The Kuat Consortium is one of the Web's largest corporations.
If anything represents true Tasnican interests, it's Kuat: a corporation built upon the Tasnican dream. -Khalid Morris, Prime Minister of Guardia
Kuat at a Glance
- Kuat CEO: Damien Gavalian, who is also the single-largest shareholder, owning 23 percent of the corporation.
- Symbol: Infinity sign
- Headquarters: Consortium Tower, Egmont, Tasnica Republic
- Primary Concerns: Armaments, Aerospace, Consumer Goods
- Founded 28 WR as the result of one of the largest mergers in history. Koensayr, Urbangroup, Aratech, and Truppenamt combined to make the KUAT Consortium, later the Kuat Consortium, to meet the challenges of developing the then-new field of space travel.
- Like other AAA corporations, Kuat has resources comparable to a nation state. Kuat is often even treated like a state; Eblan and Guardia treat it as a partner in the Coalition, and there are rumors that it will apply for observer status in the Alliance Congress. All of which seriously frustrates the Tasnican government.
- See also List of Kuat Products.
Primary Business Operations
Perhaps even moreso then anything else, this is Kuat's bread and butter. "Kuat Arms: Recommended by three out of four Great Powers and the Grand Army!" They build almost every kind of weapon, from pistols to rocket launchers to composite bows to tanks. Virtually every military outside of the Communist Protectorate has least one Kuat-designed weapon in its inventory.
Kuat continues to set the standard for small arms, and is one of the largest manufacturers of Needle Weapons in the Web. The N4B Bravo Assault Rifle is a common sight in many of the Web's militaries seeking quality firepower on a budget, while the N4A Alpha Assault Rifle adds more bells and whistles for those who can afford it. Although Saeder-Krupp Industries beat Kuat to the market with a combat shotgun, Kuat has since produced its own. One of Kuat's signature developments in this field is the Gyroscope harness. a large harness worn on the torso with built in gyrscopic motion to cancel out recoil. The harness allows an individual to fire weapons with recoil that would otherwise knock him flat, such as heavy machine guns or miniguns.
Kuat has particular expertise in the design and production of powered combat armor. Considering that Damien Gavalian's old corporation, Truppenamt, was one of the first outside of the Esper Dimension to reproduce Magitek armor, this is entirely appropriate; Kuat is still lead contractor for the GA Regulars. Kuat is responsible for the production and design of virtually every Republic Marine Corps battlesuit (see Tasnican Battlesuits). Since the RMC is almost entirely clad in powered combat armor, this is one of Kuat's most important and lucrative contracts. The Kuat Ursus, a fire support battlesuit, is probably the most widely-sold design. Most countries can't afford giving battlesuits to everyone a la Tasnica, and give an Ursus to a squad or platoon to provide fire support.
Most Kuat vehicles offer a straightforward, reliable basic design, which can be outfitted with additional systems to meet its customers needs. For example, Weasal Personnel Carriers sold to Eblan have an additional, hull-mounted Tiger autocannon for more firepower, whereas the same vehicle purchased by Pandora has additional ablative armor. The Badger Multi-Purpose Utility Vehicle is one of Kuat's most successful offerings in this line, serving as a light truck and workhorse in militaries throughout the Web. this 'general purpose' vehicle is available in over 20 variants, offers four-wheel drive, 16 inches of ground clearance, run-flat tires, adequate protection against small arms fire, and a weapons mount (usually a machine gun, but sometimes a rocket launcher.) In an era when mecha are the hot new thing, Kuat tends to market its Steel Lynx tanks to more price-conscious consumers, promising "the most bang for your buck" and a "reliable, proven design." Kuat's MAD Cat air-defense design made quite a splash in the Imperialist War; Kuat pioneered heat-seeking technology in missile tracking, and still retains a lead in that area.
Speaking of mecha, though Kuat's mecha lines (see: Kuat Walkers) have proven technically strong, the market reaction has been somewhat mixed. Most customers with the pockets to buy mecha prefer to develop them themselves. The market is also highly crowded; Diamond]'s Seraphim had already set the high-mark for quality, and Saeder-Krupp was trying to enter the market at around the same time. Kuat's Mongoose Scout Mecha is probably the most popular design, given the demand for relatively cheap, highly mobile units in certain threat environments. The Erinyes, marketed as a "Dracoform killer", features a unique ground effect skirt in its 'feet', allowing it to function like a high-speed hovercraft to get into melee range quickly where it can use its Vibrosword. It has some distinction as the chosen machine of Tor Stonecliff. Eblan is currently the largest purchaser of Kuat's mecha, relying mostly on the main-line Enforcer model, though it has been rumored that the Republic Marine Corps will be adding additional mecha regiments soon.
