New Sovietskiy Tu-280 Battleaxe Advanced Heavy Bomber:


Since the later half of the Twentieth Century, the Soviet (Under whatever they decided to call it at the moment) loved to play games with the United States Navy. Soviet Bombers would go after American carrier groups with bombers. They would turn around before any type of engagement occurred but they were very nervous times for those of both sides. First it was the Bear Bombers and these were later followed by Badger and Backfire bombers. These ended during the period of time which Russia had experimented with Capitalism but after the Communists took back over the government in 2027, the incidents were with Blackjack Bombers. The latest incidents had been with the new Battleaxe bomber.

While the incidents had always been nervous times for pilots, in the last three years had taken on a whole new level of intensity. Just three years previously, in 2072, a squadron of Argentinian stealth bombers had attacked a British task force with nuclear weapons. The whole British fleet had disappeared with no signs ever having been found. Since then, any aircraft coming within the Combat Air Patrol protective envelop was considered likely to be carrying nuclear missiles. Orders were to shoot if they did not follow instructions and carrier patrols were armed at all times to shoot them down if the need arose.

Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Sanchez was broken out of thinking about the incidents of the last couple of years by the electronics warfare Kingfisher VTOL's message, "This is Spyglass Two to Ghostrider Four, I have two unidentified contact bearing approximately sixty-four point three degrees. Estimated range is three hundred and twelve nautical miles."

She knew that the electronics warfare aircraft was contacting the carrier at the same time. Her squadron and the Kingfisher both operated from the carrier Kitty Hawk. At least she was flying the much faster Sea Hawk fighter over the old Panther. The majority of carrier fighter wings were still composed of the old Panther but the Kitty Hawk had been the first carrier to employ the Sea Hawk fighter.

She ordered her wing man to follow with a clipped, "Ghostrider Seven, Ghostrider four, Spyglass has two unidentified contacts at sixty-four degrees and three hundred plus nautical. Follow me to intercept." She immediately engaged full power on her engines and accelerated past mach one. The two fighters quickly achieved virtually a speed of a kilometer a second.

Less than five minutes brought the fighters within close range of the unknown targets. They were now under two hundred and fifty nautical miles from the carrier. They were two of the new Soviet "Battleaxe" heavy bombers. The delta-wing configuration was very distinctive. She had seen pictures of the new soviet heavy bomber and she had been told that they were bad customers. Even worse, the bombers could carry massive numbers of nuclear weapons. They were only a little faster than her fighters unlike with the Panther.

Elizabeth Sanchez radioed her wing man, "Ghostrider Seven, light up the one on the right. I will go for the bomber on the left." With that, her electronics officer switched her phased array radar from passive to active and achieved lock on the bomber in less than a second even with the bomber's stealth.

The element leader opened her radio to the Soviet Bomber, "Soviet Bomber, this is United States Navy fighter from carrier USS Kitty Hawk, change courses immediately." Even if they did not understand the radio message, her tight beam fire control radar should make it clear. Elizabeth Sanchez wondered if she would be the instigator between a war against the United States and the New Soviets.

Apparently the bombers got the message because they suddenly changed course away from the carrier and went to full power. Her fighters could not quite keep up but she decided to stay with the Soviet bombers as long as possible. Maybe she could gain some additional intelligence.

Excerpt from Fox’s Combat Aircraft of the World, 2090 to 2091:

The first Tu-280 advanced bomber was displayed in 2065 although the bomber does not appear to have gone into true production until 2070. It was given the designation in the West of the Battleaxe Bomber. The bomber was designed to replace the upgraded Blackjack bombers which had been developed by the new Communist government when they took control of the Soviet Union. The Tu-160 bombers were becoming aged and overdue for a replacement. The Tu-280 bomber is believed to primarily have been developed to deal with Chinese provocations and the Chinese use of their own bomber design developed from the Tu-160. Most Tu-280 are believed to be deployed against the Chinese although some appear to also be deployed in naval roles including strikes against United States carrier groups. It is believed that the Soviet military has approximately four hundred of these bombers with three quarters of them deployed against China. Production of the bomber is believed to continue although at a reduced production, mostly to keep up with attrition.

