Confederation F-54 Epee Light Fighter (Wing Commander):


The Epee was developed by Douglas Aerospace as a replacement for the old F-36 Hornet light starfighter. The new F-54 Epee reach squadron status in 2661. Far more advanced that the fighter it replaced, the Epee was s packed with sophisticated sensors, powerful particle beams, decoy systems, and other advanced technological features that made it seem very impressive on paper. Problem was that the theory proved far better than reality and the Epee quickly acquired a poor reputation amongst combat pilots. Designers felt the reputation which the Epee had with pilots was undeserved with most pilots comparing the Epee to the Rapier medium fighter. Even though the armor on the Epee was actually about the same as the Kilrathi Sartha light starfighter, pilots complained that the Epee's armor was inferior to the Kilrathi light fighter. Other complaints included that the fighter’s small frame was too fragile and susceptible to critical damage. A common joke among Confederation pilots was that wrapping toilet paper all around the airframe would double the ship's armor.


Even though many Confederation pilots preferred the Ferret over what some called "The Flying Deathtrap," the F-54 Epee was still superior to the venerable F-36 Hornet light fighter in every way. Instead of lasers, the Epee boasted twin particle beams which while only slightly shorter ranged than lasers, had over twice the energy output. Another advantage was that the light fighter had more hard points than the old Hornet and twice the hard points of the "Super Ferret." In extreme cases, some Epees were even outfitted with a single belly-line torpedo hard point for strikes against small capital ships and for carefully orchestrated multi-fighter strike missions. The Torpedo replaced all other external ordnance. Other advantages included shields about a third heavier than the Hornet and equal to those on the Ferret and a far more sophisticated fire control system. Due to all of the sophisticated systems, the Epee was far more expensive on a per fighter basis compared to the Ferret and took far greater man hours to build. As a result, large number of Ferrets were built to fill shortfalls in the manufacture of F-54 Epee light starfighters.


Along with the Ferret, the F-54 Epee light fighter was eventually retired and was replaced by more heavily armed (and armored) Arrow. The replacement fighter mounts over twice the armor and over three times the shields of the fighter which it replaced. Most of the fighters have been relegated to home defense squadrons beside Ferret patrol fighters.


Notes of game conversion:


Because of the nature of the Video Game series “Wing Commander” and the needs to put the fighter into game mechanics, the fighter has several modification compared to the Video Game. The most important change it to change top speed to acceleration. Like fighters in Star Wars and original Battlestar Galactica, the fighters appear to act as if they are in the atmosphere even when they operating in space. This is incorrect. The Television series Babylon 5 and the new Battlestar Galactic are good series to watch to get a clearer idea on how space vehicles would probably maneuver although still not a perfect perspective. The fighter has been modified to uses my revised phase world starship rules and can hold their own against most C.A.F and Kreeghor fighters. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.


Model Type: F-54C Epee light fighter
Vehicle Type:, Light Strike Starfighter / Reconnaissance Fighter
Crew: One


M.D.C. By Location:

Particle Cannons (2):50 each
Missile Hard Points (4)10 each
[1] Engines (2):120 each
Landing Struts (3):10 each
[2] Main Body:280
Reinforced Pilots Cockpit:110
[3] Variable Force Field:60 per side (360 total)


Notes:
[1] Loss of an engine will reduce performance of fighter by one half and loss of two engines will prevent fighter from performing beyond 5% of normal (This is using maneuvering thrusters and gravitic propulsion). Due to gravitic propulsion systems, fighter will not crash in an atmosphere even if both engines are destroyed.
[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the fighter out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support and internal gravity. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck. In an atmosphere, the fighter will crash.
[3] Shields positions can be varied and all could be combined in one shield. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (18 M.D.C.) per melee.


Speed:
Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 40 percent of the speed of light. Fighter can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of .88 percent of light per melee maximum. Fighter has auxiliary thrusters which can be used a maximum of 15 minutes before fuel is exhausted. On auxiliary thrusters, the fighter has a maximum acceleration of 1.76 percent of light per melee maximum.
Atmospheric Propulsion: The fighter is fairly aerodynamic and is quite capable in an atmosphere. As a result, the fighter can achieve escape velocity (Mach 32.6 / 25,053 mph / 40,320 kph) but normally operates at Mach 6.03 (4,473.8 mph / 7,200 kph) or less. The fighter also has Gravitic propulsion systems enabling it to leave an atmosphere even at low velocities.
Maximum Range: Effectively unlimited by internal fuel (10 year duration) although auxiliary thruster range is limited to approximately 15 minutes. Fighter uses a very small fusion cell system for power systems. The fighter carries one week of consumables for fighter’s crew.


Statistical Data:
Length: 40.68 feet (12.4 meters)
Height: 21.65 feet (6.6 meters)
Width: 29.86 feet (9.1 meters)
Weight: 14.33 tons (13.0 metric tons) unloaded
Power System: Fusion power supply with a 10 year duration.
Cargo: Small Storage Space, 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft x 2 ft. Used for emergency equipment and weapons.
Market Cost: 29.45 million credits


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. Twin Particle Cannons: These cannons are mounted on the nose of the starfighter. Slightly shorter ranged than laser cannons although the pack a much heavier punch. Particle cannons replaced neutron cannons on most Confederation fighters. The weapon inflict about equal damage to most energy weapons carried on most C.A.F. Starfighters and have a much longer range than most fighter weapons in the Three Galaxies.
    Maximum Effective Range: 2,609.8 miles (4,200 km) in space and 13.0 miles (21 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 2D6x10+10 per cannon and 4D6x10+20 for both cannons
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
    2. Missile Pylons (4): On the underbelly of the Epee light fighter are four missile racks that allows the fighter to carry missiles. Individual pylons must carry all the same type ordnance but each pylon may carry different types of ordnance. All ordnance can be replaced by a single cruise missile. Cruise Missiles have a top speed of Mach 25 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 10% of light per turn (far faster than any starship). Medium Range Missiles have a top speed of Mach 15 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 6% of light per turn. Since starships will no longer engage at rock throwing distances, whether weapons can be shot down is calculated from the speed of target, launcher, and missile. When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless set to self destruct but has very low odds of hitting starships (Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile when dead is at -25% to detect.) Missiles can be launched on multiple targets simultaneously and all missiles are normally considered smart missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: Cruise Missiles range is 8,000 miles (12,875 km) in an atmosphere and 4,000,000 miles (6,437,376 km/ 21.5 light seconds), Medium Range Missiles range is 160 miles (257.5 km) in an atmosphere and 80,000 miles (128,750 km/0.43 light seconds).
    Mega-Damage & Properties: Varies with revised Phase World / Three Galaxies cruise missile or medium range missile types (Cruise Anti-Matter warheads inflict 4D6x100 M.D.C. each.)
    Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of two or four.
    Payload: One medium range missile per hard point (Fighter can replace all ordnance with a single cruise missile)
  2. Anti-Missile Decoy Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter are two decoy dispensers. When a missile if fired at the fighter, a decoy can be released to confuse or detonate the enemy's attack. Decoy system works against Phase World missiles although has a -10% penalty against Brilliant missiles.
    Effect:
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates on decoy - 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, missile is still on target.
    Payload: Ten (10)


COMBAT BONUSES: The F-54C Epee light starfighter is very maneuverable and very accurate. Use the Phase World Starfighter combat (Elite or Basic) skill.




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CGI / Artwork of starship created by Scoobydoo. Picture taken from Wing Commander CIC.


Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Rifts Conversion Copyright © 2004 & 2013, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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