Cold Wind is a Sirian Army programme involving the creation of a family of missiles and other weapon systems designed to destroy or disable a large scale armoured offensive.
During 3509, the Sirian Army recognised that it would not necessarily be able to enjoy a numerical or qualitative advantage over enemy forces. Indeed, there was a risk that it might be massively outnumbered or outgunned. Worse yet, the enemy might simply flood their positions with a swarm of drones. Even an ultimately temporary defence might cause a later counterattack to flounder if the forces allocated to that defence were badly mauled. For a nation that historically relied upon aggressive action to win its wars, this posed a serious problem. If they could not weather an enemy attack, then defeat would follow.
As always, they ultimately settled on an aggressive solution: by employing sensors that could see further and better than previous designs, and weapons that could strike fleeting targets deep in the enemy's rear, they could hopefully disrupt hostile reinforcements. In turn, this would rip the heart out of the enemy's offensive. It could also be used to build up a picture of an enemy's order of battle. This formed the basis of SpaceLand Battle's defensive doctrine, whilst Cold Wind focused on the hardware side of the equation. Cold Wind would see its combat debut at the same time as SpaceLand Battle, during the Essllean War.
The small missiles in the Cold Wind family are designed to be carried by as many different vehicles as possible. They are also compact to allow (for example) aircraft to carry as many missiles as possible. They are designed to attempt to strike common weak points of armoured vehicles.
Since the missiles are so small, they're designed to be launched in swarms of 10 or more missiles rather than one by one like bigger missiles. They can either be cued on to a target by friendly units' datalinks or onboard seekers.
The largest missiles in the family are roughly as large as tactical ballistic missiles and are intended to carry cluster anti-armour munitions or regular high explosive warheads. In terms of the former payload, they use submunitions. These slowly descend over a battlefield, spinning rapidly whilst scanning the area - if they detect a target they fire at its top armour or other common weak points (such as wheels or tracks) to attempt to destroy/disable it. Although the missiles carry high payloads, they require special launchers to carry them.
Aside from the munitions, the Cold Wind programme has also given rise to the LQ-84 Reconnaissance-Strike Drone. This drone acts as a forward observer, flying into enemy territory to observe the enemy and transmitting targeting data to friendly forces. It may also act in a more traditional scouting role, gathering as much data as it can on hostile units. It is completely unarmed, however.
- AG-44 Firebug: The smallest member of the missile family. They are actually converted rockets with bolt-on sensors and moveable fins added. Despite having the air to ground missile designator, it can be mounted to and fired by land and sea based systems.
- AG-65 Attur: A larger member of the family. These are more sophisticated. Consisting of the missile body, a multi-mode warhead, motor, folding wings and fins, it can be deployed to attack high value armoured units either on the frontline or – if fired from an artillery piece or other long range system – deep behind enemy lines. It loiters above the battlefield and attempts to determine high value targets. It may do so either by a low cost LADAR seeker or the use of directional microphones. Once it detects a valid target, it attempts to strike the target from above. Because they are larger, fewer missiles can be carried. The multi-mode warhead is one of its more peculiar features, being capable of being configured as a long rod penetrator, an aerostable slug, or as fragments based on how tough the target is. Like the Firebug, it can also be carried and fired by land and sea based weapons.
- GG-31 Scalpel: The largest missile in the family. Akin to a tactical ballistic missile, it may carry cluster munitions, Firebugs or Atturs, or merely a large high explosive warhead. It uses a converted Ebelsi chassis to transport and launch it. It may be used to crater or disable landing areas, destroy armoured formations, or other such tasks. However, the missile may carry out unpredictable manoeuvres during the cruise and terminal phases of flight to defeat enemy air defences.
- SLAM: The Smart Linked Autonomous Mine, or SLAM, is a type of smart mine that can be scattered by artillery, aircraft, and vehicles. Consisting of seismic (alternatively gravitational) and acoustic sensors, a motorised “base plate”, and a sub-munition discharger, the mine detects and tracks units near its position. If a suitable target enters its range, it turns to face them and elevates the sub-munition to the correct launch angle. It then fires the submunition, which immediately starts scanning the area with an IR sensor. If it manages to detect the target, it tries to attack its top armour. A number of smaller fragments are also created by the detonation. In order to minimise the chances of it landing upside down, it is weighted in such a way that it tends to roll right side up. It may also be set to self-destruct after a certain number of days or if the internal battery charge depletes, whichever comes first.