Hongdu JH-28N VSTOL Fighter:

Supplementing their J-25N fighters, the Chinese Navy purchased a number of Yak-141S fighters. A total of twenty-four were purchased from the New Sovietski. As with other military hardware purchased by China, the Yak-141 was closely copied. It became the Hondu JH-28N. It was claimed that the JH-28N was a new fighter developed indigenously but the design was simply too similar to the Yak-141 for many to believe the claim. Many in Western circles called the fighter by the same name “Freestyle” as the Yak-141

Even though the program was initially delayed, the Yak-41 was the first Mach capable VTOL jet fighter. It was originally developed for the Kiev class carriers. Compared to the Joint Strike Fighter used by most Western nations, it was considered distinctly inferior. The Yak-141 was an updated version using high strength composites and alloys as well as having a fusion power plant. Otherwise, the fighter is reasonably capable. Due to its relatively cheap cost, it was quite popular.

Several hundreds of JH-28N VTOL fighters are believed to have been built and was primarily operated by the Chinese Navy off their carriers as a supplement for the J-25N fighter. It was also exported in limited numbers. It is likely that many of the JH-28N fighters were destroyed with the coming of the Rifts but it is also quite possible that at least some survived. Some might be found in the hangers of carriers that were not destroyed, both Chinese and other nation's carriers. Especially outside of the Chinese navy, they might be found operating side by side with surplus Yak-141S fighters. Made from composites and alloys that make it almost impervious to corrosion, it is quite likely that any fighters found would be easy to restore.

One advantage of the JH-28N was that was considerably smaller and lighter than the J-25N so more could be embarked. In addition, they could be launched without using the carrier's ski-jump so could be launched more rapidly. Eventually, the J-25N was replaced by a new airframe which including features to decrease radar cross signature. Even so, the JH-28 was retained in naval service.

Just before the coming of the Rifts, there was plans to develop a new low radar cross signature version of the JH-28 but never reached beyond the prototype stage. Known as the JH-36, it is believed that all of the prototypes were destroyed with the coming of the Rifts. There was a lot of speculation about the performance of the new VTOL fighter design but most seem to consider its performance to be quite similar to the JH-28N.

As previously stated, there were only minor modifications were made to the JH-28N compared to the Yak-141S even though the fighter was claimed to be a new design. The engines especially were virtually direct copies of the engines carried on the Yak-141S. In fact, it is to the point that the engines can actually be used interchangeably. Some other nations that operated the JH-28N and Yak-141S regularly would swap engines between them.

Likely the most important change in the JH-28N is in mounting an improved radar. It mounts the same Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system as is carried on the J-25N. As a phased array style radar, it is much harder to detect and jam. It can also be used to jam other radar system. The real advantage however is that it has about fifty percent better range, with a range of around two hundred and fifty kilometers, and can track two dozen targets simultaneously. The cockpit was modified to take advantage of the upgraded radar system and the nose is also altered slightly to mount the more powerful radar.

Missile hard points are identical with the JH-28N having eight missile hard point. The 30 mm cannon was also retained on the Chinese VTOL fighter. Using ramjet ammunition, the cannon was considered quite effective. Unlike with Soviet versions, later models did not replace the conventional weapon with a rail gun. It was however supplemented by an ion blaster on later models. Pulling power directly from the fusion reactor, the weapon has much shorter range but is extremely useful in conserving ammunition with only 150 rounds for the 30 mm cannon carried.

Designation: Hongdu JH-28N (Sometimes called “Freestyle”)
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Multi-Role VTOL Fighter
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

Gryazev-Shipunov Gsh-301 30 mm cannon (wing root):25
Ion Beam Blaster (wing root - later models):10
Ordnance Hard Points (8):10 each
[1] Wings (2):80 each
[2] Elevators (2):40 each
[2] Rudders (2):40 each
[3] Forward Lift Turbo-Fan Engines (2):20 each
[3] Protective Doors for Forward Lift Engine (4, top and bottom):20 each
[4] Main Engine:80
[5] Main Body:150
Landing Gear (3):5 each
Reinforced Pilot’s Compartment / Cockpit:80
Pilot Seat (1):2

[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 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] 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.
[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.

