Hughes EP-12 250-Megawatt Particle Beam Gun Pod

EP-12 gun pod with stock extended.

The Hughes EP-12 was a 250 megawatt (MW) class charged particle beam gun pod developed exclusively for Maxwell DynamicsVA-5 Condor Veritech Attack Fighter. (A particle beam is a directed energy weapon making use of a stream of charged or neutral particles moving at near the speed of light.) The EP-12 was developed specifically for Maxwell DynamicsVA-5 Condor to serve as the mecha’s primary gun pod. The design intent was to create a directed energy weapon with similar armor penetration performance to that of the VF/A-6 Alpha Veritech Fighter’s GU-13 35mm gun pod then already in service, but with the advantage of a near limitless energy-based ammunition supply. The end result was far bulkier than the GU-13, necessitating that it be mounted between the arm nacelles while in fighter mode, rather than the more aerodynamically efficient position under the right wing root. The EP-12 had its own dedicated protoculture cells and capacitor banks, and thus was not reliant on the internal power of the VA-5 Condor.  

The EP-12 had three 84-MW particle accelerator barrels mounted in parallel, which could be fired together, or in sequence. The barrels were housed in a large aerodynamic fairing which was mounted on a hardpoint between the VA-5 Condor’s arms when in fighter mode and carried in the mecha’s right hand when in Battloid mode. Rate of fire was up to 240 discharges per minute. Sequence and salvo firing modes could be selected by the pilot, depending on the target. Sequence firing increased the chances of hitting a target, and thus was used when engaging fast moving aerospace mecha such as the Invid Iigaa. When engaging slower and/or larger targets, the salvo mode allowed for increased energetic transfer for each shot fired. Each barrel was rated at 40,000 kW, resulting in an output of 8.4 MJ for a one quarter of a second pulse. A single hit when firing in salvo mode would be equal to 25.2 MJ.

it could (in theory) be used by any mecha with hands big enough to hold it. There is anecdotal evidence that the EP-12 was used during the Invid Occupation by freedom fighters piloting Alphas, Southern Cross era Battloids and other mecha for which the EP-12 was not designed for. It is unlikely that the EP-12 would have been very effective when used in this manner as, even though the weapon could be fired by simply pulling the manual back-up trigger on the hand-grip, it could not connect with the fire control system of any mecha other than the VA-5 Condor’s, as that was the only platform the gun pod had been integrated with. The EP-12 was later developed into the Alpha fighter’s much more compact EP-13. While the EP-13 could be carried by the Condor, this rarely happened.

  • Class: 250-Megawatt
  • Introduction: 2024
  • Manufacturer: Hughes Electronics (Robotech Factory Satellite production facility)
  • Dimensions: 
    • Weight: 1205 kg.
    • Length: 290 centimeters total (205 centimeters with stock retracted)
    • Height: 98 centimeters
    • Width: 21 centimeters
  • Rate of Fire: 240 discharges per minute
  • Output: 8.4 MJ per pulse, per barrel
  • Ammunition Capacity: Approximately 3500 discharges before Protoculture cell depletion
  • Platforms: VA-5 Condor

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Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized on Robotech Illustrated. 

Sources: Robotech the Expeditionary Force Marines Source Book by Irvin Jackson

Content by Tim Wing, with Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker and Rob Morgenstern

Copyright © 2001 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker, 2021 Tim Wing