New Sovietskiy Yak-228 “Minstrel” VSTOL Aircraft:

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

The Soviet Navy needed an all purpose VSTOL aircraft for their carriers and other surface vessels. Some specific roles are for transport, anti-submarine warfare, and radar / electronic warfare. For the first couple of decades of the reborn Soviet union, these roles were basically performed by helicopters but it was decided that a new aircraft would be developed for this role. There was much debate if the aircraft should be VTOL or conventional in operation and the final decision was to allow submissions for both types.

Several companies submitted conventional design with the Yakovlev design being the only VTOL design submitted. Several of the other proposed designs were not even carrier capable and were immediately rejected. Finally, the Yak-228 was selected due to the ability for vertical take-off and landing. This would allow the aircraft to operate off of more platforms. The first prototype flew in 2054 with the radar version of the aircraft being ready by 2059. Full production of the standard version started in 2057 and the radar version began to enter service in 2061. Never produced in the large numbers that some fighters and land based transport aircraft, the aircraft kept its manufacturers in business and was an important aircraft in Soviet Naval service. A few of these aircraft also entered into air force service in the search and rescue role. The VTOL aircraft was first reported "Unofficially"by Western Intelligence in 2056 and designated "Minstrel." The aircraft was shown in a Moscow air show in 2060. There appear to be no replacement for the aircraft planned for the moment and the latest aircraft to come from the manufacture is a VTOL supersonic fighter which little is know about presently.

In general design, the Minstrel is similar in design to the United States V-22 Osprey from the early part of the Twentieth First Century which filled a similar role until replaced by the Kingfisher in most roles. An interesting feature unique to the Soviet design was that the propellers have two sets of blades with one set behind the other. This allows for a slightly narrower blade with than the Osprey. To hover, the engines are flipped upwards to provide lift in a similar fashion to a helicopter. Power is provided by two fusion turbines and has a top speed of around 300 knots.

The aircraft can be lightly armed and has the ability to carry ordnance on the wings and has a provision for a door gunner on each side. A total of six hard points are on the wings and they can carry one long range missile or other heavy warhead. They can also carry a variety of lighter ordnance. Ordnance carried depends on role being performed. Weapons carried as door guns varied with light rail guns, automatic grenade launchers, and pulse lasers being the most common. Sensors are equal to most light aircraft and include a short range radar system.

The general purpose version of the Minstrel is equipped with a large cargo door in the rear and can carry troops or cargo. It is the most common version and was often used to transport troops including cyborgs in some cases. The number of heavy cyborgs which can be carried is severely limited. The transport version also carries a cargo hook for cargoes to be carried underneath the VTOL aircraft.

The anti-submarine warfare version can be used as a cargo helicopter as well with a slightly reduced cargo payload. The anti-submarine version retains the cargo hook as well but it is also used for the dipping sonar. In addition to a dipping sonar, the aircraft also carries Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) gear for detecting submarines. As well, forty sonar buoys can be carried for anti-submarine warfare. In general, the anti-submarine warfare version carries heavy torpedoes on its hard points.

The electronics warfare and radar aircraft carries a powerful radar system above the main body of the VTOL aircraft. The radar system is in a triangular fashion and does not rotate and instead in a phased array system. While not believed to be as capable as the system on the American Kingfisher radar aircraft, it is still quite effective. The cargo bay carries electronics and crew to operate the electronics.

Model Type:Yak-228AGeneral Cargo / Search and Rescue
Yak-228BAnti-Submarine Warfare
Yak-228CElectronics Warfare / Radar
Class: Double Engine VTOL Transport Aircraft
Crew:Yak-228A2 (Pilot and Co-Pilot) but has stations for 2 door-gunners
Yak-228B4 (Pilot, Co-Pilot, 2 Sensor Operators)
Yak-228C6 (Pilot, Co-Pilot, and 4 Sensor Operators)
Troops:Yak-228A18 normal, 12 light Cyborgs, and 4 Heavy Cyborgs (In place of cargo)
Yak-228BNone (Sonar Buoys can be replaced by 6 passengers / 8 cramped)

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Wings (2):150 each
[2] Elevators (2):60 each
[2] Rudders (2):60 each
Rear Cargo Bay Door:80
Side Doors (2):50 each
Top Radar Sensor (Yak-228C version only):100
[2] Engines (2):120 each
[3] Main Body:225
Landing Gear (3):15 each

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash.
[2] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the aircraft to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but aircraft has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls. Destruction of both of the elevators will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot must eject to survive. The destruction of one of the engines will cause the aircraft 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.

