Metalworks Incorporated A-100 Ironhawk Ground Attack Aircraft:

Metalworks Incorporated is a company that is west of the city of Tolkeen that constructed various ground vehicles, robots, and aircraft. Most of their designs are copies of other companies or nations. They have permission from Triax to produce under licence several Triax designs and sell them in North America.

An advisor to the senior executive of Metalworks suggested that an aircraft that was dedicated to close ground support would be a good project. This was partially driven by her seeing that she needed one for her mercenary company and has a dislike for sky cycles as well.

Like the F-500 Tigerhawk and F-550 Lionhawk, this aircraft is available in both a fuel cell and nuclear powered version. Some people have accused Metalworks of stealing the entire design but while the aircraft uses the same cannons used on one of Ironheart Industries tanks, the A-100 is a new design developed by Metalworks Incorporated.

After looking at old pre-rifts aircraft, two aircraft designs stood out for this role. They were the American A-10 and the Soviet/Russian SU-25 Frogfoot. The A-100 Ironhawk actually looks in some ways more like the SU-25 than it does the A-10. This is mainly because the engines are placed on the wing supports instead of the rear of the aircraft. The advantage of this is that it is easier to integrate vertical take off and landing thrusters. The Ironhawk has a twin tail so that the aircraft can still operate with the loss of a tail rudder. Like both of these aircraft, the Ironhawk has good glide ability for a jet.

Internally, the aircraft uses features like that of the most aircraft but unlike most standard Rifts Earth aircraft, each system is duplicated multiple times. Because radar is not as important system for a ground attack aircraft as it is for other types of fighters, the system is less advanced than the system placed in some aircraft.

The one place the electronic system excel is that the aircraft has excellent terrain following systems. The flight control systems are fly by wire and the aircraft has two separate fly by wire systems and a hydraulic flight control system to back the other systems up. In order to withstand damage in combat, the Ironhawk is fitted with extremely heavy armor for an aircraft.

Weaponry and ordinance are where this aircraft breaks from the pack of other aircraft and it carries an incredible amount of weaponry. For the main gun, the attack aircraft carries two Vulcan laser cannons. These cannons were taken from the Iron Hammer tank and the two cannons weigh 2,400 pounds combined. The cannons are mounted in the front of the aircraft with one on each side of the fuselage flared into the body of the fighter with only the barrels pointed out.

When the first prototype of the A-100 first attempted to fire the Vulcan laser cannons, it causes the power system to short out most of the other system on the aircraft including the propulsion. This actually caused the first prototype of the attack aircraft to crash.

In order to deal with this issues, there was a major redesign including complicated set of circuitry protections and secondary shunting system. Since the redesigning of the system, there have been no more problems with the electronics being overloaded. Part of the redesign included that the twin Vulcan lasers do not pull power directly from the fusion reactor on nuclear powered versions but instead use a extremely efficient capacitor to store power. Up to eighty bursts, or forty double bursts, can be fired, before the capacitor is drained. On fuel cell versions of the attack aircraft, there is a slightly larger capacitor but cannot be recharged in flight.

On the tip of each wing is a fixed mini-missile launcher that each carry twenty-four mini-missiles for a total of forty-eight mini-missiles. With a total of ten external hard points, the A-100 Ironhawk can carry a huge amount of external ordnance. There are two hard points under the fuselage and four hard points under each wing. Optional ordnance includes bombs, missiles, more mini-missile / rocket packs, and rail gun pods. To extend the range for fuel cell versions of the aircraft, extra fuel tanks can also be carried on some of the hard points.

Unlike most true fighters, the Ironhawk is designed with speed as a secondary and to be able to carry a large payload of primary importance. In some cases, the attack aircraft has been criticized but those that do generally do not understand its role. The engine design is fairly simple to allow for the easy maintenance and repair of them. Along the side of the engine is a series of four vectored thrusters that allows the aircraft to complete vertical take off and landings. These are similar to those carried on the F-550 Lionhawk.

As with several other aircraft designs manufactured by Metalworks, including the F-500 Tigerhawk, F-550 Lionhawk, and F-600 Sparrowhawk, the A-100 Ironhawk is available in a nuclear version, powered by a fusion reactor, and a fuel cell powered version. The nuclear powered version has been more popular with customers although the fuel cell version is considerably cheaper.

