Army Of The Red Spear
The Crater looks as though it should lumber through space, but the reality is very different. While it is not as agile as the Murder or Apparition, is is equal to many fighters half its size and more than most bombers.
The fightercruiser is dominated by the two huge warhead bays that sit to port and starboard. Each one contains a pair of warhead launchers. The Crater’s cavernous bays are highly modular, capable of accomodating all sorts of munitions. Furthermore, its well-concealed and armoured ventral loading doors do double duty for a variety of other tasks, from gravity-bombing ground targets to holding small vehicles of even boarding parties.
The Crater’s normal load-out gives it mix of anti-fighter and anti-capital ship warheads, allowing it to deal with a wide range of targets. By simply changing the composition of the warhead loud, the Crater can perform any mission. Strike, Superiority, Strike Support, Capture and Interdiction missions are common enough to each their own default load-out and many commanders will customise their loads to their own liking, if given the opportunity before a mission.
In addition to the warhead load, the Crater is well-armed with energy weapons as well. It had a dorsal quad pulse-fire coldbeam cannon – an enlarged version of the one carried by the Vampire Lord IFV. Two side-mounted plasma-pulse cannons can rotate 360º in the vertical arcs, which allows it to easily conduct surface strafing runs (on either ground targets or across the hull of an enemt starship). A pair of coldbeams under the nose are supplemented by a pair of heavy coldbeam cannons, one under each warhead bay.
The Crater has a crew of three. The pilot controls the fixed guns, the gunner the turret and the commander typically the warhead launcher, though with the standard Aotrs computer interfaces, each one can do the job of another if necessary.
The Crater is very reliable, easy to maintain and durable. It has fair sensors for its size, and these can be enhanced by a Probe load which has both sensor pods and probe on board. But the Crater’s greatest asset is its flexibility. It is so succesful that as time has passed, it has come to outnumber it smaller brother, the Foul Wing.
Standard battle deployment is in a squadron of six, divided three flights of two. They are often supported by fighter escort, but are equally found operating alone. It is also quite common for the flights in each element to act in differing roles.