TW-F-35 Techno-Wizard Joint Strike Fighter:

Two Coalition Sea Striker class fighters were in hot pursuit of a pair of old pre-rifts F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. They were among the most common Pre-Rifts fighters. While their stealth made them quite dangerous, their lack of armor made them relatively easy targets. The Coalition fighters had expended all of their long range missiles previously and were left with only their internal pulse lasers to deal with their opponents. While they still carried their mini-missiles, the enemy fighters were as fast as their mini-missiles which made them virtually useless and the internal gun was the only effective weapon. The enemy fighters had accelerated up to mach 1.8, about the maximum of the old fighters, and the Sea Striker pilots knew that it was simply a matter of time until something happened. There was some consideration given to chasing the Pre-Rifts fighters back to the base which the enemy fighters had originated from but that was unrealistic. The truth was with the Joint Strike Fighters acceleration to top speed, they would soon run out of fuel. It was a good question if this would happen first or if the Sea Strikers would get within weapon range first.

Suddenly the radar receivers on the two Coalition fighters went wild as two more enemy fighters appears just behind them. It had been a trap, they appeared to have been using magical invisibility to position themselves for the perfect shot. The two Strikers attempted to maneuver out of the missile envelope of the two additional F-35 fighters but there simply was not enough time. The two new enemy fighter each launched a pair of long range missiles. The missiles leaped to almost Mach three virtually as soon as launched and there was no way that the Coalition Navy fighters could out accelerate the missiles. It took just a few seconds until it was all over. Even though heavily armored, the two Coalition fighters were blotted out by the explosion of four fusion warheads.

Techno-wizard pilots often will design aircraft based on old pre-rifts aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang of World War two fame but others are more practical and concentrate on refitting existing aircraft. The Joint Strike Fighter was built in incredibly large numbers and had served all over the world. Virtually all having been retired or serving as second line aircraft but a surprising number had survived. While not as advanced as later pre-rifts aircraft such as the Panther or Sea Hawk, there were still excellent fighters which could be modified by techno-wizards to improve their combat survivability. Several dozen joint strike fighters have been refitted by techno-wizard engineers. The V-STOL version of the Joint Strike Fighters is the favorite among techno-wizards due to its ability to use very small runways or even from improvised locations. While the F-22 Raptor is also a favorite among techno-wizards as well, its need for a reasonable sized runway makes it less popular. Golden Age Weaponsmiths has also found caches of Joint Strike Fighters and has restored although they are not as effective as those which have been restored by techno-wizards. Of course, the non-magical versions offered by Golden Age are far cheaper.

The techno-wizard modification of the Joint Strike Fighter is far more austere than it is for other jet aircraft such as the Black Ghost or the Ghostrider aircraft. Most of the modifications are technological, not magical, in origin with the engines being the most important component. The original Pratt & Whitney engine was a marvel when first developed but the engine's need for large amounts of fuel, even though quite efficient when first developed, limits its effectiveness. The engine is replaced by a single fusion turbine which gives virtually two decades of service before needing to be refueled. It has an added benefit of being more powerful and increasing the top speed of the fighter slightly. The engine does overheat if run for long enough at full power but the engine still greatly increase the fighter’s range which was considered far more critical than top speed. While engine is more powerful than the twin engines mounted in the Ghostrider stealth fighter, the engines of both aircraft couple to their forward lift fans in a similar manner. The fighter, while lightly armored by later pre-Rifts standards and by most post Rifts standards, is still quite well armored and has the advantage of stealth over most Post Rifts designs. The fighter could not be effectively be rearmored but due to the elimination of most of the fuel tankage, the fighter could be reinforced internally so it could withstand greater damage. Electronics are not quite up to the levels which are carried on post Rifts fighters such as the Coalition Sea Striker. Still, they are considered adequate and most were not modified by the techno-wizards when the fighters were refitted. The systems still needed to be thoroughly reconditioned before the fighters could reenter service.