The power system of the nuclear version is a small but powerful fusion reactor. While the fusion reactor takes up less space than the fuel cells do, the fusion reactor has about the same weight as the fuel tanks carried on the fuel cell powered version. Like most systems on this attack aircraft, the fusion reactor is considered relatively simple and does not have the duration of many of the more advanced fusion reactors.

 The technology for the fuel cell design was purchased from Archangel Heavy Industries who got the designs of fuel cells from pre-rifts records. The fuel cells operate by pulling the electrons off of an H2 molecule, splitting it into 2H+ molecules and 2 electrons. The electrons pass through the “load” (engines, weapons, avionics, etc.) creating current and powering the systems. Meanwhile, the 2H+ molecules pass from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte. At the other “end,” the electrons then recombine with the 2H+ molecules and Oxygen (from the air) and are released as water from the rear of the aircraft. Unlike many of the ground vehicles that use the fuel cell system, the main aircraft fuel tank is fixed. The main fuel tank can be refueled by midair refueling but the external fuel tanks cannot be refueled the same way. The fuel tank holds enough Hydrogen to allow the attack aircraft to travel 1,500 nautical miles and the attack aircraft can carry fuel tanks on its external hard points which each extends the range by 300 nautical miles.

Designation: A-100 Ironhawk.

Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Ground Attack Aircraft.

Crew: One.

M.D.C. by Location:


Vulcan Laser Cannons (2, nose):

75 each.


Wingtip Mini-Missile Launchers (2, wingtips):

65 each.


[1] Wings (2):

300 each.


[2] Elevators (2):

150 each.


[2] Rudders (2):

150 each.





[3] Engines (2):

350 each.


[4] Lift Nozzles (4):

80 each.


[5] Main Body:



Landing Gear (3):

80 each.


[1] Destroying a wing will cause the aircraft to crash if in flight.

[2] Destruction of the attack aircraft’s rudders or one elevator will still allow the attack aircraft to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines and vectoring thrusters but attack aircraft 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 attack aircraft’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 if in flight. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject.

[4] Destruction of a single lift nozzle will prevent the aircraft from hovering. Destruction of a pair of lift nozzles will prevent the aircraft from making short take off and landings. These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot.” Even then the attacker is at -4 to strike.

[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.


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 on the runway / air field and not on take off or landing. The aircraft can make both short take off and landings as well as true vertical take off and landings.

Flying: The Ironhawk can hover and go up to a maximum speed of 450 knots (517.8 mph / 833.4 kph). Unlike most fighters, it does not have a high output setting and does not use energy at a high rate. However, extended hovering will consume fuel at a rapid rate. The attack aircraft has a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet (12,192 meters).

Range: Fusion Reactor: Effectively Unlimited. Thrusters overheat after twenty hours of use below 250 mph (402.3 kph) and 10 hours of use above 250 mph (402.3 kph).

Fuel Cell Version: 1,500 nautical miles (1,726.2 miles/2,778 km) with no external ordnance load. The fuel cell version can carry up to six external fuel tanks style (on all but the outer four hard points) that extend range by 300 nautical miles (345.2 miles/555.61 km) each. The aircraft can be refueled in flight but limited to the internal fuel tanks being refueled in the air.

With fuel cells, the aircraft has potentially the same problems that the nuclear version of the aircraft does. The engines will overheat when operated for an extended period. While normally not a problem, this can become a problem if the aircraft remains in the air for extended periods due to being refueled multiple times while flying or being flown continuously with fast turn around times.

Reduce aircraft’s range by 15% if partially loaded (From four to six hard points loaded) and by 25% if fully loaded (Eight or greater hard points loaded.)

Statistical Data:

Length:         55 feet 6 inches (16.9 meters).

Wingspan:    60 feet (18.3 meters).

Height:         15 feet 3 inches (4.6 meters).

Weight:        22,000 pounds (9979 kg) empty and 62,000 pounds (28,122.7 kg) maximum takeoff load.

Power Source: Two versions. Nuclear version with 8 year fusion reactor and Fuel Cell version that uses hydrogen as a fuel to produce electricity.

Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not include hard points.

Black Market Cost: Nuclear Reactor: 16.5 million credits. Fuel Cell Version: 6.5 million credits.