Several designs of hypersonic bomber designs were shown as the next generation of Soviet bombers at the end of the Twentieth Century although none seemed to get beyond the drawing stage. Instead, the Soviet military adopted an upgraded version of the Tu-160 Bomber when the Communists took control of the Government. The design of the Tu-280 is similar to that of some of those drawing although top speed is far less than those were claimed to be. Top speed of the hypersonic bomber design was stated to be in the Mach 6 neighborhood and the Tu-280 has a reported top speed of around Mach 4 by Soviet leaders although most Western experts believe it is lower, around Mach 3.6. Unlike the Tu-160 which it replaced, the Tu-280 bomber is powered by four powerful fusion reactors and has virtually unlimited range.

Even though the bomber has been in service for over thirty years, the Tu-280 is still the main strategic nuclear capable bomber in the Soviet Air Forces although Western Reports indicate that large numbers of Tu-160 Blackjack bombers are in reserve as well. In addition to being designed for strategic roles, the Tu-280 is designed with the ability to perform in tactical ground support roles and maritime strike missions. The bomber has two bays in the fuselage which are designed to be able to carry sixteen cruise missiles each bay. In addition, the bomber has eight hard points on each wing which are slightly recessed. For protection against attacking fighters, the bomber is armed with air to air missile missiles in twin rotary launchers behind the bomber's cockpit. The bomber uses an advanced phased array radar which is effective for ground attack roles and can be used to track attacking aircraft. Instead of carrying heavy missiles for anti-ground or anti-ship roles, the bomber can carry missiles for use against attacking fighters. In addition, the bomber has two automated point defense pulse laser mounts to protect the bomber for defense against missiles and attacking fighters if they close in.

The Tu-280 is designed as a streamlined delta wing which is optimized for high speed. The aircraft is also designed with stealth in form along with using radar absorbing materials although the bomber is designed more for high speed than stealth. The bomber is constructed from high strength composites and is capable of withstanding huge amounts of damage compared to most previous designs. The bomber is fitted with both a triple redundant fly by wire system and thrust vectoring for greater maneuverability. The Tu-280 is incredibly maneuverable for its huge size. Crew of the bomber is four with a pilot, co-pilot, electronics warfare officer, and navigator. For additional self defense, the bomber mounts a powerful jamming system and towed decoys.

In addition to the standard model, the Tu-280 bomber has a jamming model which replaces the missiles in the ordnance bay with a powerful jamming array. Jamming system is believed to be able to create a jamming field which is around 160 kilometers in radius. While the jamming system takes the place of all the ordnance in the main bays, the bomber retains the wing mounted hard points and the twin rotary missile launchers.

Model Numbers:Tu-280Battleaxe
Vehicle Type:Tu-280Quad Engine Supersonic Strategic / Tactical Bomber
Tu-280PQuad Engine Supersonic Long Range ECM Jamming Aircraft
Crew:Tu-280Four (Pilot, Copilot, EWO/gunner, Navigator)
Tu-280PFour (Pilot, Copilot, EWO/gunner, Navigator)

M.D.C. by Location:

Ordnance Bays (2):320 each
Recessed Missile Hard Points (16):20 each
Rotary Medium Range Missile Launchers (2):120 each
Pulse Laser Turrets (2):120 each
[1] Wings (2):400 each
[2] Rudders (2):220 each
Reinforced Pilots Compartment / Cockpit:280
Landing Gear (3):20 each
[3] Engines (4):200 each
[4] Main Body:850

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash. Bomber Crew must eject to survive.
[2] Destruction of rudders will still allow the aircraft to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the bomber has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls.
[3] The destruction of one engine will reduce the bombers top speed by one quarter and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 5% penalty to piloting. The destruction of additional engines will give cumulative penalties. Destruction of all four engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or the bomber crew can 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. Bomber Crew 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. Because of the vectoring of the thrusters, the bomber can take off in a relatively short distance.
Flying: The Bomber can go up to a maximum speed of Mach 3.6 (2,669.2 mph / 4,295.7 kph). The Bomber normal cruise speed is Mach 1.5 (1,112.2 mph / 1789.9 kph) and has a maximum altitude is about 80,000 feet (24,380 meters).
Because the aircraft ordnance is carried in recessed hard points, performance reduction is less then might be expected. With a full load of external ordnance, maximum speed is reduced to Mach 3.2 (2,372.7 mph / 3,818.4 kph) on full output.
Maximum Effective Range: Nuclear powered, giving it continual energy, but the jet engines begin to overheat after 16 hours of continual use. Occasional rest stops every 8 to 10 hours, giving the engines an hour to cool down, will allow the aircraft to travel indefinitely.

