by Max Barry

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Equipment of the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth

Equipment of the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth
Please note that the below list is far from complete and the Armed Forces use countless more weapons platforms. The ones described below are usually the latest advancements in their respective fields.

Part 1. Ground Forces

Infantry Weapons.

The modernised version of the legendary Liessen P08, this hand-crafted handgun is a time-tested beast in a modern polymer shell. The P09, released in 2009, was noted numerous times for its superb accuracy, ergonomic design and stellar looks. The weapon's magazine holds 8 (10 in an upgraded version) 9x19 rounds with a muzzle velocity in excess of 390m/s and an effective firing range of around 55 meters.

The P08-P09 family has been the standard-issue sidearm of Arwindom's Armed Forces, law enforcement and special services for over 70 years now. Even though the P09's leadership has been compromised by the appearance of the SSP described in detail below it still remains in favourable terms with a large portion of the army and is widely in use by law enforcement and special units.

Above - Compact version of the SSP

The Standart Service Pistol is a semi-automatic pistol with a mechanically locked breech using the short recoil method of operation. This system has a large rectangular lug over the barrel’s chamber that rides into and engages the ejection port cut-out in the slide. When a cartridge is fired, pressures generated by the ignited powder drive the cartridge casing back against the breech face on the slide, driving back both the barrel and slide as they remain locked together in the manner described above. Even though the SSP is hardly the first time such a system has been used in a handgun, the quality of manufacturing in Wehmer-Hallts and the use of light materials such as polymer ensures that the pistol's performance is unmatched by its contemporaries.

One of the most significant features of the SSP is the mechanical recoil reduction system. Designed primarily to buffer the slide and barrel and reduce recoil effects on the pistol components, the system also lowers the recoil forces felt by the shooter up to 30%. This enables the SSP's users to enjoy unprecedented accuracy and ease of operation.

It is for these reasons and for its huge customization and modernization potential (such as the compact model seen above) that the SSP has found its way into so many holsters of machine-gunners, officers, pilots and tank crews. The SSP has conquered not only the hearts in the Armed Forces, however. Its compact version is the weapon of choice for many NIS (National Intelligence Service) agents and law enforcement officials.

The R7 is manufactured by one of the Commonwealth's largest weapon manufacturers, Hellendorf Arms, and was first revealed in 2009. It has been announced at the end of last year that an upgraded version of the rifle is being developed to replace or supplement the R7 at some point in the early 2020s.

The gas-operated R7's firing mechanism uses a rotating bolt which is encased in a plastic receiver. It is designed to be able to be field stripped and repaired with ease, as well as utilize as many interchangeable parts from other weapons as possible. The R7 can operate as an MBR, a CQB carbine or a sharpshooter rifle depending on the choice of barrel assembly. The rifle utilizes the 5,56x45 cartridge, the main cartridge of the Armed Forces. The R7's features are similar to the features of most modern MBR's and include a side folding stock, Picatinny mounts for optics and an under-barrel grenade launcher, plus air vents for cooling along the length of its foregrip. The new rifle quite well-received by the soldiers and is truly a pride of the Commonwealth arms industry.

The HMG12 is the Armed Forces' main heavy machine gun, firing 12.7 cartridges to distances of up to 2,100m at a rate of fire of 300 rounds per minute. It is currently replacing the ageing HMG87 in active service and most frontline units are already equipped with this model.
It is a fairly delicate weapon, but this is compensated by its deadly accuracy, high projectile speed and ease of use. The weapon weighs just 15kg because of the use of plastic, carbon as well as of other lightweight compounds. Its tripod weights a bit heavier at 19kg, but this still allows for the gun to be carried by just two people (a standard HMG team includes three).
The "Strafer" is also mounted on vehicles such as jeeps, troop carriers and tanks. It is worth noting that an experimental anti-aircraft version of the weapon is being developed with twin barrels which double the firing rate as well as laser target- and range- finders. This version would enable the gun to be used against helicopters, drones or low-flying aircraft.

The HGR12 is a near copy of the HMG12 except for the fact that it fires 25mm grenades which explode on contact. This version is much more refined than the new machine gun and all the grenade launchers in the Ground Forces are of this model. The grenade launcher version is a bit lighter than the machine gun weighing in at 14.2kg. The weapon is praised by the soldiers by being "exactly, what they needed" - compact, versatile and extremely accurate and deadly gun.

