REEF-VE-33 Star Eye Airborne Surveillance Aircraft:

Most militaries will make mistakes from times to time. The REEF made the simple mistake of having no large volume air search / surface search aircraft. This is because it was thought by the commander of the base that surface installations, fighters and naval ships could do the job with a little assistance from the ARMD platform in orbit. With the entry of the REEF in war against the Coalition, this changed. Suddenly it was found that the surface radar systems could not do an adequate job of scanning for Nap of the Earth flight and it simply too much effort from the pilots of the fighters to keep scanning the ground. The fighter pilots were quickly becoming exhausted from long scanning missions combined with attack missions.

A fast solution was needed and leaders of the base groped for the fastest solution they could come up with. A radar system copied from the acquired starship might be able to be designed but the time involved was prohibitive. Instead, it was decided that the REEF would ask the New Navy to provide four units of the radar system used by the New Navy in their surveillance version of the Kingfisher VTOL. The New Navy did far more than the REEF requested. They initially could provide only two radar units that were not mounted in aircraft but they promised two more units as soon as they came available. The New Navy provided two Kingfisher radar aircraft with crews. These aircraft, while under orders not to engage any Coalition forces, would both give the REEF a platform to train on and help with radar coverage of the REEF's base.

The REEF decided to not use the Kingfisher design for the body of their airborne surveillance aircraft because the Kingfisher is relatively small and does not have a lot of room for expansion. Instead, the body of the Glamour transport was selected. This would allow for far more space for the crews and a full command and control staff to ride onboard the aircraft. The next Glamour airframe was pulled of the assembly line and was modified to the new design. The first aircraft was completed in record time and while still considered a prototype, it has begun serving in the role of command and control. The eventual plan if for four of these radar equipped aircraft to be constructed.

The main visible modification to the aircraft is the addition on the two phased array radar systems which is the heart of the aircraft. The aircraft also mounts a sophisticated array of communication equipment including twice the normal capable with laser communication. While the radar system is identical to that carried on the Kingfisher, the REEF uses eight radar and communication operators. This so that the extra equipment can be operated to full capability. These radar operators are in addition to the standard crew of four which includes the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, and systems manager. In addition to the standard crew, the aircraft can seat up to four addition people. Often this includes an overall commander and three students learning the system. No weapon systems have been added to the aircraft although the chaff launchers have been retained. There is some discussion of mounting a towed decoy system but none were mounted in the prototype. Whenever operating, the Star Eye is escorted by four to eight fighters. So far escorting fighters have either been Veritech Fighters or Sabertooth fighters.

The only weakness that has been found has been the engines. The engines overheat less quickly than those from the Iron Industries Aircastle Bomber which formed the basis of the engines but they still overheat after a maximum of twelve hours on low power setting where the engines on the Kingfisher do not overheat until they have been operated for over thirty six hours on the low power setting. Because of this, it is planned to refit the aircraft with engines that overheat less quickly when possible.

Designation: REEF-VE-33 Star Eye
Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Medium VTOL Electronic Warfare Aircraft
Crew: Twelve (Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator, Systems Manager, and Eight Sensor / Communication Operators), Can carry up to 4 passengers.

M.D.C. by Location:

Cargo Door200
Phased Array Radar Pods (2, Sides):400 each
[1] Wings (2):200 each
[2] Tail:200
Landing Gear (3):30 each
Pilots Cockpit:250
[3] Engines (2):250 each
[4] Main Body:400

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
[2] Destruction of the tail will still allow the aircraft to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the aircraft has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls.
[3] The destruction of one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 10% penalty to piloting. Destruction of both engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot 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

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 maximum speed of the aircraft is 800 mph (1,280 kph) and has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 m). The aircraft is Vertical Take Off and Landing which allows it to take off virtually anywhere and can hover.
Maximum Effective Range: The cooling system has been improved compared to the Air Castle bomber. The aircraft can fly up to 12 hours if flying at less than 500 mph (256 kph) and can fly for 5 hours at 500 mph (256 kph) or greater.

Statistical Data:
Length: 98 feet (29.5 meters)
Wingspan: 105 feet (32 meters)
Height: 33 feet (10.1 meters)
Weight: 83 tons (75.4 metric tons)
Power Source: Nuclear, Should have an average lifespan of 20 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for Small Equipment only )
Market Cost: 40 million credits


    1. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the transport are two chaff dispenser. 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 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: Eight (8)

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.


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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2001, Kitsune. All rights reserved.