British RN Buccaneer VSTOL Fighter/Bomber:

The development of the Buccaneer came from a desired refinement of the F-38 Panther which both the Royal Navy and the Airforce had procured in some numbers. Although the Airforce was quite happy with the F-38, the Navy had other thoughts, mostly as a result of the performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the second Falklands war and the Battle for South Africa. In addition to a strike fighter they also wanted a plane with a larger internal bay, and with better low level performance for close air support. Effectively they wanted a low level fighter/bomber, instead of a fighter, which the F-38 was. The standard British armaments developer BAE took on the job of developing afighter/bomber from the F-38 Panther airframe.

For basic information regarding the development of the F-38 Panther, see F-38 panther review

The work on the Buccaneer began by taking the basic Panther airframe, and lengthening it by more than two meters to increase the size of the weapons bay, and to make room for a Rolls Royce Nuclear turbofan which gave better performance at low altitudes than the GE FT-200 fusion turbine used on the Panther. Because the Buccaneer was to be a low latitude attack bomber, the wingspan and size were decreased from the Panther, while at the same time the wing was strengthened. This decreased low level sensitivity to air turbulence, and allowed for increased maneuvrability when flying NOE. A disadvantage of this was that take-off and minimum speed were increased.

Last but not least, the tail assembly of the Panther was replaced with a rudderless assembly. Although somewhat more vulnerable to damage this (again) made the plane less sensitive to turbulence, and it increased the planes stealth aspect.

As noted the Weapons bay was increased in size to hold a third more ordnance than before. The inner wing hardpoints were also increased in strength. In place of a single long range missile they could now also hold a single Fasthawk cruise missile for anti-shipping missions. The internal railgun was replaced with the British BAV-20 railgun, which was already standard for the Gypsy Moth power armor and as a medium crew served weapon.

The avionics and sensors remained those of the Panther, with only some software updates to make them more suitable for the attack role that the Buccaneer was to fullfill. The tail mounted chaff launchers were increased in size to counter the increased danger from ground-to-air missiles.

The resultant plane still had a 62 percent parts commonality with the F-38, while being a plane far better suited to the low level attack role that the Royal Navy envisioned. BAE proudly presented the Buccaneer in 2061, just over a year after the MOD had ordered it. In the following years more and more Bucanneers came online, and the first front line squadron was equipped with them in 2063.

Pilots were pleased with the plane. It was easy to fly at low altitude, had good maneuvrability, and could carry a very respectable weaponload. It even functioned well as a long range interceptor, but most found that it would be unwise to take the plane into a dogfight due to its small wings and diminished high altitude performance. All in all it performed its designated mission very well, and was at least passable in other roles. The Buccaneer served in the Royal Navy right up to the coming of the Rifts, at which time the RN was finally looking at a replacement. The Bucanneer was never sold to third parties, remaining a purely British piece of equipment.

Two squadrons of Buccanneers present on the Ark Royal when it set out on its ill-fated mission.

Designation: S-14 Buccaneer
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Multi-Role VSTOL Fighter/Bomber
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

Forward Mounted Gun (1; Wing Root):40
Wing Mounted Missile Hard Points (4):10 each
Internal Ordnance Bay (1; hatch):70
[1] Wings (2):100 each
[2] tailplanes (2):80 each
[3] Forward Lift Turbo-Fan Engine (1):30
[3] Protective Doors for Forward Lift Engine (2, top and bottom):30 each
[4] Main Engine (1):120
[5] Main Body190
Landing Gear (3):10 each
Reinforced Pilot’s Compartment / Cockpit:80
Pilot Seat (1):2

