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June 20, 2013, 1:27 am

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Cosmic Era Armor


Protection in the Cosmic Era

Ferro-Plastics and Commercial Armor

Commercial armor is thick pieces of ferro-plastic, a dense organic based plastic embedded with metal weaving. It is tough and durable, most commonly used in non-military vehicles and mecha. Ferroplastics are doubly vulnerable to armor piercing and armor defeating rounds limiting its use in full military applications. Civilian vehicles, industrial mecha and work hardsuits are typically protected with this material, hence it's name.

Standard Metallic Armor:

Metallic armor is old school, dating back to the Hittites and their chariots. Modern metallic armor is divided into standard and ablative blends, and both have significant strengths and weaknesses. They are mutually exclusive, as the process of making the metal is radically different, and this treatment determines the final outcome of the armor.

Standard metallic armor is roll hardened and tempered steel and dates back to the 1800s when it was first used to armor warships. Standard armor has the benefits of being relatively inexpensive, easy to manufacture, and easy to repair. The process of hardening the armor has the drawback of making it very thermoconductive, meaning that energy based weapons are able to cut through it very easily. Standard armor is still in regular use due to it's cost and the relative scarcity of energy weapons. Most such armor is used in bargain model power armors, and second line mecha and armored vehicles.

Ablative metallic armors are steel alloy armors that are designed to spread and dissipate heat, lessening the effectiveness of lasers and other energy weapons. The tempering of the steel for heat dissipation does drastically reduce its overall rigidity, meaning that the armor is much less effective against impact, and concussive weapons. This is the problem with slab based armors, rigid is good for kinetic protection but vulnerable to energy, and ablative is good for energy, but vulnerable to kinetic. Ablative armors are rare, given the relative scarcity of energy based weapons. Many aircraft, most often targeted by ground based AA laser batteries will have ablative armor.

Reflective Armor:

Reflective armor is a metallic coating that is highly reflective and thermoresistant designed to defeat laser weaponry. This can be used as a top layer over another type of armor, but it is easily ruined by explosive and kinetic weapons. Aircraft in the cosmic era are the most common users of reflective armor, as lasers and missiles are the main AA weapons. Ground units almost never use reflective armor because it has a mirror finish and is very obvious and visible on the ground.

Reactive Armor:

Reactive Armor is an armor bolt on system that uses targeted explosive devices and computers to defeat incoming kinetic rounds with outward explosive blasts, breaking up the projectile before it hits the vehicle. Reactive armor is a series of blocky boxes that are built into a frame around vulnerable parts of the vehicle, along with laser sensors and a reactive computer system. The system is typically used on second line and support vehicles, and on vehicles that rely on standard or ablative armors. Reactive armor is only used on ground vehicles and mecha, never aircraft or power armors.

Ferro-CarbideFerro-Carbide Armors are very lightweight, blending metal and carbon fiber to create thin but very strong panels or armor. The amount of metal in a ferro-carbide armor varies, with the amount of metal adding flexibility to the ultra-rigid carbon fiber. Ferro-Carbides are used in light vehicles and craft that move at high velocity, the most notable examples being racing vehicles. This armor is seldom used in military applications, as it is still relatively expensive to maintain and only offers mediocre protection against magnetic projectiles and energy weapons.Ferro-CeramicFerro-Ceramic armors are noted for their high resistance to heat, and are most commonly used in machinery and weapons used in hot zones, such as space mining operations, foundries and laser forges. Some fire and energy weapon using power armors utilize ferro-ceramic armors to handle the backlash of heat generated by their own weaponry. Ferro-Ceramic armors don't offer strong protection against kinetic weapons, but are still considered good armors.

Composite Armors

Composite armors are made of different layers of materials, balancing the strengths against the weaknesses of the different components. Composites are much more expensive, require more maintenance, and are harder to repair when they are damaged. Rather than welding and hammer work, most composite armors will have to be manually removed and replaced with a new piece of armor. In applications like power armors this is easy, given the large number of pieces, and just replacing the single damaged piece. Mecha function the same way, the pieces are just larger. Armored vehicles are generally protected by large uniform pieces that avoid weak points like seams. A breached turret generally has to be completely replaced or rebuilt rather than patched. Composite armors can be patched with substandard materials, but remain weaker than their pre-damaged state.

