Mass Driver Profile:
Railguns and the like were being used and deployed even before the Unification wars and during WW3. However the technology was mostly lost duing the resulting nuclear war and pandamonium that followed. Before Mass Drivers the Union ships used Rocket Propelled shells launched from cannons and were more like to mini missiles. These were slow and had limited punch due to the space the fuel took up.
Duringt the Shadow War the Union undertook a drastic re armament and Mass Drivers were considered. These became the Mk. 1 versions and could propel a shell 3 times the speed of sound. Far faster than the cannons. They also had more punch and considerable range. These mark 1 Mass drivers were instrumental during these wars.
The Mass Drivers today have come a long way from the Mark 1 versions of that time and have endured a wealth of redesigns and upgrades. They now have nanos for unlimited ammo. Void cooling for continious rate of fire. And upgraded rails to propel the projectile near lightspeed.
Mass Drivers work by using electromagnetism, a shell is fired from the barrel by using energised rails. These rails create an extremely strong magnetic field that follows the projectile up the rails and gives it incredible momentum. The projectile leaves the barrel travelling at thousands of kilometers per second and due to the incredible rate of fire the average rate of fire for a mass driver is around 900 rounds per minute. The turret itself is armoured in Quantum Lattice plate and is able to take heavy fire. It uses a electro magnet swivel mount and gun elevation system for smooth tracking and can rapidly lock on and transverse. They also each have their own targeting AI slaved to the ships AI and a human gunner if he is needed. Though some prefer to always manually target with the aid of the computer.
It is also equipped with nano assembler units which use nano mites to create the different shell types needed these were introduced sometime during the Phantom war and derived from Violar tech. The different shell types take different amounts of time to make. The ultra AP rounds can be made in microseconds however the more complex shell types take time and so reduce overall rate of fire in different modes. These nano machines need large sums of energy from the reactor to self replicate and construct their designated shell meaning there is no need to reload. However when pushed to maximum fire rates the nano assembler units can often need replacing after a battle.
The Mass Driver rails also house void cooling sinks. These pieces of kit work by displacing the enormous heat produced by the electromagnetism in the rails into another dimension. These allow for near continuous rate of fire along with the nano assemblers however like the nanos being pushed too hard can cause the rails to heat up and warp, meaning fresh rails are needed after some battles.
Effectiveness and Use
Mass Drivers are the principle weapon used on Union ships, they are cheap and effective. Mounted in large numbers Mass Drivers can deliver powerful fire power to any foe. Due to their versatile nature they are effective vs shields and hull armour and especially effective against the latter. However different shell types can also be used to increase effectiveness vs a particular area. The fact that modern Mass Drivers fire projectiles at almost the speed of light also leaves little travel time to the target minimising Evasion of the enemy units. Most Mass Driver batteries come in different types. The first type is single cannon armed turrets called 'Light Mass Drivers' these versions are smaller and more compact. They fire smaller shells and are often mostly used on defensive flak duty and mounted on escorts and smaller. The most common form of Mass Driver is the dual turret arrangement, these can be found on light cruisers up to Super Dreadnoughts and provide the mainstay for the Unions Mass Driver armaments. These are kept in armoured doors and are retracted below the hull. This keeps the Union ship looking non threatening and allows for maintenance crews to access the guns and change rails etc. when needed the Mass Drivers quickly rise on their platform using electromagnets and the armoured doors retract. The guns can then engage the enemy or look threatening. Some of the more larger ships like the dreadnoughts and battleships have even triple or quadruple Mass Driver turrets mounting 3 or 4 guns per turret however this is rare and the guns normal mount 2 and work in pairs.
Ultra Armour piecing Shells:
The most common shell used on the Mass Driver turrets and also the simplest. It is merely a Quantum Lattice Dart. Its sole purpose is to penetrate the enemy hull and hit key systems. This has the highest rate of fire, however it is only used against targets which are either heavily armoured or just need critical systems or precision hits used against. This shell however is extremely ineffective vs shield systems. These darts proved incredibly effective Vs Skia ships whose eye needed to be smashed at high speed however it was totally ineffective against Draken ships which healed over the small wound easily. This led to the development of the second ammunition type.
AP High Explosive Rounds:
These are the second most common shell used. They trade the ultra armour piecing abilities of the first shell for a explosive payload. Its rate of fire has only a minor decrease compared to the first however it is designed to penetrate the target and explode within the ship. This variant is also the second most effective with dealing with shields and can deal with hull and shields leading to its near continuous use in combat. These were the shells that won the Draken war and have proved firm favourites for the Union military since.
Flak Cluster Shell:
This shell is designed for one purpose only. To kill Strike craft. Loaded with an extreme amount of shrapnel and bomblets, as well as a simple range detonator this shell is the bane of attack craft. Used almost all the time by light Mass Drivers the Union escorts use this to cover the larger ships from strike craft attack. However it is a firm Union tactic to switch Mass Drivers to 'Defensive Battery Fire' in which the ships Mass Drivers will automatically begin firing Flak Shells around the ship, this creates a huge shield of flak around the Union vessel which is all but impossible to penetrate without shields. However one then has to brave the Laser Projectors and CIWS as well. Alas this shell is useless against anything else.
Saturation Bombardment Shell:
Fitted full of extra explosive this shell is used almost exclusively for bombardment of targets on planets and fixed positions. Though the AP High Ex shell is good for limited ground strikes this shell is used when the complete blanket barrage is needed planetside, and is used to soften the enemy up before orbital drops. However this shell as well is also the most effective against enemy shields. Its high energy created from all the explosives drains the sheild more than any other shell and so these are also used at the beginning of space battles.
+++CLASSIFIED PENDING REVEIW++++
The Following has been put here to show the effect and use of Mass Drivers
(made by youtube clips and stuff this helps show that they do and look like all videos etc. belong to their respective owners)
The Following video at points 1:34,1:43 and 3:39 show Mass Drivers in Defensive flak fire. This is what a flak shield looks like however a Union one would be far heavier.
The following video shows Explosive rounds at 2:55 Being used in mass drivers. This is what the AP High Ex shells would look like. But will obviously more mass drivers being used.
I thank him greatly for the work he has done!
This is the first of the line up for the Weapons of the Union Navy Core. Next is the Meson Laser Projector.