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash. Pilot must eject to survive.
[2] Destruction a tailplane will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying direction of the engines but fighter has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls. Destruction of both of the tailplanes will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot must eject to survive.
[3] Destruction of doors protecting front lift engine will increase drag. Reduce top speed by half and the fighter has a -4 to dodge and piloting is at -20% at high speeds (Above 400 mph / 644 kph). To damage the forward lift engine, a called shot at -3 is required and the shielding doors either must be open or destroyed. If forward lift fan is destroyed, the fighter cannot hover.
[4] Destruction of the fighter’s engine will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot and weapon officer 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. Pilot must eject to survive. 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 (Taxiing): 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.
Flying: The jet propulsion system enables the Buccaneer to reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.1 (1557.1 mph / 2,505.8) and climb to an altitude of 49,000 feet (14,700 meters). When the fighter is carrying ordnance on its external hard points, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (1,334.6 mph / 2147.9 kph.) The fighter has a minimum glide-speed of 140 mph (224 kph); if it goes any slower, the wings cannot provide sufficient lift and the aircraft will crash unless VTOL engines are engaged. Cruising speed tends to be between 300 mph (481 kph) and Mach 1.3 (1070.9 mph/ 1717.7 kph) at low altitude.
Maximum Effective Range: Nuclear powered, giving it continual energy, but the jet engines begin to overheat after 12 hours of continual use. Occasional rest stops every 4 to 6 hours, giving the engines an hour to cool down, will allow the aircraft to travel indefinitely.

Statistical Data:
Length: 65.0 feet (19.5 meters)
Wingspan: 33.3 feet (10 meters) extended and 28.7 feet (8.6 meters) folded
Height: 12.3 feet (3.7 meters) with landing gear down and 6 feet (1.8 meters) with landing gear retracted.
Weight: 29746.7 pounds (13,505 kilograms) empty, 67,070.5 pounds (30,450 kilograms) fully loaded.
Power Source: Nuclear Fusion, Should have an average lifespan of 10 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment). Does not include hard points and ordnance bay. Ordnance bay, if emptied of ordnance can carry up to can carry 5500 lbs (2497 kg) of cargo.
Black Market Cost: Not available. Other than those operated by the Royal Navy, none are known to have survived the coming of the Rifts. The jet has never been recovered by enemies or mercenaries. Such an aircraft would sell for 70 to 90 million credits on the open market.

Weapon Systems:

  1. BAV-20 Rail gun:A fixed forward weapon mounted in the left Wing root of the fighter. It serves as the one of last line of defense against enemy planes and missile volleys, although some pilots use it for strafing runs against ground targets when they are out of missiles. Many pilots do not like being exposed to ground weapons fire so it is an uncommon practice. This weapon is the same weapon which was used on the Gypsy Moth power armor, although it carried a rather larger ammo drum, and was restricted to burst fire only.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
    Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds does 1D4x10. No single shots.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot.
    Payload: 4,000 round magazine for 100 bursts each.
  2. Internal Ordnance Bay: The Buccaneer has a large bay in the main body that can 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.
    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 thirty two but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
    Payload: 24 short range missile or light bombs, 12 medium range missiles or medium bombs, or 6 long range missiles or heavy bombs. Ordnance can be mixed and torpedoes and depth charges may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.
  3. Wing Hard Points (4): The Buccaneer has four external hard points for ordnance and equipment. The hard points can be used to carry missiles, bombs, and rocket packs as needed by the mission. Unusual was that the inner hardpoints could also carry a single Fasthawk Cruise Missile for anti-shipping missions. When doing os one of the outer hardpoints usually carried a ECM pod. Missiles, rocket packs, and bombs can be mixed or matched but all ordnance on a hard point must be the same type. Carrying ordnance on the aircrafts external hard points negate the aircraft's stealth from the bottom, sides, front, and back of the aircraft. The aircraft will retain normal stealth from the top when carrying wing mounted ordnance. Reduce Stealth by 10% for every hard point carrying ordnance.
    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.)
      For Cruise Missile type go to: Fasthawk Cruise Missile.
      Mega Damage: Varies by missile or bomb type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      For Cruise Missile type go to: Fasthawk Cruise Missile.
      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: Inner hardpoints: One Cruise Missile, one long range missile or heavy bomb, two medium range missile or medium bombs, or four short range missiles or light bombs.
      Outer hardpoints: 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.
      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), or eight (8) 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.
    3. ECM Pod: Causes a additional -15% to detection but when it is active, other vehicles/ bases can detect that it is jamming, and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. Jamming also causes a additional -2 penalty to all radar guided weapons. The Pod also contains a powerful IR emitter, which causes a -2 to hit for all IR guided weapons.
  4. 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 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: Twelve (12)
  5. Advanced Towed Decoys (4): These are mounted in dispensers on the tips of 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 below.

Combat Bonuses:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune) & Mischa (E-Mail Mischa).

Copyright © 2002, Kitsune & Mischa. All rights reserved.