After the catastrophic defeat the European Union suffered at the hands of the Andali Confederation during the latter nation’s war for independence, European military planners were forced to rethink their designs. Two centuries of relying on drones for warfare had finally proven to be a critically-flawed philosophy. Thus, German and English engineering teams were brought in to oversee the development of new warship designs. Out of this was born the Höllesturm-class destroyer.
German Aerospace firm Krüpp-Daimler (descended from one of the few corporations to survive the chaos of The Fall during the 21st century) developed a transitional vessel that- while still using drones instead of fighters- was a capable combat vessel unto itself. The casualty-averse nature of the European population necessitated massive automation, and the replacement of remotely-operated drones with next-generation ones that have onboard AIs. Without pilots and carrying a minimal crew, the Höllesturm is able to effectively project European military power with minimal risk.
Unfortunately, it also means that the vessels cost far more than their efficacy should warrant, which has slowed down production of these vessels. Older Ariadne-class drone destroyers still comprise 60% of the EU navy, despite the abysmal failures they encountered when Andali netjackers cracked their encryption codes and turned the EU drones back on the vessels. Cost overruns and politics caused by the member state territorialism have plagued the development and fielding of the Höllesturm and its larger siblings, an internal conflict the EU can ill-afford with many of its colonies along the Fringe bordering on the increasingly-antagonistic Orion Empire.
Nor are the financial and political problems the only drawbacks to the Höllesturm. Powerful though they may be, the two dual super-heavy PPC turrets draw tremendous power, and without enough space for more reactors are relegated to semi-auto fire only. Without burst or sustained fire capabilities, these turrets should arguably be replaced by smaller, more efficient ones. However, the Höllesturm compensates for this by carrying a substantial load of ASM and SSM missiles in silos and launch bays throughout the ship.
Spinal mounts are the one bright point of the Höllesturm. Taking a cue from the NAU and several mercenary firms, the Höllesturm carries a varied weapons loadout in its forward firing arc. A pair of heavy MAC guns sit at the top of a stack of paired PPCs, an ENWO module including a disruptor cannon and drone command module, and a pair of particle beam cannons. Smaller medium and light PPC turrets give the Höllesturm some moderate omnidirectional firepower in addition to the main turrets, but the true danger from the vessel is from the spinals.
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