The MG04 in use by Arwindomian Paratroopers

Yet another timeless classic from Arland Arsenals, this medium machine gun with an unmatched firing rate of 1,400 RMP has been spotted being used in all of Arwindom's recent conflicts. The MG04 is a modern redesign of the MG53, which took the tested internals of the old gun and coated them in a lightweight, but sturdy shell of polymer and steel alloys. An important change was also the replacement of the original steel bolt which was prone to malfunctioning and breaking down with a titanium one, which, although at an increased cost, led to the gun becoming even more reliable.

In addition to its traditional infantry support MMG role, the gun is also mounted on numerous vehicles and on tripods as a stationary heavy machine gun, although it has been partially replaced by the HMG12 "Strafer" in this role.

The Markensen RPG has been around for quite a while and there is no indication that it will be going away anytime soon. Created in 1978 by Helmut Markensen, the weapon is currently in its 4+ generation. Combining a classic battle-proven design with modern electronics and materials proves deadly and the enemies of the Commonwealth have numerous times learned that the hard way. Its finest hour came during the rebellion of 1999 when Arwinden AT teams almost completely wiped out the decent-sized Kornen armoured corps within just 3 days almost solely using Markensens to ambush the retreating panzer columns.

Armoured Units

The HT-16 is the latest and greatest tank ever to roll out of the gates of the famous Herschel Works. Designed in 2014 and first rolled out in 2016 after extensive testing it was accepted into the Armed Forces and is now gradually phasing out older designs still in use. The "Henry", as the tankers of Arwindom affectionately call it, makes heavy use of advancements in compound materials, reactive armour, projectile guidance systems, drive-by-wire technology and communications to create a, to say the least, forbiddable weapons platform capable of packing quite a punch. Armed with a 125-mm smoothbore cannon capable of firing guided missiles as well as two remote-controlled machine guns to throw off that infantry the HT-16 will most likely stay as the Commonwealth's MBT for years to come.

First unveiled in 2003, this 8x8 wheeled APC is capable of operating even in the most demanding battlefield conditions while carrying 8 troopers or up to 9t of cargo in its rear compartment. The APC's full-drive wheels allow making it less costly than a full tracked vehicle while still being able to keep up with HT-16 tanks while its 25-mm autocannon coupled with turret-mounted AT missile launchers and two 7,62 machine guns provide a solid amount of fire support. The vehicle can also be equipped with reactive armour to enhance its protection and survivability.

The "Spider" is a new generation Infantry Mobility Vehicles which is designed for optimal operation in and outside of combat zones. While its outside hardware has definitely improved over older types of IMV's (example being its ability to refuel not just from diesel but also from nearly all types of combustible fuels) its main improvements were made over in the electronics and software department. It now features complete integration with all allied vehicles operating together with it, with data from sensors from one vehicle being shared immediately across all vehicles in a unit. The UI has also had an overhaul to make it easier to use for its operators who now require significantly less training than those on similar platforms of older generations.

The "Spider" reaches its peak performance when operating together with "Skirmisher" and "Sentry" vehicles as they were designed to supplement each other and form one single package.

The "Spider" can be used in many different versions. It can be deployed as an Armored Patrol Vehicle, Tactical Communication Node, or a Surveillance, Acquisition, Intelligence, Acknowledgment (SAIA) Platform.

Unlike its other two siblings, the "Spider" deliveries have already been nearly completed and it is now seeing integration in almost all units of the Ground Forces.

The "Skirmisher" platform is capable of filling a wide spectrum of missions, including, well, skirmishing. However, it was designed primarily with humans in mind and as such encorporates many crew comfort- and ergonomic- oriented features such as an (actually working) air conditioning system, configurable internals for space optimization, wide unobstructed observation fields and numerous other small improvements with the ultimate goal being to allow users to achieve their mission under optimum conditions. Multiple versions, such as: Troop Transport, Command Post, Mobile Medical Post, Artillery Observation Vehicle and many more will be developed.

The Skirmisher reaches its peak performance when operating together with "Spider" and "Sentry" vehicles.

The "Sentry" Armored Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle (EBRC) is planned to replace the AAPC as the Ground Forces' main armoured fighting vehicle.

