M61B ARES Self Propelled Gun (SPG): the primary mobile artillery platform of the United Arms Services.
About this creation
I went a little nuts with Photoshop and discovered the 'paint can' tool. I'm sure I'll regret it in future.
Moving right along, this is the first of the turret variants for the M61 series of combat hover vehicles. By being built on a common hull the Ares SPG can keep up with the advancing Cerberus hovertanks and support them with indirect fire. A battery of six Ares are included in every CARA Regiment.
The Ares carries the normal loadout of eight long-range missiles with a full set of reloads. In addition to the full magazine of shells, another full reload is stored in the rear of the vehicle in lieu of an infantry compartment.
Shell types include:
• HE: High explosive. Can be fused to air burst over a target.
• HEAB: High Explosive Air-Burst. Standard HE charge with specialty casing to improve fragmentation and penetration by means of air-burst.
• Smoke: Generates a heavy white smoke cloud in the radius. Smoke can also be generated in different colours to act as markers.
• Thermic smoke: Generates a super-heated metallic smoke cloud that obscures radar and thermal optics. Lasts for about a minute before it cools and dissipates.
• ECM: Electronic Counter Measures. Essentially a shell with a powerful but short- lived energy source able to broadcast radio noise within its radius and interfere with enemy radio and radar use.
• HEAT: High Explosive Anti-Tank. Uses a standard shaped charge to destroy vehicles from top attack. Smart munition able to guide itself towards any target detected during its decent.
• EMP: Electro-Magnetic Pulse. Fires a powerful magnetic charge that burns out electrical systems. Larger vehicles tend to have better EMP shielding and are less susceptible to being overcome.
• DMUAV: Deployable Micro-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Deploys one or several small MUAVs similar to those used by infantry.
• FASCAM: FAmily of SCAtterable Mines. Shell that contains small mines capable of borrowing into the ground and attacking either infantry or vehicles. Can be deactivated to allow friendly forces to pass or detonated when no longer needed.
• SADARM: Sense And Destroy ARMour. Essentially a shell that contains several small HEAT warheads. The shell first navigates towards a cluster of targets, air-bursts and then deploys the smaller warheads that seek individual targets and fire a shaped charge into the top of the target. Excellent fragmentation effects as well.
• Fusion: Uses micronized hot fusion to generate a clean thermal-nuclear explosion and EMP in the blast area.
• Flare rounds are also available and illuminate an area equal to the rounds HE blast radius for 2 minutes while it parachutes to the ground.
Normal loadout is a combination of HE, HEAB, smoke, thermic smoke, FASCAM and/or SADARM.
Unlike the Cerberus turret, the Ares turret is pretty solid. I don't have to worry about someone blinking and watching in horror as the thing falls apart. Like all the turret variants, the same turret basket is used and aligned with the crew hatches. This turret was by far the easiest build of the lot and was a pretty simple design with a rather brutal shape. SPGs tend to be butt-ugly so this got the point across. It's also twice the brick height of the Cerberus giving it a heavier look. The extra long main gun also adds a certain bad-ass-ness-ness to it.
The variant turrets are just for show without the 'play' features of the Cerberus. I'm planning out a brickfilm and the star is the Cerberus with variants like the Ares in supporting roles.
Main gun: BIG! 203mm like the old M110 series. Auto loader of course because nobody wants to lug 200+lb shells around.
Commonality of systems is important. Here you can see the GPS (modified as it's unlikely to be used in the direct-fire role), atmospheric sensor, millimeter-wave radar, etc. Not facing a direct threat, it lacks the ATLIS system of the Cerberus but carries grenade launchers for self-defence and smoke screens. Thermic smoke dischargers are mounted along the sides.
A secondary radar system is FIREFINDERS, a system designed to detect and track incoming counter-battery fire (dish structure on aft left of turret).
Close-up of the recoil system.
Magazine bay doors on the aft turret.
While unlikely to be used in the direct fire role, if it did a 203mm shell would ruin somebody's day.
Oh, great, now your just making us all feel bad. It wasn't enough that you had an incredible tank AND a really detailed interior(not to mention all of the things the tank can carry), you had to go and make VARIANTS! I feel completely inadequate right now, I guess I'll just go back to building DUPLOS. *sigh*