Metalworks Industries VAC-33X Firehawk Gunship:


Metalworks Industries has long looked at the concept of a gunship, an aircraft designed for a variety of heavy ground attack roles. Gunships may be used for suppressing enemy troops, supporting ground troops, and for heavy ground assault roles.


However, the company’s design of the Kestrel tilt rotor is considered unsuitable for a variety of reasons. These include that it is simply too small and that tilt rotor designs tend to be especially susceptible to enemy fire when compared to thrust based designs. As a result, the company looked at other designs which might be suitable for conversion.


The company looked at a variety of different designs including developing their own. Few seemed to fit the company’s specifications and the company simply does not have the facilities to manufacture an aircraft as large as required. One of the aircraft designs that they looked at was the VC-33B Glamour medium transport manufactured by Southern Cross Industries in what had once been called Florida. In fact, it actually exceeded the specifications in some respects.


After some negotiations, which appears to have been the start of at least an information working relationship between the two groups, Metalworks Industries received permission to develop a gunship version of the Glamour medium transport. The plan was for Southern Cross Industries to continue manufacturing the air frame but Metalworks Industries would convert the aircraft. The company purchased several of the aircraft and the engineers with the company immediately set to work developing a prototype.


As the design is more of modifying an existing aircraft, development was comparatively rapid. In fact in only about two months, the first of the modified transport aircraft were ready for testing. Later converted aircraft were soon ready for testing as well. The engineers gave the aircraft the name of “Firehawk.”


There were some problems with the aircraft initially. These included that the Vulcan lasers kept overloading the power supply, which was not built to withstand the drain of multiple heavy lasers being fired at the same time. Luckily, this occurred during ground testing, not while in flight. Eventually these problems were fixed. The solution to the problem with the lasers was to fit high efficiency capacitors in order to store power for the lasers.


While not originally a core requirement, the aircraft actually managed to retain some cargo space in the cargo hold. A total of around twenty-four thousand pounds can be carried. This can be used for general supplies but also allows the aircraft to carry troops. The rear cargo bay door is retained, allowing the aircraft to drop troops in combat.


As is common with designs produced by Metalworks Incorporated, the first few gunships were sold to a mercenary company called “Vixen’s Pride” with a substantial discount. The mercenary group is considered to be almost part of the company itself. They often manages to get hardware from Metalworks Incorporated before anybody else and at what is basically is the cost the of the equipment.


Since then however, a number of other customers have purchased these aircraft. In fact, Metalworks Industries has had problems keeping up with demand and these aircraft have been being sold almost as quickly as they come off the conversion lines. It is known that Larson’s Brigade has also bought several of these aircraft. The company has resisted expanding production both because there is a limited to how many Glamour transports they can purchase on due to concerns that sales will not continue indefinitely at the current rate.


While the Southern Cross Industries design for the VC-33B Glamour medium transport is based on an older design, the design has been substantially modified. The original version was a convention design, not a fusion powered model. As a result, the engineers at Southern Cross Industries adapted the engines of the Iron Heat Industries’ Aircastle bomber for the Glamour transport. In adapting the engines for the transport, the engineers were able to make the engines both smaller and more efficient.


As previously described, the fusion plant was never designed to take the strain of providing power for seven heavy Vulcan lasers. Some modification could be made to increase output of the power system to some extent but even then there would not be enough power for the weaponry. Also as described previously, there were capacitors added for each Vulcan laser. Even though the capacitors do have a limited number of bursts, the fusion plant provides enough power for the capacitors to recharge.


There are a total of seven Vulcan lasers with three on either side of the gunship and there is a laser in the nose of the aircraft. The nose laser is controlled by the pilot or copilot. However, each of the side mounted lasers have their own individual gunners. Each Vulcan laser, including the nose laser controlled by the pilots, has a 90 degree arc of fire.


For saturation bombardment, the engineers at Metalworks Incorporated decided that missiles would be useful and each wing is modified to mount large capacity mini-missile pods. Each mini-missile pod has forty-eight missiles ready to fire. As with the nose laser, the mini-missiles are controlled by either the pilot or copilot.