Its main purposes are escorting convoys, patrolling dangerous areas and engaging enemy troops in the first stages of an engagement. While its composite armour easily protects it from RPG's, explosives, small arms and light cannon fire it is not guaranteed to hold against heavy weapons such as tank cannons or anti-tank missiles. As such, by the time heavy enemy units and armour arrive to an ongoing engagement, the "Sentry" will be long gone and will instead be replaced by the "Henry" MBT's.

The "Sentry" is invaluable during urban combat as it's wide array of sensors, scanners, machine guns, missile launchers and its autocannon provide full coverage of threats at ground level and in the windows and on the roofs of nearby buildings.

It is equipped with a threat detection system including an acoustic detonation tracking system, a laser warning detector and a missile launch detector which automatically transmits data from its sensors to nearby vehicles as well as the local HQ which allows for full tactical awareness at all command levels.

Part 2. Commowealth Royal Aerospace Force

The pride of the entire Commonwealth and the symbol of its unchallenged power, the "double-A S F" or "Spirit", as it's often called embodies all the best things about this nation. Without a doubt the most advanced piece of equipment that ever came out of Arwindom's factories, this bird is ready to take on any challenge, be that assaulting a fortified position, participating in search & rescue operations, escorting a transport formation or intercepting hostile aircraft.
Built as an air supremacy fighter with a ground assault function, the grey flying wing is armed with multiple kinds of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, electronic jamming equipment, an advanced radar surveillance unit, and, if the heat really hits the fan, two 20-mm rotary cannons, this fighter doesn't like to be messed with. Work on the Perspective Fighter Project commenced in the early 2010s and the first prototype was rolled out in 2017.

Some statistics: length - 14m; wingspan - 13,5m; operational range - 1,050km (estimated); service ceiling - 14,300m; empty weight - 10t; max. takeoff weight - 29t; max. speed - Mach 1.8 (at altitude); external payload - 2000kg, internal payload - 5000kg, aerial refuelling capacity, 1 pilot, extreme stealth capabilities, onboard pilot assistance unit, possibility of ejection, takeoff distance - 300m (STOL).

The "Spirit" is not manufactured by one company but is instead a joint collaboration of Arwindom's best aerospatial and military corporations. There is currently an order in place for 350 "Spirits" to be delivered until 2030 to the RAF and the RN, the relatively small number being explained by the rarity of needed materials and the high cost of building and operating an individual unit.

Created by the Hadleigh - based manufacturer Vallentain Aerodynamics, the "Buzz", as the soldiers of the Commonwealth call it, brings cutting-edge technology and rupturing-wall firepower to the aid of Arwindomian grunts. The B124's first prototype was shown on the AeroSpaceExpo2011 in the city of Arland but it has taken a long time since then to get the steel bird up and running due to delays in funding and production.

To suit its main ground-attack purpose the helicopter is armed with a 20-mm rotary cannon capable of firing 760 high explosive and armour-piercing rounds; it also has deployable and stationary missile pylons under its stab wings carrying multiple kinds of anti-armour, precision and short-range anti-air missiles for self-defence. In case of an emergency, the pilots are able to eject from the helicopter as the rotor is meant to shoot off the helicopter when the ejection sequence is initiated. The operational range of the "Dragonfly" is 250km and its maximum speed is considered to be in excess of 300km/h.

Maverick-M of the RAF 17th Airlift Division on takeoff.

The silent workhorse of the RAF, the Maverick-class medium transports are noted for their excellent performance and reliable construction. Despite not being the largest transport aircraft out there, the Mavericks are more than capable of carrying most medium-range missions carrying troops and supplies to faraway places. One of their significant advantages is their ability to land on an unpaved runway or even on a relatively flat field, which, combined with their surprisingly short takeoff and landing distance, enables them to be used in rural or underdeveloped areas and ensures that the RAF is not dependent on large airports.

The Mavericks can do more than just carry cargo, though. They are also used for dropping paratroopers and as gunships. There were even reports of them being used as makeshift bombers when no other planes were available.

Part 3. Commowealth Royal Naval Service
According to the current naval classification, combat ships in service with the High Seas Fleet are referred to as "RNS" which stands for either "Royal Navy Ship" or "Royal Navy Submarine".
Supply ships and tankers are referred to as "RNSS" - "Royal Navy Supply Ship" while various auxiliary ships are referred to as "RNAS" with the "A" standing for "auxiliary".

