Landing Castles (揚陸 城 Yōriku-jō?) are massive Martian space carriers. There are 37 Landing Castles, each one commanded by and named after the 37 Orbital Knights (e.g. Count Saazbaum's Landing Castle is called Castle Saazbaum). They initially orbit around the Earth and as their name suggests, land on it to deploy the soldiers, Kataphrakts and set up a base of operations.
Landing Castles are roughly 2 km in length. Each Landing Castle are their own distinct military force.
There are 37 Landing Castles orbiting Earth at the beginning of the series. Since the invasion started, 20 have been confirmed to have descended to Earth.
The initial landing points are New Orleans, Beijing, Maputo, and Tokyo where it is believed that a Landing Castle will come down in Japan within 20 km of Ichigaya or Chiyoda Ward, estimated landing time is 8 AM, 3 hours from current time. Across the Earth, countless more locations are later confirmed to be where other Landing Castles came down to.
One castle hit New Orleans at 8:05 PM CDT. The impact was so massive that it destroyed a massive part of the city, immediately afterwards there was an enormous blackout.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
Landing Castles are designed to be dropped from orbit onto the surface of a planet. They were most likely originally intended to be used to construct colonies on Mars or other planets.
While in orbit, its four "flower arms" are closed and rotate clockwise around a central section to keep its axis stable using the gyroscopic effect. The rotation being stopped is part of the preparations for descent to the target location on the ground below.
In order to withstand the tremendous heat and impact of dropping down with several times the speed of sound, its outer side has heavy armor which doubles as protection against any attacks from the ground during descent.
The sharp tip on the lower side stabs into the ground and the kinetic energy of the castle drives it far enough into the ground to stabilize the structure. A useful side effect is the enormous shock-wave which obliterates anything and anyone in the near vicinity of the landing zone. Before the war, this was most likely used to make the ground around the landing castle easier to build on, but during Operation Earthfall it became a convenient means to clear the landing area of any hostiles. The Aldnoah Technology on board most likely prevents the crew from getting flattened by the enormous G-forces upon impact.
While approaching the landing zone, its four "flower arms" begin opening and once the landing is complete, the landing castle stands there with all four arms wide open, although some decoration details vary from castle to castle.
Once landed, the castle serves as a base of operations and is not meant for direct combat. For defense it relies on the Martian Kataphrakts of the Orbital Knights.
As they are colonization vehicles, they severely lack internal security, making them very vulnerable to enemies who managed to get inside.
Landing castles are also capable of leaving Earth's atmosphere under their own power and returning to space if the situation demands.
Special Equipment and Features
- The main power source of a Landing Castle. It will stay activated even if the Orbital Knight, who activated it, is absent and will only power down when either the person who activated it shuts it down himself, the said person dies, or someone of the royal lineage forcibly shuts it down.
- Landing Castles are equipped with a hangar for Sky Carriers, which would carry heavy machinery such as the Kataphrakts of the Orbital Knights to their destination or even infantry soldiers as well. These aircraft are equipped with turrets and missiles for defense.
- Each Landing Castle belongs to one of the 37 Orbital Knights, and has at least one of their own Kataphrakts on board. When not in use, they are stored in a liquid, most likely to avoid damaging them during descent. Each Landing Castle is equipped with multiple tanks for storing and maintaining.
- It is piloted by Sir Vlad. The Argyre utilized two "Beam Katana". It specializes in close-quarters-combat using a blade field as both an offensive and defensive weapon. The weapon can be used to easily slice through the heavy armor of any object with little to no effort, however the armor of the Argyre itself is vulnerable to standard weapons. To combat this the weapon is used to parry and deflect bullets through using the Leidenfrost effect causing high-explosive rounds to detonate and armor-piercing rounds to deflect off the field.
- It is piloted by Viscountess Orlane. The Deucalion possessed the ability to manipulate gravity. It used that characteristic to generate a defensive field that was capable of bending gravity around the unit. It could seemingly float by using its gravity manipulators to keep itself in the air. By manipulating gravity around itself, the Deucalion could deflect any solid projectile.
- It is piloted by Count Saazbaum. It can transform and combine from different attachments. It possesses the inherit abilities of the Nilokeras, Argyre, and Hellas. Each attachment has the ability to act independently, similar to the Hellas, but is far more advanced by combining each ability. As with the other Martian Kataphrakts, it also has the weaknesses they had as well.
- It is piloted by Count Zebrin. It utilizes a barrier made of electricity that doubles as a weapon that can be used to surge toward targets, electrocuting them.
