Golden Age Weaponsmiths AV-8B Plus Harrier II:

Originally manufactured by McDonnell Douglas and later by Boeing, the AV-8B Harrier II is a vertical take off and landing aircraft. The aircraft was operated by the United States Marine Corp as well as being exported to a number of other nations including Spain and Italy. In addition, the British operated the similar Sea Harrier which was also exported to India. The British Sea Harrier operated with distinction in the Falklands War.

Even though slower than most fighters, these aircraft were extremely flexible and useful. Their ability made them able to be operated from small air fields and off of small carriers. The United States Marine operated them from Amphibious carriers. The AV-8B Harrier was originally built without a radar system but eventually the AN/APG-65 radar, originally developed for the F/A-18 Hornet was fitted in the aircraft, making it far more capable. This allowed it to use the AIM-120 AMRAAM Missile where as before it was limited before to the AIM-9 Sidewinder as far as air to air missiles. The Harrier II did have a reputation as being extremely difficult to fly and there were many crashes early on.

The Harrier II was not retired in United States Marine Corp service until towards the end of the second decade of the Twenty-First Century. It was replaced in service by the far more deadly F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter was also capable of very short take offs and landings but was capable of greater than mach one, far more maneuverable, longer ranged, carried much greater ordnance, and was designed with a very low radar cross signature.

It is unknown why the AV-8B Plus Harrier II were put in mothball instead of being scrapped. Maybe it was because of concerns about the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. Still, a number of the Harrier II survived the coming of the Rifts. When Golden Age Weaponsmiths found the Wasp class amphibious carriers, they also found multiple AV-8B plus Harriers II which had been long forgotten about.

Golden Age decided to refit these aircraft just like they had other aircraft that they had recovered. They first attempted to sell them to the Coalition States Navy but they showed no real interest. This left the engineers concerned however customers quickly showed interest in the aircraft. With its V/STOL ability, it has an extraordinary ability to operate from improvised air fields makings it extremely useful in the shredded landscape which dominated after the coming of the Rifts. It is also comparatively inexpensive. The aircraft's only real weakness is its comparative slow speed. Smaller governments and mercenary companies have both been snapping these aircraft almost as fast as they can be refitted.

The AV-8B Plus Harrier II is so popular that several companies have begun examining how they might copy the design using modern materials. Probably include significantly more advanced technology than the Golden Age Weaponsmith refitted aircraft. So far, Golden Age Weaponsmith is looking at other aircraft themselves as far new built aircraft including the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Hornet.

As with most aircraft, Golden Age Weaponsmiths replaces virtually the entire skin with both composite and alloy materials which are far stronger than those the aircraft were original covered with. As well, the frame is reinforced in areas for further strengthening. The result is an aircraft that can withstand far greater damage than it could originally although it is still not up to modern standards.

The Harrier has eight hard points to carry a variety of different ordnance. As with other aircraft, these hard points are refitted to carry the more common ammunition types. This includes missiles, bombs, mini-missile pods, towed decoys, and even jamming pods. Fuel tanks can also be carried four of the wing hard points. Under the fuselage is a 25 mm gun Equalizer gun pod with the gun mounted on the left hand side and three hundred rounds of ammunition mounted on the right hand side. Golden Age Weaponsmiths convinced Wellington Industries to develop a new ramjet round for the 25-mm gun and replaced the conventional ammo with ramjet rounds. Wellington Industries had previously developed a ramjet round for the 20-mm cannon carried in most American fighter designs.

Both the electronics and engines of the Harrier II had to be reconditioned. Luckily, the engines were certified for using Bio-Fuels before the Harrier II was retired. In some cases, replacement parts were not available and the engineers and Golden Age Weaponsmiths had to come up with innovative solutions.

Model Number: AV-8B Harrier
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Fighter-Bomber
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

GAU-12 Equalizer 25 mm Auto Cannon Pod (1, Fuselage):40
GAU-12 Equalizer 25 mm Ammunition Pod (1, Fuselage):40
[1] Wings (2):60 each
[2] Elevators (2):35 each
[2] Rudders:35
Landing Gear (4):5 each
[3] Main Body:120

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash.
[2] Destruction of the rudder or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the fighter has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls. Destruction of both of the elevators will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot must eject to survive.
[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless and causing it to crash if in flight

Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling and not on take off or landing.
Flying: The AV-8B Harrier II can hover and go up to a maximum speed of 650 knots (748 mph/1203 kph). It can hover stationary up to 10,000 feet and can fly up to 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) if not hovering. Aircraft cannot use V/TOL mode if over half loaded but can still take off and land in a short distance. The Harrier does not have afterburners.
Range: 965 nautical miles (1,110 miles/ 1,787 km) with no ordnance load. Loaded, the plane's range is reduced to 865 nautical miles (995 miles /1,602 kilometers). The aircraft can carry a drop tank on four of the wing hard points which increases range by 130 nautical miles (150 miles/241 kilometers) each. The Harrier can be refueled in the air

Statistical Data:
Height 12 feet (3.7 meters)
Wingspan: 25 feet (7.6 meters)
Length: 47.5 feet (14.5 meters)
Weight: 13,968 pounds (6,340 kilograms) empty, 31,000 pounds (14,100 kilograms) maximum load rolling, and 20,755 lb (9,415 kg) maximum for vertical take off.
Power System: Conventional, One Rolls Royce F402-RR-406 (21,450 lb thrust) or F402-RR-408 turbofan engine (23,800 lb thrust), uses aviation fuel.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: 3 million credits (Can sometimes sell for double that price)

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) GAU-12 Equalizer 25 mm Auto Cannon: This is the original Pre-Rifts cannon mounted in twin pods underneath the fighter with the left hand pod mounting the five barrel gun and the right hand pod carry three hundred rounds of ammunition. They have replaced the standard ammo with mega damage, armor piercing ramjet ammunition produced by Wellington Industries which allows the aircraft to hold it own against other Rifts aircraft.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 2D4x10 for a burst of 20 round, 3D4 for each round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 300 rounds (15 bursts)
  2. Seven (7) Hard Points: The Harrier has seven hard points for ordnance and equipment. The aircraft has one hard point on the center of the fuselage and three hard points on each wing. Below is a list of hard points and the loads that they can carry. Missiles, rocket packs, and bombs can be mixed or matched but all ordnance on a hard point must be the same type.
    Central Hard Point: ECM pod, towed decoys, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile / heavy bomb, two medium range missile / medium bombs, or four short range missiles / light bombs).
    Inner Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks, towed decoys, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile / heavy bomb, two medium range missiles / medium bombs, or four short range missile / light bombs).
    Middle Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks, towed decoys, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile / heavy bomb, two medium range missiles / medium bombs, or four short range missile / light bombs).
    Outer Wing Hard Points (2): Towed decoys, or missiles/bombs (one medium range missile / medium or 2 short range missiles / light bombs).
    1. Bombs and Missiles: The only restriction is that a hard point must carry all the same type of missiles or bombs. Both unguided and guided bombs can be carried.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile and varies by altitude bombs are dropped at (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by missile or bomb type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired and bombs can be dropped one at a time per hard point. Multiple hard points can be linked as one attack but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
      Payload: Varies by hard point (See above).
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The Aircraft normally carries missile pods for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles. Mini-Missile pods can be carried on inner and middle wing hard points.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Each pod can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16 - all.) and can be linked with other mini missile pods for greater number of missiles (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley.)
      Payload: Each pod carries sixteen (16) mini-missiles.
    3. Active Jamming Pod: Pod takes place of all ordnance on the Hard Point. Causes -25% to detection but when it is active, other vehicles/ bases can detect that it is jamming, and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. Jamming also causes a -4 penalty to all radar guided weapons.
    4. Towed Decoys (4): The pod takes place of all ordnance on the Hard Point. The aircraft can carry a special pod that carries four advanced towed decoy drones. These drones are dragged about 328 feet (100 meters) behind the aircraft on a thin cable. Each is a specially designed radar lure that creates a radar image to mimic the aircraft. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World weapons due to technological difference.
      M.D.C.: 5 each
      Effects: The decoy has an 65% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 35% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles.
      Range: Not Applicable although the decoy is deployed 328 feet (100 meters) from the aircraft
      Rate of Fire: One can be deployed at a time and requires 15 seconds to deploy (Reel Out) another decoy
      Payload: Four (4) Decoys each pod.
  3. One (1) Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser (1): Use the same effects as the TRIAX model. However, each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 20 chaff, 40 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.

Special Equipment:
The equipment of the fighter has been upgraded but many of the original systems are still on the fighter. Consider the fighter to carry all standard equipment that robot vehicles carry (not including loudspeaker and microphone) plus the following extra systems:

Combat Bonuses:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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