In order to increase the ability for the Firehawk to survive in a combat environment, additional armor was added to the gunship in key areas compared to the Glamour transport. Ground fire can be a serious threat to the aircraft. Some areas which had additional armor were especially important included the engines and the pilot’s cockpit.


While capable of dealing with most ground threats, the one threat that the Firehawk is not designed to deal with is are fighters. Even some ground attack aircraft can be a threat to the gunship. Even though the firepower of the gunships is incredible, the aircraft is not very maneuverable and not designed to engage other aircraft. It does have an anti-missile chaff and flare system. As a result of this, the Firehawk is normally escorted by protective fighters if there is a threat of fighters.


Designation: M.I. VAC-33X Glamour.

Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Medium VTOL Gunship (Modified Transport)

Crew: Ten (Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator, Sensor Manager, and six Gunners)

Troops: 24 (reduced from 72) or 16 in power armor at the expense of other cargo


M.D.C. by Location:

 

Rear Cargo Bay Door:

250.

 

Vulcan Laser Mounts (7, 1 nose, 3 either side):

75 each.

 

Wing Mini-Missile Launchers (2, wingtips):

80 each.

 

[1] Wings (2):

300 each.

 

[2] Tail:

300.

 

Landing Gear (3):

30 each.

 

Pilots Cockpit:

350.

 

[3] Engines (2):

350 each.

 

[4] Main Body:

600.


Notes:

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

[2] Destruction of the tail will still allow the aircraft 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.

[3] The destruction of one engine will reduce the gunships top speed by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 10% penalty to piloting rolls. Destruction of both engines will cause the aircraft to crash if in flight. Pilot and crew may attempt a emergency landing or they may 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.


Speed:

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: Can hover and go up to a maximum speed of 800 mph (Mach 1.05 / 1,280 kph) and has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters). The aircraft has the ability to make vertical take offs and lands enabling it to take off almost anywhere and can also hover in mid air.

Range: The cooling system has been improved compared to the Air Castle bomber which it is based on. The aircraft can fly up to 12 hours if flying at less than 500 mph (256 kph) and can fly for 5 hours at speeds of 500 mph (256 kph) or greater.


Statistical Data:

Length:         98 feet (29.5 meters).

Wingspan:    105 feet (32 meters).

Height:         33 feet (10.1 meters).

Weight:        Unloaded: 92 tons (83.5 metric tons). Fully Loaded: 104 tons (94.3 metric tons).

Power Source: Nuclear fusion, should have an average life span of 20 years.

Cargo: 12 tons (10.9 metric tons) or about 24 combat troops.

Market Cost: 55 million credits with all additional weapon system (The unmodified Glamour transport costs 40 million credits.)


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. Seven (7) 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. A total of seven of these cannons are carried with three guns to either side and one mounted in the front of the Firehawk. Each mount can move from side to side up to 45 degrees from centerline for the mount. The power needed for these weapons is far more than the aircraft can produce so a capacitor was added to each cannon to store power and a far more powerful fusion reactor was added to the aircraft. This gives the guns a limited payload but usually this is not much of a problem for most mission due to the high payload. All guns on a side are designed to be targeted by individual gunners.

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

    Mega Damage: 3D4x10 for an instantaneous burst per gun mount.

    Rate of Fire: Each cannon can shoot up to six times per melee (Normally combined) but is restricted to the gunner’s number of hand to hand attacks.

    Payload: 100 bursts per mount, recharges at the rate of one shot per melee per cannon. If a Vulcan Cannon is destroyed, internal equipment for the gun is normally intact and power may be drawn from other gun mounts as well.

  2. Two (2) Mini-Missile Launchers: Large capacity mini-missile pods are permanently mounted on the outside edges of each wing. The launchers are normally used 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 launcher can fire mini-missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16) mini-missiles. Both launchers can be linked with the other mini missile launcher for up to thirty-two (32) mini-missiles as single volley (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley.)

    Payload: Each launcher carries forty-eight (48) mini-missile for a total of ninety-six (96) mini-missiles.

  3. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the modified transport 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.)

    Effects:

    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: Eight (8).

Special Equipment:

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

Bonuses:



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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


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