(from the remarks of Sir John Varrone before IN subcommittee)
Good morning, Admiral Kiiusa and other members of the Committee. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to appear to discuss a new development in smuggling activities.
As this Committee is aware, the Scout Service continually develops, collects and evaluates a variety of intelligence from the Spinward Marches area. Intelligence analysis and a recent interdiction have provided insight into a new smuggling tactic.
Private starships are not used as often for direct operations as they once were. Rather, they are now being used more frequently to conduct drops in a transit zone. These drops would appear to be made to a new cutter class that we have tentatively identified as "Moxnel", which then carry the contraband onto the surface for staging and subsequent delivery.
What makes the Moxnel so difficult to detect until now is its appearance. The Moxnel can be modified to look like one of the millions of modular cutters that are plying the intersystem trade. Or, as you will see, can transition into a very hard to detect stealth vehicle.
This new activity appears to be most frequently occurring in the area around the Sword Worlds.
While smuggling via private starship remains consistently high, a potentially more significant threat is posed by the Moxnel.
I have brought a short clip with me that depicts the pursuit and capture of our first Moxnel in which the Patrol Ship was rammed by smugglers in an attempt to evade. Please note that these boats are heavily armored.
This peculiar vessel was detected exiting a Sword World cargo ship by [CONFIDENTIAL] after a Patrol ship had finished conducting a routine inspection.
With the Admiral's permission.
Moxnel Class Cutter [Smuggling]
45-ton Hull (Needle/Wedge) - Streamlined (airframe)
AC: 23 (17 vs. Meson Guns) AR: 8 (TL-13) SI: 31 Initiative: 4
Starship Size: Small Cost: 34.362 MCr (42.952 MCr without discount)
Model/2 Computer Avionics: Less than 600-ton Sensors: Close Range
Communications: Close Range
Cargo: 10 tons
Annual Maintenance = 3.436 KCr (1.718 KCr if routinely maintained)
Routine Maintenance = .859 KCr/Month (8.591 KCr per year)
Acceleration: 6-G Agility: 4
Power Plant: TL-13 Fusion (7 EP output, enough fuel for 1.14 weeks)
Atmospheric Speeds: NOE = 1,175kph Cruising = 3,525kph Maximum = 4,700kph
1x Single Popup Sandcaster Turret TL-13, +3 AC, Ammo: 5 sand canisters
Accommodations & Fittings:
1x Small Cabin 1x Small Craft Couch (1 Crew) 1x Airlock
The Moxnel-class cutter is the smuggling vessel of choice in many parts of the Imperium. Built of the most innovative materials and design methods to balance structural integrity, IR masking, RF transparency, and cosmetic appeal, the typical Moxnel carries 10 tons or more of cargo, the most advance computer and navigation systems, and a small crew. With 6 G acceleration they travel at top speeds beyond those of most cargo cutters.
Built to be masked within a removable outer shell that looks to the casual observer to be a 50 ton modular cutter, the Moxnel can sit in the hull of a 800 ton Mercenary Cruiser, or a 1000 ton cargo ship with little notice. Once the ship has entered the system the Moxnel can slip away undetected, carry off its mission, and return.
Because they are designed with low-observable features and employ sophisticated radar and stealthy tactics, such as operating during peak solar activity, they have become the vehicle of choice for smugglers.
The IN and most local patrols find them to be stealthy, fast, and very difficult to intercept.