|“|| Neutron warheads primed.|
- Pandora Leaving the Research Facility
It is available after the Pandora Protocol is activated.
One of the most feared albeit decisive weapons deployed in the Russo-European War, the Pandora is a military refit of a European Space Agency payload delivery mechanism that used an electromagnetic railgun to fire small satellites and Solaris maintenance equipment into orbit. By the time Russian forces found themselves at the verge of victory in southern France, ECA high command made a controversial decision to avert its defeat: Despite the official ban on neutron weapons that had been imposed on behalf of China after the Global War on Terror, the European nuclear powers Britain and France have modified some of their regular nuclear weapons into so-called 'enhanced radiation warheads'. Whilst just as devastating as any other tactical nuclear weapon, these neutron bombs are designed to emit an extreme magnitude of radiation during the explosion which is strong enough to penetrate the armor of even the most heavily protected vehicles, leaving them intact for capture by anyone willing and desperate enough to stomach the sight of what remains inside after the crew members have succumbed to the radiation. The Pandora is capable of launching these terrifying warheads over long distances, letting them detonate right upon impact or upon delayed proximity activation after they have hit the ground.
|“|| I don't think this is morally justified...|
Capable of destroying most of vehicles at point of blast and instantly killing infantry in a considerable radius by its intense and lethal neutron radiation, Pandora is ECA's final word in total anhilation of an enemy. It is one of the ECA's most feared weapons systems. Mounting a long range railgun, the Pandora has an impressive range, rivaling Tomahawks in Cruise mode.
The Pandora also possesses truly devastating firepower. A direct hit from one of the Pandora's warheads will destroy any unit (only super-heavy tanks, such as Manticore, Sentinel and Overlord, will survive), and vehicles that survive the blast will be depiloted, allowing ECA forces to capture them for themselves once the lethal radiation has subsided. Alternatively, the Pandora can also launch a neutron mine, which will stay buried in the ground until enemy forces trigger it.
However, while a formidable weapon, the Pandora has many weaknesses. It is one of the most expensive units in the game, costing $2000 to research the protocol and an additional $3000 to produce the unit itself, as well as a General's point. As an artillery piece, it has a massive dead zone and only moderate armor. It also has a very long reload time, and must deploy and charge up before it can fire, which gives faster units time to escape.
|“|| If this doesn't stop them, nothing will...|
- Pandora preparing to fire
While expensive, the Pandora's sheer destructive power makes it worthwhile. Though the Pandora may do massive damage, it requires (by artillery standards) a long reload time, and requires multiple shells to destroy a structure. The best use of the Pandora is targeted strikes against high value vehicles, clusters of enemies, or grouped base defenses.
The neutron warheads have a side effect of clearing any enemy structures. This is exceptionally useful against turtling generals, or on urban maps.
The neutron mines detonate upon being triggered by an enemy unit, and can also be manually triggered by the commander. However, the mines can be detected by the enemy, and destroyed with conventional weapons. This destruction will not cause the mine to detonate.
Combined with the upgraded Generals' Powers the Pandora protocol unlocks, the Pandora can be used to effectively clear an enemy base before an assault, or to turn an enemy's army against them.
Behind the scenes
- Originally the Pandora was known as the "Cobra-Neutron Tank" in the old Rise of Europe mod, which was supposed to fire a high-concentrated neutron radiation beam. After Rise of Europe merged with Rise of the Reds, the Cobra was redesigned and converted into the current Pandora.
- The Pandora uses a railgun, which is able to fire farther than conventional gunpowder cannons, explaining how it has such a long range over its competitors.
- The Pandora and the Nuke Cannon are both able to fire a nuclear shell, though the only nuclear artillery piece to exist in real life was the M65 Atomic Cannon. Other nations may have created nuclear shells for their artillery, but the M65 was the only purpose built nuclear artillery piece to exist.
- The Nuke Cannon's Neutron shells in Zero Hour only killed infantry instantly by lethal "gas" radiation upon detonation and didn't do any damage to vehicles or structures while the Pandora's neutron warheads creates a nuclear-like explosion and emits a flash of neutron radiation that lingers after detonation, which is more accurate to how a real-life neutron weapon should behave.
- The shell used by Pandora is possibly a salted nuclear warhead that consists of extremely radioactive material placed inside the warhead, giving it a more concentrated radiation burst.
- The Pandora's chassis was mildly inspired from the Baneblade in Warhammer 40,000.