Sentry Guns

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by Madin Jackson

These are automated, heavy weapons, typically used as a perimeter, defense system. The weapon’s average weight is around 25kg and can be assembled within 10 turns. The robotic weapon is mounted to a snap-open tripod, which includes an integrated modified Motion Detection Sensor, optical enhancements and servos for aiming and firing the weapon, as well as preventing recoil. A separate Control Module, weighing 1kg is used to program, activate and deactivate the weapon and can be operated up to half a kilometer away. The weapon is programmed to cover a given area, ranging from a 60 degree cone to all-around fire and out to 30 meters (the maximum range of the Sensor Suite). Once activated, it automatically tracks and fires at any target which enters its perimeter. It can fire up to 4 times, per turn.

Once the unit is placed into position, it may be specifically set to monitor targets in infrared or optical, depending on the profile of the target. In particular, targets with thermal or visual profiles, respectively. For the most comprehensive, target profile, the Sentry Gun will be set for multi-spectral mode. Here, data is transmitted from the Sentry’s sensor suite (infrared, optical and motion) and is then cross-correlated by system software. If the Sentry Gun is set for autoremote, all targets within the range of the of the 60 degree sensor cone will be targeted.

To prevent the possibility of casualties by means of ‘friendly fire’, Sentry Guns can be equipped to identify specific Identification – Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders. When a target enters a Sentry Gun’s sensor range, the Sentry Gun will trigger IFF detection, through a coded, radio signal. If the Sentry Gun’s reads are positive, the target will be free to pass; otherwise, the weapon will open fire.

In ‘semi-automatic’ mode, a target’s profile will be relayed back to the Control Module. Here, the system operator will choose whether or not to fire.

The Sentry Gun’s sensor suite is mounted above the barrel of the weapon and is aligned to cover a 60 degree cone in front of the weapon. This sensor suite consists of a cooled, infrared detector, ambient light optics, an ultrasonic motion tracker and a lidar.

If a target’s visual or thermal profile is known, the system may be set to just monitor these, specific targets, using infrared or optical. However, the system is usually set to multi-spectral mode, where the Sentry Gun’s software cross-correlates received data from the different sensors to obtain a full, target profile.

Sentry Guns come in three types: Machine Gun, Heavy Laser and Grenade Launcher.

  • The Heavy Laser comes equipped with a Type 1 Parabattery, and can fire up to 50 shots before it is depleted. A Parabattery is covered in the Alpha Dawn rulebook.
  • The Machine Gun version is lighter and carries enough ammunition, in a specialized drum, for 50 bursts. The MachineDrum costs 200Cr and weighs 5kg.
  • The Grenade Launcher is the lightest and smallest of all the Sentry Guns, and has the smallest ammo capacity, usually consisting of fragmentation or incendiary grenades (though tangler and doze grenades are not unheard of when interrogation of captured intruders is desired). A cylinder of preloaded grenades costs 500Cr and weighs 8kg.

All types are used to secure perimeters against nonintelligent lifeforms, as well as armed assaults. Sentry Guns are not normally employed in civilized areas, due to the danger to non-combatants. Only military and corporate sponsored mercenaries may legally use a Sentry Gun. Only Characters with an appropriate weapon skill, as well as the Computer skill can operate a Sentry Gun.

The Attack score of the Sentry Gun is 50%, plus 10% per level of the operator’s Computer skill. If encountered in an area where you the person who placed/programmed it is unknown, assume a level 2 skill (70% chance to hit).

Editor’s Note: It should be possible to use the Sentry Gun like a normal heavy weapon according to standard skill rules if someone wants to bypass (switch-off) the automated sensing and firing controls. Of course, the Referee has the final say.