A high altitude fighter-bomber constructed under licence for the UNE atmospheric units by Zenarms Limited
About this creation
The Aether has limited utility at low altitude thanks to its huge wingspan, vital for operating at the edge of space as the SIA-15 does. It cannot carry a particularly large payload, it is not truly well protected, but it is high enough and fast enough to outrun any non-exodyne it can't outrange.
Even high-performance exodynes cannot follow it for long, as they can only attack while diving from above; they might be able to go into space and back, but they can't stay between the two for long.
The Aether is a wonderful reconnaissance vehicle, although not particularly welcome among ground crews thanks to the difficulty in repairing the wing-mounted systems.
It is reknowned for it's low speed handling characteristics, being able to practically hover at treetop height. It is the only UNE aircraft able to operate in the thinnest of atmospheres, although it is not very survivable in such environments; if it goes down on a large moon, the pilots die.
It's strange shape is caused by it's novel braking system; solid fuel rockets at the rear of the crew/weapon pod fire and their thrust is vectored to either supply a boost in speed or to bounce off the engine pod, being deflected forwards and causing a rapid loss of speed and corresponding altitude. This is vital at low altitude, as its seeming inability to come to the ground and stop when landing has caused many accidents among the early prototypes.
Without the braking rockets, it's almost impossible to crash! If you fly it right, you can just about hover, and it really doesn't like to come to earth.
The Aether is at home in the rarified air at high altitude, truly a denizen of the skies.