|This article, Cerberus-class Strike Prowler, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "The Covenant fleet moved into a position behind the moon, out of our line of sight. When they moved back into sight, there wasn't much of a fleet there. What the hell happened?"
- ―Anonymous UNSC ensign
The Cerberus-class Strike Prowler is a specialised prowler, dedicated to tactical and strategic deployment of nuclear weapons, against naval and ground positions. While it possesses all the intelligence gathering and stealth features of the Minerva, it instead trades the mine laying sub-systems for long-range nuclear weapons. To this end, it often conducts raids, striking targets suddenly without ever revealing itself.
The main armament of the Cerberus-class is it's collection of 16 Nuclear missiles. These are carried in shielded silos mounted along the upper deck of the ship. These silos can carry either the RSM-103 Wayfarer, or the RSM-107 Vagrant. The Wayfarer is a long range missile, utilising advanced sensors, stealth features, and decoy protection. The missile can autonomously guide itself, or utilise telemetry provided by the ship or forward observers. The Wayfarer's greatest advantage is it's variable payload. It can be fitted with a variety of different nuclear warheads. The most common is the W700 Avenger, a dialable warhead capable of yields between 20 and 90 Megatons. The Avenger is specially engineered for detonation in deep space. It can also be fitted with the electromagnetic pulse warhead, W705 Vengeance, or the insidious W11 Revenge warheads, which causes little damage, but uses a Neutron warhead to kill personnel exclusively. Lastly, it can carry a W709 Retribution, a warhead engineered to target ground positions in a devastating nuclear attack. The Vagrant is functionally identical to the Wayfarer, but changes it's long range motor for a slipspace drive. While cost prohibitive, it can attack from outside of a star system.
For mid-ranged indirect fire, it utilises 5 Archer pods, each carrying 24 missiles. While nothing impressive, its enough to disable or destroy smaller threats, and deter larger ones. For self defence, it packs 4 phalanx stations, to protect it from fighter constellations and missile threats.
For ship to ship combat, it has 8 XEV11-Fibreak Nonlinear Pulse Cannons. Rare and powerful weapons, unseen outside of prowlers, the Fibreak Pulse Cannon is precise and deadly, being capable of rapidly adjusting it's power output, allowing it to disable a station with a electromagnetic pulse, or punch holes through a frigate. The beams burn hot, allowing them to rapidly fire in a hail of white-hot energy, but as they fire, the magnetic sheaths begin to deform and accuracy drops.
Sensors and Electronics
The ship features a wide range of electronic warfare gear including short range slipspace scrambler, radio scramblers, active cancellation pods, counter guidance systems and warfare direction systems. It also features a deep scan, high power Synthetic Array RADAR that is mounted in a linear fashion along the keel of the ship that is used for observing ground positions The ship is shaped much like a arrow head with two egg shaped engine pods. The hull is on one part, smooth plating and on the other angular shrouds, reducing its chances of detection. It is possible for the ship to go into 'silent running' where it simple lies still, drifts or goes into a stable orbit, with all systems focused on stealth and keep the engines, slipspace drive and defence weapons on standby, with little else being powered, par life support. While 'silent running' it can quietly observe the enemy or lie in wait for days on end.
The augment it's sensor array it has a Magnetic Array. This array detects magnetic anomalies caused by ships, through long-range electric and electromagnetic field detection arrays of great sensitivity and uses this to home in on them. The Magnetic Array is incredibly accurate and has a long range of 200,000 kilometres and is highly resistant to jamming methods, detection and interference. On top of that, stealth systems, such as RADAR resistance and optical camouflage, don't effect its capabilities.
In it's electronic warfare role, it carries not only the standard electronic warfare systems of UNSC warships, but it also mounts PAVE RAPTOR and PAVE PALADIN electronic warfare systems. The PAVE RAPTOR is capable of intercepting RADAR and intercepting MASER transmissions, deciphering them, and then tracking the source and jamming it through low-detectable narrow band jamming or wide area jamming, at the cost of stealth. It has the added functionality of being able to feed false information to any of the above sensor or communication systems, further confusing enemy forces or preform active cancellation, sending out directed, well timed signals on the correct wavelength to 'cancel' enemy RADAR, Radio or MASER signatures, resulting in a 'silence'. The second pod is a Electronic Protection system, the PAVE PALADIN that interferes with enemy attempts to intercept and jam communication and detection systems by producing narrow beam 'burn outs' that confuse and jam enemy attempts to jam them. Along with that, it uses a CPU driven decryption system that protects against attempts to intercept communication systems or boost cyber warfare attacks by the ship-board A.I..
The vessel is virtually invisible to both the naked eye and the scanning systems of nearly every every faction. It is coated in ablative stealth systems and stealth paint, rendering it RADAR absorbent and near invisible to RADAR, reducing its cross section to something closer to flotsam or jetsam found in space. Matte black paint and active camouflage systems render it invisible to the naked eye also, meaning even when ships are normally visible against suns or planets, it remains invisible. Thanks to heat and radiation sinks as well it is incapable of giving off cherenkov radiation or heat signatures, meaning it cannot be detected leaving slipspace. These however are a double edged sword and depending on how active the ship is these sinks must be dumped, giving off massive heat and radiation signatures or the crew will be cooked or irradiated or both, while still alive. The ship can operate for a few days under full silence without having to dump its sinks or a few hours under full motion. The Slipspace engine dumps into a separate radiation and heat sink, meaning it can be charged or left charged without fear of it killing the crew and left charged during a operation for a speedy exit.
Whereas the Minerva is reconnaissance and support, the Cerberus is for strike roles. Using its high-endurance, and stealth technology, it can slip deep into enemy territory to deliver a nuclear payload to vulnerable targets. It preys on shipping, refuelling stations, fleet bases, and so on. Ships like this are likened to hunter-killers, either hitting a prearranged target, or striking targets of opportunity. While they possess the same stealth and electronic warfare technology as the Minerva, it is more used for protecting itself and disorientating the enemy, especially before and after a strike.
However, it isn't unknown for Cerberus-class ships to be deployed as part of a fleet operation. Under these circumstances, they rove ahead of the main fleet, skirmishing with the enemy, hitting their rear guard, and generally causing as many casualties as is feasible before the main line hits.
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