Initial draft of the development history behind the AFE Gundog. All info and content is subject to change. Certain parts have been removed from this version in a redacted style to preserve confidentiality of other aspects of the in universe storyline.
WARHOUNDS – THE GUNDOG
After the success of Project Anubis and the creation of the Hound system, scientists of the AFE turned their attention to downscaling the technology of Project Anubis in an attempt to create a smaller version capable of performing infantry support operations without sacrificing the combat efficiency of the Warhound. The end result was the Gundog platform. The Gundog took every lesson learned by the Project Anubis team and came online just 10 years after the Warhound was first deployed <REDACTED>. By 2812 almost every AFE regiment boasted several Gundogs in their ranks and every single combat vessel in the AFE’s navy carried them as standard <REDACTED>.
During development the Gundog project operated under the codename Project: Orthrus, named from the two-headed dog from Greek myth. From the outset Project: Orthrus had a clear goal – create a smaller version of the Warhound that could operate alongside infantry forces while maintaining the tactical flexibility of Project: Anubis. With the majority of the work already done all that remained was to miniaturise the technology. While the Hound towered over even the largest of super-heavy tank such as the <REDACTED>, The AFE scientists working on Project: Orthrus created a frame that stood a mere 5 metres tall. It was still large enough to tower over the infantry units it was being developed to support yet was small enough to make use of most cover.
With the initial frame constructed and operating as expected thanks to the new miniature AI cores from Project: Anubis the team turned their attention to making it as deadly as possible while maintaining the manoeuvrability required. The development team opted to makes use of the same advanced kinetic reactive superlight composite armour developed for the Warhound.
The fusion source found on many of the AFE tanks was added to the frame, the small size of these engines limited the amount of systems that could be mounted, while the Warhounds could mount up to 8 systems the Project: Orthrus frame was limited to just 4. After many tests the optimum loadout was found to comprise of three weapon systems and one support system. Fitting the frame with a shoulder mounted weapon system such as <REDACTED> along with <REDACTED> in addition to a 2 handed rifle type weapon such as the Rail gun or anti-tank cannon. Although the weapons and systems that could be fitted to the Project: Orthrus frame were technologically and functionally identical to those mounted on a Hound, power and size limitations consequently meant these weapons were smaller and less powerful due to the reduced size. In most cases this meant the weapon inflicted less damage or had a decreased range, though warhead delivery systems instead downgraded the quantity of warheads fired per salvo while maintaining the same amount of damage and range as the versions mounted on a Hound. <REDACTED>.
Under testing it was discovered the forth hard point is was ideally suited to enable the frame to mount a support system such as processing unit required to equip the frame with <REDACTED> or <REDACTED> A unique system was also developed for Project: Orthrus, a set of EVA thrusters at the request of the AFE Navy. This system would give the frame the ability to operate in space <REDACTED>.
After the initial development of Project: Orthrus the AFE authorised the production of 40 Gundogs <REDACTED>. Over the three year testing cycle the Gundogs performed above any expectation. They performed vital infantry support but it quickly became apparent that due to them making use of many of the same operational systems as the Hound they also provide the perfect combat training platform for new pilots and AIs. It soon became mandatory for all Hound pilots and AI to initially be placed in Gundogs. This allowed the Pilot and AI to form the vital operational bond while new Hounds were under construction. Additionally it provided a way to ensure the AFE always had pilots ready to step up and take control of a Hound when one become available. However over the course of the testing some pilots and their AI partners opted not to take control of a Hound preferring to remain as Gundog operators even after the AI had evolved to the point to be considered a “Smart AI”.
The smaller size also allowed the initial test run of Gundogs operate in groups of 2 or 3 rather than as solo operators. This remained unchanged even after full scale production was begun. By working in small strike teams it allowed the Project: Orthrus teams to maximise their combat effectiveness by deploying multiple weapon systems across the unit.
However fearing the loss of pilots and AI cores due to the reduced armour on the Gundog frame the decision was made to include a STAR (Surface To Air Recovery) ejection system as standard, this was an option often overlooked by many Warhound pilots who preferred to utilise the centre torso hardpoint for other systems <REDACTED>. While a valuable option on Warhound the STAR system was not considered as vital on a full size Hound due to fact only the heaviest of fire is strong enough to breach the cockpit armour of a Hound. Even in the event of total destruction of a Hound to enemy fire, there was only a small chance the pilot and AI would suffer damage.
The smaller size did present additional challenges. Size limitations meant the range of equipment a Gundog could use was smaller. Items such as Frame Booster units, extended power cells or structural reinforcement systems proved impossible to miniaturise as did some mounted weapon options. This was partly due to the fact that internal space was so limited it was not possible to mount extra powercells to the frame. This meant any weapons mounted on the frame could not exceed the maximum power the internal reactors could support. As such Project: Orthrus units were forced to rely more on kinetic weapon systems such as cannons or explosive warheads over energy based weapons such as the Linear accelerator rifle. Thankfully this did not extend to hand held weapons. These weapons were self-contained requiring no external power source. This meant Linear Accelerator Rifles and the <REDACTED>, a smaller, lighter version of the <REDACTED>, could be carried without drawing power from the internal power supply. In addition, due to miniaturisation of the connection systems found on the Hound, the weapons on the Gundog could be configured to best suit the situation before deployment. By the time full scale production had begun many of the veteran pilots had a preferred configuration and merely changed their hand held weapon depending on the operation.
Project: Orthrus proved to be such a success <REDACTED> that the AFE had no hesitation in ordering full scale production. The Gundog mimicked the very best of the abilities of the WarHound including the ability to operate without a human element, though like the Warhound its combat effectiveness was reduced though this was not unexpected. However this unique ability allowed AFE pilots to exit their Gundogs and perform tasks that would otherwise be impossible for them to carry out inside the large armoured frame. In one situation during the testing period a Gundog team attached to the 17th Heavy infantry <REDACTED>. During the operation the Gundogs under AI control engaged <REDACTED> while their pilots planted high explosive demolition charges <REDACTED>. This action resulted in <REDACTED> zero loss of life <REDACTED>.
10 Tips for Writing Science Fiction
Glad you like it. We're making progress. A few new designs in the works and some interesting mechanics coming out in rules.
A brand new force selection system we've been trying is proving to be a lot of fun and adding a tactical way of building your force compared to picking from a long list like most other games.
We've also started putting the backstory down in literature form. The fate of the ESS Pendragon and it's role in the start of the conflict between the AFE and the OWR is the focus of what we are committing to paper first. a small sample of that story can alreay be found on here.