SATV-26S "Athena" Cannon Target Designator Vehicle
The Athena Cannon, calling down the wrath of heaven
Faction AlliedLogoThumb Allied Nations
Unit Type Truck
Designation Tactical Artillery
Tier 3
Production Building Armour Facility
Secondary Ability Aegis Shield
Absorbs enemy fire
Cost $2000
Production Time 0:20
Heroic Upgrade Kinetic Kill Vehicle
• Adds Area of Effect 120
Dev. Status Original RA3 Unit
Country of Origin  Swedenthumb Sweden
Produced by  Angstrom Defense, Stockholm
Key Features  » "Tripod" Spectrum Designator
 » Communications Array
 » GPS System with female voice
 » "Doorways 65" Computer Processor Unit
 » Bendy midsection for ease of turning

"Athena Cannon online, what is the nature of your emergency?"

- Athena Driver contacting friendlies.

Tactical AnalysisEdit

  • A Light in the Sky: Athenas serve as the Allies' artillery unit; with a spectrum targeting system , the Athena can call down a blinding beam of concentrated solar energy from an orbiting satellite that can destroy buildings and vehicles alike.
  • Shield of Heaven: In a pinch, Athenas can redirect a satellite to fire on itself; a dish shaped collector on top of the vehicle absorbs the solar energy, using it to power a powerful energy shield bubble that is impervious to damage.
  • Pinpoint Precision: The Athena, however, cannot cause the same level of destruction as other, less precise artillery pieces. Apart from that, its armour is exceedingly thin and of little use against retaliatory fire.
  • Rods From God: The Allies have recently deployed several orbital kinetic satellites. Loaded with tungsten rods, these satellites launch the rods upon receiving target coordinates. The impact of the tungsten rods is so powerful that it can smash anything within a sizeable radius.

WWIII Operational History Edit

The exceedingly ambitious and costly effort that is the Athena Solar Power Satellite Network (Athena SatNet for short) started off as a seemingly far fetched proposal for a clean energy generation system. The idea: to put a satellite in space, use it to collect solar energy from the sun, and beam it back to the Earth.

The concept would have had several advantages--unlike with ground based solar power, a space based solar power system would have unobstructed access to the sun at all times, and could receive a greater intensity of solar radiation, since, unlike ground based solar power systems, that radiation would not be filtered out by an atmosphere. A network of such satellites, it was theorised, could provide a cheap, renewable, virtually inexhaustible supply of energy.

There were a number of kinks in the proposal, of course; to construct such a network would be an enormous undertaking, and the cost of the project would doubtless be astronomical. Various technical obstacles also stood in the project's way. Despite this, those who supported the project were able to get the Allies to accede to the launch of a test satellite, against heavy opposition.

The test satellite, dubbed Athena 1, was composed of three main components; several large photovoltaic panels, to collect the solar energy, a flywheel storage mechanism, to store the collected energy, and a spectrum "gun", to transmit the energy back to the surface.

In March 1961, Athena 1 finally went online. Once the satellite had collected enough energy, the spectrum gun went online, and fired a beam of solar energy towards a photovoltaic power plant. To the surprise of all the onlookers, the resultant beam of energy proved so intense that it melted the photovoltaic panels. The spectrum gun was too powerful.

The test ended in disaster, but in a strange twist of events, it would prove to be the project's salvation. The Allied Forces, upon hearing what Athena 1 could do to a photovoltaic power plant, realised that it could do the same to a fortified military building or an armoured tank. At the same time, with the increasing fear of the possibility of the Soviets bombarding Allied cities from orbit, the Allies sought an equally spectacular weapon of their own, and the Athena project, surprisingly enough, seemed like what they had been looking for.

Before long, the Athena project was transferred to the Peacekeepers. The initial scientists working on the project were moved to Sweden to work with the defence contractor Angstrom Defense, and given a large budget for them to continue improving the technologies in the project.

File:Athena Shield Barrier.PNG
Though the Allied Nations officially stated that the Athena Solar Power Satellite Network would still have the purpose of power generation, and while work continued on improving the solar energy collection plants to prevent a repeat of Athena 1, the main focus was now clearly on the military aspect of the project; just around this time, tensions with the Soviet Union were rising, and the Allied Nations were looking for every weapon that was available. Research was poured into improving the spectrum gun's power output, and work was begun on a mobile ground based targeting platform that would allow for precise targeting of the satellite's solar beam.