Embodying the power and the restless spirit of the Commonwealth High Seas Fleet, the Impeccable-class cruisers are armed to the teeth and are ready to defend their homeland's interests should the need arise. Even though the stated classification of the class is a medium cruiser, it is extremely multi-functional and can be used as a destroyer, ASW ship or a guided-missile cruiser. With a displacement of just over 19,000 tonnes, the Impeccable carries an array of 200 anti-ship, anti-land and anti-air missiles, as well as an assortment of torpedoes for engaging enemy submarines and surface combatants. The ship is propelled by nuclear power and as such its cruising capability is only restricted by its 100-day provision supplies.

A contract for 80 ships of the Impeccable class was granted to Harland Naval Works but the number of ships ordered was later reduced to 60. 13 ships of this class are currently in service including the lead ship, the "Impeccable", with 2 more in trials and 6 more in different stages of construction.

Yet another product of the Harlend Works - may we present to you the workhorse of the Arwindom Navy - the Gallant Class Destroyer. First commissioned in 2004, 82 of these amazingly versatile machines are currently serving the Commonwealth by patrolling its waters, defending its shipping and securing its marine trading routes. The four gas turbines each outputting more than 25,000hp enable these ships can reach speeds in excess of 35 knots and travel 8,000km on end.

The highly modifiable platform is widely praised for its ability to suit a variety of needs due to the high variety of weapons and systems carried on each mission. Some of the weapons include a 60-cell missile launcher carrying land attack, ballistic defence, anti-ship and anti-air missiles; a 50-mm autocannon, two quadruple torpedo launchers, two CIWS platforms, a UAV and helicopter hangar and an advanced radar/early warning/electronic warfare system on the mast. As you can see, despite looking like any other typical warship and being of relatively small size the Gallant Class is better-armed than some larger, more conventional destroyers.

If you see a Commonwealth Navy formation passing by, make sure to look at it you will most definitely see at least one of these ships. Restless Class destroyers are the mainstay of the High Seas Fleet, being able to perform a variety of tasks and suit a variety of needs. Armed with a 75-mm autocannon, an 80-cell missile bay and four retracting torpedo launchers for offensive operations these ships are a force to be reckoned with. Their defence suite is no less formidable - two CIWS modules, decoy launchers, interceptor missiles make sure to keep the enemies at bay while two helicopters, an electronic warfare suite and an assortment of both underwater and airborne UAV's make sure that no enemy ever comes close undetected.

There are currently 47 of these ships in service with 3 more currently going through final outfitting to bring the total number up to 50.

Like most frigates—vessels between 2,200 and 5,500 tons—the main missions of Rapid-Class vessels is to look out for threatening ships, aircraft and submarines, as well as escort friendly ships through dangerous waters. The 4,960-ton, 200-m frigate will also be outfitted to handle asymmetric threats such as dangers posed by the likes of terrorist groups, drug cartels, pirates, or smugglers—in short, anyone who is not backed by a state. It will also be able to defend itself against conventional warships with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, light torpedoes, and guns.

One of the distinct features of the vessels are their inverted bows which come with distinct advantages: they reduce both the ships' radar signature and their drag through the water, allowing them to slice through the seas smoothly, and ensures they can hold a speed of up to 27 knots.

The triangular structure on the top which earned the vessel the nickname "Mini-Christmas Tree" (a reference to the Impeccable-class cruisers) is actually a hub for the "Spyglass" fire-control and surveillance radar. It not only indicates what is in the air or on the sea surface within up to 500km but also provides the information a weapons system needs to hit its target.

The Valiant-class is currently the only class of nuclear-powered ballistic-missile carrying submarines within the Royal Naval Service. It is unknown exactly how many submarines of this class exist, however, it can be said without a doubt that right now as you're reading this several of these boats are roaming the depths of North Utopia's oceans armed to ensure that nobody is foolish enough to strike Arwindom and get away with it.

The Valiant class carries 18 long-range ballistic missiles, which may or may not have a nuclear warhead, and like all other nuclear SSBN's its deployment period and operating range is only limited by the amount of crew supplies on board.

