Triax XM-281 “Swallow” Fighter Jet:

The XM-281 is based on earlier aircraft designs and some might like to call the aircraft a step down when compared to the XM-280 fighter. This is not accurate because the Swallow is designed for a different role than the standard fighter is. The XM-280 is designed for high performance with a moderate load. The XM-281 is designed for moderate performance with a huge load. In many was it could be described as similar to the pre-rifts Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) which took over the roles of the F-16, FA-18, and AV-8B. The Swallow was designed using research gained from designing the Dagger with the Coalition. The aircraft is much less expensive to manufacture and repair than the XM-280 which means that more can be manufactured and are easier to replace. The aircraft spent very little time in prototype and has now entered full combat status. The main mission for the aircraft is the constant bombing of gargoyle strongholds. The aircraft is named after the first German operation combat fighter jet of World War 2. The former Coalition State of Free Quebec has expressed an interest in the aircraft's design and it is believed that Triax will begin selling these aircraft to Free Quebec at the rate of five fighters per month and Free Quebec is working on a factory that will be able to produce the fighters at the rate of twenty per month. Karl Prosek is concerned that this may defeat any hope of air superiority that he may have presently. Free Quebec has begun collecting a decent number of aircraft but they are a motley assortment of aircraft including many converted pre-rifts aircraft.

Like the XM-280 and virtually every aircraft on Rifts Earth, the fighter is control by wire with spacial flight computers. Unlike most Coalition aircraft, the Swallow is not a VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft but is instead a VSTOL (Very Short Take Off and Landing). This enables the aircraft to carry more cargo than it would have otherwise. The engines do not overheat allowing the pilot to operate for much longer periods of time although pilot fatigue becomes an important factor in long range operations. The body of the aircraft is constructed from advanced alloys that gives the fighter a much lower radar cross signature. The sensor systems are generally more austere than those carried on the XM-280 but the aircraft does carry a jamming system and low level flight systems.

Because some magic prevents energy weapons from inflicting damage to targets, it was decided that a standard auto-cannon or rail gun would be used as the fighter’s gun pod. Several weapons were looked at but the rail gun used for the Ulti-Max was used. The light laser was replaced by a more powerful laser and both the rail cannons and the laser can fire together. They are mounted right next to each other in the nose of the fighter. The fighter has two ordnance bays with one on either side of the main engine. These bays can carry missiles, bombs, or a mixture of both. In addition to this, the aircraft has three hard points on each wing. Each hard point can carry one long range missile, two medium range missiles, four short range missiles, or a mini missile pod each.

Designation: XM-281
German Name: Schwalbe
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Fighter and Attack Craft
Crew: Two (Pilot & Weapons Engineer)

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Nose Rail Gun:100
[1] Nose Light Laser:20 each
Ordnance Bays (2):120 each
[2] Wings (2):225 each
Rudder:100 each
Engines (1):210 each
[3] Main Body:400
[1] Landing Gear (3):75 each

[1] All indicated hit locations are small and/or difficult targets to hit. An attacker must make a called shot and has a -3 penalty as well.
[2] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
[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. Damage to the main body will also reduce the aircraft's stealth, for every 10% of damage to the main body, reduce the aircraft's stealth by 10% of its total.

Driving on Ground: 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. Because of the vectoring of the thrusters, the fighter can take off in a short distance.
Flying: Fighter can go up to a maximum speed of Mach 2.1 (1,557.1 mph/2,505.8 kph) and has a maximum altitude is about 40,000 feet/ 12,192 m). When the fighter is carrying missiles on its external hard points, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (1,334.6 mph / 2,147.9 kph)
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively Unlimited. Unlike most Coalition and other governments fighters, the Triax fighter does not overheat and can run indefinitely

