Heplar Fuel 26.0 ---- ---- Endurance 6.5 Hours Jump Drive 6.0 24.0 -4.0 Jump=2 Jump Fuel 40.0 ---- ---- 1 x Jump 1 Power Plant 12.0 36.0 +8.0 Fusion Tl-9 Fuel 2 weeks 4.0 ---- ---- Liquid Hydrogen Hardpoints ---- 0.2 ---- 2 Hardpoints 2 x triple turret ---- 2.0 ---- 6 x beam Laser 2.0 6.0 -6.0 USP=3 8 x Small cabins 16.0 2.0 ---- High/Mid Passage Fuel Scoops ---- 0.200 ---- Purifier 6.0 0.032 ---- Refines 72 tons (2 H 53 M) Cargo 30.0 --- ---- Totals 200.0 ---- 10.0 109.132
Original T4 Design: Joe Walsh.
Design re-designed for T20, by Mark Bridgeman.