The GTB Athena was one of the oldest, most commonly used class of bomber during the 14-Year War. When the Shivans arrived with their outpowering warships, the need arose for larger, more devastating bombs, which the Athena was not large enough to carry.
Being the lightest bomber of all known Terran bombers, the Athena provided a reasonable efficiency against incoming hostile fighters, while it was not worth a fighter-class.
| The GTB Athena
FS1 Tech Room Description
The smallest bomber in the fleet, the Athena has oftentimes been mistaken for a fighter. However, one should not be fooled by its small size. The Athena can carry light bombs, and most missiles. It also has the ability to dogfight well. Its strong shielding and hull make it the favored "Lightning Bomber" of the GTA.
Excellent for hit-and-run bombing. Good speed for its size, with a high capacity afterburner reserve.
I always wanted to love the Athena, but it's lack of a any serious anti-cap ship capablity made it a non-choice when going against anything bigger than a transport.
Some serious balancing issues have cropped up when a bomber is superior to fighters in many dogfighting situations, but having said that i am not complaining about being able to take a tank into a soldier fight.
The Athena is the ultimate tool for a fighter pilot. But not a bomber pilot. It has higher speed then the Hercules, good manuverabilty, and can haul an equal if not greater amount of ordance. It has a thin target profile from the the sides and front-back. Its gun setup is the best for dogfighting or bomb interception ever seen in a Freespace game, more then compensating for its inablity to carry the Prometheus or Banshee. If you want to carry real bombs, though, you'll have to get a Medusa.
If it could carry the Prometheus or the Hornet, I would prefer it to the GTF Hercules as a heavy fighter, but the lack of these and any proper bombs means there's always a ship better than it for most missions. On the other hand prior to the more advanced ships and weapons it does make a good heavy complement to the Apollo and the Valkyrie.
The Athena is probably one of the best ships in the whole FS universe. It's fast, manuverable, hard to hit, has great primary weapon placement and can take a lot of punishment. It can't carry the big bombs, but then again, crippling strikes are it's forte. Loaded with Stilleto and Fury missiles, it can quickly disarm and disable any ship, making it a easy prey for others. The only real downside to this jewel is it's incopability with some of the more advanced weapons.
This is the ship I swear by. The speed, amount of manuvering it has, shields, and amount of ordinance it can carry, along with it's almost nil front/side profile. With the exception of speed, I view this ship as the ideal anti-bomber ship, largely due to it's ability to pepper a bomber squadron down to almost nothing (mostly with Fury and Synaptic warheads), and then swoop in to finish the stragglers off. I singlehandedly finished off the Hades with this ship, and prefer it highly over any Hercules variant, or the Zeus, with it's far larger target profile, facts which plagued me for much of FS2.