The SW8343-A3 "God Send" Space Catapult is a Doomsday weapon developed by the Divine Dragonian Empire in response to a potential for Interstellar Supernova Missile strikes from belligerent nations. While Corsair is the only known nation to have such weapons, the concern of their use was raised at the start of the Corsain Conflict if ever such weapons were stolen by the Corsain Extremist Faction. This prompted the development of a long-range directed laser weapon that could intercept and ultimately destroy the missiles before they could impact any targets in its sphere of influence.
The Space Catapult is a massive energy cannon that uses a revolver-style loading system. The Catapult is capable of loading up to two (2) Laser Batteries onto the chassis. The Space Catapult was originally developed from a scrapped design to develop an orbital platform to house space fighters that was deemed too costly to produce and use efficiently. It was determined that the platform could be retro-fitted to house the Laser Batteries and the entire launch tube for the fighters could be re-designed to act as a laser cannon-type weapon.
After years of concentrated effort, the first iteration of the Space Catapult, the SW8343-A1 was ready for production. The 'A1' as it was called by the operators only had the capacity for one Laser Battery which had to be loaded onto the station via a specially designed cargo freighter made specifically to carry those batteries. The 'A1' also had drastically decreased output due to severe inefficiencies between the relays, the layout of the cannon-tube and most importantly the power plant onboard the space station. Despite those shortcomings, the Space Catapult was able to accurately target and destroy incoming objects as large as asteroids. The original purpose had been fulfilled.
The 'A1' was equipped with sub-standard sensor arrays because of its hasty construction relative to the scope of the project. Up until that point, Dragonia never dealt with large-scale plasma weaponry, much less retrofitting a space station itself into a weapon. Along with the inferior sensor arrays, it's actual armament operated at well below expected levels due to the inefficiencies in its design. This led the Dragonian R&D to look for ways to improve the device substantially to make it more viable in a planetary defense scenario.
Further development and refinement of the weapon occured over the next 2 years with a complete overhaul of the relay system and even restructure of the entire cannon-tube from the original design. It was decided that it would be better to redesign the entire cannon structure and use a prismatic array instead of generating the energy at the base of the tube and then transfering it to the end of the tube along the energy relays where it formed a 'ball' of energy. After aquiring a large amount of Prismatic crystals and then refining them into the appropriate array structures, the entire tube was coated in an ultra-refractive mix of metals, paints and crystals. The barrel was redesigned so that it no longer was a fixed piece, but slid back on massive steam rails akin to an aircraft carrier catapult launch system. The result was that the catapult could now charge a much larger amount of energy into the cannon tube, fire it from the base of the tube where it would refract itself down all of the prismatic arrays and then the cannon would slide back into the structure of the Space Catapult like a massive artillery cannon that would absorb the immense recoil generated from the blast.
The 'A2's standard nuclear fission power plants were removed and replaced with 6 dual-stage plasma turbine power plants (as is used in their battlecruisers and space navy ships) which generated 180 Giga Watts Electrical (GWe) of power. This massive uptick in power generation allowed the Space Catapult to operate continuously for 50+ years at a time. It also allowed the R&D Division in the Dragonian Grand Army to draw up ambitious new plans on how to increase the power of the catapult blasts by infusing the energy from the reactors directly into the plasma battery during weapon firing. It also allowed them to expand the Space Catapult to cover other functional areas such as space navy repair and fabrication. In interest of keeping the operation simple, the R&D Division opted to leave operation to Orbital Bombardment and Space Navy fabrication.
Control of the 'A2' was given to the Dragonian Grand Army Sword Arm under the command of then Grand-General Genesin Sas Halberd in order to simplify operational logistics and to circumvent bureaucratic tendencies with the use of super weapons. The R&D Division responsible up until that point for it's operational research and improvement was folded into the Sword Arm and then rebranded as the DX Division. The Dragonian Experimentation (DX) Division operated in utmost secrecy with the backing of one of the wings of the Grand Army, allowing for enormous R&D funds.
The funds and dedicated support enabled the DX Division to develop, test and create a host of larger, more powerful sensors and imaging devices that were implemented into the Space Catapult to greatly expand the protection sphere and identification grid of the Space Catapult from 85 million kilometers to 3.4 billion kilometers, effectively covering most of the core planets from attack.
The increase in power also allowed the DX Division to develop special Laser Batteries to be recharged after use. While the older models of these particular batteries allowed for approximately 3 charges before being expended, it was a step toward sustained bombardment with the Space Catapult.
The 'A3' "God Send"Edit
The current iteration known as the "God Send" by ground troops and the navy alike came about just after the discovery of alternate locations of Caramine, most of which were kept secret by the Corsain Government. Upon procurement of the crystalized Anti-Matter, the DX Division drafted and created over a span of 2 years a new type of energy reactor that used Nuclear Fusion with Caramine is a partial fuel. The result was a reactor larger than a typical fusion reactor but capable of generating 155 Peta Watts Electric (PWe) per year with just a gram of Caramine. This explosion in power and subsequent downsizing of the reactor space needed fueled a redesign of the reactor compartment which allowed for the expansion of the cannon tube, the body of the Space Catapult and redesign of the Battery Chamber. Being modular in design, the double-revolving Laser Battery Chamber was fabricated in several months and fitted into the catapult, giving it the ability to house 2 rechargeable laser batteries. These new batteries coupled with their much larger capacity allowed for the Space Catapult to fire focused energy beams instead of large balls of plasma. The focused energy beams allowed for the weapon to plow through targets instead of dumping its entire energy payload at once. This enabled the 'A3' to virtually impale planets and other very large bodies.
Using the new Generation V laser batteries, each battery was capable of 5 recharges before becoming spent. This was deemed more than enough for the time being. Genesin, however, had plans to make the Space Catapult more deadly in keeping with the Dragonian Motto of "Freedom and justice through superior might". What resulted from those plans were 8 external cannons mounted to the chassis of the Space Catapult. These cannons allowed commanders on the field to request ultra-long range orbital support from the Space Catapult via vastly smaller but still devastating tactical strikes. The smaller cannons only output a fraction of the power that the main cannon does which make it ideal for tactical defense all the way up to assault scenarios. Due to their incredible flexibility and devastating power, the cannons were given the monicker "Fingers of God" by the troops that requested it's awesome firepower just under the premise alone of them being able to vaporize a tank battallion in one shot.
After the discovery of Space Bending technology, the tech was implemented onto the Space Catapult. It required a refit of the current armaments to house a Space Bending generator on the cannons to allow for a small rip in space-time to be opened up directly in front of the cannon so that the Space Catapult can instantly fire on targets at extreme distances accurately. An action that required a tremendous amount of math to predict where an object would be in space relative to when the energy beam gets there and often times the beam would be intercepted by something in between the two objects.
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