Data Canister: Barracuda
Data Canister 1148, X-Com Archives.
British Hydrospace Barracuda
The Barracuda is a a product of multi-national, government funded research into the development of a true 'flying submarine'. Development began in the late 2030s when XCom was unanimously reinstated to police the world's oceans following increasing incidents of air and sea craft lost to causes unknown. This period, documented as The Mary Celeste Sinkings, directly led to the second human-alien conflict on earth.
When XCom returned to power they assimilated the company of a wealthy software tycoon, the multimillionaire F. Denman Williams. This organisation SORESO (Sub-Oceanic Reconaissance and Extraterrestrial Salvage Operations) was Denman's attempt to clear the ocean floors of any alien artifacts and Elerium following the first alien war, a task already completed by XCom before its decommissioning in 2005.
Denman developed a great many prototype craft during his time with SORESO but none were ever deemed fit for use in the worlds oceans and none were ever produced as working vessels.
While Denman himself did not profit from his own creations however it is safe to say that XCom and much of the world did. Most famously, Denman's 'Khimtar' prototype was lost to mysterious circumstances near the wreck of the Titanic. It is now thought that this was the work of a USO operating nearby however this remains unconfirmed.
Regardless of the truth, Denman saw the prototype as another failure and sold it to a third party for the fraction of the cost of development so far.
It soon became apparent that Denman was more gifted than was obvious. His designs were flawed but his theories were genius. In several short months, the Khimtar prototype had been completed tested and manufactured, selling to several of the world's superpowers for military and civilian uses.
Many more designs would never be liberated in such a way but when XCom took control of SORESO it assimilated all of Denman's prototypes, theories and works already in progress.
In the closing months of 2038, XCom scientists and engineers joined forces with British Hydrospace and took the folley away from Denman's genius to create five promising prototypes. The Triton and Poseidon were troop transports, The Stingray, Barracuda and Moray were attack craft.
Following rigorous testing long into the Summer of 2039, The Moray and Stingray were outclassed in every way by the Barracuda, henceforce proving XCom with a state of the art fast attack submarine also capable of atmospheric flight.
The Barracuda is more aircraft than submarine in appearance. It maintains a sleek aerodynamic shape usings numerous vents and ports to ease the craft's passage through water.
The submarine itself is a single seater fighter craft with no space for passengers or cargo. The cockpit is again arrayed similarly to many military aircraft of the same era. It features dual controls, meaning that twin joysticks are used for both the piloting of the craft and the manipulation of its weapons and surveillance systems.
Weapons aside, the Barracuda features an incredibly sophisticated passive sonar capable of detecting movement down to the size of a large shark from many leagues in all directions. Several independent monitoring systems are also fitted to various hardpoints on the Barracuda to relay video feed, heat patterns, currents and other information either to the pilot or to a remote location.
The Barracuda can be equipped with two independent weapons systems ranging from the primitive gas cannons and Ajax launchers right through to the P.W.T. Cannons and Sonic Oscillators derived from alien technology. These weapons systems can be configured to act autonomously allowing the craft to act as an unmanned roving patrol or even as a temporary yet formidable weapons emplacement.
The Barracuda's propulsion system has been derived from Denman's 'photon accelerator' a very closely related theory to the laser propulsion systems used in modern space travel today. The advancements made by Denman in this field of science have remained unrivalled to this day and some scientists still refuse to believe that it works at all.
The very simple principle of Denman's photon accelerator uses superheated lasers to propel the craft using an ingenious combination of generated heat and gasses. Even this theory is widely debated however, and since Denman's death it has been becoming increasingly unlikely that any scientific conclusion will be reached. Certain scientists have disgraced themselves in recent years by insisting that Denman has inadvertantly struck upon something quite extraordinary and manifested an anti-gravitational effect in his engines.
Whatever the conclusion may be, the Barracuda survived many years after XCom no longer had use for it. Some Air Forces today use the Barracuda simply as an atmospheric vehicle. Capable of speeds up to 2800mph and fitted with a virtually infallible weapons integration system, the Barracuda truly was an engineering breakthrough of the 21st century.
Veteran, uploaded by JFG