The VHT-1J Spartas Hover Tank was a mass produced main battle hovertank used non-commissioned officers of the armored divisions of the Army of the Southern Cross, and was originally featured in Robotech: The Masters. These units played a number of roles during the Second Robotech War.
The first iteration of the Veritech Hovertank was developed in response to the specification by the United Earth Government High Command directive for a new ground scout vehicle to assist in the ground operations during the Malcontent Uprising, and replace the aging Destroid lines. The commanders of Task Force Southern Cross, part of the Robotech Defense Force, with the assistance of private contractors, drew up the specifications for a scout mecha that could effectively hold enough firepower to engage any Zentraedi mecha, or even mecha more heavily armored than those of the Zentraedi. The latter was drawn with one eye to the internal politics of the Earth itself, and the VHT was from the outset intended to be capable of dispatching all Terran tanks and other fighting vehicles.
The VHX-1 Eurotas, the original testbed of the later Spartas, took the lead in the design competition because of the superior mobility and significantly reduced scale. In addition, the high velocity ion cannon proved to be a far superior weapon to the current destroid artillery weapons. Not unimportant, it was also both more reliable and easier to maintain. The compartment removed and the pilot exposed.
In 2018, after a protracted testing period, the VHT-1 entered pre-production series and was followed in 2019 by full series production.
The vast majority of procurements of this mecha were by the Army of the Southern Cross, for the Alpha Tactical Armored Corps. Several thousands of VHT-1 were produced before and during the Second Robotech War, but their drivers were somewhat apprehensive about their mecha, for it was a victim of mission creep during the late 2020's. In addition to their designed scout role, the VHT-1 was designated to be part of the fast-reaction forces, and to be among the first mecha to attack alien landings. Skilled handling by the unit commanders (and timely conversions to battloid mode) made the VHT-2 Spartas a moderate success in this tasking in the Second Robotech War. One-on-one, the VHT-1 was superior to the earlier series of Bioroids employed by the Robotech Masters, and at least equal to the later Bioroid designs, including the vaunted 'Bioroid Invid Fighter'. The Second Robotech War saw the Spartas fighting everywhere on Earth, as well as in space.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
The main armament of the VHT-2 was an extremely reliable 105mm smoothbore, which was capable of destroying any known enemy mecha with one round. The only drawback to the design was the limited payload. This was not considered a serious liability given its designed mission. The EU-11 laser rifle likewise proved itself to be a very rugged gun with a heavy punch. The plasma cannon was somewhat out of place on this mecha. As an energy weapon it was merely average in yield and effectiveness. To its credit, it did have an unlimited amount of ammunition available.
The armor on the Hover Tank was a new development in low-mass composite-materials Chobham plating that became the standard for all Terran mecha. Aside from the respectable protection provided against projectiles, missiles, and other kinetic weapons, this armor was also resistant to plasma globes (annihilation discs), lasers, and to a lesser extent, particle guns. This is owing to the fact that the armor could flake off and evaporate in layers under fire from such high-energy weapons, taking much of the weapon's energy and converting it into the latent heat of sublimation in the armor.
The armor stopped all small arms, heavy infantry weapons fire, and light mecha-mounted weaponry, and provided good resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie's 55mm APFSDS round, and poor resistance to heavy mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the VHT's 105mm smoothbore shells.
The main cannon and tri-cannon were mounted in armored housings on arms that have a thicker armor, and are often used to parry incoming fire. Here the armor resistance was better than that of almost any other mecha of its generation.
When equipped with the armored pilot compartment, the VHT provided full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using an overpressure cockpit environment activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The internal consumables supplies could provide atmosphere for eight hours maximum.