Statistical Data:
Length: 49 feet 10 inches (15.2 meters)
Wingspan: 33 feet 6 inches (10.2 meters)
Height: 16 feet 5 inches (5 meters)
Weight: 17.3 tons (15.7 metric tons) empty and 26.1 tons (23.5 metric tons) fully loaded.
Power Source: Nuclear Fusion, Should have an average lifespan of 20 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment). Does not include hard points and ordnance bays. Ordnance bays, of emptied of ordnance can carry up to a total of 12,000 lbs (5,450 kg) of cargo.
Black Market Cost: Not Available, an undamaged fighter would probably sell for 50 million or more credits

Weapon Systems:

  1. Combination Rail Gun & Variable Laser: The weapon system is combined on the left side of the fighters nose. The rail guns is a modified version of the weapon that is used on the Ulti-Max power armor and is very powerful. The laser cannons is derived from the Triax TX-41 pulse rifle and retains both the variable frequency and the ability to fire bursts. The weapon has 12 different possible frequencies to counter laser resistant armor. Setting seven counters USA-10 Glitter Boy and all other setting are designed to counter other laser resistant materials. Both rail gun and laser cannons can be fired together if both are within range. The gun mounts are controlled by the fighters pilot.
    Maximum Effective Range: Rail Gun: 6000 feet (1828.8 meters), Pulse Laser: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
    Mega Damage: Rail Gun: A burst is 40 rounds and inflicts 1D6x10 MD, can only fire bursts, depleted uranium rounds inflict +10 MD. Pulse Laser: 3D6 for single shot and 1D6x10 for three round burst. Both weapon systems may be combined to inflict 2D6x10 if both weapons are within range (Three round burst from laser cannon).
    Rate of Fire:Equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: Rail Gun: 4,000 round burst (100 bursts), Pulse Laser: Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines).
  2. Ordnance Bays (2): The fighter has two large bays in the main body that carry a wide variety of different ordnance types. Ordnance types include missiles, torpedoes, and bombs. While depth charges can be carried, their limited utility means that torpedoes are carried in most ASW missions. Missile and bomb sizes may be mixed between different types of ordnance but an ordnance drop or launch must include the same type and size of ordnance. Ordnance may be carried at the rate of four short range missiles, four light bombs, two medium range missiles, or two medium bombs for one long range missile or heavy bomb. Both guided and unguided ordnance may be carried. An equivalent number of torpedoes or depth charges to the number of missiles and bombs may also be carried. Launching of ordnance is controlled by the weapons officer but the pilot has emergency controls.
    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: Ordnance is dropped or fired one at a time or in volleys of two to four but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
    Payload: 16 short range missile or light bombs, 8 medium range missiles or medium bombs, or 4 long range missiles or heavy bombs each bay. Ordnance can be mixed and torpedoes and depth charges may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.
  3. Wing Hard Points (6): The XM-281 has six hard points for ordnance and equipment with three on each wing. The hard points can be used to carry missiles, bombs, and rocket packs as needed by the mission. Missiles, rocket packs, and bombs can be mixed or matched but all ordnance on a hard point must be the same type. Launching of ordnance is controlled by the weapons officer but the pilot has emergency controls.
    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: One long range missile or heavy bomb, two medium range missile or medium bombs, or four short range missiles or light bombs (see above - all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance)
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The mini missile pods are normally carried for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles. Mini Missile pods are normally controlled by the pilot.
      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 missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16) mini-missiles 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.
  4. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter are two chaff dispenser. 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 decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference.Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
      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)
  5. Advanced Towed Decoys (4): These are mounted in dispensers near the middle the fighter’s wings with two decoys in the dispenser on either wing. 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 operate against Phase World weapons due to technological difference.
    M.D.C.: 5
    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 it.
    Maximum Effective Range: Not Applicable although decoy is deployed 328 feet (100 meters) from the aircraft
    Rate of Fire: One can be deployed at a time and requires 15 seconds to deploy (Reel Out) another decoy
    Payload: 4 Decoys (2 each)

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:

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Image drawn and copyrighted by Dany Boucher ( .

More Dany Boucher artwork at Fantasy Art of Elfwood

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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