The Maximus Heavy Main Battle Tank, first fielded in YE 35, was Nepleslia's answer to a growing need for heavy armored support for its power armored infantry. The Maximus was built around the concept of being a battering ram against fixed or stubborn defenses. It is a situational asset deployed on an “as-needed” basis. The Maximus was never intended to be a solution for every problem, though it has so far not shown an visible limitation in its capabilities other than those built into it.
As the concept developed, it started becoming a machine with far greater capabilities than was originally envisioned.
While the concept of a main battle tank is known to Nepleslia, the various military leaders in Nepleslia decided that the best allotment of resources was for a heavy tank to support and facilitate an armored breakthrough. The reasoning behind this decision to make a heavy tank, as opposed to a main battle tank was simple. An MBT combined armor, firepower and mobility. A heavy tank sacrificed mobility for the other two. No matter what Terratech engineers did, no tracked tank would ever match the speed which power armored infantry could attain. Only hover tanks like the Na-K4 could match them for speed but they sacrificed some armor and firepower to attain it. Fighting during The Rok'Veru Offensive convinced Nepleslia's military leaders that when assaulting a planet or defending a position, the precise deployment of heavy tanks, with thick sloping armor and large caliber, direct fire weapons, by assault shuttle into the battle zone to support the infantry was the best strategy to overcome the difficulties inherent in such operations. This strategy is, of course, predicated on total aerial and orbital supremacy.
The K4 hover tank was ill suited to this role as it had a small frame that could not mount a main weapon larger than its 80mm Casebreaker cannon. While it was a useful AFV and capable of many roles, this was one where it was found lacking. K4 losses on SC-4 (Mwigflukbajik) underscored the need for heavier combatant to support the infantry in assault or defense. Cavalry units have already begun devising ways of combining the smaller K4 with the hulking Maximus. When used in unison, the two vehicles present a formidable challenge. Add in power armored Marines for a combined arms operation and the Nepleslian position becomes even more potent.
Design work on the Maximus began in YE 35 and was prioritized by Terratech for production and deployment. Prototype models performed well in testing and the main problem was just deciding on the caliber of the tank's main gun. After some debate, it was decided to go with a 155mm gun.
Then Sky Marshall Westwood weighed in with his opinion that he wanted a “Heavy Tank which I can cruise down the highway in!” This requirement by the highest authority in Nepleslia changed the nature of the tank entirely. The need for speed as well as heavy armor turned the Maximus from a heavy tank into a class of its own. It was re-designated as a “Heavy Main Battle Tank” to reflect the vehicle's new roles. It would still serve as a infantry support platform, deployed to the hottest combat zones, but now with added speed to allow it to participate in short-range offensive actions.
In YE 36, the Maximus was upgraded to a second Mark. The upgrades included the addition of a fusion generator, increased armament, and improved ammunition.
The Maximus has the following key features:
The Maximus has a large, heavy chassis with a pair of wide, heavy tracks on each side. Optional side-skirts can be installed to protect the tracks, though this is rarely done. Its front armor is slightly sloped to deflect incoming kinetic rounds. It mounts a large pentagonal turret. The turret mounts the long 155mm SG cannon, a co-axial Pulse Laser Array, a multi-directional shield projector, smoke dischargers, and reactive armor. The commander's cupola has a remotely controlled 30mm machine gun. Some models replace the 30mm gun with an automatic grenade launcher.
Used By: Nepleslian Space Marine Corps
Type: Heavy Main Battle Tank
Production: Limited Mass Production
Price: 4 million DA
Maximum Capacity: Four
Passenger Capacity: Four tank-riding infantry
Weight: 94 tons
Ground speed: 82 kph on road, 65 off road
Range: 100 km
Lifespan: 12 years
See Damage Rating (Version 2) for an explanation of the damage system.
The interior of the Maximus is comprised of two compartments. The first is the driver's compartment in the front of the hull and a small space behind it, connecting the compartment to the turret. The other compartment is the space in the tank turret, occupied by the commander, loader and gunner. The space is large enough for an ID-SOL to squeeze into the tank if he lowers his seat slightly into the space joining the driver's compartment and the turret.
Despite the proximity, the crew must communicate via personal headsets with microphones secured at the neck for easy access. It is far too loud during maneuvers and combat for the crew to communicate without it. Alternately, kicking the driver's shoulders is another means of direction.
A ready magazine of 16 155mm rounds is stored at the rear of the turret while the rest of the tank's main gun ammunition is stored in a compartment below and to the rear of the turret, behind the driver's compartment. Behind that, the engine is stored in a separate section, at the rear of the hull.
The Maximus was always intended to be a heavily armored monster. As such, it has more armor than any other existing tank design. Its front armor is a V-shaped armored glacis of approximately 275mm. The sloping hull is composed of two top layers of Nerimium and subsequent layers of Meridium allow the deflection of kinetic munitions.
