Data Canister: HWP

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Data Canister 13A, X-Com Archives. Heavy Weapons Platform. Feb 2000

The Heavy Weapons Platform, or HWP project began late in 1998 to relieve tactical personnel from their strict duty roster allowing a mission to fly with four less combatants than previously necessary. The majority of the design, manufacture and testing of the HWP was undergone at Pine Gap in central Australia and the first unit came online early in 1999 at the beginning of the Alien War.

The basic HWP was constructed to very precise specifications. At two meters wide and as many long it is capable of carrying a vast amount of superior technology. The armour fitted to the HWP is constructed of the most advanced alloy known to man and provides well over twice the protection of even the toughest armour available to other personnel.

Contained within the HWP is an array of sensor equipment which can be used to function as a mobile radar, forming a three-dimensional map of the terrain that surrounds it and patching it through to any nearby craft and soldiers. Along with the onboard video camera, the HWP also features infra-red, ultra-violet and thermal imaging systems. All of these recordings can be patched through to any nearby receptors or relayed over long distances via nearby craft.

Earlier prototypes featured initially four and later six wheel drive but rigourous testing often resulted in failed mobility. Instead the wheel driven unit was replaced by one driven by tracks. This offers a much greater ability to traverse foreign obstacles successfully and increases the stability of the vehicle on uneven terrain. The HWP also boasts a number of bottom mounted 'terrain sensors' to avoid grounding on foreign objects.

The engine that powers the HWP has in the past been used in manned military tanks and as such is the most reliable available with a good top speed and admirable maneouverability. The tracked wheels of the vehicle also allow it to turn on the spot making it almost impossible to become stuck in a tight or awkward position.

The typical HWP sports a thirty round, high powered, armour piercing cannon. It operates on either a slow or a fast repeater firing between ten and thirty rounds a minute. When operating a slow repeat, the cannon is significantly more accurate than one held by a soldier, using onboard targeting and tracking systems to calculate the shot. In fast repeat the cannon is less accurate but just as deadly, penetrating several inches of metal alloy in laboratory tests.

A second HWP model has also been developed for demolitions work and suppressive fire. In place of the cannon it is armed with a large rocket launcher and loaded with eight rounds, one loaded into the weapon. The rockets loaded onto this type of tank are extremely powerful and are capable of bringing down entire buildings with a direct hit. The targeting system for the rocket tank is incredibly advanced and offers a certain hit on stationery targets but it is slow to refire.

All Heavy Weapons Platforms feature a highly sophisticated on board intelligence unit to control their motions and actions on the battlefield. The system operates on a 'seek and destroy' program unless otherwise stated by it's briefing program. This allows the HWP to be set as an Automated Moble Sentry or AMS as well as allowing for a more cautious program for use when dealing with civilian populated areas.

Whilst in the default seek and destroy program the HWPs adhere to a strict routine before moving or firing. The onboard intelligence system works constantly to assess and reassess any threats in the local area and therefore is constantly aware of the surrounding area and any lifeforms that may be present. When lifeforms are detected nearby, onboard cameras and recognition systems determine whether the target is human alien or an XCom trooper.

When a hostile unit is located near to the HWP the mobility systems automatically become a low priority allowing the onboard tactical computer to assess the threat posed. If the threat is concluded to be of significant danger the HWPs targeting systems will come on line and it will begin to trak the enemy unit. The mobility systems are now restored to full order and the HWP may relocate in order to secure a more reliable line of fire. When this is achieved the tactical computers will take control once again and the target will be assaulted and monitored until all vital signs are within preset safety margins.

As well as the automated program, HWPs are also able to be controlled by a removed human influence. This option of manual control provides the HWPs with tactics that would not otherwise be considered by the on board intelligence unit. Manual control is vital when facing superior numbers as overwhelming information can on occasion corrupt the HWPs data stream and cause it to miscalculate a movement or assault command.

It is possible to manually control a HWP from many thousand miles away provided the correct transmitters and satellites are in place. On most missions a single operator will be enough to control a HWP but on larger scale missions it may be necessary to employ a second operator and control movement and aggression independently of one another. Even when a HWP is functioning automatically, an operator will be standing by in case of emergency. In this situation a manual override system is in place.

With plans for the 'Enforcer' walker cancelled, the HWP is a welcome addition to XCom. Capable of withstanding as much punishment as they can HWPs are invaluable to any fighting force. With both the Cannon and Rocket versions of the HWP already active on the field it is hoped that further developments in the field of laser technology could soon result in another even more devastating support unit.

Archived for The Veteran by JellyfishGreen 03:13, 25 July 2006 (PDT)

See also: Field Manual: HWP