Mini-Missile launchers cost 200,000 credits each and rail gun pods cost 95,000 credits each.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Two (2) Vulcan Laser Cannons: These cannons are a copy of the IH-44L Vulcan Laser on the Iron Hammer Tank that was manufactured by Ironheart Industries. These were mounted as secondary weapons but were still almost too large to be mounted on the attack aircraft. Early in the testing of the aircraft, these weapon systems had many problems but the problems have been corrected. The laser cannons are mounted near the front on either side of the fuselage of the attack aircraft. In both nuclear powered versions and fuel cell versions, power is provided by a high efficiency capacitor. In nuclear powered versions, the fusion reactor will slowly recharge the capacitor while on fuel cell versions, there is a larger capacitor.

    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

    Mega Damage: 3D4x10 for an instantaneous burst from one cannon and 6D4x10 for an instantaneous burst from both cannons.

    Rate of Fire: Each cannon can shoot up to six times per melee (Normally combined) but is restricted to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).

    Payload: Nuclear Reactor Version: Eighty (80) blasts in capacitors (or forty double blasts), recharges at the rate of four shot per melee round (15 seconds). Fuel Cell Version: One hundred and twenty (120) blasts in capacitors (or sixty double blasts). Capacitor does not recharge automatically.

  2. Two (2) Mini-Missile Launchers: Large capacity mini-missile pods are permanently mounted on the outside edge of each wing. The launchers are normally used for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missiles used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles.

    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 launcher / pod can fire mini-missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), sixteen (16), or twenty-four (24 - all) mini-missile. Both launchers can be linked with the other mini missile launcher for up to forty-eight (48) missiles as one volley (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley).

    Payload: Each launcher carries 24 mini-missiles for a total of 48 mini-missiles.

  3. Ten (10) Hard Points: The A-100 Ironhawk has ten hard points for external ordnance and equipment with four on each wing and two on the fuselage of the aircraft. Each hard point may carry one long range missile or heavy bomb, two medium range missiles or medium bombs, or four short range missiles or light bombs. The hard points can also carry mini-missile pods and rail guns instead of bombs or missiles. Each hard points must carry the same type of ordnance but different hard points may carry different ordnance types although ordnance is normally carried in symmetrical pairs. Only the fuselage hard points and four inner wing hard points are set up to carry additional fuel tanks on Fuel Cell versions.

    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 - all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance.)

    2. Mini-Missile Pods: Although smaller than fixed mini-missile pods, this detachable mini-missile pod still has a large capacity. 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.

      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 mini-missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16 - all) mini-missile 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. Rail Gun Pods: Copies of the Northern Gun NG-202 enclosed in a streamlined pod that is designed to be mounted on the hard points of the aircraft. It is modified to fire a longer burst than is standard for the NG-202 in a similar manner to the rail gun carried on the Samson power armor. Main advantage over internal lasers is that the weapon is effective against targets that are impervious to energy.

      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

      Mega Damage: 1D6x10 M.D.C. per burst of 60 rounds with a single rail gun firing - only designed to fire bursts (Multiple rail guns can be combined for greater damage.)

      Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).

      Payload: 3,000 rounds each gun, That is 50 bursts for each rail gun.

    4. Advanced Towed Decoys (4): Pod takes place of all ordnance on the hard point. The aircraft can carry a special pod that carries four advanced towed decoy drones in each. 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. The decoy has a special jammer that is designed to decoy missiles that have been programmed to home on jamming signals. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not be effective against Phase World / Three Galaxies weapons due to technological difference.

      M.D.C.: 5 each.

      Effects: The decoy has an 80% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 50% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 25% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles. Against missiles homing on a jamming signal, jamming has an 40% chance of tricking missiles if both the aircraft and missile are jamming and an 80% chance if the jamming system on the aircraft is deactivated before the missile reaches is.

      Range: Not Applicable although decoy is deployed 328 feet (100 meters) from the aircraft.

      Rate of Fire: Only one decoy can be deployed at a time and requires one melee (15 seconds) to deploy (reel out) another decoy.

      Payload: Four (4) decoys.

  4. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the attack aircraft are two chaff dispensers. When tailed by a missile, a cloud of chaff and other obtrusive particles can be released to confuse or detonate the enemy’s attack. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not be effective against Phase World / Three Galaxies missiles due to technological difference and not as effective against smart missile. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)



    Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.



    Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)



    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: Eight (8).

Special Equipment:

The attack aircraft has all the standard features of a standard attack aircraft (same as standard robot minus loudspeaker and microphone) plus these special features listed:

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, 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, 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).

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