Golden Age Weaponsmiths P-51M Mustang:

General Krystal Moor of the R.E.E.F. liked to take the replica P-51 Mustang flying. The silvery aircraft was a work of art and it was fun to fly so primitive an aircraft and it was something she rarely go to do. Of course, being a general, she always had several proper Veritech fighters escorting her so as to keep her safe.

Suddenly she saw the two Veritech fighters racing to the north west. She was about to call them when she heard over her radio, "Black Ace Four to Queen Bee, we detected multiple fighters on an approach vector. We are on a intercept course. Recommend you return to base. More fighters are scrambling."

Her own radio did not have the range to reach the base but she radioed back, "Returning to base." As she spoke, she pulled hard on the stick to turn the Mustang around. While she did have fifty caliber ramjet ammunition loaded and short range missiles on the wings, a World War Two replica had no business fighting in a modern combat. She would be a sitting duck.

She drove the old fighter to the deck, hoping to make the Mustang harder to see due to cover. Something was wrong though, she saw four small black objects moving near the ground. The Mustang had no radar but she surmised that they were sky cycles of some type. They were probably so low to the ground to hide from the fighters which were escorting her.

Somehow she was behind them. Perhaps they were dazzled by the fighters rocketing to the north. No matter, she had seconds to do something. She dove at the lead fighter, pushing her engine into the red line. While the P-51 Mustang was slower than a Sky Cycle, the propeller aircraft could actually out-climb the rocket vehicles.

She fired off a pair short range missiles. The missiles were reliant on the heat seekers of the missiles themselves, the mustang having no targeting ability itself. Still, she had a good chance to line up the first target. A few moments later, both of short range missiles struck solidly. The cycle went spinning around and she could see the pilot thrown off the cycle.

The three remaining Sky Cycles scattered. At the same time, the Sky Cycles began firing their laser turrets back towards her. Continuing to jink, she would be an almost impossible target to hit with them having no clear visual of her. Still, it would only be a matter of time that one could get behind her and got a good target against her.

General Moor tried to fire a second volley of two short range missiles but she had less time to aim than first volley. They went wide with the missiles exploding on the ground. One third of her short range missiles gone for only a single Sky Cycle down. She was still above them so fired a burst of fifty caliber rounds into the Sky Cycle. Well aimed, she thought she managed to hit the actual pilot. Always seemed silly to her to have the pilot even partially exposed. She fired a second burst which also seemed to have hit the pilot with a number of additional rounds.

As she got closer, she saw the figure slumped in the cockpit. They were Coalition Sky Cycles but that did not mean that they were in service with the Coalition. Many had wound up in other hands. Still, she knew that lining up for a kill shot would put her in danger from the other two Sky Cycles. Instead, Krystal Moor peeled off from him. If he followed, she would know that he not disabled. Instead, he continued on a straight and level course.

One of the Sky Cycles was almost behind her. She pulled the controls into a virtually vertical climb. The Sky Cycles' engines quickly lost thrust at around five thousand feet. The Mustang continued to climb at over a thousand meters per minute, the reproduction Packard Merlin engine holding up even though still red lined. Unfortunately, a burst from the nose laser of the Sky Cycle hit her wing. Several holes were blown in the wing but structure seemed still sound.

The Sky Cycle found his thrusters stalling and the cycle began spinning out of control. The pilot was probably trying to frantically bring it back under his control. One of the problems with a completely unstable craft which relied purely on thrust is that they become unstable quite easily.

Bringing the old fighter into a dive, she would have moments to get a good target on the Sky Cycle. Two more short range missiles raced towards the tumbling craft. The missiles exploded, taking out the engines. Close to the spinning aircraft, she followed the mini-missile volley with a burst of fifty caliber rounds. They also appears to tear into the Cycle. The small craft continued dropping like a stone.

General Moor started looking around for the last surviving Sky Cycle. She still had two short range missiles and most of her fifty caliber ammunition. There was a dot racing back towards the west. Apparently, he did not want to mess with her. She was just as happy to let him go and decided to head for home, bringing her engine back to more normal limits. Still, she had to wonder who they were with.

The North American P-51 Mustang is considered by many to be the most famous fighter of World War Two. The prototype was rolled out in little more than a hundred days after the contract was signed although without an engine. In addition, the fighter fought in Korea and several other conflicts. It actually several in non United States militaries into the Nineteen-Eighties. Pilots of the Mustang claimed almost five thousand kills, more than any other fighter. Several Mustangs even shot down jet fighters. The aircraft found its way into the hands of civilians including stunt pilots. Some of these were still flying even when the Rifts came and several groups reproduced the P-51 Mustang with both full scale, three quarter, two thirds, and half scale reproductions.

Sky Cycles are often used as ground support vehicles but are quite expensive. They have complex thruster designs as well as extremely sophisticated flight controls. Due to cost, some groups have looked for alternatives. One solution is helicopters but they are comparatively slow, with maximum speeds usually less than two hundred knots. As such, it is not considered by many to be a good solution.