The original version of the V-STOL version of the Joint Strike Fighter mounted a 27 mm cannon in a pod under the body. This was replaced by a pulse laser mounted in the wing root of the fighter. Initially, the pulse laser was the internal systems from a Wilk’s 457 laser rifle. While shorter ranged than the original gun, it inflicts a similar amount of damage and has a huge advantage in having virtually unlimited payload. To redress the range disadvantage, the light pulse laser was later replaced by the system from the JA-12 Juicer assault rifle. While slightly heavier, it is still quite lightweight. Newly rebuilt joint strike fighters have this as standard and many older models have had their weapons upgraded as well. Missile hard points are retained although improved towed decoys are available for the techno-wizard version of the fighter.

Even though the modifications to the fighter are both austere and mostly technological in origin, this does not mean the fighter’s enchantments are not effective or important. While it does not have any particularly wondrous enchantments, such as the Black Ghosts ability to become intangible or the lightning aura such as around the Wildstorm Lightning, the enchantments greatly improve the fighter’s survivability. Most important is probably the “Armor of Ithan” force field. This force field virtually doubles the fighters ability to withstand damage and can be activated up to three times per day. Other enchantments include the replacement of the standard decoy and chaff system with an enchanted version that is considered more effective and does not need to be reloaded by hand. A enchanted “See the Invisible” system is built into the fighter’s heads up display. Finally, the fighter has the more standard techno-wizard enchantments of “Impervious to Energy” and “Invisibility: Superior.”

Model Number: TW-F-35 Techno-Wizard JSF
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Multi-Role Fighter
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

Forward Pulse Laser Cannon (1; Wing Root):50
Wing Mounted Missile Hard Points (4):8 each
Internal Ordnance Bay (1; hatch):40
[1] Wings (2):120 each
[2] Elevators (2):50 each
[2] Rudders (2):50 each
[3] Forward Lift Turbo-Fan Engine (1):20
[3] Doors for Forward Lift Engine (2):20 each
[4] Main Engine (1):140
[5] Main Body220
Landing Gear (3):5 each
Reinforced Pilot’s Compartment / Cockpit:60
Magical “Armor of Ithan” Force Field (3 times per day):150

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash. Pilot must eject to survive.
[2] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying direction of the engines but the fighter 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.
[3] Lift doors protects the top and bottom of the lift engine. Destruction of doors protecting front lift engine will increase drag. Reduce top speed by half and the fighter has a -4 to dodge and piloting is at -20% at high speeds (Above 400 mph / 644 kph). To damage the forward lift engine, a called shot at -3 is required and the shielding doors either must be open or destroyed. If forward lift fan is destroyed, the fighter cannot hover but can still land/take off in conventional fashion.
[4] Destruction of the fighter’s engine will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot and weapon officer can choose to eject.
[5] 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. Pilot 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 fighter can take off in a short distance.
Flying: The TW-F-35 can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.9 (1,408.8 mph / 2267.2 kph) on full afterburner and climb to an altitude of 55,000 feet (16,800 meters). When the fighter is carrying ordnance on its external hard points, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 1.6 (1,186.3 mph / 1,909.2 kph.) The fighter can also cruise up to mach 1.1 (847 mph/ 1362 kph) but fighter’s cruise speed depends on mission and situation.
The fighter has a minimum glide-speed of 120 mph (192 kph); if it goes any slower, the wings cannot provide sufficient lift and the aircraft will crash unless VTOL engines are engaged.
Maximum Effective Range: Nuclear powered, giving it continual energy, but the jet engines begin to overheat after 12 hours of continual use. Occasional rest stops every 4 to 6 hours, giving the engines an hour to cool down, will allow the aircraft to travel indefinitely.

Statistical Data:
Height: 15.1 feet (4.6 meters)
Wingspan: 34.8 feet (10.6 meters).
Length: 50.5 feet (15.4 meters).
Weight: 35,500 pounds (15,875.7 kg) empty and 48,000 pounds (21,772.4 kg) fully loaded.
Power System: Nuclear, Should have an average life span of 20 years
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not include ordnance bay or hard points. Ordnance bay can carry 3000 lbs (1362 kg).
Black Market Cost: 40 to 60 million credits (Can sometimes sell for double to triple that price)

Weapon Systems:

