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A weapons platform is generally any structure or system on which a weapon can be mounted. For example, a fighter jet is a weapons platform for missiles, bombs or autocannons. Other vehicles such as the Humvee are considered weapons platforms as well, such as for grenade launchers, machine guns and some missile launchers.
The term can describe a naval vessel, or an actual firearm system. In more general use, a weapons platform could be structured around a gun, such as a gun turret on a ship, or bracing on an aircraft. In addition, space satellites have been proposed as potential weapons platforms. These satellites could carry an arsenal of weapons, such as to threaten other countries with the possibility of a nuclear strike. (See Rods from God)
The earliest weapons platforms were chariots, followed by war-wagons. The ancient Greek Helepolis, a massive siege tower which mounted catapults, could also be considered a weapons platform. The next attempt to mount weapons on platforms was made at sea, with catapults and eventually cannon mounted on their final form as ships of the line before the advent of ironclad warships mounting turrets.
On land, the attempt to mount weapons on mobile platforms in the modern period was first made with railway guns. These, as forms of artillery, were the last vestiges of development of the super-weapon thinking before the advent of the tanks that changed the use of weapons platforms in warfare, although the largest railway guns were still used during the Second World War on the Eastern Front.
- http://www.aopt91.dsl.pipex.com/railgun/Content/Railwayguns/German/Dora%20index.htm The 80cm 'Gustav' in Action John L Rue, Oil-Electric Engines for "Dora", The History of the V 188
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