The Man From O-12
Orbital Strike Craft
The Tempest is a sleek black ship designed to operate in space as well as planetary atmospheres. It is powered by a miracle of modern technology, a stable micro-fusion drive that is capable of producing enough power to launch the ship back into orbit after landing with only a few hours of turn around.
Although it has limited maneuverability in atmosphere, the Tempest is extremely tough and can be loaded with enough ordinance to defend itself at short range.
Top Speed/Acceleration: 5.6 km/s in Atmosphere, 6.2 G’s in Space
Combat Maneuverability: 0
Qualities: Aircraft (VTOL), Enclosed, Ponderous, Rugged
During the Neocolonial Wars a doctrine was developed for the ideal planetary assault. Soldiers would drop onto the battlefield from orbit, deployed in one or two-man reentry vehicles, and then parachute or use personal flight gear to land on the battlefield. Once a beachhead was established heavy vehicles would also be dropped from orbit for use by soldiers on the ground. Once an objective was secured, soldiers would return to orbit on large reusable launch vessels. The concept of a vehicle that could land on a planet and then return to orbit was dismissed as prohibitively expensive and unnecessary.
However, a small PanOceanian startup called Echo Aeronautics was already developing reusable launch shuttles. By combining technology developed during the Neocolonial Wars with VooDoo Tech acquired from Combined Soldiers on Paradiso the Engineers at Echo were able to design a rapid assault craft specifically designed for special forces operations. Their creation, the Tempest, could land a platoon of soldiers, or a small team with a ground vehicle, from orbit and then collect them and return to space within the span of a few hours. The Tempest would never be useful for large-scale combat, but it introduced an entirely new set of options for PanO special forces. The other hyperpowers rushed to develop their own alternatives, with varying degrees of success, but the Tempest is still considered by many to be the gold-standard in orbital assault shuttles.