ELMAG (ELectroMAgnetic Gun) is a hybrid weapon design used for anti-ship and point defense duties by Pentagon Protectorate ships. It is the only weapon commonly found on civilian ships of the Protectorate.
The numerous thick asteroid belts in the Pentagon System were always a threat to larger ships of the Protectorate, wich often returned home damaged. A new weapon, quick to target and fire yet powerful, was needed to destroy the rocks long before they could strike the ships. ELMAG was developed to fit this role and proved itself well.
Decades later when the Protectorate navy replaced lasers with particle cannons, there were fears the ships would be outranged by their enemies. However, by that time there was not much interior room in the ships and it was decided to develop a new ammunition type for the ELMAGs, the Alamo missiles. The developers knew how vulnerable missiles were to modern point defense systems and introduced many innovative systems to hide the ship from enemy sensors.
ELMAG works by discharging hafnium isomers to provide an initial boost to the projectile, much like conventional guns do. The projectile is then further accelerated by multiple electromagnetic coils. This allows the weapon to propel the shell faster than similar weapons of it's size and also provides power for reloading mechanisms, bringing it's cyclic rate of fire to 620 rounds per minute. However, more waste heat is generated which restricts firing to short bursts. ELMAGs can fire two kinds of ammunition, standard shells and Alamo missiles.
Shells are intended as close to medium range ammunition, used to protect the ship from small craft or aproaching objects, including enemy projectiles. Warhead is made of a small amount of hafnium surrounded by densely packed polymer. When the fuse triggers the hafnium discharges, instantly vaporizing the polymer into plasma. The resulting overpressure causes a wide detonation to occur. This is very effective against small craft or projectiles, but larger vessels tend to suffer only surface damage.
The Alamo missiles (Assisted launch missile ordnance) are long range antiwarship missiles. They include advanced stealth features, including cryogenic cooling prior to launch and radiation absorbing coating. To better avoid detection, the missiles don't ignite their engines until very close to the target. These things, along with the fact that the missiles are always launched in salvos, makes it difficult for enemy defense systems to destroy the missiles before they strike their target. However, the missile carries no warhead and relies entirely on it's kinetic force to do damage. This greatly lowers the chance of destroying the target, altough serious damage to subsystems is common.