In addition to its in-house designs, Kuat often mass-produces weapons developed by its costumers. The Grand Army, for example, develops almost all of its own weapons from Gyrocs to Leo tanks, but relies on industry partners like Kuat to actually build them. Usually this sort of contract includes a clause protecting the customer's technology from being duplicated without authorization.
Kuat has recently made moves into the production of military naval craft; however, it remains well behind Saeder-Krupp in this category.
The largest volume of Kuat Arms sales come from military sales and government contracts, but Kuat also sells weapons to private citizens (where the law allows, and sometimes, where it doesn't.) Kuat's chain of Weapons World stores offer a vast variety of small arms; they claim to have the "largest commercially available selection of weapons in the Web." Kuat also, unofficially, maintains a network of shady dealers to get its weapons into less legal customers.
Since Kuat is still subject to Tasnican law, it is prohibited from selling its weapons to any country deemed threatening to the Tasnica Republic by the Ministry of Defense. This list includes the nations of the Communist Protectorate, the Dwarven Skull Empire, and the Viper District. (Kenny Brackhaven's policy of detente notwithstanding, pretty much everyone agrees the one thing the Scandian League has plenty of is weapons.)
The joke has it that competition in the arms industry is 'lethal'. Many countries have their own 'in-house' armaments corporations, but there are many fewer corporations that compete with Kuat on an interdimensional scale. Saeder-Krupp Industries remains Kuat's biggest rival, competing in most of the same areas as Kuat (except battlesuits.) Diamond is certainly a tough competitor in the mecha field. MerthCorp has a lead over Kuat in certain areas, such as energy shielding. Finally, Atreus used to have Kuat's position as "top arms dealer", and although they are nowhere near what they used to be, they still a large manufacturing base and are showing revitalized energy under Troy Sordana.
As the Consortium's original raison d'etre was to build spacecraft, it is not surprising that this is also an important field for Kuat. Kuat got its start by designing and building the first-generation of SAGA capital ships and fighter craft. Today, Kuat continues to provide SAGA with most of of its ships and fighter craft, is a main contractor for Tasnica's Republic Aerospace Fleets, and offer a line of warships to "interested parties".
Kuat has considerable assets in space. The 'jewels of the crown' are the Kuat Drive Yards in Mana Orbit and the new KDY-Two in the Crystal Dimension asteroid belt. The two facilities provide the core of Kuat's capital ship manufacturing capacity. Kuat has several colonies on the moons of Mana V and Crystal V; it also a strong presence on Mana II's Asimov colony. Kuat has numerous space habitats, including asteroid mining stations (especially in Mana and Crystal), solar power stations, research facilities, and other installations. Kuat is an expert in Deep-space Mining.
Kuat also offers a wide range of aircraft for civilian use. It has three main freighter designs (the Speedy Light freighter, Strongback heavy freighter, and the Merchantman modular freighter), and an increasing number of yachts and racers targeted at the Web's elite.
Although "aerospace" is the popular parlance in the Web these days, the design and construction of atmospheric craft is quite different from spacecraft. Kuat's Quickdraw fighter, like many of its combat vehicles, as a solid offering that can be outfitted to its customers needs. The Pelican, a four-engined maritime patrol turboprop, is seeing increased orders both for countering drug trafficking and the threat posed by SLCM-Sea's submarine force. The Banshee Vectored Thrust Attack craft builds on knowledge Kuat gained from working on GA Spitfires, and it has s similar role for close ground support. The Banshee is faster then a Spitfire, but much less durable. Banshees are used by the Republic Marine Corps, and Kuat trying to sell them to Guardia (pointing out that this would be a good way to take advantage of Scande's weak air force, and the Banshee's VTOL capabilities make it ideal for operations in the Merge Dimension.)
Competition in Aerospace in much tighter; building aircraft and especially spacecraft is highly expensive and specialized. The Kuat Consortium, Aerospace Esper, and Guardian AeroSpace are generally considered the "Big Three" of aerospace companies. Competition in the atmospheric sector is particularly cut-throat, as a major GA Luftwaffe contract for the LF-8, next-generation fighter, is up. Saeder-Krupp's aggressive moves to break into this arena make them a player, albeit a second-tier one.
