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* Designation: AHV-8 (Assault Hover Vehicle) * Affiliation: GDI * Role: Anti-Air * Introduced: 2066 * Class: Offense * Armament: Multi-launch Rocket Pods, "Missile Storm" Loadout (Upgrade) * Type: Type: Medium Hover Vehicle * Speed: Speed: Medium
A common complaint amongst the veterans of the Second Tiberium War on active duty during the Third was the lack of a fast-moving, hard-hitting patrol vehicle - such as the MLRS Mk.II hovertank - within the GDI arsenal. While groups such as the Steel Talons group were capable of crushing any Nod battalion foolish enough to hold their ground, the Brotherhood's disparate and highly mobile "hit & run" strike cells consistently eluded GDI's reach. It was the inception of the Tiberium Control Network that changed GDI Strategic Command views on battlefield mobility, resulting in the reinstatement of the MLRS program and the resultant creation of the GDI Sandstorm MLRS.
Now fully deployed across all GDI frontlines, the Sandstorm has gained a reputation as one of the most flexible weapons platform on the modern battlefield. Armed with the most advanced multi-launch rocket system, originally developed during the Second Tiberium War, the Sandstorm is designed to find and eliminate Nod aircraft, frequently escorting other GDI units throughout the combat zone. The vehicle is equipped with the latest in anti-gravity hover technology, giving the Sandstorm more mobility than most GDI assault vehicles, especially vital when hunting Nod's bolstered airforce.
"If it's on terra firma, the Steel Talons can crush it like a soda can. It's when you kick a beehive full of Nod flyers that you' start wishing there was a bunch of Sandstorms in your loadout." - Major Albert W. Eckhart, Steel Talons 151st Special Armor Brigade
Initially devised as a light anti-air escort, the Sandstorm's design was born from a desire for high mobility and light armor, with the assumption that heavier Titans and Hunters would fulfill the front-line armor role. Over time, an increasing number of GDI frontline commanders began utilizing patrols consisting entirely of Sandstorms to pursue Nod elements in remote regions and over uneven terrain. Even unsupported, these early Sandstorms proved very effective at knocking out both aircraft and isolated stealth tank platoons; however, it was common for the hovercraft to sustain heavy damage during each engagement. The decision was made by Steel Talon high command to sacrifice a certain amount of speed in favor of improved armor. Today, the AHv-8 variant primarily used by GDI Offense commanders boasts a balanced mix of armor, firepower and mobility unmatched by anything in Nod's known arsenal.
A Versatile Foe
Equipped with powerful hovertech, reinforced ablative armor plating, and turret-mounted, computer-controlled twin rocket pods, the Sandstorm can fulfill a variety of roles in any battle scenario, from anti-air support to front-line engagement. The weapons system can be upgraded on-the-fly via equipment crates located in the field, allowing Sandstorm crews to effectively double the missile payload for a significant jump in lethality.
Shoot and Scoot
The ability to fire a salvo of deadly rockets and escape before the target can retaliate comes down to more than just speed. Much like the lighter Talon, the Sandstorm can use its high-technology hover engines to move up and down the vertical surfaces of cliff faces, making pursuit impossible for most Nod ground vehicles.
Calm Before The Storm
Switching to the newly developed "Missile Storm" loadout is a favorite tactic of many a Commander against pesky swarms of roaming Cobra attack aircraft. The rocket pods load smaller "Storm" missiles into the launchers and fires them at a much faster rate, sacrificing accuracy in the process. Although the inaccuracy makes the loadout ineffective against a single target, the amount of destruction unleashed by multiple overlapping shockwaves and explosions in a small area have proved devastating against tightly packed groups of enemies, especially aircraft.