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HAET-221 (Republic Assault Gunboat)
Faced with a need to rapidly and precisely deploy troops, the Army of the Republic commissioned Mekuun to design and develop a troop carrying drop ship, which would be capable of providing local fire support as well as delivering troops to often difficult to reach drop zones. The result was the HAET-221 (High Altitude Entry Transport), a ship designed for a low planetary orbit launch from a mother ship. Ablative heat shielding protects the vessel and its passengers during the re-entry phase of flight. Once established in the upper atmosphere, the pilot can engage powerful repulsorlift engines, which, coupled with an advanced navigational system based on topographical scanning, enable the ship to be piloted quickly to any defined location on planet. The use of repulsorlift technology does render the ship incapable of regaining escape velocity.
A single anti-vehicle laser cannon and a pair of anti-personnel blasters enable the HAET-221 to provide covering fire whilst delivering troops to 'hot' drop zones. This same weapon load out also enables the planet bound craft to be used as patrol ship whilst arrangements are made to transfer them back to a drop ship for refitting of atmospheric entry heat shielding. In more pacified areas, the topographical scanner and navigation system can be utilised in reconnaissance and search missions.
The HAET-221 saw action throughout the later stages of Clone War and in the early period of the rise of the Empire with a reasonable degree of success. Its inability, however, to regain orbit and its relatively low passenger capacity, eventually led to disfavour amongst the Imperial Command and they were phased out by the time of the Battle of Yavin.
Craft: Mekuun HAET-221
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