Production Date: Various from 2020 to 2029
Aerial hunter killers appeared decades into the conflict, when Skynet had the means to produce more sophisticated weaponry at secure facilities. When they appeared they became integral to its machinations due to having greater range and intelligence than the earlier HK-Drones. The majority of these machines had a similar basic frame design and similar range. Depending on the function of the unit there were differences in the armor and maneuverability. The design of all Aerial HK's evolved from the HK Drone (thanks to Christopher Shields).
FUNCTION- Various functions related to aerial warfare and surveillances.
Among the common models are:A4 (VTOL Seeker) - Smaller combat-based vessel with some intelligence gathering capabilities with intelligence of a slightly greater scale than an HK-Drone. Light armor. Limited autonomy. Speed is subsonic to Mach 1.4.
A14 (VTOL Interceptor) - Successor to the A4. Large combat-based model with the same crude artificial intelligence as the A4. Limited autonomy. Speed is subsonic to Mach 2.
A5 (Ground Support) - Heavy armor, great firepower, high maneuverability. Fully autonomous with intelligence of a scale similar to an early terminator android. Larger than A4. Generally used in numbers of five to pacify an area before the entrance of the A8 troop carrier. Speed is subsonic to Mach 1. Twice the size of the A4.
A8 (Endoskeleton Troop Carrier) - 2nd largest size craft, with the heaviest armor. Fully autonomous, with similar intelligence to an HK-Centurion (multiple fiber-optic based CPUs). Supersonic; maximum speed of Mach 4.
A8M (Modified Gunship) - Largest ship in the fleet, with the greatest firepower. Completely autonomous with intelligence similar to the HK-Centurion (multiple fiber-optic based CPUs). Supersonic; maximum speed of Mach 4.
A9 (Intelligence Gatherer) - Designed for high altitude surveillance. Light armor, with no combat capability. Advanced sensory array and telecommunications jamming equipment. Equipped with an advanced Neural Net processor for decrypting telecommunications code and analyzing topology. All A9 units were part of a larger collective intelligence (what one A-9 knows, all of them know). Later models were steal capable. Due to reduced mass, capable speeds in excess of Mach 2.7.
A412C (Plasma-Based Gunship) - Bunker buster intended to take out heavily fortified military targets. Large ship. Completely autonomous with intelligence similar to the HK-Centurion (multiple fiber-optic based CPUs). Supersonic.
INTELLIGENCE- Large Aerial HKs have intelligence of a class very similar to ground-based Centurions. Though they lack self awareness, their multiple fiber optic CPU configuration is programmed with sophisticated expert system software for tactical decision making. This enables an Aerial HK to accurately deduce facts concerning enemy movements via forward-chaining inference rules. Based on its knowledge-base an Aerial HK can quickly deduce the correct course of action with no need for creative thinking, intuition, or innovation. The programming was so extensive that it was thought by Skynet to be unlikely that an Aerial HK would ever encounter a novel tactical scenario.
Smaller Aerial HKs have more primitive and dated artificial intelligence, derived from early ground-based hunter killer models, but with superior programming and external data storage for navigational purposes. A9s have very sophisticated artificial intelligence, though it does not seem to stop them from getting destroyed with high frequency.
4 modes of operation:
- hive (directed by Skynet itself, with each individual unit acting as part of a collective hive mind);
- direct (directed by Skynet defense computers like soldiers in a war game);
- automatic (individual units acting automatically to a variety of preprogrammed conditions); and
- autonomous (single units relinquished to their own control acting independently)
CONCEALMENT- Not applicable (most models). However, A9 models have some stealth capability.
CONSTRUCTION- The larger Aerial HKs range from 6 to 10 meters in length and are composed of hyperalloy reinforced components. They are powered by multiple on-board reactors and utilize heavy plasma phase weaponry with extensive range. Large Aerial HKs utilize a multiple CPU configurations based on Neural Net architecture of the smaller ground-based hunter killers. However, none of them are self aware or capable of independent thought or learning.
The smaller Aerial HKs range from 1 to 2 meters and behave very much like HK-Drones but sport greater range, more maneuverability, and resistance to conventional firepower. They are somewhat more intelligent than drones, being able to discriminate between targets with greater accuracy, follow commands, coordinate with other units, etc.
CAPABILITIES- Larger HKs are heavily armored and capable of utilizing plasma phased weaponry to hit targets several miles away with pin-point accuracy. They also carry conventional ballistic missiles and machine guns. Smaller HKs are not as formidably armed or durable and have a small fraction of the intelligence of their larger siblings, but are also much more maneuverable.
All Aerial HKs are powered by highly efficient, high capacity, reactors powering multiple engines. This grants Aerial HKs greater range and efficiency than any aircraft developed by humans in the era of history that preceded the war between man and machine.
WEAPONRY- Aerial HKs are equipped with reactor fed, extreme rapid fire Westinghouse Model 25D3 phased plasma cannons mounted on turrets capable of engaging targets from all directions. A5s were generally the most formidably armed with the A8s having the greatest armor and range. A few A8s were refitted into super gun ships and they had the most firepower of the entire fleet. An A5 had enough firepower to incinerate a city block, to give you a rough estimate. Due to the nature of their power supply, they had a virtually infinite supply of firepower. A9s were not armed and relied on altitude and stealth.
THREAT LEVEL- Very High
- Designs are well known to the resistance and as such the areas housing the reactors and engines can be hit by precisely aimed long-range plasma phase weapons.
- Smaller Aerial HKs have primitive AI.
- As the resistance learned to detect A9s, they have become sitting ducks.
- Communications between Aerial HKs is detectable to the human resistance, often indicating their whereabouts and direction of attack.
- The frames of Aerial HKs have been used to used transmit resistance telecommunications without Skynet ever detecting the communications being bounced off of its aircraft.