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 Yak-228 can hover and go up to a maximum speed of 300 knots (345.2 mph, 555.6 km/hour). The Yak-228 can hover stationary up to 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) and can fly up to 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) if not hovering
Aircraft cannot use VTOL mode if over half loaded with cargo but can still take off and land in a short distance. The Yak-228 cannot travel over 200 mph (321.9 kph) with an underslung cargo load.
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively Unlimited but does overheat when operated for long periods of time. The Yak-228 engines will overheat after 12 hours of continuous operation when running at top speed and 24 hours when run at under 150 knots (172.7 mph / 278 kph)

Statistical Data:
Height over Tail Fins: 18.8 feet (5.7 meters)
Width, Rotors Turning: 78.5 feet (23.9 meters)
Rotor Diameter: 32.4 feet (9.9 meters)
Fuselage Length: 58.2 feet (17.7 meters)
Weight: Combat - 45,600 lbs (20,683.8 kg); Landing - 36,500 lbs (16,556.1 kg)
Power System: Nuclear Fusion, Should have an average lifespan of 8 years.
Cargo: 12 tons in Cargo Hold or 6 slung underneath does not include hard points
Black Market Cost:
Yak-228A General Cargo / Search and Rescue Model: 6.5 million credits was the production price originally; Remaining aircraft often sell for double that (13.0 million credits).
Yak-228B Anti-Submarine Warfare Model: 12.4 million credits was the production price originally; Remaining aircraft often sell for double that (24.8 million credits).
Yak-228C Electronics Warfare / Radar Model: 21.5 million credits was the production price originally; Remaining aircraft often sell for double that (43.0 million credits).
Some of these aircraft remain in service with the New Sovietski but few if any are in the hands of Russian Warlords.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Two (2) Door Gunner Positions: The Yak-228 Minstrel has positions for door gunners to help protect the aircraft. Rail guns, automatic grenade launchers, and pulse lasers were all commonly mounted in the door positions. Initially, rail guns were mounted but pulse lasers were more commonly mounted in later service. Commonly used to protect the aircraft when it is picking up or dropping troops. Door gunner is exposed to fire when in positions.
    1. 5 millimeter GSR-05 Medium Rail-gun: Finally developed as a replacement for the medium machine-gun for Soviet service. The weapon was used most commonly in early service and was replaced in most cases by pulse lasers but some crews still use these rail guns.
      Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (609.6 meters)
      Mega Damage: One round does 1D4 M.D.C. to M.D.C. targets or 6D6x10 S.D.C. to soft targets. Twenty round bursts do 4D6 M.D.C.; Forty round full bursts do 1D4x10
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner (Commander)
      Payload: Carries 2,400 rounds total (120 full bursts or 60 half-bursts)
    2. Pulse Laser Mount: Replaces the medium rail-gun in later models and many older models replace the rail gun as well when refitted. The Laser fires four shot bursts and is capable of destroying missiles and inflicting serious damage on aircraft. The weapon is also useful against armor and infantry. Laser is similar to the S-500 Cyclone Pulse Laser Rifle with extended range.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
      Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 MD for four shot burst.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner (Commander)
      Payload: Effectively unlimited.
    3. ATR-50 Automatic Grenade Launcher: Weapon is very similar to the WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher produced by Wellington Industries and the American Automatic Grenade Launcher operated around the same time but uses a larger grenade and is heavier in design. Weapon was used in vehicles as well as being used in tripod mounts and used by power armors. Weapon can fire single shot or bursts of ten rounds and can inflict heavy damage when burst fired. Unlike the American design, the Soviet automatic grenade launcher only used belts. Due to the heavy damage of the grenade launcher, the weapon is very popular with crews.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 3D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 ft and 5D6 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 ft, burst of 10 rounds does 2D4x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 ft and 2D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 ft. Other special rounds are available.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner (commander) - Single Shot or Ten round bursts.
      Payload: 400 Round Double Belt.
  2. Ordnance Hard Points (6): The aircraft has six hard points with three hard points on each wing. Missiles, rocket packs, and bombs can be mixed or matched but all ordnance on a hard point must be the same type.
    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. Each hard point may carry one long range missile or heavy bomb, two medium range missiles or medium bombs, or four short range missiles or light bombs. These are often replaced by torpedoes on the Anti-Submarine Warfare model
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile type and varies by altitude bombs are dropped at (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) Torpedoes: 20 miles (32 km) for medium range and 40 miles (64 km) for long range torpedoes (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by missile, torpedo (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details) or bomb type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles and Torpedoes 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, torpedoes, or bombs in a volley.)
      Payload: One Long Range Missile, Long Range Torpedo or Heavy Bomb per Hard Point. Two Medium Range Missiles / Medium Range Torpedoes / Medium Bombs or four Short Range missiles / Light bombs can be substituted for One Long Range Missile/Heavy Bomb.
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. Each missile pod requires one hard point. 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 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.
  3. Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser (1): 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 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: 20 chaff, 40 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.

Special Equipment:
The aircraft has all the standard features of a standard fighter (same as standard robot including loudspeaker and microphone on this aircraft) plus these special features listed. These are carried on all models except where it is replaced by a better systems..

Yak-228B Anti-Submarine Warfare Model: Yak-228C Electronics Warfare / Radar Model:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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