Kuat Consumer Goods
Kuat's consumer goods interests are so huge, broad, and diverse that they defy listing here. Likewise, Kuat has lots of competitors, here, but the consumer goods market in the Web is also so huge, broad, and diverse that there's room for anyone.
Gavalian tends to view this division mainly as a moneymaker, and attracts his interest much less then the Arms and Aerospace divisions.
Secondary Business Operations
Like many AAA corporations, Kuat has its fingers in lots of different pies.
Kuat is one of many players in the automative industry, competing with the Esperian Motor Works, Guardian JetBike Corporation, various Saeder-Krupp subsidies, and others. Kuat has several well-recognized brands, included the Valkyrie sports car, the Eclipse luxury sedan, and the Badger Utility Vehicle (a 'civilianized' version of the popular military utility vehicle.) All Kuat-produced cars use Magitek-based fuels.
Kuat is a relatively small player in the media field compared to giants like Tuna Media and Bahamaut WEB. It has a smattering of video games development studios, but most of its media is focused on news outlets. These include the Egmont Globe and Egmont Herald, as well as several other smaller papers around Tasnica. Kuat also owns the Tasnican Broadcasting System (TBS), an exciting channel featuring flashy corporate propaganda.
Not surprisingly, many of the leading trade journals on defense and aerospace are published by Kuat.
Kuat Arms Experts
Kuat's Arms Experts are, well, experts in all of Kuat's available armaments. Officially, they serve several roles. They provide security at all Kuat offices and installations. They also serve as sales representatives, as a source of knowledge at a local Weapons World or when dealing with military officials. Arms Experts are also used as consultants, particularly as part of an arms contract, ie, 'we sold you these weapons, we'll send this guy along to hang out with you for a while and make sure it all works fine.'
Unofficially, Arms Experts are also a black ops organization, engaged in stealing secrets from other corporations. And there's quite a lot of them, forming a veritable army; it is estimated Kuat has about four or five regiments' worth, though they rarely deploy en masse. A large contingent formed a contribution to TO Halberg's Returners Expeditionary Force, and currently at least a regiment is deployed as part of the Coalition's operations in Merge. Arms Experts are equipped with the most advanced Kuat technology available, much of which is not yet on the market.
Kuat also has its own spacefleet. Initially some fighters and cruisers intended to protect against pirates, Kuat recently launched a much larger capital ship, the Dominance. Kuat also retains some of its watercraft built for the Coalition Allied Navy.
Ranking system in the Arms Experts is highly informal; most are L-0, "Level Zero", and the commander of a five-man squad is an L-1. An L-2 leads a platoon-sized squad of 25 people. An L-3 tends to lead several platoons, a 'company'; usually the chief security officer of a Kuat installation is "L-3". After the defense of Egmont and extended operations as part of the Coalition, Kuat has begun to mint L-6 Arms Experts to serve as Regimental commanders.
The Arms Experts (like almost everyone else) recruit aggressively for magic users. Despite generous pay, they remain well behind Saeder-Krupp in mystical know-how. Magically-inclined Arms Experts also get a bonus of they take a "magic-y" name (like the Amazing Rando.)
One of the Populist party's and Kenny Brackhaven's most celebrated causes is the disarmament of these corporate armies. Kuat maintains that it is their Code of Belgememnon-given right to have weapons, and, further, in a highly dangerous Web, Kuat has the right to protect itself. The role of the Arms Experts in defending Egmont, as well as the Leviathan War and Moogle Wars, gives them prestige and luster.
Kuat in the Shadows
Despite the Populist administration's attempt to crackdown on such activity, shadow operations between Tasnica's various corporations continue. Part of the role of the Arms Experts is protecting Kuat against such operations, and part of their role is running them against other corps. Kuat has also employed freelancers in its "Resources Adjustment Division" from time to time, though the 'outside expert' doesn't usually know he's working for Kuat, he's hired by an anonymous "Mr. Johnson." (Many corporations use "Mr. Johnson" for this purpose.) Most of the time, the goal of such an operation is corporate espionage, steal the-other-guy's-secret-prototype stuff. Sometimes operations are conducted for the sole purpose of doing damage to manipulate stock value, in preparation for a possible take over bid. And sometimes, the corporations just do it because they don't like each other very much (a common reason for scuffles between Kuat and Saeder-Krupp. Albrook has increasingly become a hotbed for this kind of activity. The mix of many corporate branch offices, many with high-tech prototypes to demonstrate to the GA, and haplessly overworked local law enforcement mean that the corporations have lots of targets, and little to fear--except from other corporations.