Golden Age Weaponsmiths Light Attack helicopter (Converted Civilian):

Before the coming of the Rifts, there were many thousands of light civilian helicopters While Gyro-Planes had become quite popular, helicopters had around one hundred and fifty years of service before the destruction of the world. Even though produced over many years, most had similar performance. The high of high strength composites and alloys was introduced into civilian designs much later than military designs. A surprising number of these helicopters survived the coming of the Rifts.

A number of these light helicopters have been recovered over the years. As the world after the coming of the Rifts is a far different and dangerous place, most people who have recovered these helicopters have armed them. Some have been armed to the point of being virtually light attack helicopters. Compared to a sky cycle, these helicopters are far cheaper. They can often carry similar firepower as well although are much slower. Still, they are extremely effective supporting troops on the ground.

Specializing in scrounging for Pre-Rifts hardware, Golden Age Weaponsmiths has also recovered a number of these helicopters as well. They decided to develop their own light attack helicopter from civilian designs. The market was such that there were a number of ready buyers. Around six of these helicopters can be acquired for the cost of a single sky cycle. As one might expect, the Coalition has shown little interest in these helicopters due to preferring the sky cycle.

With so many surplus civilian helicopters available to the company to convert, there appears to be no real plans to produce a modern version. Some customers have asked about such helicopters because they would be quite a bit tougher than converted designs. Estimated cost for new manufacture helicopters is around two or three hundred thousand credits each.

As with most designs, the fuselage of these helicopters have high strength alloy and composite armor so as to be able to withstand some damage. As well, the frames of these light helicopters are reinforced to increase the structural strength of the airframe. Even so, they are considered by many to be quite fragile and are easily shot down.

In most of these helicopters, both the engines and electronics need to be reconditioned. Many have been found abandoned for many years. Most are single engine designs with a six blade main rotor. These light helicopters have a top speed of around one hundred and fifty knots and a range of around two hundred and forty nautical miles. These helicopters lack the advanced electronics of large attack helicopters. Still, most are converted to carrying additional sensors including infra red sensors.

Of course, what is considered most important is the helicopter's weaponry. A pair of stub wings are mounted on the helicopter for this additional weaponry. Each one has two hard points for a total of four hard points. Standard on the inner hard points are a pair of fixed 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. Wellington Ramjet ammunition is usually fired, making the guns relatively effective. A total of twelve hundred rounds are carried, six hundred for each machine gun. Some owners have mounted other weaponry, including lasers, in place of the heavy machine guns.

In addition to the guns, the helicopter is designed to carry missiles on the outer hard points. A mini-missile pod can be carried on each side. Each had a total of four mini-missiles for eight mini-missiles total. As well, a pair of short range missiles can be mounted on each hard point instead of the mini-missile pods. Some experimenting has been done with "shortened" medium range missiles. They don't have the range of full sized medium range missiles but carry the same warhead. Usually weaponry will be mounted in pairs but different ordnance can be carried on the hard points. No chaff and flare launchers are carried on most models.

Unlike the Cobra and Apache attack helicopters, often these light attack helicopters will operate with troops able to fire to either side although they are completely exposed. Up to six troops can be carried in addition to the crew of two. Still, only four of the troops will be able to fire out of the helicopter with two on each side. There are no conections to power weaponry from the helicopter

[Author Note: These helicopter designs car vary greatly. This writeup is designed to represent on of the more common configuration of these light attack helicopters.]

Model Number: Various
Class: Light Attack Helicopter
Crew: Two (can be flown by one)
Troops: Three internally (Six Internal / External)

M.D.C. by Location:

Stub Wings (For Ordnance):20 each
GAU-19/A 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun - Optional (2):20 each
WI-25 Four Tube Mini-Missile Launchers - Optional (2):30 each
[1] Main Rotor (Six Blade):24 (4 per blade)
[1] Tail:25
Landing Skids (2):5 each
Reinforced Cockpit:40
[2] Main Body:70

[1] Destroying the rear rotor or one of the main blades will cause the helicopter to fly at half speed, wobble and is -6 to parry, -3 to strike, and -40% on piloting skill/maneuvers. Smart pilots will land as soon as possible. Destroying the main top rotor will knock the helicopter out of the sky! Roll under the piloting skill -30% for a successful crash landing.
[2] Destroying the main body knocks the helicopter out of the sky and renders it completely useless.

Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Cannot taxi. Does not mount wheels but instead has skids. Only time a moving landing might be tried is the helicopter has taken damage which prevents hovering. Helicopter can land and take off from primitive air fields.
Flying: Hover to 175 mph (152 knots / 282 kph) with a ceiling of 18,700 feet (5,700 meters.) Cruising speed is 155 mph (135 knots / 250 kph.) The helicopter has great maneuverability and VTOL capabilities.
Range: Has a normal cruise range of 267 miles (232 nautical miles / 430 kilometers.)
The helicopter cannot be refueled in the air.

Statistical Data:
Height: 9.8 feet (3.0 meters)
Rotor Width: 27.4 feet (8.30 meters)
Length: 32.6 feet (9.80 meters)
Weight: 1,591 pounds (722 kilograms) empty and 3,100 pounds (1,406 kilograms) fully loaded.
Power System: Conventional - powered by a single Turbo-Shaft Engine. Uses aviation fuel.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), without passengers can carry 881.8 lbs (400 kg) in rear area of cockpit. Can sling 1322.8 lbs (600 kg) externally instead of internal cargo (with no weapons mounted.)
Black Market Cost: 80,000 credits for basic helicopter. 5,000 credits each for the 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, and 32,000 for each mini-missile launcher. Missiles vary by tpye.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Two (2) GAU-19/A 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Guns - Optional: If carried, these are mounted on the inner hard points of the sub wing. Fixed forward three barrel Gatling guns and controlled by the pilot or copilot. Golden Age Weaponsmiths simply replaced the standard ammo with Wellington Industries WI-20 Heavy Ramjet rounds.
    Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
    Mega Damage: One Gun: 1D4 per single round. A burst of 40 round from one cannon does 5D6. Two Guns: 2D4 per single round per gun (two rounds fired.) A burst of 40 round from both cannon (eighty rounds fired) does 1D6x10.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot / copilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 600 rounds (15 bursts) each gun pod.
  2. Two (2) Outer Hard Points: These hard points are primarily designed to carry missiles. Usually both hard points will carry the same type of ordnance. Mini-Missile tube launchers are the most commonly carried on the light attack helicopter.
    1. Missiles: The light atatck helicopters can carry normal missiles on its outer hard points. It cannot carry full length medium range missiles but is instead limited to a "shortened" version of medium range missiles. These carry the same warhead but have a range of only around ten miles. A single “Short” Medium Range Missile or a pair of short range missiles can be carried per hard point.
      Maximum Effective Range: Short Range Missiles: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) “Short” Medium Range Missiles: 10 miles (16 km)
      Mega-Damage: Short Range Missiles: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) “Short” Medium Range Missiles: As per medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Short Range Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4). “Short” Medium Range Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two (2).
      Payload: Short Range Missiles: Two (2) per hard point for a maximum of four (4) missiles. “Short” Medium Range Missiles: One (1) per hard point for a maximum of two (2) missiles.
    2. WI-25 Four Tube Mini-Missile Launchers: One can be mounted on each outer hard point. Usually a pair are mounted with one on each hard point. Controlled by the polit or copilot, each one has four tubes than can be fired individually or all four in each may be fired at the same time.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by mini-missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega-Damage: Varies by mini-missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Single shot or all four mini-missiles only (Both launchers cannot be combined)
      Payload: Four (4) each tube [Maximum of eight (8) mini-missiles.]

Special Equipment:
Most military versions of the helicopter carry the listed systems although some stripped versions reduce the number of systems. These helicopters do not have the full sensor suit of a power armor or robot vehicle. They also do not mount full life support systems.

[ Altarain TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Horune TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kydian TM, Larsen’s Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Naut’Yll, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk’s Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2012, Kitsune. All rights reserved.