The FM-12 ATV is a large VTOL craft designed for ferrying large loads of equipment, combat vehicles and platoons of Directorate soldiers across planetary environments. Essentially a non-exoatmospheric version of a dropship, the ATV is driven by four large nacelles housing twin hydrogen ion engines and operates off tiltjet principles [akin to the tiltrotor aircraft of the 20th and 21st centuries, but utilizing ion engines rather than rotors].
The ATV is a large, bulky, rectangular-bodied craft that grows wider toward the rear. It boasts four large nacelles on short angular wings positioned at either extreme of the fuselage, forward and rear. Each nacelle is powered by its own secondary fusion reactor and boasts twin medium-sized ion engines. These are capable of rotating 360 degrees in a circle about the tip of the wing and both nozzles are individually vectoring. Additional twinned banks of ion engines, four dual thruster banks total, are mounted on the craft's underside, while an additional pair of large jets for providing pure forward momentum protrudes from the rear. These belly- and rear-mounted thrusters are powered by a pair of large dual-chamber reactors located at the aircraft's midsection, between the crew area and the storage compartment.
The FM-12 boasts a total of three dual 23mm magnetohydrodynamic gun positions, two 65mm autocannons and four 37mm chaingun positions. Twin magnetohydrodynamic guns are integrated into the nose of the craft's cockpit in a chin mount, while semi-fixed 65mm autocannon pods are located on either side below the canopy, and can rotate fully 360 degrees against the hull. A second dual 23mm magnetohydrodynamic gun system is located in a turret behind the craft's cockpit, atop the forward portion of the body about 1/3rd of the way back, where the primary fusion powerplants are located. Yet another of these positions is found in the tail, although this one is not in turret form. Finally, four single 37mm chaingun pods are located on the sides exactly midway down the body of the aircraft - two per side, one dorsal and one ventral. There is also a retractable 23mm chaingun located on the underside of the rear section, just behind the disembarkation ramp, to cover off-loading Directorate forces.
The FM-12 is also heavily armored and shielded, and is quite fast as well as relatively agile for its size and function. It is capable of high-speed, low-altitude flight and is designed for running gauntlets of anti-air defenses; however, against enemy aircraft, its purely defensive armament does not fair well. With no missiles or long-range weapons of its own, it relies heavily on the protection of AFM-5 gunships or Directorate Navy fighter craft. However, like other shielded aircraft, its energy screens - which atomize any air molecules on contact - completely eliminate air resistence, allowing the FM-12 to achieve blistering speeds and perform maneuvers which conventional, screenless 21st century aircraft could not hope to match.