It has 150mm of side hull armor and 75mm of rear armor. The sides mount a layer of Nerimium armor on top of layers of Meridium while the rear armor is just layers of Meridium. Blocks of reactive armor can be mounted on the sides, but this is not always done depending on whether the crew expect to face more kinetic or more energy weapons.
The Maximus' turret is also heavily armored. Its pentagonal turret mounts the 155mm main gun at the apex. On each side of the main gun, the turret has three layers of defensive measures like the rest of the tank. It mounts explosive reactive armor modules atop of a V-shaped cast Nerimium and Meridium front. The sides of the turret are flat but thickly armored with layers of Nerimium and Meridium. The reactive armor and its distinctive V-shape lend the turret a clam-shaped appearance.
The weakest part of the Maximus is the underbelly of the beast. It is armored only by 35mm of Meridium, barely enough to protect the tank from mines and improvised explosive devices.
The tank itself is fully protected against all NBC threats and can work with a recyclable oxygen supply for a week. It is also rated for combat in a complete vacuum.
Armor alone is useless against modern weapons. Beyond the armored shell and added layers of explosive armor, the Maximus' VSP system and PLA act as the first layer to neutralize incoming fire. If and only if these fail do the tank's armor systems come into play.
For the driver's safety against land mines and IEDs, a dynamic safety seat is installed. This removes all contact between the driver and the tank's hull, save for the pedals, which removes the driver from the shockwaves produced by a blast.
Spall liners are placed throughout the vehicle to protect the crew members from flying pieces of metal within the tank. It is recommended that these are checked after every engagement, even if the crew didn't think they had been hit.
Since not all incoming fire is kinetic in nature, the exterior armor of the Maximus is coated in heat and energy absorbing materials to reduce the power of energy beams and blasts. This is standard procedure. After each battle, the coating has to be reapplied to continue to be effective.
The Maximus is the most sophisticated armored vehicle in Nepleslia's inventory and thus requires sophisticated electronics.
First amongst the Maximus' internal systems is the engine. It is a V20 diesel powered engine designed specifically for the Maximus. It has no official designation since it is only mounted on the Maximus. It provides about 2650 horsepower to allow the Maximus to achieve the speeds that were required by Sky Marshall Westwood.
Though it is designed to work with diesel fuel, the engine has been modified by Nepleslian tankers to run on alternative fuel sources including alcohol, vegetable oil and, in one strange case, water. These modifications require great mechanical skill and are often unique to the vehicle, being jury-rigged. While two tanks may use oil driven engines, their modifications may not be the same. Each crewmember must, therefore, be responsible for the maintenance and operation of their vehicle and its parts.
To supplement the engine, a NAM Ultra Compact Fusion Generator was installed in the retrofitted Mk II tanks. This generator could power the engine as well as the VSP shields.
The Maximus' turret is fully electronic and has a traverse speed of 36 degrees per second. If the electronics are out, the turret can still be rotated by hand crank to a maximum of 12 degrees per second. A periscope for the commander is situated next to his cupola with a 360 degree view. In addition, video cameras are positioned around the turret and can be shown on a crewmember's datajockey or on a screen within the turret.
Finally, the Maximus' fire control system is located in the turret for use by the gunner and commander. It is able to identify and track targets up to 5km away. The FCS can be used regardless of the external lighting and can be switched to thermal imaging.
There is no room, internally for much cargo larger than a backpack. However, a lot of equipment can be strapped or lashed to the tank's exterior if the commander has no problem. This negates the tank's infantry carrying capability but that's not always a priority.
Six automatic fire extinguishers are located throughout the tank with another located beneath the main gun for manual use by the crew.
The Maximus features a communications jammer, infrared jammer and smoke dischargers to negate the use of laser rangefinders. It is also protected against all known psychic or psionic attacks.
For its main weapon, the Maximus carries a 155mm SG Cannon. The SG cannon is a direct-fire, high velocity, smoothbore tank gun. Using specially designed 155mm Munitions, the Maximus can fire either a gunpowder round or an electromagnetically propelled round. Its mass driver is located along the top and bottom of the barrel, running its length. The two modes are exclusive, preventing their simultaneous use.
The Maximus has four pulse laser arrays positioned around the tank to intercept incoming munitions as well as kill light infantry. When it is used to supplement the VSP system, the Maximus is very difficult to penetrate with kinetic rounds. However, the PLA is useless against the energy weapons. The first PLA is mounted in a co-axial position to the right of the main gun. A second is mounted in the front of the sloping hull with a forward-facing cone of fire. The remaining two are mounted on each side to protect the weaker flank armor.
After receiving feedback from units familiarizing themselves with the Maximus, a co-axial NAM 30mm Medium Chain Gun was added to the turret, left of the main gun. It carried 325 rounds in a box magazine and could be resupplied from within the turret.
Finally, the commander's cupola houses a small remote controlled unit that houses either a NAM 30mm Medium Chain Gun or an automatic grenade launcher. These are used for close infantry support purposes.