Metalworks Incorporated F-500 Tigerhawk Light Fighter:

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. Metalworks senior staff saw that there was no affordable jet fighter designs and set out to construct a more affordable jet fighter. The result was the F-500 Tigerhawk.

The F-500 Tigerhawk is a development from the Pre-Rifts fighter, the F-5E Tiger. The F-5 Tiger light fighter was a United States aircraft design that was built to be inexpensive yet still have good performance. The F-5E had very docile handling attributes. It is almost unspinnable, and exhibits little, if any, wing drop at the stall. By grouping the two J85 engines so closely together, Northrop had greatly reduced engine-out asymmetric effects. In physical appearance, the Tigerhawk looks identical in most ways to the Tiger and if they were placed side by side, only a small number of features wound separate the Tigerhawk from the Tiger. The biggest alterations in the Tigerhawk are that the fighter has two underside canards near the intakes of the fighter and two more underside canards near the rear of the aircraft. The two rear exhausts of the engines are vectored to allow for increased maneuverability as well.

Much less obvious are the internal changes. The avionics, while improved from the original F-5 fighter, are much simpler than those carried on most Post Rifts fighters to save costs. Initial versions of the fighter carries virtually an identical sensor system to robots constructed on Rifts Earth with the only addition being a terrain following feature. One major change compared to the F-5 is that the aircraft flight controls have been replaced by modern fly by wire systems for better handling. Late upgrades included a far better radar system as an option.

The weapon systems are also relatively simple. The main guns of the fighter are two laser cannons. They are the laser portion of the JA-12 Laser Rifle. On the nuclear powered versions of the fighter, the guns pull power directly from the fighters fusion reactor and in the fuel cell powered version of the fighter, there is a high capacity battery to power the laser itself. The aircraft also has seven hard points: one on the fuselage and three hard points on each wing. One of the wing hard points is located on the tip of the wings. Hard Points can carry ECM systems, rail gun pods, mini missile packs, missile and bombs. The wingtip hard points are limited to towed decoys, one medium range missile each, or a mini-missile pod. On fuel cell versions of this aircraft, extra fuel tanks can also be carried on hard points.

The engines of the fighter are a relatively simple thruster designs but are surprisingly powerful. The engines do not produce the thrust possible with some of the more advanced engines but the fighter is still much faster than any sky cycles is. The low complexity of the thrusters allows for the easy maintenance and repair.

The power systems of this aircraft are the most unusual feature of the aircraft. The power system of the nuclear version is a relatively small 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 version. Like most systems on this fighter, the fusion reactor is 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 fighter to travel 1,360 nautical miles and the fighter can carry fuel tanks on its external hard points which each extends the range by 400 nautical miles.

Designation: F-500A Tigerhawk.

Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Fighter and Attack Craft.

Crew: One.

M.D.C. by Location:


[1] Forward Mounted Laser Cannons (2):

50 each.


[2] Wings (2):

150 each.


[3] Elevators (2):

80 each.


[3] Rudder:

85 each.





[4] Engines (2):

180 each.


[5] Main Body:



Landing Gear (3):

40 each.


[1] 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.

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

[3] Destruction of the fighter’s rudder or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines and vectoring thrusters 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.

[4] 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 if in flight. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot 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.


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. Because of the vectoring of the thrusters, the fighter can take off in a short distance.

Flying: The Tigerhawk can reach a top speed of Mach 1.75 (1,332.3 mph /2,143.9 kph) on full output (the fighter consumes energy and fuel at a rate of ten times greater than normal. Fighters with fuel cells have to be careful and the fighter with fusion reactors will have reactor’s life span reduced as well if operated at full thrust constantly). Top speed is reduced by about 10% when fully loaded. The fighter’s normal cruise speed is about 600 mph (965.6 kph) but varies on the situation. Stall speed of the fighter is approximately 100 mph (160.9 kph). The fighter has a maximum altitude of 55,000 feet (16,764 meters).