Starguard Composite

SGC is an aerospace grade composite armor. It is lightweight due to it's use of sandwiched ablative, synthetic, and rigid armor materials. It is commonly used in aerospace craft, and offers excellent protection against shrapnel, energy weapons, and concussive blasts. It is less effective against armor defeating weaponry, but there aren't many air or spacecraft that are lugging around 120mm sabots, or medium to large bore magnetic weapons. Some recon mecha and hovercraft use SGC armor for it's light weight to armor protection profile.

Durallex DuraWeave

DDW is a light armor composite used in light mecha and very commonly in powered armor suits. The composite mixes ablative and metallic impregnated carbon fiber for low weight and high rigidity without sacrificing all heat dissipating capability. The armor components are nigh invulnerable to civilian grade firearms, and offer excellent protection against infantry grade firearms and magnetic weaponry. It is a relatively thin, and generally unsuited for heavy combat mecha, or assault vehicles. Durallex is produced in large amounts by the Great Lakes Republic and Quebecois Canada for their light mech and power armor lines.


Diamondplate is a standard medium composite armor that mixes ablative, rigid metallic, and shock absorbing materials and can be made in relative thick pieces. Diamondplate is commonly used in light and medium mecha, and in ground attack VTOLs. It can be used in assault powered armors, which are generally 50% larger than regular powered armors. Diamondplate, and its knock-offs are produced around the world, but the largest producer of the armor is the Kurganma Shzavod Corporation. KSCorp produces heavy power armors, industrial mechs, hardsuits, and deep space mining equipment.

Maximillian Composite

Maximillian Composite is a heavy armor composite and is regularly used in main line battlemechs, and armored vehicles. It can be formed into large plates and panels and has a 13 layer construction that makes it very resistant to energy and kinetic weapons. This impressive protection comes as a cost, as the armor is relatively expensive. The main source of Maximillian armor is the Ruhr Valley in German, where it is manufactured by the Maximilliam-Krupp Corporation, a leader in battlemech and armor production for the Atlantic Federation.

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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

June 6, 2013, 23:21
Update: Cult of Done

Get Out you
Voted Siren no Orakio
June 8, 2013, 17:52
Fundamentally solid.

Looking at the Maximillian slab, it strikes me that this should probably be alternating layers of steel and tungsten - mass matters, and it will be very, very difficult to punch through tungsten with a laser. Also, this, and possibly its immediate tungsten-based competitors, will require ores that are largely concentrated in China, Vietnam, and Brazil.

Depleted Uranium can also be heavily utilized in armors. Yes, it's nasty stuff, but it's very dense, and mass matters.
June 8, 2013, 19:24
So the ACPS and the USSA are going to field good armor just from their basic mineral resources.

What about the mineral resources from offworld sources? Specifically, the Moon, Mars, and asteroids?
Siren no Orakio
June 9, 2013, 10:23
When dealing with extra planetary resources, the real answer is: How much are you willing to pay to get them, and how long a supply chain can you tolerate? The Moon itself would be difficult to exploit, due to the paucity of tectonics and related chemistry in its past - Most of the resources are locked away inside the core. Mars, Mercury and the asteroids should be prime for a great deal of resource exploitation - the trick is finding what you want in viable concentrations and bringing it home.
June 9, 2013, 12:03
Siren, I'm so glad you can answer this sort of stuff. I'm curious what your day job is.
Siren no Orakio
June 9, 2013, 22:25
Materials Science - Cermets, ceramics, and heavy metals.
Siren no Orakio
June 9, 2013, 22:28
Oh, yeah - like 65% of the world's proven reserves of tungsten are in China, and in the current era, about 85% of the production. >_<
June 10, 2013, 8:00
Prelude to the Resource Wars, China also apparently has the lion's share of rare earth metals too
Siren no Orakio
June 11, 2013, 0:09
Yes-and-no. Once again, it boils back down to 'What will you pay to extract it?'.
Voted Forganthus
June 9, 2013, 12:05
It's like reading Wikipedia. I love reading Wikipedia. And the setting looks great.
June 20, 2013, 1:27
Update: Recovered from the Void
Voted valadaar
July 16, 2014, 8:07
Great details - love this type of post.



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