Metalworks Incorporated F-600 Sparrowhawk Ultra-Light Fighter:
Metalworks Incorporated is a company that is west of the city of Tolkeen that constructed various ground vehicles, robots, and aircraft designs. Many of their designs are copies of other companies or nations. In the case of Triax, they have permission to produce under licence several Triax designs and sell them in North America.
The owner of Metalworks was at the REEF Florida base when he saw an aircraft that immediately caught his interesting. This was the turbo fan jet that was being sold to citizens as well as being used for a trainer. He thought that the aircraft would make an excellent aircraft to deal with a sky cycle and for general purposes roles as well. He asked and got permission to develop an advanced version. In order to better study the design, he also purchased several examples of the turbo fan jet.
When he returned back to his own facilities, he set up a team to first study the design and then develop a new design based on it. As one might expect, even though largely an improved copy of the original, the new design took months of work before even the prototype was ready for testing. The aircraft was given the designation F-600 Sparrowhawk and testing was begun.
During one of the first flight tests of the prototype, the aircraft ran against two of the new Coalition sky cycles that were investigating around the area near the Metalworks facilities although outside of those protected by air defense. They seem to have flown low and slow in order to evade detection. Because Rifts Earth can be hostile at the best of times, Metalworks has their aircraft normally armed even during prototype testing. The sky cycles engaged the fighter but soon found themselves outmatched. One was quickly shot down with the second attempting to make a run for it. It was soon intercepted by other units.
After this, the F-600 Sparrowhawk quickly completed its remaining tests and the design has just recently entered production. Already several parties, including the mercenary company known as ‘Larson’s Brigade’, have placed small orders for the new Sparrowhawk. One issue has been that several parties treat it as a smaller version of the Tigerhawk and/or Lionhawk fighters. While it can be looked at this way, that treatment has been criticized.
In the new aircraft’s design, Sparrowhawk breaks no new ground but is still is considered by those who have flown it to be an excellent aircraft. In appearance, the Sparrowhawk looks virtually identical to the turbo fan jet of RDF times and is quite similar to the aircraft flown by Rick Hunter. One major noticeable feature is the addition of four variable position nozzles on the sides of the fuselage for VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) operation. These are similar to the system mounted on the F-550 Lionhawk. Each main thruster is slightly wider and mounted on special mounting that allows for better vectoring of the engine thrust.
As with the F-500 Tigerhawk and F-550 Lionhawk, the Sparrowhawk is designed to be a relatively inexpensive design. Because of this, the aircraft is designed with relatively simple electronics that are similar to those carried in most robot vehicles. There is an option for a longer range radar but still shorter ranged than the radar system mounted on most modern fighters. Still, some operators do not expect the aircraft to engage in combat at anything other than short range and as such a long range radar was not seen as needed.
Maneuverability has not been sacrificed and the design uses advanced fly by wire control systems. In addition, the flight computer also has terrain following features to allow for nap of the Earth flying. One extremely interesting feature of the design is that the fuselage is designed so that it might be both taken apart and be packed for transport within an hour. This cal also be a great aid to maintenance and many repairs take only about half the time that might be expected.
It was decided to keep the weapon systems were kept as simple as possible and share where possible systems with other designs. The two forward firing weapons of the aircraft are two laser cannons that are modified JA-12 Laser rifles without the grenade launcher. These mounts are identical to those carried on the Tigerhawk and Lionhawk. On Nuclear powered versions of the fighter, the lasers pull power directly from the fighter’s fusion reactor and in Fuel Cell powered versions of the fighter use a high efficiency capacitor to provide power to the lasers. The capacitor is smaller than that carried on the two larger fighters.
Compared to the Tigerhawk and Lionhawk, the Sparrowhawk has a greatly reduced number of hard points. The ultra-light fighter has a total of four hard points with two on each wing. One is out about a third of the length of the wing from the fuselage while the other is on the tips of the wings. As far as payload, the wingtip hard points are limited to one medium range missile each, two short missiles each, or a mini-missile pod each. The inner hard points can carry ECM systems, rail gun pods, mini missile packs, missile, and/or bombs. On fuel cell versions of this aircraft, extra fuel tanks can also be carried on inner hard points.
