Sunday, 27 December 2015

Vehicles: Wolfhound AFV

             Invariably large tracked cybershells get referred to as “cybertanks” irrespective of their actual battlefield role. The modular nature of some designs means that distinguishing between a true tank, a personnel carrier or some other variant can be problematic. A good example of this is the Vickers-Sackett Wolfhound.

             The Wolfhound appears somewhat smaller than earlier designs of fighting vehicle. Basic width is kept to within 2.55m (2 ¾ yards) for easy movement in urban areas and on civilian roadways. (Applique armour or extra-width tracks may increase width.) The small turret, sloped frontal glacis plate and sides increase the impression that the vehicle is smaller than it is.

             Being unmanned the turret can be relatively small. Main armament of the Type One (light) turret module is a 10mm Emag with a point defence laser (PDL) mounted at the apex of the turret. The Type Two (heavy) turret module has a turret with 55mm and 10mm Emags and a PDL. Alternately a 50x330mm autocannon may replace the larger Emag. Both turret types have provision for mounting a variety of launch pods and tubes on their sides. These are usually for 30mm, 40mm, 60mm and 64mm missile systems but other weapons can be accommodated. Additional point defence lasers are mounted on the bow-plate and towards the rear of each side.

             Additional defences are provided by various 40mm DGL mountings loaded with screening or fragmentation grenades. Smoke limpet charges will also be attached to the vehicle exterior. Wolfhounds often have several “desant” hexapod RATS which cling to the outside of the vehicle and effectively serve as additional turreted weapons. A variety of cyberswarms are carried to handle repairs, defence and reconnaissance. A number of larger reconnaissance robots are also carried and can often be seen orbiting a Wolfhound.

             Wolfhounds have self-repairing bandtracks and a hybrid electric drive system. When operating only using stored power they can move very quietly. The hybrid system also provides better acceleration than conventional power systems.

             The baseline vehicle is fully amphibious. If the weight of additional armour or equipment exceeds its buoyancy it can travel along the riverbed or seabed using battery power. (An air supply will be needed for any passengers). The Wolfhound is designed to be easily transportable for expeditionary operations by special forces, marines and airborne. For homeland defence or prolonged deployments additional armour can be fitted.

             The Wolfhound personnel carrier has an armoured module at the rear that can accommodate ten baseline human soldiers. Six to eight occupants is more common, however and allows the carriage of additional equipment, weapons and ammunition. Boarding is usually by armoured double doors at the rear. The roof of the module has a number of hatches, including a cupola for the section leader at the forward right corner. The roof hatches allow the occupants to fire various weapons while still mounted. The Wolfhound usually mounts a dozer-blade which provides additional frontal protection. Seats are provided with four-point harnesses and can be folded up to create additional capacity. The Wolfhound can also be used as a RATS transport, capacity depending on the size of the cybershells carried.

             The Wolfhound missile carrier replaces the personnel module with one having 40 vertical-launch missile tubes. Both surface to surface and surface to air systems can be carried. The ammunition load often includes 200mm Jaguar Anti-Ground Target Missiles. Missile carriers are often fitted with the Type Two (heavy) turret. The few targets a 55mm and 10mm Emag cannot deal with will be attacked with missiles.

             The Wolfhound mortar carrier has a rear module with a turret mounting two 98mm self-loading mortars. A 10mm Emag is also fitted. As well as providing indirect fire the mortar carrier is a useful direct fire system and has sufficient armour and defences to facilitate this role.

             The Wolfhound scout carrier uses a smaller chassis than other variants, having one less roadwheel. It is usually not fitted with a dozer-blade and the turret is kept relatively uncluttered. Its lesser bulk (SM +3) makes it easier to conceal or camouflage. Its lower weight makes it somewhat faster too. The scout carrier can carry six baseline human soldiers but it is more common for a six man scout team to be split between two vehicles, the extra capacity being used for mission specialists and extra equipment. Scout carriers also carry a wide variety of reconnaissance robots. A further distinguishing feature of the scout carrier is that they often have racks for scout e-bicycles on their sides.