POLAR Bombardment Missile:

Although the Fasthawk Cruise Missile was a magnificent weapon it was also a big weapon, completely filling a entire long VLS cell. And although it was a very destructive weapon, it] was still rather inflexible. In 2011 the Navy decided that it needed a weapon which would fall in-between Gunfire support and Cruise Missile strikes. This weapon would have to be able to be carried in large numbers, carry a large payload, and be considerably cheaper than the Fasthawk.

Enter Lockheed Martin`s POLAR (Precision Over-the-horizon Land Attack Rocket). POLAR was a private venture by Lockheed Martin, designed to increase land attack capabilities in littoral warfare. It was exactly what was needed, and was quickly added to the armories of navies all around the world.

POLAR was actually a derivative of LockMart`s Guided Multiple Launcher Rocket System (GMRLS), a missile system already in use by several western armies. The major changes to the GMRLS system was the addition of a longer rocket engine, which gave the missile a maximum range of 105 sea miles. In order to keep the missile short enough to fit into a tactical VLS cell, the warhead was made smaller, now carrying 404 cluster bomblets. The diameter of the original GMRLS missile was not changed, as it was already small enough that the missile could be quad-packed into a single VLS cell. Considering that it carried a warhead similar to a long range missiles but could be quad-packed, this made the POLAR very attractive to the military.

Polar was found to be a very useful tool when volume fire against enemy assets was needed. It was not as responsive as cannons, which were very useful for fire support during engagements, nor was it as powerful and fast as a Fasthawk, but it delivered ordnance further than cannons, in a large volume, and it had better response time (and lower costs) than the Fasthawk missiles.

Over the years the basic POLAR round underwent several upgrades to keep it up-to-date with the changing times. Warheads were improved, better guidance was fitted, and range was improved. What will be discussed further is the last version of the POLAR round, as available to the Royal Navy from 2070 on.

Guidance was provided by a Inertial Measurement Unit which was updated by a GPS system. In order to combat GPS jamming in the terminal phase of the flight of the missile, a mono-pulse radar was used to make a snapshot of the target area. Using this snapshot final flight adjustments were made to the flight path, and warhead release was optimized. The rocket`s trajectory was altered by four small canard fins attached to the nose-mounted guidance package.

Standard warheads for the POLAR consisted of three choices. A Cluster munitions warhead, containing some 404 bomblets which could cover a 100 feet area with bomblets. Cluster Munition warheads work by dispersing numerous sub-munitions. Each sub-munition is a small grenade-like bomblet. These bomblets impact all over the target area causing massive amounts of damage. These are used against runways, highways, bridges, and sometimes large fuel tanks. If used against a runway, highway or bridge, the bombs will crater the entire target area. This will cause a runway to become unusable and highways and bridges to be very dangerous to traverse.

Four Top Attack Anti-Armor munitions, which are very effective against armored vehicles. The Top-attack anti-armor rounds are designed to strike armored vehicles from above, where they are most vulnerable. They do this by delivering what is known as an explosively-formed-projectile or EFP. The dispersed rounds float over the battlefield on parachutes, and when they sense a target it aims itself, an blows up. The force of the explosion shapes a plate of steel into a solid penetrator. The EFPs travel at velocities in excess of 6,560 ft/s (2,000 m/s) and are usually capable of punching through the relatively thin upper armor of many vehicles. These munitions are also sometimes used against underground bunkers and fuel storage. Last was a unitary plasma warhead which was very powerful, but always in short supply.

POLAR is NOT a Smart missile.

POLAR has a penalty of -3 to hit for targets moving at up to 18.6 mph (30 kph / 16.2 knots), has a penalty of -6 against targets moving greater than that but less than 37.3 mph (60 kph / 32.3 knots), and above that speed targets are too fast to be hit. The missile is mostly ballistic and has a very limited capability for maneuvering.

WarheadMega-DamageBlast Radius
[1]Cluster6D65 ft (1.5 m)
[2]Top-attack Anti-armor2D6x105 ft (1.5 m)
[3]Plasma6D6x1040 ft (12 m)

[1]This warhead disperses some 404 bomblets over a area 100 feet wide, ensuring that everything in that area is hit by at least one bomblet.
[2] POLAR carries Four Top Attack rounds. The warhead will penetrate the armor if the damage done equals or exceeds 30% of the (remaining) armor of the area being attacked. If the warhead penetrates, all targets inside, including equipment, take one-third inflicted damage. Note that locations such as magazines and engineering are often behind additional armor.

M.D.C.: 20
Missile Speed (Ballistic Flight): 1,602 knots (1,850 mph / 2,967 kph).
Maximum Effective Range: 120 nautical miles (138.6 miles / 222.3 km)
Weight: 1,652 lbs. (750 kg).
Missile Length: 13 ft. 4 in (4 m).
Missile Diameter: 10 in (25 cm).
Missile Cost: 60,000 (Cluster warhead) / 87,000 (Top Attack) / 115,000 (Plasma).

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Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa ).

Copyright © 2002, Mischa. All rights reserved.

Thanks to Kitsune and Chris Curtis, who created many of the concepts used herein.