During the last few years of the Freemen Rebellion, the NAU began to suffer crippling losses on the ground due to the deployment of super-heavy armour (grav tanks, battlewalkers, powered armour, etc.) by the Freemen. The Free Systems Alliance military mindset of heavily-armoured and armed war machines and vessels made the quick-kill tactics so dearly loved by the casualty-averse North American Union impossible. To counter this, the NAU quickly produced a deadly- if somewhat awkward- ground assault fighter- the F30 Hellhammer.
Designed from the ground-up to be an energy-weapon-based “bomber”, the Hellhammer’s most notable feature is the heavy pulsed plasma cannon on the ventral boom. Additional firepower comes from two APPCs fixed forward, and an AP lancer turret aft to defend against interceptors trying to down the Hellhammer from behind. A small AP lancer turret on the bottom boom is designed to engage infantry after a strafing run, when most anti-air equipped units will pop up and try and down a ground-attack craft from behind. This keeps the infantry pinned down during and after the strafing run, but the weapon is ineffective against heavy armour units.
The Hellhammer met with lukewarm success during the war. After the Hardin Massacre garnered widespread support for the Freemen and condemnation for the NAU, the Freeman began fielding Ahrugan-built armour and tanks- virtually indestructible by Terran standards- and Australian infantry support weapons. After the war, the fighter was retained both for its original purpose, and as a mission-variable fighter. The lower boom was retrofitted to allow for a variety of modules to be fitted to it, making it much more versatile than the SF-22A Thunderchief that is the mainstay of the American fleet.