Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Air Sled

In the early 21st Century, several military forces attempted to make "transforming" or otherwise adjustable armored vehicles which could rapidly switch between ground or short hops of air travel. Some of these succeeded, and in many ways are the ancestors to the Flying Cars (p. 168-9 Sunward) which are frequently seen on Mars. Other designs, however, did not directly incorporate "transforming" functions, but more of an accessorizing or attaching function. This effectively functions a bit like an EVA or Diving Sled, but for vehicles. While not as required as it may have been on the Earth, there are enough locations, including Exoplanets with atmospheres to make this design viable.

Air Sled: This long, skeletal airframe is designed to go over the top (or rarely the bottom) of a ground-based vehicle, such as a Mars Buggy. Made with collapsing and extending frame and anchor points, it can adjust its exact size to suit multiple configurations of vehicle. This allows it to lift up the vehicle off the ground several meters to clear obstacles or rough terrain and save time, or avoid complications such as mines. Like a Flying Car it can be considered a sister technology to, they are powered by methane and utilize vectoring turbofans to generate lift and motion. Typically, the unit is open to the air, unarmored, and designed to be utilize via physical or wireless interface with the attached vehicle - but some models have command and control chairs built onto the sled so a dedicated pilot can move vehicles from the Sled itself. Some also feature handholds so other passengers may grip them. The sled grips it's payload vehicle with powerful electromagnets and grip pad technology, making it almost impossible to dislodge. However, as it is balanced to carry heavy loads, the Air Sled tends to be unstable when flying just on its own, especially at higher altitudes. [High]

Passengers 1*  Handling +10  Movement Rate -- Max Velocity 150 AV 10/10 DUR 100 WT 20

Air Sleds are not necessarily common around the Solar System after the Fall, but do see some use, and several of the milspec blueprints have leaked onto the Mesh. Commonly they are used by rural Redneck Martians who need to move around buggies and other vehicles over rough hills, poorly-maintained roads and even canyons and wadis. Local security and police forces sometimes use them for this purpose as well, but the Martian Rangers are much more likely to deploy a Flying Car or Security VTOL in their operations. Smugglers and militant Barsoomians may also utilize them to hide vehicles in locations which are otherwise inaccessible by ground. Gatecrashers occasionally use them to move around their ground vehicles or even large bots over difficult terrain, and similarly this may be used on Titan to move a single vehicle if the load does not require a full Cargo Copter.

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