|This article was the featured article for May 2014!|
|For the Stonehenge from Ace Combat Infinity, see Stonehenge (Infinity).|
|Stonehenge Turret Network|
|Manufacturer||Federation of Central Usea|
|Function||Anti-asteroid railgun network|
|Operators|| Federation of Central Usea |
|Destruction||April 2, 2005|
|Appearances||Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies|
The Stonehenge Turret Network, frequently known in shorthand as Stonehenge, was a planetary defense complex created by the Federation of Central Usea in western Usea. It was one of the primary weapons developed at the end of the 20th century to engage the 1994XF04 Ulysses asteroid, and the catalyst of the Usean Continental War in 2003 after its capture by Erusea.
After the discovery of Ulysses in late 1994 and the determination of its trajectory, the news of the impending impact were kept in secrecy until April 20 of 1996, when FCU president Robert Sinclair revealed the existence of the asteroid to the world in a public conference. That same day, a second conference was held at the Usea Treaty Organization by Secretary of State Stetson, where various defensive projects were proposed, including the creation of a "National Missile Defense" system in UTO member nations.The Stonehenge complex, internally known as Project STN (Spaceguard Turret Network), was later conceived by the FCU under the Defense Initiative plan, with construction taking place in Area 26021-3, a site in the desert south of San Salvacion. The development of the complex was overseen by the Project STN Committee, while security was provided by armed troops and a fighter squadron of the UTO, whose roster included Usean Rebellion veteran John Herbert.
Numerous corporations and scientists from across the world were involved; at least one Belkan, David Hartmann, was known to have been involved. Osea and Yuktobania intially considered joining the project, but declined on account of post-Belkan War reconstruction efforts. The main site was completed in June 1998, while the rest of the complex remained under construction in the later months.
In that same month, the release of an updated report of Ulysses' predicted impact areas by the International Astronomical Union birthed protests in Anea against the FCU over their lack of protection against the asteroid. However, it had passed a point where further revisions to Stonehenge could be made.
Ulysses Day and Erusean takeoverEditOn July 3 of 1999, Stonehenge went online and commenced operations against Ulysses, succeeding in limiting damage across Usea during the planetfall event. Although it was one of the most successful weapons of its type during the disaster, a single railgun was knocked out by a meteorite impact, and remained useless for the rest of its existence.
In the aftermath of Ulysses Day, Erusea began to receive an excessive amount of refugees, leading to tensions with the international community. The Erusean military invaded San Salvacion in the summer of 2003 and captured Stonehenge, using it to attack other Usean territories. In an official announcement, it declared that ground patrols and staff were kept "under protection" by its troops. Similarly, twelve UTO aircraft disappeared during the incident.
On August 22 of 2003, it sent an ultimatum to Robert Sinclair, threatening to sanction attacks against the Federation and its allies if he refused to order the withdrawal of its army from San Salvacion before September 9. Sinclair responded by threatening a declaration of war if the occupation troops in Stonehenge were not removed before the 14th. The situation later led to the formation of the Independent States Allied Forces, which launched several attacks on the site that were repelled by Stonehenge. A desperate attack was carried out by an elite ISAF flight on September 14, but was foiled by the Yellow Squadron.
Continental WarEditThe ISAF retreated to eastern Usea and relocated its headquarters to North Point, from where it later committed retaliatory attacks in preparation for a counterattack. Shortly after the capture of Stonehenge, the Erusean government announced their plan to produce X-02 Wyverns to serve as the protectors of the facility, sparking arguments over their reliability within the Parliament that eventually halted its production.
During the ISAF's operations in mainland Usea, Stonehenge was used to attack their forces with limited success. In March of 2005, the engineers responsible for the complex, who had been detained by Erusean forces under the pretext of "security purposes", escaped with their families on Air Ixiom airliners Flights 701 and 702. ISAF ace Mobius One reached the jets and defended them from Erusean fighters until their arrival at the FCU, where they were given amnesty.
A month later, in April 2, the ISAF launched an aerial attack on Stonehenge. The effort, Operation Stone Crusher, saw the destruction of the site and its railguns by Mobius One's intervention. The Yellow Squadron launched from San Salvacion after a bombing by the local resistance and intercepted the attack force, but were forced to flee after Yellow 4 was killed by Mobius.
DesignEditOne of the foremost projects built against the Ulysses asteroid, Stonehenge was based on a circular facility divided in eight portions, each of which housed a railgun. The weapons, officially called the "120cm-Caliber-Anti-Surface-And-Air Gunpowder-And-Electromagnetic-Propelling Semiautomatic-Fixated Guns", operated on a hybrid energy principle, using gunpowder to propel projectiles, which are then fired with electromagnetic energy.
The cannons were considered "electromagnetic launchers" by their creators instead or railguns, based on their combined propellants. Capable of achieving speeds of 6 kilometers per second, the choice of hybrid propellants was to prevent Joule heat from melting the barrels, as well as the excessive costs related to the use of pure electricity. The weapons were originally considered to have been locomotive, but the idea was cancelled because a capacitator suited for such operations was unfeasible.
Stonehenge's railguns are directed by a synthesized control network beneath the facility formed by a complex of 8,192 supercomputers split into 1,024 sets of eight; each was capable of performing nine billion floating point arithmetic operations per second, which equals a total of 100 trillion operations per second with all computers combined. The system employed data gathered from orbiting satellites and observatories across the globe to simulate the atmospheric conditions of Usea to calculate an asteroid's impact point, after which the railguns tracked the target and fired.
As a whole, the facilty's reach encompassed a radius of 1,200 kilometers, spanning from Erusea's capital of Farbanti in the western tip of Usea to Faith Park. The cannons could use a variety of ammunition, including Armor Piercing Explosive rounds and a special type suited for large fragments, whose use was limited under a special measures act.
- Within Ace Combat 04 and its promotional media, Stonehenge is frequently referred to as a single gun.
- The Meson Cannon complex in Ace Combat X had a similarity in appearance to the Stonehenge, the differences being that the Meson Cannon surrounded a city, fired lasers, and may not have had radar jamming (depends on whether the player destroyed the Nevera jammer first).
- The jamming facility in the center may have been inspiration for the nuclear missile silo doors in the mission "Sanctify" from Ace Combat: Joint Assault.
- The air base next to the turret network is a photo-exact replica of Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The base was transposed onto a desert-like environment to match the surrounding terrain of Stonehenge.