Model 320 Series 12 Aerial Scout – “Kite”
The aerial series of hunter killers was a tremendous tactical success, mainly due to the fact that the Resistance had no air power and their anti-air capacity was both limited and rarely used. SKYNET, true to its name, owned the air and space. In the early stages of the war, the large turbofan powered aerials were deemed adequate for their role in close air support and threat suppression. Combined arms doctrine insured that the ground mobile units were supported by aerials capable of both spotting targets as well as directing fire against targets of opportunity.
As the war progressed the Resistance became more organized and better equipped. SKYNET began to notice an alarming rate of combat losses to the aerial units and it searched for a solution. Again, combined arms doctrine was the answer. As the aerials provided overwatch for the ground roaming hunter killers, so in turn was something needed to provide overwatch for the aerial units. SKYNET began to expand its arsenal with a variety of specialized ground and air units, the first of which was the Model 320 Series 12 recon aerial, a small kite winged, ducted fan powered machine that was lighter, smaller, quicker and more agile than the larger aerial unit. The Model 320 was deployed either singly, in pairs, or in groups of three.
The Model 320 had a width of 4 meters, a height of a meter and a half, and a length of just over 6 meters. Most of the construction was from blown hyperalloy with a carefully controlled honeycomb structure giving it both support strength and light weight. The diamond shaped wing that gave it the distinctive shape was used to house the opposed ducted fan lift arrays and was itself bisected down the middle by the main fuselage.
The main fuselage itself housed the navionics and the system controls as well as the tactical sensor and scanner arrays. The body was waspish and tapered, rounded at the edges with a pair of small tail fins on the rear for flight stability. The wing tips tapered off at the edges and curled up slightly at the ends. Special anti-turbulence intakes surround the ducted fans, providing for smooth lift and performance envelope maintenance despite buffeting and high speed NOE operations. The individual fans rotated on their frictionless gimbals through four axis of traverse. Two small nuclear power sources, housed in component armored housings, provide power to the lift fans as well as to the various systems of the Model 320. Operational time was limited to 120 hours with a sizeable reserve and the 320 could recharge from any automated servicing center in about an hour at normal rate or it could have its modular power sources removed and replaced with fresh units in under ten minutes in an emergency situation. The docking cradle for the Model 320 was also modular and three such cradles could be installed in a storage / maintenance bay that normally housed a single aerial.
Primary sensors are mounted in the front of the fuselage and also along the lower body, allowing the Series 12 HK a superior look forward and down range of data acquisition. Early models featured the PRH-34D electronics but later models were upgraded to the much more powerful PRJ-34C electronics suite which included high resolution infra-red, thermal imaging, and televisual.
The tactical processor arrays of the Model 320 could track up to a hundred and fifty targets and were linked to SKYNET through Band Ten modulation and data pulsers.
Armor for the Model 320 was light, just nine millimeters of force hardened hyperalloy with a plastisteel wrap beneath. A single, General Dynamics RGM-34P rapid pulse phased plasma repeater was mounted on a gimbaled mount underneath the fuselage. Power was provided from reactor waste heat and practical rate of fire was greater than 300 pulses per minute. A pair of high intensity white spots were mounted beneath the forward lip of the fuselage, and another pair of HIWS was mounted on the RGM-34P mount itself. Dedicated high resolution target scan as well as thermal imaging was provided. A single high intensity active infra-red spot light was mounted in the forward assembly.
The Model 320 massed 1800 kilograms and had a top speed in excess of 200 klicks an hour. Four hundred units made up the initial production run in 2018 but after that, production was held steady at 750 units per year. SKYNET continued to upgrade the Model 320 up until the very end of the war.