The Blades of the Prince have just released new details about the next line of their famed Hover Tanks. Meant to replace the older Hover Tank A-3, the new Hover Tank B-1 is a departure from the former design philosophy of direct battlefield awareness embodied by the extensive use of transparisteel in the A-3. The B-1 addresses several flaws that became apparent after extensive use and testing, instead focusing on mobility, sensor strength, and flexible turret positioning.
Blades Engineers explained that the A-3's total redesign was necessary, as the current main tank was limited in its upgrade potential. Dai-Los Naiad Bernard, redesign program executive officer for Infantry Combat Systems, told the Black Sun News Network, "A lot of theoretical model building went into the B-1. It wasn't enough to simply fix problems; we needed a ground up evolution." For example, the A-3's taller profile and unbalanced turret increased the risk of dangerous rocking and even flipping in extreme conditions. However, the vertical central gunner design had a finite number of suitable adaptations. Instead, the B-1's lower profile and wider base was created, proving far more stable at high speeds.
While the Hover Tank was never meant to serve as the tip of an armoured spearhead, relying on speed and maneuverability instead of heavy plating, the new B-1 will feature much less transparisteel. An impressive array of battlefield sensors have been incorporated into the hull in order to maintain the tank's battlefield awareness. The main turret also features the ability to raise or lower, dependent upon combat needs, still allowing for 360 degree rotation and the ability to move in one direction while shooting in another. With these changes, designers were able to move away from the need for an exposed gunner pod on the turret, which will now be controlled from a protected internal station.
The Blades have not released any further details about what other modifications may have been made, however they allowed a news team to witness a demonstration of the tank's ability to traverse a grueling obstacle course. Several members of the Family Council were in attendance and security was understandably tight. While we were not allowed to record the demonstration, the Ministry of Interior was generous enough to provide us with several internal images of the B-1 suitable for public viewing.
"The initial production run of B-1 squads were given to Emperor Guinar Ndengin on the fifth anniversary of his ascension, as a sign of friendship. Limited release sales will continue for the Hover Tank A-3." Dai-Los Bernard further stated that additional testing for the B-1 variant will occur in Year 18, "Our remaining testing has a focus on the improvements made to advanced sensor data links. If testing goes as planned, we can expect to see the widespread retirement of A-3 tanks by Year 19 and the fielding of B-1s by Year 20."