The engines and thrusters are of a relatively simple design although the thruster is still are quite powerful with the Sparrowhawk being much faster than the sky cycles it was designed to fight. The VTOL thrusters allow for vertical take off and landings as well as making it more capable and flexible in urban combat environments. The low complexity of the thrusters allows for easy maintenance and repair compared to many other aircraft designs.
In order to reduce development, the power systems of this aircraft are very similar to those mounted on the F-500 Tigerhawk and F-550 Lionhawk. They do make the Sparrowhawk unusual compared to the designs manufactured by many other armament companies however. The power system for the nuclear powered version is a relatively small fusion reactor similar to that mounted on many medium power armors. While the fusion reactor takes up less volume than the fuel cells do, the fusion reactor has virtually the same weight as the fuel tanks carried on the fuel cell powered version. As with 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 800 nautical miles and the fighter can carry fuel tanks on its external hard points which each extends the range by 600 nautical miles.
Designation: F-600 Sparrowhawk.
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Fighter and Attack Craft.
M.D.C. by Location:
 Forward Mounted Laser Cannons (2):
 Wings (2):
 Fan Jet Engine:
 Turbojet Thrusters (6):
 VTOL Thrusters (4)
 Main Body:
Landing Gear (3):
 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.
 Destroying a wing will cause the aircraft to crash if in flight.
 Destruction of the fighter’s rudder 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 the fighters fan jet engine will leave the fighter relying on the turbojet thrusters and the VTOL thrusters which burns fuel very quickly and will be limited to a top speed of 400 mph (644 kph).Each turbo thruster is -3 to strike. Destruction of all of the fighter’s engines will cause the aircraft to crash if in flight.
 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.
 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 Sparrowhawk can hover and can go up to a maximum speed of 650 mph (1,046.1 kph / 564.8 knots) without engaging the turbojet thrusters. Using the aircrafts turbojet thrusters, the Sparrowhawk has a maximum speed of Mach 1.5 (1,141.9 mph / 1,837.6 kph / 992.3 knots). Extended hovering will also consume fuel at a rapid rate. 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).
The fighter’s normal cruise is about 300 mph (482.8 kph / 260.7 knots) but varies on the situation. The fighter has a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet (12,192 meters.)
Range: Fusion Reactor: Effectively Unlimited. Thrusters overheat after twenty hours of use below 300 mph (482.8 kph), 10 hours of use from 300 mph (482.8 kph) to 650 mph (1,046.1 kph), and 4 hours of use over 650 mph (1,046.1 kph).
Fuel Cell Version: 800 nautical miles (920.6 miles/1,481.6 km) with no external ordnance load. The fuel cell version can carry up to two external fuel tanks style ( inner wing hard points) that extend range by 600 nautical miles (690.5 miles/1,111.2 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 two medium range missile, four short range missiles, or two mini-missile pods) and by 25% if fully loaded.
Length: 20.6 feet (6.3 meters).
Wingspan: 22 feet (6.7 meters).
Height: 7.9 feet (2.4 meters).
Weight: 3.5 tons (3.2 metric tons) empty, 5 tons (4.5 metric tons) light combat load, and 6.5 tons (5.9 metric tons) 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), does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: Nuclear Reactor: 3.5 million credits. Fuel Cell Version: 1.4 million credits.
Long range (80 mile / 128.7 km) radar system costs an addition 400,00 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.
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: 360 blasts stored in a high efficiency capacitor. However, for damage purposes, consider a “magazine” to be 60 bursts of 6 blasts.
Four (4) Hard Points: The F-600 has four hard points for ordnance and equipment. 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.
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.)
Wing Tip Hard Points (2): Towed decoy pod, rocket packs (mini-missiles), or missiles (one medium range missile or two short range missiles each.)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The fighter has all the standard features of a standard fighter (same as standard robot minus loudspeaker and microphone) plus these special features listed:
Hawk-5L Radar (Optional): Short / medium range conventional radar system which can identify 96 targets and track 48 targets as low as 500 feet (152.4 meters.) Can engage up to eight targets simultaneously. The radar system also has terrain following capacity for low altitude flight. Range: 80 miles (69.5 nautical miles / 128.7 km).
+2 to strike.
+3 to dodge.
+5 to dodge while traveling over 300 mph (482.8 kph).
+10% to piloting skill rolls.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
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