Autonomous Attack Vehicles

From Growing Horizons

Autonomous Attack Vehicles fall in one of two classes that operate mostly independently from their mother craft after being released.

Missiles

The Missile, or sometimes called a Torpedo, is a high acceleration single use vehicle that consists mainly of a high powered thruster capable of several ten $\frac{m}{s²}$ of acceleration, a propellant tanks, a guidance package with sensors, and a warhead. Due to their nature, they do not need any radiator systems and can target and engage their targets autonomously from their mother craft, though they can receive new orders to correct their trajectories. Usually, a swarm of missiles communicate among each other through an ad hoc mesh network to coordinate their targeting. This also allows missiles with blinded sensors to still find their targets.

Commonly used warheads are either Cabasa Nuclear Plasma Warheads, with or without integrated X-Ray laser capability, conventional kinetic warheads or scattershot kinetic warheads. The latter scatter numerous submunitions over a larger area of the target, potentially increasing the damage to the armor compared to a single kinetic energy strike. In some cases, scattershot submunitions can be used to deliver EW Smart Dust to the target.

Missile Class Diameter (m) Length (m)
Class 1 0.4 5
Class 2 0.8 7
Class 3 1.2 10
Class 4 1.5 12

Drones

Compared to Missiles Drones are usually larger and equipped with individual weapons systems, like lasers or kinetic energy weapons. Some might be armed with Class 1 missiles. They are also equipped with combat ALIs as a guidance package and more sophisticated sensory systems. While with a generally lower maximum acceleration, Drones are still usually the first active combatants in kinetic or laser range of an opponent and can heavily damage a spacecraft.

While they are expected to be lost during an engagement, surviving drones can be recovered, rearmed and refueled, before they are returned into their magazines.

Drone Class Diameter (m) Length (m)
Class 1 0.8 7
Class 2 1.2 10
Class 3 2.5 16
Class 4 3.5 21