XF-309 “Pigeon” and XF-310 “Spider”
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.
Intended target: Irregular TL6-7 infantry, who hide and maneuver in caves, urban areas, and among civilians, making it difficult to find and identify them in time to destroy them.
“Pigeons” are deployed in swarms on the order of 10-50,000, which fly around a target zone, look, network with each other and with behind-the-lines fire control; and when they’re assigned a target, go and explode themselves at it. (The “Spider” variant scurries where “Pigeons” can’t fly.)
These drones are built using GURPS 3ed. rules from GURPS Vehicles, GURPS Robots, and GURPS Ultra-Tech 1 and 2.
The warhead yields can be, and often are, downgraded significantly, in order to minimize collateral damage. Careful selection of lethal radius, and with the guidance of a skilled pilot at the forward base, can allow, for example, for one ground-car to be destroyed without harming those nearby—or even for the passenger to be killed without killing the driver.
These drones have also been made available in smaller quantities to law enforcement for use in specialized situations where direct approach by officers is contraindicated.
- One ‘Flock’ is 10,000. Standard deployment is 1-5 flocks, thus cost is a factor. Target: $5k each.
- ‘Pigeon’ flies and can hover. Target endurance: 6 hours. ‘Spiders’ crawl where ‘pigeons’ can’t fly.
- Sees, even without sensor module. Target: LLTV or better.
- Networks with other members of flock.
- On command, flies to and explodes at target.
When possible, before deploying Pigeons, artillery should be used to clear the area of opposing artillery, MBTs, and radio jammers. The latter can also be located by certain sensor modules, the data communicated by lasercomms, directing Pigeons to target such jammers.
|Body||Drive||See Drive Options (one required for use)|
|Electronics||Radio, short range (10 mi)||25||0.005||50|
|Computer||Small, Robot, C2||2||0.005||1000|
|Program: Computer Navigation, C2||500|
|Tiny, Dedicated, C1||0.25||0.005||40|
|Program: Datalink, C1||400|
|Internal Battery: Rechargeable Power Cell, 20,000 kW||2.2||0.022||220|
|Modular Socket A||3||0.06||30|
|Modular Socket B||3||0.06||30|
|Structure||Streamlining: Good; Strength: Super-light; Materials: Std; Struct: Robotic. Cheaply made. 1HP||1.46||548|
|Surface||Armor: Metal, Advanced, DR1||0.548||0.001||11|
|Liquid Crystal Skin||0.731||146|
The common chassis contains basic functionality, except for being able to move. There are two drive options, the “Pigeon” and the “Spider”, as shown below. One option must be selected for each drone, at the time of manufacture.
|Description||Mass (lbs)||Vol (cu ft)||Price ($)|
|“Pigeon”||MMR Helicopter Drivetrain, 1.67 kW, lift 20 lbs, thrust 2.67 lbs||5.5||0.11||137|
|Multiple Main Rotor (MMR), folding, 1HP||0.366||110|
|“Spider”||Legged Drivetrain, 0.1 kW (0.017 kW per leg)||6||0.12||300|
|Legs×6, Improved Suspension|
With either drive system, these drones have Size Modifier –2, Health 11, Body ST 2, DX 9, and IQ 5.
“Pigeon” configuration: Stall Speed 0, Drag 1.22, Top Speed 130 mph, Accel 3 mph/s, Maneuver Rating 12g, Stability Rating 3, Decel 50 mph/s, Endurance 7h50m, Maintenance Interval 179h.
“Spider” configuration: Speed Factor 13, Top Speed 40 mph, gAccel 10 mph/s, gDecel 20 mph/s, gMR 1.75, gSR 4, ground Pressure 92.9 lbs/sf, Off Road Speed 40 mph, Operating Duration 5d16h of movement. (Nearly indefinite when standing still.)
Size comparison: Take a dozen US-standard bricks (7"×3.5"×2.25"), and stack them on top of each other. From top to bottom, that’s roughly the size of the drone, nose-to-tail.
These modules are all 3 lbs mass, 0.06 cu ft volume, for fitting in Modular Sockets A and B. Load-outs are per drone per mission, and can, with proper support (e.g., some number of drones being equipped with the Robot Arm module), be changed during deployment.
Gas modules allow chassis recovery/reuse; explosives modules usually cause chassis destruction.
|HEDP||Default module for Module Socket B
91mm, normal. Configured as self-destruct. Damage 6d×25(5) [6d]
0-120 yds: 4d concussive + 4d frag.
120-240 yds: 1d + 1d
|Blackout Gas||Radius 39 yds||1560|
|Tear Gas||Radius 39 yds||310|
|Riot Gas||Radius 39 yds||1060|
|Sleep Gas||Radius 39 yds||2560|
|Nerve Gas||Radius 39 yds||2560|
A wide range of modules are available for information-gathering and control.
|Battery||Default module for Module Socket A
TL8 Rechargeable Power Cell, 27,272.7 kWs
|PESA||Range 0.75 mile||12000|
|Thermograph||Range 1.5 mile||6000|
|LADAR||Range 0.75 mile, 0.375kW||3750|
|RADAR||Passive, Range 1.5 mile||9000|
|RADAR||Range 1.5 mile, 0.375kW||1500|
|RADAR||Low-Res imaging, range 0.75 mile, 0.375kW||3750|
|RADAR||High-Res imaging, range 53 yds, 0.375kW||3000|
|Sound Detect||Surveillance, Level 15||15000|
|Laser Chemscan||Range 750 yds||1500|
|Visual Sensor||Robot, Night Vision, 360°||7100|
|Laser Optics Det.||Range 3.75 mile||3750|
|Radiation Sensor||Basic Sensor + RADAR/Laser Detector||100|
|Radio Dir Finder||Receive-only, range 10 mile|
|Laser Comm||Range 20 mile|
|Robot Arm||ST 10, retractable, 0.05 kW. Use to change modules mid-flight in other Pigeons/Spiders.||6000|