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Approved Tech Maelstrom Plasma Torpedo Launcher

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OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
PRODUCTION INFORMATION

  • Manufacturer: Lucerne Labs

  • Affiliation: Directorate, Silver Jedi, Galactic Alliance, Closed-Market

  • Model: Maelstrom Plasma Torpedo Launcher

  • Modularity: Plasma Gas

  • Production: Mass-Produced.

  • Material: Alusteel casing,[SIZE=9pt] [/SIZE]plasma rotor, typical energy torpedo launcher components, servomotors, various electronics
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Classification: Variable Energy Torpedo Launcher

  • Size: Large

  • Weight: Heavy

  • Ammunition Type: Gas / Energy

  • Ammunition Capacity: Effectively unlimited

  • Reload Speed: Slow (changing gas types)

  • Effective Range:Battlefield (Standard Mode) Average (rapid fire mode)

  • Rate of Fire: Very Low (Standard Mode), High (rapid fire mode)

  • Stopping Power: High (Standard Mode), Very Low (rapid fire mode)

  • Recoil: High (Standard Mode), Average (rapid fire mode)
SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Counts as the equivalent of a single energy torpedo/warhead launcher for ship-building purposes

  • Equivalent to a standard energy torpedo in terms of basic damage over time

  • Variable damage effects: Thermal, Shieldbuster, Electromagnetic, Explosive, Corrosive, Biohazard (described below)

  • Turreted

  • Variable fire modes

Strengths:
Variable Damage Type: Like the Firestorm Plasma Turbolaser, the Maelstrom can use a variety of gases and other matters to form different kinds of plasma that acts as its base ammunition, which grants its torpedoes different effects. Each Maelstrom launcher can only be plugged into two types of ammunition gas at a time.

Battlefield Range: Like canon energy torpedoes, the Torrent has an exceptionally long range because of a high speed that allows it quickly cross the battlefield and hit targets.

Variable Charge Time: Like previous iterations of the plasma energy torpedo (here and here), the Maelstrom has rapid-fire rate mode, allowing it fire more rapidly than standard light energy torpedoes at the cost of reduced range and damage. In this mode, it is largely the tactical equivalent of a rapid-fire light turbolaser.

Weaknesses:
Slow Switch: Maelstroms take some time to purge the previous gas being used in the plasma rotor, leading to a noticeable delay in firing before the launcher can fire a new type of torpedo.

Unguided: Like canon energy torpedoes, Maelstrom Plasma Torpedoes have no guidance system, which often makes it less effective at hitting small and/or fast ships at long ranges.

Poor Rapid Fire performance: The Maelstrom achieves higher rates of fire by generating and releasing smaller amounts of fusion plasma than standard light energy torpedo launchers. Consequently, the more rapid the fire, the less range and damage the torpedoes inflict. This gives each Maelstrom the rough damage output of a single turbolaser with about twice the power draw, making it more of a weapon of opportunity or necessity rather than a mainstay of close-range fighting.

DESCRIPTION

Consolidating research and experience from the Firestorm Plasma Turbolaser and the Torrent Plasma Energy Torpedo, Lucerne Labs sought to combine the damage variablity of the Plasma Turbolaser with the range of the energy torpedo into a new weapon. The result of that program was the Maelstrom Plasma Energy Torpedo. While at a glance it seems like a typical energy torpedo, and can even be perfectly indistinguishable from its ancestor weapon in some instances, the Maelstrom is a much more versatile weapon.

The core weapon system is composed of two chief components: a plasma energy torpedo launcher and a plasma rotor. This turreted torpedo launcher itself is fairly conventional, consisting a plasma containment field projector and bottling apparatus. After the field is formed, plasma is channeled into field per the gunner's instructions before a section of the field is collapsed, causing the plasma to form a jet which propels the rest of the superheated plasma towards it target. Like canon light energy torpedo launchers, this takes approximately 30 seconds, a relatively long time compared to turbolaser weapons. However, whereas most energy torpedoes rely on only a single type of plasma and/or energy source to function, the Maelstrom uses a plasma rotor derived from the Firestorm Plasma Torpedo Launcher to form its plasma. This means that the rotor can be fed a variety of gases which can be ionized to produce different effects. While most energy torpedoes and gases available [SIZE=9pt]inflict most of their damage through heat, but there are a wide variety of additional effects that plasma can create on a target, as illustrated by the plasma disruptor's ionization effect or the plasma thrower's explosiveness. [/SIZE]Lucerne Lab engineers believe that these effects are the result of the different internal structures of the plasma (and consequently the gas used to create the plasma). While it is nearly impossible to classify the effect of each individual gas that could be used as an ammunition, gases can roughly be categorized by secondary effect:

Pure thermal: Or no secondary effect. The molecules in these plasmas are highly excited, either kinetically or thermally, which causes them to quickly release heat upon impact, making it useful for quickly burning through armor plating. This is probably the most common reaction of gases used as the Maelstrom's ammunition. In practical effect, it is indistinguishable from a normal energy torpedo.

Shieldbuster: The gases that form this basis are identical to that of the T-33 Plasma torpedo or the Maelstrom's immediate predecessor, the Torrent-class Plasma Energy Torpedo. While unusually effectively against shields because of their tuned radiation each warhead produces, they are also significantly less effective against physically damaging to a target compared to most conventional weapons.

Corrosive: The molecules in these plasmas are excited, though not initially as much as in the pure thermal variants. They tend to release energy at a slower rate, slowly corroding through the target in the same manner as the plasma used by the Incinerator-class plasma railgun.

Explosive: These torpedoes explode on impact because of their volatile molecular make-up, imparting almost equal amounts of kinetic and thermal damage. Many gunners compare such plasmas to the plasma bolts used by plasma throwers.

Electromagnetic: These plasmas cause electrical disturbances on their targets, much like the small plasma disruptor, the massive M-68 magnapulse cannon, or the Tenjin Ion Torpedo. These are typically used in a manner similar to ion cannons or ion torpedoes in order to shatter shields or disable electronics.

Biohazard: These plasmas are exceptionally unstable at the molecular level. They produce large amounts of Bremsstrahlung radiation on impact, which can cause radiation sickness or even death of organics or the destruction of organic-based technology.

The basic thermal damage dealt by the Maelstrom is affected by both standard ray shields, which usually can absorb heat from the plasma, and by particle shields, which protect against the actual physical plasma itself. Against unshielded targets, the plasma's effects tends to vary by range because of how the magnetic field around the plasma degrades as it travels. However, in general, the overall damage produced by a Maelstrom is equivalent to a typical energy torpedo. However, the weapon can be fired more quickly by using smaller amount of plasma contained in a smaller magnetic bottle. This lower power setting trades a high rate of fire for lower damage and range. This is typically used to improve the chances of hitting smaller and faster targets than normal, such as a light freighter, or to simply rapidly fill up space as part of flak wall to damage or destroy masses of incoming strikecraft, munitions, and other small threats.

Maelstrom Plasma Torpedo launchers will likely serve as auxiliary weapons for many subsequent Lucerne Labs starship designs. While they offer impressive range and variety of damage types, their relatively slow rate of fire and inefficient short-range performance means that they are unlikely to become the main armaments of most warships. There is some interest in using these weapons for long-term scoutships headed towards the unknown depths of space, as ammunition supply is as simple scooping up gas from a nearby gas giant. As always, Lucerne Labs recommends experimenting with such unknown gases before employing them in actual battles.
 
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