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Chukkar-class Modular Merchant

This design was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2003, and reprinted in the March/April 2016 issue.

The Chukkar is a slow, yet flexible and inexpensive merchant ship. Depending on options, it can be had for as little as MCr37, or as much as MCr48. It takes advantage of the standard 30-ton module for the Modular Cutter (and all of those variants). Because of its versatility, and modular construction, it passes readily from owner to owner, while being used for virtually any purpose from cargo transport, passenger transport, exploration, lab research, anti-piracy (if equipped with fighters!), commando (add a fighter, and some troop modules), or luxury use. The modest engineering plant is designed for low stress, long life operation, with a minimum of maintenance. As an example of how inexpensive the operation might be:

The Chukkar is a dispersed structure ship. The ship has a modest 1-G performance, and a Jump-1 capacity. The crew consists of a Pilot, an Engineer, and, traditionally, a Medic/Steward. The crew/bridge/computer module is a small box at the bow end of the ship’s frame, and the ship’s powerplant, maneuver drive, and jump drive are located in a box at the aft end. The ship’s computer is a Model 1bis. The ship carries internal fuel for a Jump-1 and 28 days of powerplant fuel, and 20-ton fuel modules may be carried to extend the ship’s range. There is a refiner on board, and the cutter may be used to procure fuel in wilderness refuelling, or unrefined fuel may be purchased and used without problems.

The crew area also includes 4 staterooms that may be used for additional crew, or for Middle Passage passengers. The crew area also includes 4 low berths. If passengers double up (the crew is already doubled up), you could add eight additional crew.

There are no weapon hardpoints, but the ship may carry armed craft, such as fighters.

The standard Chukkar comes with a Modular Cutter and three modules, one of which is carried inside the modular cutter. The three modules are normally a 30-ton passenger container and two 30-ton cargo containers. The ship may use any module variant for the Modular Cutter, or may mount 20-ton Demountable Fuel Tank modules (These are not drop tanks), each of which provides the ship with an additional Jump-1 worth of fuel. Commonly selected modules are:

In an emergency, any or all of the modules may be jettisoned. If a passenger module is jettisoned, the occupants must take to the low berths.

You can mix and match these combinations. Keep in mind the following:

Technically, if you add six 20-ton fuel pods, the ship can travel six parsecs (the seventh 20 tons of fuel needs to be used for powerplant operation). It will take six Jump-1, but you’ll get there.

The flexibility of the Chukkar makes it very nearly ideal for use on the frontier, where passengers and cargo may be irregular and highly variable, and for interface lines where cargo and passengers can be transshipped between a major trade hub and nearby worlds just off the main routes.

Some possible combinations:

(total 90 tons cargo, total 1 parsec range)

(120 tons cargo, 1 parsec range)

(total 30 tons cargo, total 4 parsec range)

(total 60 tons cargo, total 3 parsec range)