General Purpose Hoverjeep
This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Freelance Traveller.
|General Purpose Hoverjeep (Lt Hover, 5 sp)
|All Facings (Left, Right, Front, Back, Top, Bottom)
The General Purpose Hoverjeep is an old design that has served well on many frontier worlds. It wins no awards in the looks department but is just about the simplest utility hover vehicle on the market. It’s considerably cheaper than the Bridgeport-Swift Songbird1 and is much lighter. It is, however, not quite as fast and doesn’t have the same range. Mass produced as cheaply as possible, it may have no bells and whistles but is robust, mechanically sound, and simple to operate and maintain. One driver and one passenger can sit in some limited comfort – these aren’t built with luxury in mind – with a small amount of cargo space behind. Two more passengers can just squeeze in behind but at the expense of nearly all the cargo space. Very limited amounts of equipment can be attached to the sides, rear and engine cover. The windshield can be rotated forwards to lie flat on the engine cover if required.
Popular amongst the homesteading community as an all-purpose vehicle that suits the rough terrain many have to work on and around, the hoverjeep has also been used in a wide variety of roles from small survey teams to mail delivery, from search and rescue to light ambulance duties. In less civilized areas, weapons can be mounted – typically on a central pintle between driver and front seat passenger and operated from the rear seat. Of course, its ability to cross open stretches of water make it even more useful in a variety of environments and some worlds see them in use as river or canal taxis.
The open nature of the hoverjeep means that it can only generally be used on worlds with breathable atmospheres and relatively hospitable weather, although an additional purchase can include a frame and soft cover to enclose the vehicle from the windshield backwards. Many models also include a small winch either mounted at the front of the engine housing or the rear.
Some worlds have ‘stretch’ versions of the vehicle used in applications such as urban public transport.
1 Although the 2300AD volume (p.175) gives the price of the Songbird as Lv26,500, this seems to be impossible under the design rules. (A light hovercraft is 20,000 per space, so 120,000 for the six spaces. Less 25% for having an open passenger and an open cargo area = 90,000. Plus TL8 Commo at 2,000 and Basic Navigation at 2,000. Total: 94,000.)