OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
- Intent: To update and diversify an older piece of technology
- Image Source: N/A
- Canon Link: Hydrostatic Bubble, Hydrostatic Field
- Restricted Missions: N/A
- Primary Source: Shield-class Cruiser
- Manufacturer: Galactic Alliance
- Model: Aias Shield Array System
- Affiliation: Galactic Alliance, Closed-Market (With GA Approval)
- Modularity: No
- Production: Minor Production
- Material: Durasteel, Plasma, Transparisteel, various electrical components
- Multiple shield bubbles can be combined to create a larger bubble.
- Unrivaled Durability: Once activated, the Aias Shield provides a large energy shield that extends in a sphere around the ship, relative to the size of the ship generating the field (With a diameter roughly four to five times the longest dimension of the ship). This shield has immense durability, again relative to ship size though greater than that of the individual ship, that can easily eclipse the durability of a much larger ship's shield. Additional power can be shunted to the array for even more durability.
- Hand in Hand: Multiple Aias Shield bubbles can be merged to create a larger field.
- Immense Power Draw: Because of the immense power draw necessary to operate the array, any ship which activates the array loses, at minimum, four Armament ratings (So a ship with a Moderate armament would be forced to None for the duration of use.) If a ship does not have sufficient offensive power to divert, one Speed and one Maneuverability ratings may be sacrificed in place of one Armament rating. Additional ratings can be sacrificed for addition durability, but remain lost for the duration of the shield's activation. If a ship is reduced to an Armament rating of None, weapons do not recharge for the duration of the shield's use. Additionally, any single weapon system worth more than twenty turbolasers, or similar equivalency, is off-lined regardless of remaining Armament rating. Hyperdrive systems cannot be activated for a full minute after the shield is deactivated.
- One or the Other: While the Aias Shield Array is active, any other active shield generator on the ship must be brought off-line.
- Time: It takes roughly thirty seconds for the array to power up and activate, although any ship system affected by its power draw loses that power immediately. The reverse is true as well; once the array is brought offline or disabled, it takes roughly thirty seconds for power to be restored to affected systems.
- Double-Edged Sword: Although the shield stops attacks from the outside, it also makes it impossible to fire from within the shield bubble to the outside.
- Window Left Open: Although the shield's durability is immense across the forward half, it's durability is significantly less across the rear half. As well, craft and physical munitions can pass through the rear half without any harm or effect. Even if two ships join shields and face opposite directions, the shield will have one half weaker and vulnerable to physical munitions.
- Nothing Lasts Forever: No matter how much power is diverted to the Aias array, it will eventually fail under sustained enemy asssault, often with catastrophic results for any ship generating the shield.
With a need to revitalize research and development across the board, one of the highlighted concerns was survivability onboard starships. Carriers in particular were noted as being vulnerable while launching or recieving starfighters. Numerous battles showed a direct need for something to withstand tremendous assaults. For a time, the old Protectorate Shield-class Cruiser was the only solution to this concern. There were numerous problems that made this an untenable arrangement. For one, the shield generated by the ship was of a fixed size. As well it only extended across the forward half, leaving a very wide area of attack open for exploitation. In addition, as ship design pushed for the creation of larger, and more powerful ships and weapons, the shield provided by the cruiser was simply incapable of meeting the rising powers. A solution would be required.
It took several years of dedicated research and development, but PROJECT AIAS finally yielded the results the Alliance was looking for. Taking the same inspiration that was used in the original development of the Shield-class' umbrella shield, namely the hydrostatic bubbles used by the Gungans on Naboo, Galactic Alliance engineers managed to create a more powerful, dynamic shield system that addressed several concerns inherent to the original design. First, the resultant shield is a complete bubble, unlike the umbrella shape created by the Shield-class. As well, the field can be expanded with additional power or the presence of other Aias-generating ships. The refined nature of the system, coupled with the dynamic capability of power diversion, meant that a defensive shield several times larger and stronger than the Shield-class' umbrella shield could be generated.
Unfortunately, there were still a few design flaws and choices that could not be overcome. To begin with, much like the Gungan bubbles, the nature of the field is to allow physical entry. For Gungans, the issue was largely mitigated by only requiring a dome to cover their underwater cities. As well, they could focus permeability to selected regions by the design of their cities. Neither of these were applicable for the Alliance. In the end, the best that could be done was ensure that the forward half of the shield retained the full defensive totality they sought. This did mean that the rear half of the shield sphere was not nearly as strong as the forward half. As well, although it would still stop energy weapons, the nature of the field could no longer be denied and physical passage by craft or munitions became possible.
As well, the system takes time to charge and activate, as well as deactive. However, power had to be commited to the system to charge it, and took time to return to the original systems. Any shield generator on the ship had to be brought offline in order to generate a stable Aias field, even the likes of particle shields or anti-concussion field generators. While shield bubbles can be combined, the nature of the inverse square law means that while there is no literal limit, a practical limit exists to the number of ships that can join their shields as more ships must be added for diminishing returns. For some reason the engineers were never able to solve, the Aias field disrupts any attempts at making a hyperspace jump within the shield, though the effect quickly clears after the field is deactivated. For all their improvements to the system, the shield is not unbreakable. Never the less, it was considered an entirely successful improvement and the system was pushed for production in Alliance ships.
Edited by Mathieu Bahreiko, 19 January 2018 - 04:34 PM.