Golden Age Weaponsmiths F/A-18C/D Hornet:

Originally manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, the F/A-18 Hornet supplemented the F-14 Tomcat in United States Navy service. Later, Boeing took over manufacturing when they took over McDonnell Douglas. It was designed to combine both a strike aircraft and a fighter into a single airframe. While not as fast as the F-14, only capable of mach 1.8, and shorter ranged, it was in many ways a much more flexible aircraft. The Hornet also required far less maintenance than the Tomcat and was a fully “Fly-By-Wire” design. Generally the United States Navy preferred twin engine over single engine and the F/A-18 shares this feature with the F-14. Unlike the F-14, a number of other nations adopted the fighter including Canada, Australia, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, and Kuwait. Approximately twice as many F/A-18 Hornet were produced, over fourteen hundred in total, as there were F-14 Tomcats produced. It was only replaced in service with the introduction of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The last F/A-18 retired were the C/D models. A larger version of the F/A-18 Hornet was developed know as the "Super Hornet" which stayed in service for another couple of decades.

When retired, the F/A-18 Hornet were carefully preserved and kept in storage where many survived the coming of the Rifts. Forgotten even before the coming of the Rifts, it was not until Golden Age Weaponsmiths found the cache of F-14 Tomcats in storage that the F/A-18 Hornets were found. Like the F-14 Tomcats, the F/A-18 Hornets were reconditioned by Golden Age Weaponsmiths. A number were purchased by the Coalitions States for naval service and Free Quebec also purchased a number which they operate from land. Further fighters were found, including some that were originally in Canadian service. These fighters have also found their way into the hands of small independent powers and mercenary companies. They cost a fraction of what a new fighter would likely cost to produce. Golden Age appears to be considering producing their own fighter design copied from a Pre-Rifts design. The F/A-18 is one of the possible designs although the F-16 is more likely.

The electronic suite is fully reconditioned although not upgraded in any meaningful way. In some cases, old components are replaced by newer systems but there is no real increase in capabilities. Not really as capable as modern electronics, they still are adequate for most task. The twin General Electric F404-GE-402 engines are also reconditioned. They had been already certified for bio-fuels unlike the engines for the F-14 Tomcat. All models, those operated from land and from carriers, were equipped with a tail hook for carrier landings.

Already strengthened for catapult launches and landings, the FA-18 Hornet are surprisingly tough for their age. The fighters are further reenforced when reconditioned by Golden Age Weaponsmiths. In addition, most of the skin of the fighter was replaced with new high strength composites to withstand the rigors of modern combat. Even so, these fighter are far weaker than a modern aircraft would be when fully constructed from modern materials.

In common with most American fighters developed in the later part of the Twentieth Century, the F/A-18 mounts an internal 20 mm Vulcan cannon with around five hundred and seventy two rounds in total carried. Other aircraft which carried this gun included the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, and F-16 Falcon. Wellington Industries manufactured Ramjet ammunition was substituted for conventional ammunition, allowing the cannon to inflict similar damage to a modern rail gun.

There is a total of nine hard points on the Hornet. These hard points can carry fuel and/or various ordnance. The F/A-18 can carry a far wider variety of ordnance than the F-14 Tomcat, almost every missile type in the United States Navy inventory. These hard points are modified by Golden Age Weaponsmiths to carry standard ordnance types available on Rifts Earth including missiles, bombs, rocket packs, and even towed decoys. Three hard points are "Wet," set up to mount fuel tanks to extend the range of the Hornet, two on the inner wing hard points and the centerline hard point. Most often the center fuselage hard point mounts a fuel tank instead of ordnance.

Model Number: F/A-18C and F/A-18D
Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Strike Fighter
Crew: F/A-18C; One F/A-18D; Two

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Wings (2):80 each
[2] Elevators (2):40 each
[2] Rudders (2):40 each
[3] Engines (2):100 each
Landing Gear (3):5 each
[4] Main Body:130

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
[2] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but 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] The destruction of one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 10% penalty to piloting. Destruction of both engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt a emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject.
[4] 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. Has a tail hook for carrier landings and designed to be catapult launched.
Flying: The F/A-18 Hornet can reach a top speed of Mach 1.7 (1094.6 knots / 1308.2 mph/2105.8 kph) on full afterburner (the fighter can only last a few minutes at that speed and consumes most of the fuel.) Top speed is reduced by about 10% when fully loaded. The fighter’s normal cruise speed is about 400 knots (460.6 mph / 741.3 kph) but varies on situation. The fighter has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters)
Range: 1,089 nautical miles (1252.4 miles/2,003 kilometers) with no external ordnance load. Can carry up to three external 330 gallon tanks in place of ordnance (Centerline and Inner Wing hard points.) Each extends range by 150 nautical miles (172.7 miles / 278.0 kilometers.) Reduce aircraft's range by 15% if partially loaded (two long range missiles, four medium range missile or eight short range missiles, or more) and by 25% if fully loaded. The F/A-18 Hornet can be refueled in the air.

Statistical Data:
Height: 15 feet 4 inches (4.6 meters)
Wingspan: 40 feet 5 inches (13.5 meters)
Length: 56 feet (16.8 meters)
Weight: 23,000 lb (10,400 kg) empty and 51,900 pounds (23,537 kg) fully loaded.
Power System: Conventional, Two General Electric F404-GE-402 enhanced performance turbofan engines (Each with 11,000 lbs dry thrust and 17,700 lbs thrust with afterburners), uses aviation fuel
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: 3.5 million credits (Can sometimes sell for double that price)

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) M61A1 20 mm Vulcan Cannon: This is the original Pre-Rifts cannon mounted in the nose of the fighter. It is the same cannon design as is carried on the F-14 Tomcat and a number of other American aircraft. 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. The gun mount is controlled by the fighters pilot in both the single seat and two seat variants.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 for a burst of 30 round, 2D4 for each round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 570 rounds (19 bursts)
  2. Nine (9) Hard Points: The F/A-18 Hornet has a total of nine hard points to carry ordinance. The aircraft has one hard point on the wing tips, two in the inner and middle areas of the wings, one hard point on either side of the fuselage, and one centerline. 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.
    Centerline Hard Point: Fuel tanks or missiles/bombs (one long range missile /heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry heavy bombs or fuel tanks.
    Outer Fuselage Hard Points (2): Missiles only (one medium range missile or two short range missiles each.) Originally designed to carry the Sparrow and AMRAAM missiles.
    Inner Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks, towed decoy, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile /heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry fuel tanks, heavy bombs, Harpoons, HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    Middle Wing Hard Points (2): Towed decoy pod, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile /heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry heavy bombs, Harpoons, HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    Wing Tip Hard Points (2): Towed decoy or missiles (one medium range missile or two short range missiles each). Originally designed to carry the Sidewinder and AMRAAM missiles.
    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, missiles 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: 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 - all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance).
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The mini 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 - 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. 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: 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 decoys 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:

[ Altarain TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Horune TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kydian TM, Larsen’s Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Naut’Yll, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk’s Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1998, 2001, & 2011, Kitsune. All rights reserved.