Range: Fusion Reactor: Effectively Unlimited. Thrusters overheat after twenty hours of use below 250 mph (402.3 kph), 10 hours of use from 250 mph (402.3 kph) to 650 mph (1,046.1 kph), and 4 hours of use over 650 mph (1,046.1 kph).

Fuel Cell Version: 1,360 nautical miles (1,565.1 miles/2,518.7 km) with no external ordnance load. The fuel cell version can carry up to three external fuel tanks style (on center and inner wing hard points) that extend range by 400 nautical miles (574.2 miles/924.1 km) each. The fighter 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 (Over four medium range missiles, eight short range missiles, or four mini-missile pods) and by 25% if fully loaded.

Statistical Data:

Length:         50 feet 7 inches (15.42 meters).

Wingspan:    28 feet (8.5 meters).

Height:         14 feet (4.3 meters).

Weight:        10,651.3 pounds (4,831.3 kg) empty, 14,685 pounds (6,661 kg) light combat load, and 27,143.6 pounds (12,312.1 kg) maximum takeoff load.

Power Source: Two versions. Nuclear version with 5 year fusion reactor and Fuel Cell version that uses hydrogen as a fuel to produce electricity.

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

Black Market Cost: Nuclear Reactor: 8.5 million credits. Fuel Cell Version: 3.2 million credits.

Long range (100 mile / 160 km) radar system costs an addition 500,00 credits to the base cost of the fighter.

Mini-Missile launchers cost 200,000 credits each, rail gun pods cost 95,000 credits each, and jamming pod costs 350,000 credits each.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Two (2) Laser Cannons: Laser cannons are mounted on either side of the cockpit in the front of the fighter. Normally both are fired together in six shot bursts but shorter bursts or a single laser may be fired. The fighter’s laser cannons are from the barrels and inner working of the JA-12 Assault Rifle. On the nuclear powered version, the laser cannons pull power directly from the fusion reactor of the fighter. On the fuel cell version, the laser cannons are powered by a high efficiency capacitor.

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

    Mega Damage: 4D6 for one cannon, 8D6 for both cannons, 1D6x10+10 for three blast burst from one cannon, 2D6x10+20 for three blast burst from both barrels (6 total blasts).

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

    Payload: Nuclear Reactor: Effectively Unlimited (draws power off the main reactor.) Fuel Cell Version: 480 blasts stored in a high efficiency capacitor. However, for damage purposes, consider a “magazine” to be 80 bursts of 6 blasts.

  2. Seven (7) Hard Points: The F-500 Tigerhawk has seven hard points for ordnance and equipment. Below is a list of hard points and the loads that they are able to 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: Fuel tanks (Fuel Cell Version), ECM / Electronic Warfare pod, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile / heavy bomb, two medium range missile / medium bomb, or four short range missile / light bomb each.)

    Inner Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks (Fuel Cell Version), ECM / Electronic Warfare pod, towed decoy pod, rocket packs (mini-missiles), rail gun pods, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile /heavy bomb, two medium range / medium bombs, or four short range missile / light bombs each.)

    Middle Wing Hard Points (2): ECM / Electronic Warfare pod, towed decoy pod, rocket packs (mini-missiles), rail gun pods, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile / heavy bombs, two medium range missiles / medium bombs, or four short range missiles / light bombs each.)

    Wing Tip Hard Points (2): Towed decoy pod, rocket packs (mini-missiles), or missiles (one medium range missile or two short range missiles each.)

    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: 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.

      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. ECM / Electronic Warfare Pod: Pod takes place of all ordnance on the hard point. Gives a -25% penalty to detection but when it is active and also creates a -4 penalty to all radar guided weapons (such as missiles.) However, the jamming signal can be detected and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. In addition, active electronically scanned array radar systems can often find unjammed frequencies.

    5. 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.

  3. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter 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 fighter has all the standard features of a standard fighter (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. ]

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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