This platform would become the SATV-26S Athena Cannon Target Designator Vehicle, a name that would quickly be shortened to Athena Cannon. The launching of three hundred Athena satellites would be greenlighted in December 1964, shortly before the Third World War broke out.

With the outbreak of hostilities, the Allied Nations pushed even harder for the Athena project to be completed. Satellites were launched at a breakneck pace, and eventually the first of many Athena Cannons rolled off the production lines, though not in time for the fall of Sweden. The Athena would make its combat debut in 1966, destroying a Soviet outpost in North Africa. Before long, other Soviet bases around the globe began to fall to the scorching heat of the Athena satellites' beams, though the civilian power generation aspect had to be put on hold, due to the war taking priority.

It was only after the war ended that the Athena SatNet could finally be put to its intended purpose, with the first of several dozen planned collection plants coming online in March 1969, in the city of Geneva. With satellite launches set to continue at a steady pace, the Allied Nations hope to have a full half of the network generating power by March 1970, though with the recent growing tensions across the globe, whether they will reach that goal remains to be seen.

The operation of an Athena Cannon is a complex process, requiring the aid of a computer and extensive training to operate the system properly. First, the Athena Cannon operator designates the target. Then, a computer (weighing a mere 500 kg) inside the vehicle must plot firing solutions for the target, before transmitting the coded firing orders to the satellites in orbit. The system works well in spite of the technical hurdles, with most operators being able to relay the firing orders to the satellites in orbit and receive a response in less than a minute.

As well using the solar beam to vaporise targets, the Athena Cannon can also order the satellite to fire at the disk shaped collector mounted on top. The disk collector opens up to absorb the concentrated solar energy. This energy is used to power the "Aegis" shield generator, a energy shield system that is impervious to enemy fire. The shield melts all incoming particles, but movement is unaffected. The Athena Cannon cannot move or shoot whilst the shield is active, and the shield shrinks over time and disappears when it's power runs out. This process is sped up by enemy fire.

Post-War Operational History Edit

Research into other possible weapon systems for the Athena SatNet has culminated in Project Thor, a program that offers an alternative to the solar beam armed Athena Cannon Satellites in the form of orbital 'garages' armed with multiple tungsten 'kinetic kill vehicles'. Rather than relying on solar energy to inflict damage on the target, the kinetic kill vehicles instead utilise kinetic energy to deliver tremendous destruction on impact; each orbital 'garage' carries a payload of dozens of such kinetic projectiles.

The primary advantage of the kinetic kill vehicles over the solar beam cannons is the sheer destructive power they afford. Each kinetic kill vehicle is a 1.5 metre long tungsten rod, coated so as to prevent the rod from burning up in reentry. Launched from orbit with the aid of a small solid rocket motor, the rods are pulled towards the surface of the earth by gravity, building up staggering velocity -- and thus, kinetic energy -- in the process.

After falling for 600 kilometres, the projectile has gained tremendous kinetic energy, inflicting a staggering amount of destruction on impact. However, in order to plot firing solutions for the tungsten rods, an even more complex and expensive targeting system is required, for even a small error could result in untold collateral damage. Additionally, as the project is still in the trial stage, there are only a small number of such 'garages' in orbit, limiting their use to only a select number of test vehicles equipped with the correct firing codes.

In this brief period of peace, additional Athena satellites have been sent into orbit at Allied launch sites at Cape Canaveral and French Guyana. Now a satellite is more likely to be above the spot needed to be bombarded, reducing lock-on time, as well as greater flexibility in moving with ion thrusters, allowing them to strike at a target further from the target designator vehicle itself. This greater range has convinced the Allied Nations to move the targeting equipment onto identical looking, but lighter and slower trucks to save resources.

Unfortunately, a cunning Soviet commander used the dreaded Magnetic Satellite to capture an Athena satellite being launched and dropped it deep in the Soviet Union. Study of the crashed satellite has led to the development of a shield to protect against solar beams. Too small to protect structures and too heavy to shield vehicles, it is now being used to protect small defences, as well as providing shade to grateful conscripts. The shield is easily replicated, and the Soviets haven't kept it a state secret, meaning it can be made by almost anyone in the world.

Behind the Scenes Edit

The Athena's chassis is probably based on the Swedish Bandvagn 206.

Just the StatsEdit

Athena Cannon

Tactical Artillery
Cost 2000
Build Time 0:20
Health 100
Speed 35
Armour Type Light Armour
Solar Cannon
Lingers(2s), Intimidating, Splash (80), Lock-On(6s)
Range 400/800
RPS 1/4
Damage 100
Suppression 50
DPS 25
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