- It is piloted by Count Keteratesse. It utilizes a electrical beams that grasp and constrict enemy Kataphrakts.
- It is piloted by Countess Femieanne. It possesses six arms named after the Goetian demons (Botis, Morax, Ronove, Halphas, Raum, Vine), which can be launched as rocket-propelled projectiles. They can become single molecules capable of piercing the armor of naval ships and other Kataphrakt's. Despite being heavily armored they can easily be destroyed by targeting the their rocket. Due in part because they use rockets and gain speed through distance, armor-piercing rounds can deflect them off course.
- It is piloted by Baron Trillram. The Nilokeras possess' a dimensional barrier. Referred to as a "pill bug" by Calm Craftman, it can absorb or disintegrate any form of matter that comes into contact with it's surface. The drawback of this defense is that the barrier also absorbs light, preventing the operator from seeing normally, for this is corrected by using aerial surveillance cameras. This in turn causes another draw back as a signal is received through an unprotected point along the Kataphrakts surface. Nilokeras also has a gap in its energy field on the soles of its feet, to keep it from disintegrating the ground under it and burrowing.
- It is piloted by Count Selkinas. It possesses two plasma beam mounts on its head that can be used to create plasma beams that can cut through anything.
- It was originally piloted by Count Cruhteo, but is now piloted by Count Slaine Saazbaum Troyard. It possesses great agility and maneuverability, beyond that of any other Kataphrakt.
- It is piloted by Baron Yacoym. It possesses the inherent characteristic that allows for it to create a 1 km radius Entropy Dilution Field. It saps the molecular motion of all matter. It creates super-low temperatures that can transform the air and freeze it. When bullets are fired at it, they enter a superconductive state, where then they are deflected by the Meissner effect.
- It was originally piloted by Count Marylcian, but is now piloted by Sir Harklight. It possesses a Laser Rifle as well as 30 Detachable Mobile Laser Guns that can move as fast, if not faster, than the Herschel itself. This allows the Herschel to overwhelm others by quickly surrounding its opponent and attack from all directions.
- It is piloted by Count Orga. It possesses the ability to create multiple copies of itself, and not as holograms.
- It is piloted by Countess Rafia. It utilizes optical camouflage that allows for it to make itself invisible, leaving no shadow or heat signature.
- The audience chamber enables holographic communication, it is mainly used by Orbital Knights to talk to Emperor Rayregalia Vers Rayvers. It works by projecting a holographic version of the user on mars which enables said user to communicate face to face with the emperor without the restrictions of being separated by a screen, hence the name "Audience Chamber".
- In order to use it, certain preparations are needed such as contacting the moon base which relays the conversation to mars with means of FTL (Faster Than Light) communication, bypassing the time one would normally need to wait until a signal reaches mars and comes back.
- As long as the connection is established, anyone can use the audience chamber to talk to the emperor, even if the said person does not possess the activation rights for Aldnoah or even the permission to be in the Audience chamber in the first place. (AZ: "Phantom of the Emperor")
- The Landing Castle is equipped with numerous missile ports which can be used to attack targets from afar. In Operation Earthfall, the missiles were used to destroy any means of long range communication such as undersea cables, radio stations, and any communication satellites up in orbit.
- The Landing Castle comes equipped with numerous missiles that are bunker busters. They are designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground.
- Each Landing Castle is equipped with several AA guns that are maneuverable for combating incoming hostiles within its inner perimeter, but the AA guns look more apparently like tanks.
After the Hyper Gate went out of control the Landing Castles were stuck in Earth orbit. Even after 15 years since Heavens Fall occurred they now have the ability to go back to VERS. However, they choose not to, for they wait for the moment to strike Earth. After the assassination attempt on Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia occurred, 19 of the 37 Orbital Knights came down to Earth. This event was Operation Earthfall which started the Second Earth-Mars War. (AZ: "Princess of VERS")
Later on, Castle Saazbaum is attacked and boarded by an air-raid of Kataphrakt belonging to the United Forces of Earth. Afterwards the Deucalion is attacked by the Dioscuria in Earth orbit damaging its starboard anti-gravity devices, causing it to lose altitude, but Darzana Magbaredge makes the decision to use the ship to ram the landing castle in order to board it. (AZ: "Childhood's End")
Notes & Trivia
- The dropping of the Orbital Castles onto Earth is similar to that of dropping Space Colonies in the Gundam universe.