CharacteristicsEditThe ATX-3 is a heavily armed and armored hovertank, its heavily armored and angled front-end designed for sustained combat. It resembles a miniature heavy turbolaser turret in appearance, and for all intents and purposes, a scaled down, mobile turbolaser is precisely what it is meant to be. The power and guidance systems for each of its two heavy lasers dominate a majority of the craft's dimensions, with only small compartments provided to seat the pilot and gunner. The tank was produced with a variety of climate-specific options, including jungle, desert, urban, and low-light camouflage and ventilation.
The pilot of the ATX-3 operates the front of the craft, with its two heavy guns, as well as the movement controls. Each AHL-3 heavy laser cannon can rotate in a vertical arc of 75 degrees. In lieu of lateral barrel rotation, the tank itself is designed so that its center of mass rests most directly over the reactor in the rear of the craft, astride its thorough array of repulsor coils. This arrangement affords it a surprising degree of maneuverability as it can pivot with little effort, although its speed and acceleration suffer greatly under the weight of the tank's armor and weapons.
The copilot controls the similarly-armored rear of the craft, monitoring the tank's power systems and manning its defense turret. The double blaster cannon fires heavy blaster bolts, effective against enemy infantry, light armor, and air assets. In an emergency, the gunner can assume control of the tank's movement.
The ATX-3 was component to VMEW's push to manufacture a full line of military ground vehicles, and was designed to compliment the MM/PT 71 transport. The carrier's dimensions dictated those of the tank in this fashion, although the rest of its design specifications were tailored to its intended role as a main battle tank, with little compromise.
The VMEW production team known as X-1 was gathered to design the tank, the same team that would later design the Xesh fighter. This accounted for some resemblance the tank had to later X-1 projects, as well as for the eventual 'X' in ATX, originally a temporary nomenclature denoting that the tank was eXperimental, but which nonetheless was retained and reclassified as a slightly inaccurate denotation of "Turbo".
The ATX-3 was the first repulsor vehicle produced by VMEW, and teething problems plagued the proprietary repulsor systems developed by the company through the first few generations of manufacture. It was generally agreed that the original ATX-3 was nearly unusable, and succeeding "Marks" refined the design with improved components until around the year 215ABY, at which time the Mk V became the accepted standard.
Operational deploymentEditThe ATX-3 suffered from sub-par initial sales, although later iterations improved these conditions modestly. The Velmoran Royal Guard and its successor, the Velmoran Security Force, was the primary operator of the tank, generally enjoying the most direct liaison with VMEW for upgrades and replacement parts. However, the planetary security forces had little use for the craft on a largely peaceful planet, and with sluggish sales VMEW found itself with a significant surplus.
When VMEW began to invest in the RLF, it transferred a number of old Velmoran tanks to Iziz for use by the Onderon Royal Guard. These Mk IIIs and IVs were upgraded and repainted, and introduced as an exclusive MkVI O variant.
The Onderon Royal Guard, virtually in parallel with the emerging Republic Liberation Front, put the ATX-3 to regular use in heavy patrols around the city as tensions rose between the planet and the Galactic Empire. When the Empire finally invaded the planet in 220ABY, all Mk VI tanks deployed in defense and those stored in the hangar were all systematically destroyed.
VMEW released the Mk VII later that year, an improved successor to the Mk V, and the Republic Liberation Forces assimilated many of the tanks, putting them to use as combat vehicles in the jungles of Onderon. It was during this period that the ATX-3 gained most of its notoriety, though it was never used in serious armored combat, its primary weapons utilized as mobile artillery for the RLF's guerrilla operations.
After the creation of the PGA, the RLF's ATX-3s were absorbed into the PGAF. As combat and security operations moved to Coruscant the tank fell out of common use, although it was used to occasional, limited effect on the city-planet's complex intersections of byways and ledges. It saw little use in the war against the Revenant Armada, and as the PGA drew down from a war footing, most of its fleet of ATX-3s were relegated to storage.The ATX-3, while now a decades-old model, has cemented itself as a reliable craft with plenty of life left to give as it continues to serve as the PGAF's main battle tank.