Golden Age Weaponsmiths F-35 Joint Strike Fighter:

The United States Air Force, Marine Corp, and Navy all needed a new aircraft design near the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. The budget for the military simply did not have enough funds to produce several new designs. The Joint Strike Fighter was developed to replace the F-16 and A-10 in the Air Force, the AV-8B in the Marine Corp, and to compliment the FA-18E/F in the Navy. The fighter was developed by Lockheed Martin. Along with service in the United States military, the aircraft was sold to multiple other nations including Great Britain. The aircraft design was the first production supersonic aircraft with an available VSTOL version. The aircraft has stealth features, has fly by wire systems for greater maneuverability, and is extremely fuel efficient. The fighter was later upgraded using mega-damage alloys making it extremely tough and durable. The upgraded versions of the fighter served until the second half of the twenty-first century as front line units in the United States Military and in reserve units until virtually the time of the Rifts. The replacement aircraft was based off of the VTOL version of the Joint Strike Fighter but uses a fusion reactor in place of the standard engines.

There are three basic models of the fighter. All are single seat aircraft. The Air Force model is conventional take off and landing and was designed to be a significant improvement over the F-16 fighters. The Navy model was designed with larger wings and was designed for carrier operations with a tail hook. The Marine Corp model was designed for VSTOL operations and has a special shaft-driven lift-fan system for Short-Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) capability.

The initial Golden Age discoveries of aircraft were badly obsolete F-14 and F-18 fighters. It was not until much later that they began to discover more advanced fighters. While most found have been in a better stage of preservation than other fighters, most likely ready incase of need, there have been few found. This is likely due to the fact that many of the places they were stored were destroyed by the coming of the Rifts. Interestingly enough, the fighters have needed to be reconditioned but have needed little modification. The fighter’s hard points and ordnance bays had already been refitted to carry ordnance identical to those used on Rifts Earth and special ammunition already existed for the 27 mm cannon mounted as the gun on the fighter. Golden Age simply had to copy the Ammunition. The cannon is not carried internally on the VSTOL version of the fighter but instead is carried as a gun pod.

These fighters, especially the VTOL version of the fighter, are among the most expensive aircraft sold by Golden Age Weaponsmiths. Still, the combination of stealth and combat capabilities make the fighters sell quickly whenever Golden Age offers any for sale. These fighters are considered a threat by the Coalition and the general order for Coalition pilots is to shoot down the fighters when encountered. The Coalition has managed to acquire some of the fighters to study them. Golden Age is not considering reproducing the fighter due to the fact that they do not want to be a target of the Coalition's displeasure like Iron Heart Industry had before they were invaded by the same entity. It is also the case that Golden Age is not sure how to reproduce some of the materials used in the fighter.

Model Type:F-35A+Air Force Variant
F-35B+Marine Variant
F-35C+Navy Variant
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Multi-Role Fighter
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

Forward 27 mm Auto Cannon (1; Wing Root):30
Wing Mounted Missile Hard Points (4):8 each
Internal Ordnance Bay (1; hatch):40
[1] Wings (2):80 each
[2] Elevators (2):50 each
[2] Rudders (2):50 each
[3] Forward Lift Turbo-Fan Engine (1, Marine Variant Only):20
[3] Doors for Forward Lift Engine (2, Marine Variant Only):20 each
[4] Main Engine (1):100
[5] Main Body120
Landing Gear (3):5 each
Reinforced Pilot’s Compartment / Cockpit:60

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash. Pilot must eject to survive.
[2] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying direction 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] Lift doors protects the top and bottom of the lift engine. Destruction of doors protecting front lift engine will increase drag. Reduce top speed by half and the fighter has a -4 to dodge and piloting is at -20% at high speeds (Above 400 mph / 644 kph). To damage the forward lift engine, a called shot at -3 is required and the shielding doors either must be open or destroyed. If forward lift fan is destroyed, the fighter cannot hover but can still land/take off in conventional fashion.
[4] Destruction of the fighter’s engine will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot and weapon officer can choose to eject.
[5] 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. Pilot must eject to survive. Damage to the main body will also reduce the aircraft's stealth, for every 10% of damage to the main body, reduce the aircraft's stealth by 10% of its total.

