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Gauss Cannon is a short-ranged rapid-fire Beam weapon well suited to point defense. It can be mounted in turrets and does not require power from a power plant. Gauss Cannon shots inflict one point of damage each over their entire range, but can fire several shots per volley.
A Gauss Cannon is a type of projectile accelerator that uses one or more electromagnetic coils to accelerate a magnetic projectile to high velocity. Gauss Cannon consist of one or more coils arranged along the barrel that are switched in sequence so as to ensure that the projectile is accelerated quickly along the barrel via magnetic forces. Although the damage from a single hit is limited (strength-1 hit), it can fire more rapidly than any other weapon except a railgun, and can even exceed the railgun's rate of fire on more advanced models.
At higher technology levels the Gauss Cannon can fire several shots every 5-second time increment. All shots must be aimed at the same target, but a missile salvo counts as a single "target", so a single Gauss Cannon can destroy several missiles at once. Note that a missile salvo refers to the missiles fired by a single fire control system at one time; if several enemy ships fire simultaneous missile salvos, a Gauss Cannon can only fire at one ship's salvo at a time. If the cannon kills an entire salvo with only some of its shots, the rest of its shots in that time increment are wasted.
Because the Gauss Cannon requires very little power to operate, the required power generation is built into the installation, removing any reliance on separate power reactors.
Gauss Cannons have very low range and low damage output. Thus they are only suited as PD weapon or for fighter vs fighter beam combat. Gauss Cannon ranges are so short (and missiles are so fast) that a cannon will rarely get more than a single, point-blank volley at an incoming missile salvo unless the missiles are of vastly inferior technology. For example, a Level 6 (60,000 km range) Gauss Cannon may have time to fire multiple volleys at a primitive, slow missile, but such a cannon is a late-game technology. Equivalent-tech missiles are usually fast enough to move from beyond the Gauss Cannon's range to impact in a single 5-second time increment. The Gauss Cannon will still get a final, point-blank shot at the volley, but range is irrelevant for this.
There are three key pieces of technology involved in the creation of a Gauss Cannon.
Gauss Cannon Rate of Fire determines how many projectiles can be fired in a 5 second period. A very basic Gauss Cannon has a rate of fire of one but models with a rate of fire of up to six projectiles per 5 second increment are possible.
|Rate of Fire||1||2||3||4||5||6||8|
Gauss Cannon Launch Velocity is the speed at which the gauss round leaves the cannon. A basic Gauss Cannon only has a range of about 10,000 kilometers. With greater launch velocities this can be extended to as much as 60,000 kilometers.
Gauss Cannon Size vs Accuracy allows a trade-off between size of the weapon and accuracy. Smaller versions of the Gauss Cannon are easy to construct but they become progressively less accurate due to fewer and smaller coils. The smallest version, at one twelfth normal size (0.5 HS) has just 8% of normal accuracy.
While the smaller, low accuracy versions of the Gauss Cannon are unlikely to be of much use on board full-size ships, they are useful for fighters that lack any other weapon of comparable size. Even their low chance to hit will eventually cause damage in an extended dogfight and it gives them a lightweight "beam" weapon capable of damaging thin-skinned ships and FACs.
- Gauss Cannons were first introduced in v2.6