The ARROW is a weapons system that directs thermonuclear energy (atomic flux) as a concentrated stream at any given target. The power of said weapon is terrible. However, channeling this amount and type of energy creates enormous amounts of heat, nuetron and gamma radiation, and causes many other systems onboard the firing platform to undergo extreme stress every time the weapon is fired. If any one component fails in the ARROW system, the whole thing could destabilize, which means that the system will most likely cause an uncontrolled thermonuclear reaction internally, tearing the ship apart (or vaporizing it). Every single piece of electronic equipment has to be perfectly shielded so as not to be affected in any way by the neutron flux given off by the thermonuclear reactions taking place within the ARROW system; electromagnetic fields have to be 100% functional in order to contain the immense amounts of thermonuclear energy being contained and channeled; the supercooling systems only have the slightest room to fluctuate in terms of nonlethal temperature variance. The commander has to be sure that his/her decision to use the ARROW is right one for the situation.
Duration is highly important when firing the ARROW system. The duration factor determines the amount of thermonuclear power that will be transferred to the target. Since the ARROW, no matter the Type, doubles in power every 38 milliseconds (i.e. DF-1: 4,200mt, DF-2: 8,400mt, DF-3: 16,800mt), the commander needs to assess his/her platform's operating condition and the risk involved in setting that duration factor. The amount of thermonuclear force being transferred to the target is also the amount of force (or yield) with which the ARROW system can destabilize (or "explode") within the firing platform. A "duration chart" is provided at the end of this document. Only a few instances have been observed where an ARROW was fired under duration factor 8. In one of those instances, not only was the target destroyed, but the ones firing as well. The ARROW is lethal, and is used only for capitol-offense tactical manuevers. Missiles are a much safer alternative to the ARROW, and offer a wider (although not higher) spectrum of options concerning yield and delivery. The advantage of the ARROW over missiles is that a missile can be shot down, unlike a stream of super-concentrated and ultra-focused nuclear energy.
In most cases, ARROW systems are "spinal weapons," meaning that the system is placed along the length of the platform, and integrated into the superstructure. ARROWs ranging from Type 3 to Type 5 are usually spinal weapons, whereas Type 1 and Type 2 can have their own superstructure, and are placed outside of the platform's exobody. Most Type 1 ARROW systems have motion-capability, unlike Type 2 and higher ARROW systems, which are all static. Spinal ARROW systems are safer from attack, being shielded by the exobody, but pose a grave threat to the crew (i.e. destabilization, neutron flux, gamma radiation exposure); contrarily, exterior ARROW systems are more open to attack, but pose a lesser threat to the crew. Motion-capable ARROW systems are extremely deadly to opposing platforms, even though the range of motion is still highly limited as compared to kinetic gun turrets, for example.
-Duration 1: 38 ms (milliseconds)
-Duration 2: 76 ms
-Duration 3: 114 ms
-Duration 4: 152 ms
-Duration 5: 190 ms
-Duration 6: 228 ms
-Duration 7: 266 ms
-Duration 8: 304 ms
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