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. Because of the vectoring of the thrusters, the fighter can take off in a short distance.
Flying: Only the marine version of the Joint Strike Fighter can hover. The Navy and Air Force models do not have a lift fan enabling the fighter to hover. The F-35 can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (1,334.6 mph / 2,147.9 kph) on full afterburner and climb to an altitude of 55,000 feet (16,800 meters). When the fighter is carrying ordnance on its external hard points, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 1.5 (1,112.2 mph / 1,789.9 kph.) The fighter can also cruise up to mach 1.1 (847 mph/ 1362 kph) but fighter’s cruise speed depends on mission and situation. The fighter has a minimum glide-speed of 120 mph (192 kph); if it goes any slower, the wings cannot provide sufficient lift and the aircraft will crash unless VTOL engines are engaged.
Maximum Effective Range: The Air Force and Navy Models have a range of 3,000 nautical miles (3,452.3 miles/5,556 km). The Marine Corp model has a slightly reduced range due to the turbo fan VSTOL engine taking the place of fuel tankage. The Marine Corp version has a range of 2,500 nautical miles (2,878.9 miles/4,633.1 km). The fighter can carry 4 fuel tanks that extend range by about 200 nautical miles (230.2 miles/370.4 km) each but they reduce the aircraft's stealth abilities when fuel tanks are carried. Because the ordnance is carried in internal bays, the aircrafts range reduction when loaded is negligible. The Joint Strike Fighter can be refueled in the air.

Statistical Data:
Height: All Versions: 15.1 feet (4.6 meters)
Wingspan: Air Force & Marine Versions: 34.8 feet (10.6 meters). Navy Version: 43 feet (13.1 meters)
Length: Air Force & Marine Versions: 50.5 feet (15.4 meters). Navy Version: 50.9 feet (15.5 meters)
Weight: Air Force & Marine Versions: 22,500 pounds (10,205.8 kg) empty and 50,000 pounds (22,679.6 kg) fully loaded. Navy Version: 24,000 pounds (10,886.2 kg) empty and 57,500 pounds (26,081.6 kg) fully loaded.
Power System: Conventional, One afterburning thrust Pratt & Whitney F119-P-100LX turbofan engine, uses aviation fuel.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not include ordnance bay or hard points. Ordnance bay can carry 3000 lbs (1362 kg).
Black Market Cost: Air Force & Navy Versions: 5.3 million credits Marine Version: 7.8 million credits (All versions can sometimes sell for double to triple that price)

Weapon Systems:

  1. 27 mm Cannon: A fix forward weapon is mounted on the Wing root of the Navy and Air Force version of the fighter. It is carried in a pod in the marine model. It serves as the one of last line of defense against enemy planes and missile volleys, although some pilots use it for strafing runs against ground targets when they are out of missiles. Many pilots do not like being exposed to ground weapons fire so it is an uncommon practice. Developed for the F-35 and is quite effective against most targets. Payload is more limited than it is for the rail gun carried in later aircraft. Weapon fires a combination of armor piercing and explosive rounds to inflict heavy damage on targets.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 for a burst of 15 round, 2D6 for each round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 390 rounds (26 bursts)
  2. Internal Ordnance Bay: The fighter has a large bay in the main body that can carry a wide variety of different ordnance types. Ordnance types include missiles, torpedoes, and bombs. While depth charges can be carried, their limited utility means that torpedoes are carried in most ASW missions. Missile and bomb sizes may be mixed between different types of ordnance but an ordnance drop or launch must include the same type and size of ordnance. Ordnance may be carried at the rate of four short range missiles, four light bombs, two medium range missiles, or two medium bombs for one long range missile or heavy bomb. Both guided and unguided ordnance may be carried. An equivalent number of torpedoes or depth charges to the number of missiles and bombs may also 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: Ordnance is dropped or fired one at a time or in volleys of two to thirty two but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
    Payload: Internal bay can carry 2 medium range missile or medium bombs and 2 long range missiles or heavy bombs. 4 medium range missiles or 8 short range missiles can be substituted for long range missiles or heavy bombs. Ordnance can be mixed and torpedoes and depth charges may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.
  3. Wing Hard Points (4): While these hard points are often used to carry fuel tanks, they can carry ordnance as well. They can carry missiles, bombs, and mini missile pods. Carrying ordnance or fuel tanks on the aircraft's external hard points negates the aircraft's stealth from the bottom, sides, front, and back of the aircraft. The aircraft retains normal stealth from the top. Reduce Stealth by 10% for every hard point carrying ordnance or a fuel tank.
    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. In two pilot versions, short range missile racks are controlled by either the pilot or the weapons officer.
      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: Missile can be fire 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: 4 short range missiles or light bombs, 2 medium range missiles or medium bombs, or 1 long range missile or heavy bomb (all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance) each hardpoint.
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The missile pods are normally carried for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles. In two pilot versions, mini missile pods are controlled by the pilot.
      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) mini-missiles 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. 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
      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.
      Maximum Effective 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: 4 Decoys each pod.
  4. 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).

Copyright © 1998, 2001, & 2002, Kitsune. All rights reserved.