'Swan' Ground Assault Vehicle

The GAV Swan is the RDA's all-terrain ground assault vehicle designed to travel across uneven landscape at high speeds. It is armored with permalloy and bristles with weaponry. This brawny, bruising combat vehicle is far from pretty; at times looking like a metal giraffe. It is just as effective on Pandora as it has been in Earth's few remaining jungles. (Read more)
The previous model was called the "Dove," which in the field was considered far too precious an irony. It is now called the Swan because of the extended gunner's chair which can rise on a crane up to 3.6 meters above the vehicle to see over obstructions between the gun and the target, like the long neck of a swan. Unfortunately, a hunter can more easily clip a head held high than one held low. So the gunner must ride high and open, a primary target for the enemy, even one armed only with a bow and arrow. (Soldiers joke an order to sit in the Hellrider means they were bad in a previous life.) But if the gunner is proficient, the enemy will be dispatched by a thirty-millimeter rotary cannon before he becomes a threat.

To offset the top-heavy nature of this mechanical beast, the Swan features a gyroscopic unit under the twin front seats that gives the unit stability even going up a thirty-five degree incline. The oversized tires grip almost any surface and provide positive traction.

The Swan is a super-jeep with a persuasive two to four-gun array designed to keep enemy heads down. Strategically similar to the U.S. Navy PT-boats in Earth's Second World War, the Swan is effective and mobile, but also expendable. Their unstated mission on Earth is to draw fire, suppress fire, or provide a moving target that is less expensive to replace than an AMP suit or Scorpion gunship.

Mission Profile and Specifications

The Swan is RDA's primary assault vehicle, used on Earth's front lines, in nearly all terrains. It can also be used as a scout car to collect intelligence on forward positions in the field, or it can be used to guard convoys and escort company dignitaries.

The 1.25-centimeter thick permalloy armor expands to two-thirds of an inch beneath the chassis to protect against shrapnel from mines.

The body features few frills. The gunner gains access to the elevated chair by stepping onto simple metal bars extending off either side. The driver and spotter gain access by leaping over the side panels. The six tires (two larger in front, four smaller in the rear) have little armor protection, but are made from a hybrid polymer blend, with titanium strands woven throughout, which makes them very tough to puncture, either by jagged rocks, arrows or enemy fire.

Some models feature four fifty-millimeter sentry guns in place of the rotary cannons, depending on the firepower required by each battle scenario. In either case, ammo is fed via an internal pneumatic belt system running up through the crane lift into the weapons (similar to the feed belts on the AMP suits).

There is a rudimentary roll bar giving minor protection to the driver and spotter, but is it rare that a Swan rolls over due to the stability of the gyroscopic system. If it does roll, gunners have learned from experience it is better to release the safety harness and jump clear, if there is enough time.

Reinforced recirculating ball steering keeps the machine pointed in the direction the driver aims. The suspension features new flex-alloys and air cylinders to smooth out a rough ride. Six tires help smooth out the bumps as well.

There are six vertical steel bars to cut wires or punch through obstacles. Four are mounted on the front grille, two are mounted just forward of both front tires.