A pilot, General Moor of the REEF, was on a relaxation flight in a reproduction P-51 Mustang she had built and was ambushed by four Sky Cycles. In the course of the combat, she actually managed to down three of the Sky Cycles with the fourth making a run for it. While many realized that part of it was her incredible flying skills, it still was incredible that so old a fighter could engage modern Sky Cycles.

It was realized that the P-51 Mustang could be reproduced ultra-cheaply. It did not have the advanced computer systems and was a propeller design instead of using high tech thruster. Golden Age Weaponsmiths decided to try their hand at copying the aircraft. In many ways, it was not much more complex than the cars and trucks which they already manufactured. As a result, they simply converted a automobile factory to produce these aircraft. It is believed that they may have found a old set of manufacturing tools for these aircraft. They have also refitted a handful of old fighters for interested customers.

Sales have been excellent for the reproduction fighter. Some have been sold to techno-wizards who modify the aircraft including both the addition of powerful enchantments and adding electronic systems. Others however retain the aircraft in the standard configuration produced by Golden Age Weaponsmiths. While taking on four Sky Cycles is a task beyond most pilots, they do surprisingly well against a single one and cost a fraction as much. A number of Mercenary Companies operate these reproduction fighters. Some have added a few additional systems including better radios into these aircraft.

Golden Age made a number of minor modifications to the basic design. The whole aircraft is made from ultra high strength composites and alloys. This makes the aircraft incredibly tough. The engineers were at first were going to use their own engine but it was decided to reproduce the original engine, although from ultra-strength alloys, because the company had little experience in producing aircraft engines at the time. In addition, the aircraft were modified so that they might carry modern ordnance. The wings can carry two heavy bombs, with one each, or a variety of lighter ordnance. While guided ordnance can be carried, the aircraft has no real fire control so missiles are limited to their own guidance. Long range missiles are almost never carried and medium range missiles are rarely carried. As such, the aircraft is generally limited to visual range as far as being able to target. Mini missiles can also be carried. The Mustang can carry up to eight mini-missiles in place of a single heavy bomb for a maximum of sixteen mini-missiles. The Mustang retains the six fifty caliber machine guns in the wings but firing Wellington Industries ramjet ammunition, they are surprisingly effective. A total of almost two thousand rounds are carried with the payload of the middle and outer machine guns increased slightly.

Model Number: P-51M Mustang
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Fighter (Propeller)
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Wings (2):60 each
[2] Elevators (2):30 each
[2] Rudder (1):30 each
Landing Gear (2):5 each
[3] Main Body:120

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash.
[2] Destruction of the elevators or rudder 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: 487 mph (423.2 knots / 783.8 kph) with a maximum altitude of 41,900 feet (12,780 meters.) Normal cruise speed is considered to be 362 mph (314.6 knots / 580 kph)
Range: 1,300 miles (1,129.7 nautical miles / 2,092 kilometers) with center drop tank. The P-51 Mustang cannot be refuel in the air.

Statistical Data:
Height: 13 feet 8 inches (4.17 meters)
Wingspan: 37 feet .5 inches (11.3 meters)
Length: : 32 feet 2.5 inches (9.82 meters)
Weight: 7,125 pounds (3,232 kilograms) empty, 11,600 pounds (5,266 kilograms) operational
Power System: Conventional (Reproduction Rolls Royce - Packard-built V-1650-7 Merlin 1,590 hp 12 cylinder inline engine), uses aviation fuel
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) including cockpit, does not include hard points
Black Market Cost: 250,000 credits. A refitted Pre-Rifts fighter would cost approximately 150,000 credits (Main Body 100 M.D.C.)

Weapon Systems:

  1. Six (6) .50 Caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning Heavy Machine Guns: This is the original weapons of the P-51 Mustang and is mounted inside the fighter’s wings and not considered a distinct target. Golden Age and groups operating the aircraft have simply replaced the standard Ammo with WI-20 Heavy Ramjet rounds. When all six fire together, the damage is incredible using Ramjet rounds.
    Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
    Mega Damage: 1D4 per single round. All six cannons can fire one round inflicts 5D4. A burst of forty round from one cannon inflicts 5D6. When all six cannons are firing a burst of forty round (240 rounds total), the damage inflicted is 3D6x10 per burst. Inner machine guns firing together bursts of forty rounds each (80 rounds total) inflicts 1D6x10 per burst.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Inner machine guns have 400 each (ten bursts each), middle and outer machine guns have 280 each (seven bursts each)
  2. Wing Hard Points: The P-51 Mustang can carry a variety of ordnance on its hard points including bombs and missiles. The aircraft has no real fire control and guided missiles have to rely on the missile's own seeker, usually limited to heat seeking missiles. Long range are almost never carried and medium range missiles are rarely carried.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by altitude for bombs and varies by missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega-Damage: Varies by bomb or missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: One (1) at a time, or volleys of two (2) [Mini-Missiles can be fired in volleys of four (4).]
    Payload: One (1) long range missile (rarely carried) / heavy bomb per wing, two (2) medium range missiles (rarely carried)/ medium bombs per wing, four (4) short range missiles / light bombs per wing, or eight (8) mini-missile per wing.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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