The X-301 was Earth's first attempt to build a defense platform for Earth against the Goa'uld. Built at Area 51, it served as a space and air interceptor, largely based on retrofitted Death Gliders. The X-301 was unsuccessful and nearly resulted in the loss of two members of SG-1. The designation X-301 was first mentioned in 4.12 "Tangent", however the study of the death gliders by engineers and scientists was first seen in 2.14 "Touchstone".
The X-301 was a reverse engineered spacecraft meant as a prototype for creating an orbital defensive capability for Earth against the Goa'uld. It was built from the two damaged Death Gliders that Teal'c and Bra'tac had flown to escape Apophis' Mothership during its failed attack on Earth. (2.01 "The Serpent's Lair Part 2")
Major Davis claimed that the ship was a result of the two Death Gliders and good ol' American know-how, but Jacob/Selmak accused Earth of having taken a Death Glider they didn't comprehend and slapping a US Air Force sticker on it. The scientists who created it had little understanding of Goa'uld technology and in many cases simply removed components from the Death Gliders and reassembled them in the X-301. Some systems, such as the staff cannons, were apparently indecipherable (or damaged beyond repair) and were not included. But what did remain, unbeknownst to the Area 51 engineers, was a recall device, installed in all Death Gliders after Teal'c's rebellion against Apophis. This recall device was designed to take over the craft's systems and send it on a trajectory back to Apophis's home planet under sublight power, a journey that from Earth would take several hundred years. The recall device was capable of overriding Earth-based equipment including the reaction-control and ejection systems. The ground crew monitoring the test flight considered it likely that the recall device would be equipped with safeguards to prevent the crew from disabling it, however this theory was never tested. (4.12 "Tangent")
The prototype was built at Area 51 and test-flown at Peterson Air Force base. It had notable differences from a Death Glider. Visually, the craft was more angular, probably for better aerodynamic properties. It appeared to be composed of a similar skin as the F-22A Raptor, for stealth purposes. Major Davis explained that the craft was constructed with stealth technology. The outer skin was mottled with an appearance similar to jungle camouflage. The exact purpose of that is unknown. It had drooping, forward-swept wings, and an added pair of vertical tails towards the rear on the dorsal side, probably for enhanced lateral handling in atmospheres. Slung underneath the craft were two weapons hardmounts for missiles and two large cylindrical devices. It was never stated what these devices were, however they are likely parts of weapons or sensors.
The cockpit was an amalgam of human and Goa'uld technology. It was built for a crew of two, with the front crewman piloting the craft, and the rear at weapons control. The primary flight controls seemed to be standard fighter controls, a typical center control stick and left-hand throttle. There is a Goa'uld control globe in the cockpit as well as typical fighter computer panels. The gunner used human technology to fire the weapons. The crew sat in ejection seats underneath a glass canopy composed of separate flat panels of a clear material. The ship appeared to be capable of flying for several hours without resupply and had oxygen supplies for over 24 hours, including the ability to scrub carbon dioxide. Face-masks were provided in case of cockpit decompression. The crew were required to wear g-suits, indicating that not all inertial forces were compensated for by the on-board systems.
Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c are the only known pilots for the X-301, but given Teal'c and O'Neill's familiarity with Death Gliders and the classified nature of the craft, they are likely the best people for the job.
For propulsion, the X-301 was powered by the same energy reactors and drive systems as Death Gliders. Naquadah was likely the fuel source for these ships, therefore. Propulsion was achieved through a method that, at the time, Carter admitted was not completely understood according to Earth's knowledge of physics. However, the parts they had deciphered hinted that the propulsion worked not so much by applying force in any direction, but by removing inertia and its effects. This possibly could relate to an inertia redirection drive, allowing rapid speeds and extreme acceleration. The top speed of the craft is unknown, however was likely to be at least in the high Mach range, and certainly it was intended for orbital and space travel as well. A reaction control system for fine maneuvering in space was also installed. In addition, the craft was equipped with an anti-gravity device, enabling it to hover several feet off the ground. Finally, unlike its successors, the X-301 was incapable of hyperspace travel.
As a weapons platform, the X-301 was equipped with two AIM-120A air-to-air missiles. The weapons onboard for the ship's only known weapons test were likely only standard AIM-120A missiles, however, Carter did suggest that, once operational, the craft would be armed with modified warheads consisting of Naquadah enhancement and shield frequency modulators. These weapons can't be assessed, but Carter also made the suggestion that those missiles could take out a Goa'uld ha'tak. Whether this required multiple strikes or was a slight exaggeration is unknown, however the missiles carried by the F-302 are not strong enough to take out motherships unless they impact a very vulnerable area. Two missiles seem a light load for a weapons platform, and this capacity would likely have been increased. A cannon was not mentioned by any of the team, but the cylindrical devices slung underneath the craft could have been cannons. If there was not one aboard, it might have been due to the craft being a prototype. However, if it had become operational, a cannon would have been highly useful in dogfighting maneuvers against Goa'uld vessels.
If the craft had been successful, the X-301 would have been deployed as an orbital defense craft under the command of Lieutenant General Vidrine at Peterson Air Force base. The X-301 would have also likely entered production as the F-301. But the craft was unsuccessful during a live fire exercise and is now somewhere in deep space. Carter made a projection that the craft would reach the Oort Cloud (a dense sphere of comets, asteroids, and particles approximately one light year away, at the very edge of the Sun's gravitational field) after several months. This would imply the craft was traveling at superluminal velocities, which does not seem possible given it had no hyperdrive. The X-301 project was mothballed in favor of the X-302, a craft entirely built based on human knowledge. There has never been a mention of the SGC retrieving the X-301, but given that the craft is at a distance that would make finding it difficult, and that it still can't be piloted, and that Earth now has successful capital starships and snub fighters, retrieving it is unlikely to be a high priority.
While touring Area 51 in search of evidence of the second Earth Stargate being used for off-world stealing, SG-1 saw the recovered Death Gliders upon which the the X-301 would be derived. (2.14 "Touchstone")
The X-301 was the subject of several demonstration test flights and began a live fire exercise against target drones, under the observation of General Vidrine. The test was to be a precursor to beginning production run as a space interceptor in defense of Earth. With Teal'c piloting and O'Neill in the back seat, they began the exercise. But as the climbed, Teal'c lost control of the ship as Apophis' recall device took over. They were leaving the solar system at a rapid pace, nearing Jupiter, when Carter advised them to try to use the attached AIM missiles as thrusters and sling-shot around Jupiter to head back toward Earth. The thrust wasn't enough, and they continued out of the solar system. Carter and Daniel, with oblique advice from Anise, found the Tok'ra Jacob on a mission on nearby P2C-257 and convinced him to speed back to intercept the X-301. They did so just in time, though O'Neill and Teal'c had to let themselves drift out of the cockpit into space so that Jacob's ship could ring them aboard. The X-301 was left on its trajectory out of the solar system. It can be assumed the X-301 project was scrapped in favor of building a ship that was entirely understood by human knowledge, the X/F-302. (4.12 "Tangent")
- Gen. Jack O'Neill
- Dr. Daniel Jackson
- Lt. Col. Samantha Carter
- Gen. George Hammond
- Maj. Paul Davis
- Gen. Jacob Carter
- Lt. Gen. Vidrine
- Death Glider
- Peterson Air Force Base
- Ring Transporter
- Stargate Command (SGC)
--Written for Solutions by Jordan Kreiger.
--Michelle 22:04, 10 September 2006 (PDT)