The backbone of the Commonwealth's silent service, the Stalker Class attack submarines are tough, fast and deadly. Built around the same hull as the Valiant Class, the two types of submarines share many interchangeable parts. The Stalkers are the first submarines in the Royal Naval Service to be propelled by a pair of water jet engines instead of traditional propellers. This was introduced as another measure towards making the submarine completely invisible to enemy sonars.

The Stalkers, even though they are more than capable of operating alone, usually prefer to fight in "wolfpacks" - groups of 2-4 submarines. The Wolfpack is formed from submarines already at sea and sent to a specific grid sector, where they stop and lay down silent, ready to ambush any unsuspecting enemy vessels. This allows them to be more efficient at detecting hostile traffic as well as making their attacks much more devastating and ensuring that no enemy ship escapes the jaws of death.

SNC-7 "Rossendam" underway in the West Glestonoph Sea

Currently the only type of carriers in service with the High Seas Fleet, the two Rossendam-class ships each displace around 100,000 tonnes and are propelled by NRN-440 nuclear reactors to speeds in excess of 30 knots. They each carry 80 Spirit-type fighters especially modified for carrier operations as well as numerous ASW and reconnaissance warfare helicopters and cargo/electronic warfare aircraft.

With development complete in 2014 and the first ship launched in early 2019, the "Rossendam" and the "Niessen" are the most valuable assets of the High Seas Fleet. The ships are called "Strategic Carriers" according to the official navy naming protocol as they are capable of operating alone or as a group far away from base for extended periods of time. The carriers are usually used to provide air support to troops on the ground, with the "Niessen" currently stationed in Serbatijan empire as part of the Arwindom Expeditionary Corps there currently engaged in peacekeeping operations. A third Rossendam-class carrier, the RNS "Belmont" is currently under construction and delivery is planned for 2026.

The RNS "Rossendam" is the current flagship of the High Seas Fleet. It is the third ship to be named after the capital of the Commonwealth.

Nellenheim-class in its helicopter carrier configuration

The silent workhorse of both the Green and the Blue Fleets, the Nellenheim-class ships are absolutely fantastic in the sense that they can do absolutely everything. Designed to combat the huge amount of different types of vessels previously used as support ships in the Royal Naval Service, the Nellenheim class absorbed all of their different advantages and none of their disadvantages. Despite its relatively modern design and functionality, the Nellenheim-class ships are simple and not-too-expensive to produce and as such a great many of them were built and are available in many roles to carry out any mission assigned to them.

Here is the list of most commonly used configurations in which the N-class can be used:

  • N-HQ: mobile command/headquarters ship

  • N-EW: electronic warfare/reconnaissance/communications ship

  • N-TT: mixed troop transport

  • N-VT: vehicle (tanks, trucks, APC's) transport

  • N-HC: helicopter carrier (pictured above)

  • N-CC: equipment/cargo carrier

  • N-MC: munitions carrier

  • N-FC: fuel carrier

  • N-SS: mobile submarine base

  • N-AA: amphibious assault ship (experimental, 2 built)

  • N-X: special purpose vessels, largely classified

  • N-MS: guided missile platform, armed with 150 ground-assault, anti-ship and anti-air missiles stored in vertical VLS cells, experimental, to be used as part of a large formation

  • N-HS: hospital ship, 3 built

  • N-ICE: ice-class military ships for operations in the far north/south

  • N-RV: research vessel, 1 built, 1 under construction

  • N-CIV: civilian version of the platform for the commercial market, none yet constructed

Above: The "Perseverance" moored in Leidengarde, 2019.

Even though the "Perseverance" is not a warship and does not officially carry any armaments it had to be included in this selection as it is one of the most famous and recognizable vessels in the Commonwealth. The vessel carries the distinction of being Arwindom's royal yacht and a symbol of the Commonwealth's monarchy. Built in 1925, this vessel has since travelled thousands of kilometres carrying the Royal Family and government officials to conferences and diplomatic meetings. The "Perseverance" narrowly avoided being sold for scrap in 1992 as costly renovations were necessary, however, a nationwide campaign called "Save Our Ship!" was launched and helped gather the necessary funds for the yacht's renovation. The yacht's unofficial name is the "Swan" because of the clean colour and the elegant shape of its hull.

The "Perseverance" is currently the oldest ship formally commissioned in the navy. It is also the High Seas Fleet's Royal Flagship.

Soldiers of the 11th Paratrooper Batallion in Serbatijan empire.

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