EVA Link: Established - GDI Central Command
Status: SECURE - Confirmed
Validation Code: 7886Alpha-Commander#=========
Classification Of Access: Rank Conditions Met - Confirmed
Hover Tank Development within the Global Defence Initiative:
The Global Defence Initiative has previously been known to use Hover Platforms on their scout attack craft, however, these have been often no match in a real fight. Many GDI personal have compared it to zipping around in a "Paper Plane" due to how delicate they often are. If a Hover Tank gets wet, then the thrust is known to cut out, so it's strongly advised that contact with large bodies of water should be avoided. Production of these craft was known for being expensive, and to make matters worse, the necessary adjustments and fine tuning required meant high maintenance costs. In addition, while the concept was popular with commanders, the actual number of soldiers willing to pilot them had seen a significant decline. The long range advantage that the H-MLRS initially had was soon overturned by NOD's research in Missile Disruption Technology. While the H-MLRS was in service through the Second Tiberian War, it didn't remain that way for long.
GDI did make a second major attempt to look into Hover Technology with the Slingshot Hover Tank. However, these specialised solely in Anti-Air combat, and even when heavily modified to target ground targets, they were useless in real combat due to heavy inaccuracy. The Slingshot was known for even rolling over when forced into Anti-Ground combat configurations. One Slingshot Hover Tank was reported to have even blown over in high wind, and finding itself up a tree. One unconfirmed report of the incident even revealed that the underside of the Tank in question had a Cat Face painted on it, only adding to the irony.
In the Ascension Conflict, GDI utilised a final attempt of the H-MLRS. The Sandstorm H-MLRS was poorly armoured and it had no Active Anti-Targeting Protection Countermeasures unlike units like the Shepard Tank. This was even after the AATP Countermeasure System had been developed with the intention of being fitted in place of heavy armour. However, in order to be effective, the AATP Array had to placed on the top of the vehicle with a full 360 degree effect radius. The AATP Array was heavy enough to send the Sandstorm off balance, thus reducing effectiveness. To make matters worse, the AATP Array couldn't function due to power requirements that couldn't be accounted for. After the Ascension Conflict, the Sandstorm and H-MLRS Project was sent to the archives yet again.
Also during the Ascension Conflict, the Thunderhead VTOL Capable Tank was produced. A means of mocking the Mammoth Tank, it performed relatively well... Against anything that wasn't moving. It often would miss its target in the heat of battle if it took damage, and the Laser would take too long to fire. Targeting while moving was impossible, and this is where the Mammoth Tank proved to be more popular. Eventually, the Thunderhead VTOL Tank was even put to the shelves. However, a demilitarised version was manufactured for collectors. Apparently, it was relatively comfortable to pilot and when the weapon was removed, there was plenty of space for an entertainment system. It was later reported that a famous DJ used one at a large concert.
Hover Tank Research and British Engineering:
The British have been the leading researchers of Hover Technology since the Second Tiberian War. However, it's been suspected that they have been researching in this field for much longer than what was first believed. The British CCS Faction has been rumoured to have somehow solved the main issues revolving around the main flaws of Hover Technology, and is believed to have MBT's capable of keeping up with both GDI and NOD. Several unconfirmed reports have even indicated that during tests, GDI Mammoth Tanks were used in Live Fire Exercises, with the aid of A.L.I.C.E. Pilots instead of real people. Effectively this has allowed for more realistic tests to be conducted without the risk of harm to anyone.
Usage of the controversial A.L.I.C.E. System has been mostly hidden, and no confirmed sources have been able to verify its actual usage in genuine combat. However, in terms of usage during Live Fire Testing Exercises, the benefits of using AI can reveal flaws in equipment before it goes out into the field. This allows for a more efficient testing and production process, though it increases costs. The only thing that the British have confirmed is the usage of some form of AI in testing military hardware under 'Real World Conditions' to identify flaws before they cost the lives of personal on the ground.