Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
The Gnerl was the last trans-atmospheric fighter used by the Zentraedi Legion. It's described as a fast trans-atmospheric fighters with an egg-shaped nose housing a powerful cannon installation and three thrusters at the back. The hull also accommodated three double dual-purpose missile launchers nested between the engines. The shipborne fighters had landing skids and small VTOL thrusters, enough to let the mecha land on a planet if required. However the margin for error was small during these operations. The planetary model had a more extensive VTOL setup, enough to let the fighter make a safe landing even if two of the thrusters were not operational. The redundancy was necessary because they relied on body lift and thus had no wings as such, which made for high stalling velocities and extensive use of the VTOL thrusters.
Compared to contemporary human designs (mainly the VF-1 Valkyrie) the Gnerl were faster, had a better thrust/weight ratio, and carried a far more lethal cannon armament (especially in space). The maneuverability in an atmosphere was acceptable, and was considered satisfactory in space. The missile armament was larger in numbers than that of the standard Valkyrie, but even though several Whernid Awhaug missile variants existed, not nearly as varied and capable as the external loads that could be carried by the Terran mecha. Hence, the shipborne Gnerl is perhaps best characterized as an interceptor with secondary attack capabilities, and the third model as a mediocre attack fighter, while the human mecha were more true swing-role designs.
The armor of the Gnerl is composed of an advanced titanium-steel alloy. The armor stops all small arms and heavy infantry weapons fire, provides reasonable resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round, and poor resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie's 55mm APFSDS round.
The Gnerl provides full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using an fully enclosed cockpit environment. The internal consumables supplies can provide atmosphere for four days maximum, and the pilot can pack sufficient food and water containers for that period, although the cockpit will be somewhat cramped.
Three models of the Gnerl were built, of which the first two were identical in all but the cannon armament. The first model carried three identical particle beam cannons, the second model carried two of these cannons plus a burst-fire pulsed particle cannon. The latter version was intended as a ship/ground attack variant, and therefore carried a weapon (the pulsed particle beam) that could hand out larger amounts of damage in a small area in a shorter time than the other model could. This came at the price of a somewhat less effective air-to-air cannon armament.
These two models were carried on board Zentraedi warships and as such had simple landing skids and a limited VTOL installation, relying instead on equipment in the ships themselves to position themselves for launch. The third model had wheels rather than skids and a more robust VTOL system, and was intended to operate from ground-side airfields. It had the cannon armament of the attack model, and two (seldom used) hardpoints for ten more medium missiles.