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 jet propulsion system enables the JH-28N to reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (1,334.6 mph / 2,147.9) and climb to an altitude of 52,495 feet (16,000 meters). When the fighter is carrying ordnance on its external hard points, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 1.5 (1,112.1 mph / 1,789.8 kph.) 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. Cruising speed tends to be between 250 mph (400 kph) and Mach 1.0 (741.4 mph/ 1193.3 kph).
Range: Effectively Unlimited. Thrusters overheat after 6 hours of use from 200 mph (321.9 kph) to 600 mph (965.6 kph), and 4 hours of use over 600 mph (965.6 kph).

Statistical Data:
Height: 16.7 feet (5.1 meters)
Length: 61.7 feet (18.8 meters)
Wingspan: 34.1 feet (10.4 meters) extended and 20.0 feet (6.1 meters) folded
Weight: 36,596.7 pounds (16,600 kilograms) empty, 40,124.1 pounds (18,200 kg) maximum takeoff in VTOL mode, and 44,533.4 pounds (20,200 kilograms) fully loaded
Power System: Nuclear Fusion, Should have an average lifespan of 8 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not include hard points
Black Market Cost: Can be found scattered around the world having been sold by the Chinese government. It is also operated by some mercenaries. The aircraft would sell for around 16 to 22 million credits on the open market.

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) Gryazev-Shipunov Gsh-301 30 mm cannon: Direct copy of the Soviet weapon system. Fixed and is mounted on the base of the fighter’s starboard wing root. 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. The standard ammunition has been replaced by high density ramjet ammunition which inflicts heavy damage and enables the fighter to hold its own against other fighter weapons.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6,560 feet (2,000 meters / 2 kilometers).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 for a short burst of 10 round burst and 2D6x10 for a long burst of 20 round burst, 3D6 for each round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 150 rounds (15 short bursts or 7 long bursts)
  2. One (1) Ion Beam Blaster (Later Models): Mounted next to the 30 mm cannon, this weapon was added on later versions of the fighter to give the fighter a weapon system that does not rely on ammunition. The weapon system inflicts fairly good damage but has a relatively short range. The weapon is used for a variety of different targets. The weapon can fire single shot or three round bursts.
    Maximum Effective Range: 1,600 feet (488 meters).
    Mega Damage: 2D6 for single shot and 6D6 for three round burst.
    Rate of Fire:Equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines).
  3. External Hard Points (8): As with the Yak-141, the JH-28N has a total of eight hard points with two hard-points on the wingtips, four hard-points on the wings, and two hard-points on the fuselage of the aircraft. The wingtip hard-points and not stressed for as heavy an ordnance and is limited to missiles. As well, towed decoys can be carried on the wing-tips. Each hard points must carry the same type of ordnance but different hard points may carry different ordnance types but ordnance is normally carried in symmetrical pairs. Both unguided and guided bombs can be carried by the aircraft.
    Note: Maximum payload is limited when the fighter takes of vertically. Maximum ordnance is limited to three long range missiles / heavy bombs and two medium range missiles / medium range bombs. Two medium range missiles / medium bombs can be substituted for a long range missiles / heavy bomb. Two short range missiles / light bombs can be substituted for a medium range missile / medium bomb. A mini-missile pack is the equivalent of a long range missiles and a towed decoy pack is the equivalent of a medium range missile. In Short Take off mode, fighter is not limited except by maximum payload.
    Fuselage and Wing Hard Points (6): Bombs or Missiles (1 long range missiles or heavy bombs, 2 medium range missiles or medium bombs, or 4 short range missiles or light bombs) or Mini-Missile Pod
    Wing Tip Hard Points (2): Towed Decoy or Missiles (1 medium range missile or 2 short range missiles).
    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.
      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: Missiles 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 or bombs in a volley.)
      Payload: Varies by hard point (see above - all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance)
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The mini 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) 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. 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. 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 65% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 35% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles.
      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. 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 fighter has all the standard features of a standard fighter (same as standard robot minus loudspeaker and microphone) plus these special features listed below.:

Combat Bonuses:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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