Statistical Data:
Height: 42.5 feet (13.0 meters)
Wingspan: 125.2 feet (38.2 meters)
Length: 180.5 feet (55.0 meters)
Weight: 617,294.3 pounds (280,000 kg) fully loaded.
Power System: Four Nuclear Fusion reactors, Should have an average lifespan of 8 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for equipment for the bomber crew). Does not include ordnance bays. Ordnance bays, if emptied of ordnance, can carry up to 50,000 lbs (22,700 kg) each bay.
Black Market Cost: Not available. None are known to have survived the coming of the Rifts. The jet has never been know to have been recovered by anyone. Such an aircraft would sell for 200 to 250 million credits on the open market.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Pulse Laser Turrets (2): These weapon systems are mounted in turrets with one turret on the top and one on the tail stinger of the bomber. While the weapon inflicts less damage than the twin rail guns carried on the Foxfire fighter, the Laser fires four shot bursts and is capable of destroying missiles and inflicting serious damage on aircraft. Laser is similar to the S-500 Cyclone Pulse Laser Rifle with extended range. The turrets are both radar and infrared guided and has a +3 to hit but due to a lack of crew, the weapon system does not have a manual firing setting. Primary target for defense laser systems is missiles which is considered to be one of the biggest threats.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 MD for four shot burst.
    Rate of Fire:Automated, Can fire up to 5 times per melee.
    Payload: Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines).
  2. Medium-Range Rotary Missile Launchers (2): The Battleaxe carries two rotary medium range missile launchers behind the cockpit of the bomber. The launchers can be controlled by the pilot, Co-pilot, and/or Communication/ECM officer. They are usually outfitted with High-Explosive, Fragmentary or Plasma missiles and the missiles are normally smart missiles. This weapon system uses an automatic loading system and carries additional missiles for reloads.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, medium range missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega-Damage: Varies with missile types, medium range missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) missiles per launcher.
    Payload: 16 missiles each launcher for a total of 32 missiles.
  3. Ordinance Bays (2): The Battleaxe has two large bays in the main body that carry a wide variety of different ordnance types. Ordnance types include missiles, torpedoes, naval mines, and bombs. Missile and bombs 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 missile, four light bombs, two medium range missile, or two medium bombs for one long range missile or heavy bomb. One Cruise missile or extra heavy bomb may also be carried instead of two long range missiles or heavy bombs. Both guided and unguided ordnance may be carried. Launching of ordnance is controlled by the weapons officer but the pilot and copilot has emergency controls. When the Ordnance bay is opened, the bomber is far move easily detected by radar from underneath. Ordinance in bays is replaced by jamming equipment in jamming version of Battleaxe bomber.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile and varies by altitude bomb is 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, five, ten, or twenty but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
    Payload: 128 short range missile or light bombs, 64 medium range missiles or medium bombs, 32 long range missile or heavy bombs, or 16 cruise missile or extra heavy bombs each bay. Ordnance can be mixed and naval mines may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.
  4. External Hard Points (16): The Tu-280 has a total of sixteen external hard points with eight each wing. Hard points are mounted under wing roots. Each of these hard points can carry one cruise missile or an equivalent load of other ordinance. Bombs and missiles can be carried Each hard point can carry one extra heavy bomb or cruise missile. The hard point can also carry a variety of different ordnance on a hard point. Two long range missiles or heavy bombs, four medium range missiles or medium bombs, or eight short range missiles or light bombs may be substituted on a hard point for a cruise missile. Both guided and unguided ordnance may be carried. Launching of ordnance is controlled by the weapons officer but the pilot has emergency controls. Ordnance reduces bomber's stealth. Missiles and bombs only reduce the fighter’s stealth from the bottom and reduce stealth by 5% per hard point carry ordnance.
    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: 8 short range missile or light bombs, 4 medium range missiles or medium bombs, 2 long range missiles or heavy bombs, or 1 cruise missile or extra heavy bomb (all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance) can be carried on each hard point.
  5. Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispensers (2): Use the same effects as the TRIAX model. However, each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares. Rifts Earth decoys 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: 60 chaff, 120 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off two chaff and 2D4 flares.
  6. Towed Decoys (8): The Tu-280 mounts two dispensers for towed decoys in the fuselage. Each dispenser has four towed decoys. The decoys are not as advanced as those carried on American aircraft built at the same time. 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. 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 65% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 35% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and TRIAX) and smart missiles.
    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: 8 Decoys (4 each)

Special Equipment:

Combat Bonuses:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2004, Kitsune. All rights reserved.