  1. Forward Mounted Gun: A fixed forward weapon is mounted on the wing root of the fighter. It serves as the one of last line of defense against enemy planes and missile volleys, although some pilots use it for strafing runs against ground targets when they are out of missiles. Many pilots do not like being exposed to ground weapons fire so it is an uncommon practice.
    1. Wilk’s 457 Pulse Laser Cannon: The aircraft's laser cannon is from the barrels and inner working of the Wilk’s 457 Rifle. The laser cannons pull power directly from the fusion reactor of the aircraft. Carried on early models of the fighter and replaced in most models.
      Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (610 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 3D6+2 for single shot and 1D6x10 for three round burst from cannon.
      Rate of Fire:Equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines).
    2. JA-12 Pulse Laser Cannon: The aircraft's laser cannon is from the barrels and inner working of the JA-12 Assault Rifle. The laser cannons pull power directly from the fusion reactor of the aircraft. Replaced the Wilk’s 457 as the main gun of the fighter in most models.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
      Mega-Damage: 4D6 for single shot and 1D6x10+10 for three round burst from cannon.
      Rate of Fire:Equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines).
  2. Internal Ordnance Bay: The fighter has a large bay in the main body that can carry a wide variety of different ordnance types. Ordnance types include missiles, torpedoes, and bombs. While depth charges can be carried, their limited utility means that torpedoes are carried in most ASW missions. Missile and bomb 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 missiles, four light bombs, two medium range missiles, or two medium bombs for one long range missile or heavy bomb. Both guided and unguided ordnance may be carried. An equivalent number of torpedoes or depth charges to the number of missiles and bombs may also be carried.
    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: Ordnance is dropped or fired one at a time or in volleys of two to thirty two but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
    Payload: Internal bay can carry 2 medium range missile or medium bombs and 2 long range missiles or heavy bombs. 4 medium range missiles or 8 short range missiles can be substituted for long range missiles or heavy bombs. Ordnance can be mixed and torpedoes and depth charges may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.
  3. Wing Hard Points (4): The TW-F-35 has four external hard points for ordnance and equipment They can carry missiles, bombs, and mini missile pods. Carrying ordnance on the aircraft's external hard points negates the aircraft's stealth from the bottom, sides, front, and back of the aircraft. The aircraft retains normal stealth from the top. Reduce Stealth by 10% for every hard point carrying ordnance or a fuel tank.
    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. In two pilot versions, short range missile racks are controlled by either the pilot or the weapons officer.
      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: Missile can be fire 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: 4 short range missiles or light bombs, 2 medium range missiles or medium bombs, or 1 long range missile or heavy bomb (all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance) each hardpoint.
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The missile pods are normally carried for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles. In two pilot versions, mini missile pods are controlled by the pilot.
      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. Advanced Towed Decoys (4): The pod takes place of all ordnance on the Hard Point. The aircraft can carry a special pod that carries four advanced towed decoy drones. 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. The decoy has a special jammer that is designed to decoy missiles that have been programmed to home on jamming signals. 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 80% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 50% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 25% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles. Against missiles homing on a jamming signal, jamming has an 40% chance of tricking missiles if both the aircraft and missile are jamming and an 80% chance if the jamming system on the aircraft is deactivated before the missile reaches it.
      Maximum Effective Range: Not Applicable although the 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: 4 Decoys each pod.
  4. Magical “Fireworks” Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser (1): In many ways this system is similar to technological versions of the Chaff/Flare system. The anti-missile system works by combining three spells. The three spells are Fire Bolt, Apparition, and Telekinesis. The physical effects of the system are identical to the Triax Anti-Missile chaff but instead of being reloaded, it is recharged by spells.
      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: 10 Uses before being recharged. The dispenser is recharged by the spells Apparition (20 P.P.E.), Fire Bolt (7 P.P.E.), and Telekinesis (8 P.P.E.).
  5. Techno-Wizard Modifications: The Joint Strike Fighter has the following techno-wizard modifications built into the aircraft. These require P.P.E. or I.S.P. from the pilot.
    Special Features:
      Impervious to Energy (6th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P.
      Invisibility-Superior (6th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P.

Special Equipment:
The equipment of the fighter has been upgraded but many of the original systems are still on the fighter. Consider the fighter to carry all standard equipment that robot vehicles carry (not including loudspeaker and microphone) plus the following extra systems:

Combat Bonuses:

[ 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. ]

[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2005, Kitsune. All rights reserved.