November 12th 2014
Helios. Odin. Charon. Baker. These systems, far from Earth or the UEE’s military research and development framework, don’t seem like the kind of systems that would gain a reputation for high end aerospace equipment. But that’s exactly what has happened in the case of GNP.Seeking to stand out in the crowded field of ship manufacturers and to compete with the more developed “homeworlds,” the governments of these four systems banded together to subsidize the creation of GNP, an entirely new kind of company.
The basis for GNP’s corporate structure was the Tangaroa (Helios II) based FarSeer Corporation. FarSeer was incorporated in 2908 and developed high end sensor suites for almost thirty years.Despite the acknowledged quality of their goods, FarSeer could not navigate the aerospace recession of the late twenties, and the company’s assets were turned over to the Helosian government for dispersal. Rather than sell off FarSeer to the lowest bidder, officials maintained the corporation using tax dollars as they developed their crosscolonial alliance plan. The former FarSeer’s corporate infrastructure was soon joined by government repossessed engine labs in the Odin System, a series of refineries and factories in Charon and a massive influx of UEC from Baker’s unique spoils system.
The most startling thing about the company is that it entirely avoids the single most profitable segment of starship R&D: direct application weapons. Where companies like Behring and MaxOx are making trillions selling consumer grade lasers and missiles, GNP’s charter strictly forbids putting armament in the hands of civilians (and similarly shies away from developing such tools for governments).Instead, the company’s output is focused entirely on essential high grade equipment that most users don’t generally consider when outfitting spacecraft in their heads: sensors, engines, navigation markers, piping control surfaces, software and the like.
GNP’s first triumph was the adoption of their V601-11 RADAR by the UEE Navy.The V601-11, a high resolution multisync radar system capable of independently tracking dozens of items and interfacing with hundreds of ship sub systems, now forms the basis of the Navy’s signature ‘top gun’ F7A Hornet fighters. The Hornet contract, which most expected to go to AllTell or Skanix, changed everything for GNP and shocked the aerospace industry’s foundations.
The contract was just the first punch, though. The sheer superiority of the system was immediately made clear, and other manufacturers began licensing or cloning the V601.GNP made billions of credits, 100% of which was funneled back into development and manufacturing. While other companies have released similar grades of radar in recent years, the modularity and the customizability of the V601 has left it with the lion’s share of sensor suite integration coverage.
True to their word, there is absolutely no difference between the civilian and the milspec version of the V601-11; the same rugged technology and software used to fly the F7A Hornet is available standard (or as an upgrade) on a variety of civilian ships (including most notably the MISC Freelancer line, which actually adopted the system before it had become a navy supported industry standard).
The V601-11 system is more than just physical scanners; it’s a whole spacecraft solution which includes both physical modules and the Heads Up Display.Developed by a software team that included some of the galaxy’s most advanced interface designers, the V601-11’s HUD is a thing of beauty. Integrated directly with a pilot’s helmet display, subdued colors provide a massive amount of flight information without being distracting.The HUD layout is reactive, with the computational power to predict and arrange information as needed; it may display targeting data one moment and then navcom range finding data another.Furthermore, the standard GNP HUD is now familiar to millions of non pilots, as it was used in Original System’s Arena Commander game.Fearful that the HUD would become commonplace public domain, GNP insisted that Original license the design from them rather than simply reproducing it themselves (the licensing fee was a single UEC).
If the V601-11 birthed GNP, then the Tonnerre line of engines is what secured its positioning as a diversified, broad spectrum aerospace corporation. Tested on Odin under extreme deep space conditions and produced on Charon, the Tonnerre represents an interesting way at targeting the starship engine market. Previous companies have always attempted to make a name for their engines by addressing the single most PR friendly role: fast ships. What GNP realized is that while other companies were climbing over one another for the ORIGIN 350R or the Anvil Super Hornet slot, there was little competition (or even quality) being directed towards larger transport ships.
Design teams set out to create a range of high durability fission engines powered by liquid fluoride thorium reactors, focusing only on this larger ship technology rather than something that could be adapted for starfighters and snubs. From this was born a line of truly high quality engines designed with the user in mind. Tonnerre brand engines are easy to repair and maintain, with a common core of parts that can be easily changed (in many cases during flight).The resulting complete Tonnerre line, currently produced in nine separate models, was designed from Day One to replace the aging engines found on MISC’s Freelancer and Starfarer chassis lines.The gambit worked exactly as intended: MISC adopted the GNP Tonnerre-00 for their all duty Freelancer model and the GNP Typhon-00 for the massive Starfarer.
There are three lines of GNP Tonnerre engines, each with three different sizes. The smallest, designed for the Freelancer, is the Tonnerre (Tonnerre-00, -55 and -77).The second range, Super Tonnerre, has not yet been adopted by a manufacturer, although corporate rumors suggest Aegis is in talks for the new advanced civilian model of the Retaliator. The massive Typhons, designed for the Starfarer tankers and larger transport ships, complete the range. MISC’s happiness with the line to date suggests that the biggest of these engines, the Typhon-77, may be mounted on the Hull C as soon as next year. Because liquid fluoride thorium reactors can theoretically increase in size endlessly, it is also likely that GNP will unveil even bigger engines for true capital ships within the next five years.