French Mirage VIII VSTOL Fighter/Bomber:

Because the French government had not upgraded much of its military during the first half of the Twenty-First century, the state of their forces dropped to deplorable levels. The majority of their equipment was old, worn-out, and outdated. The resurgence of colonial Britain in 2055 “woke up” the French government and made them realize that they had lost their status as a world power. To make up on lost ground, the French government funded and enormous military build-up program to re-equip its military in all areas. The army, navy, and air force all received funding for projects, especially those dedicated to colonial expansion and enhancing global presence.

By 2064, the Super Rafale was well beyond its expected operational life. Upgraded in the 2050s, the design had been used for over 40 years by the French Navy on both the Charles de Gaulle (R91) and Richelieu (R92). With the new Bretagne and Provence entering the fleet in 2065 and 2069 respectively, the French Navy put out a requirement for a new multi-role strike-fighter to operate from their decks. The new aircraft would need to be capable of operating at low altitudes to penetrate enemy defenses and strike with precision weapons with a minimal collateral damage. In addition, it was to be capable of defending itself against airborne threats and capable of fleet defense against aircraft and missiles. Lastly, the new design was to be a VSTOL design, and easily operated from both aircraft carrier decks and forward bases. The similarity of these requirements to those of the French Air Force resulted with the two programs being merged together in 2066 to reduce costs. The result of the program was the next generation Mirage aircraft within the French service.

The design was inspired by both the Super Rafale and American FB-22XL Super Raptor production designs. The aircraft had a large delta wing that provided an excellent lifting body. Forward mounted canard wings and vectored thrust gave additional maneuverability at low levels. Twin tails were mounted at the rear of the aircraft. Some thought was given to developing a tailless design, but cost overruns and the necessity of having the aircraft deployed prevented development. Of course a quadruple redundant fly-by-wire control system was included to operate the aircraft effectively. A pair of SNECMA M 75 fusion turbine engines gave the aircraft excellent low-altitude performance and almost unlimited range. Like most new fighter designs, the Mirage VIII was a stealthy design and was constructed from high strength composites which can withstand incredible damage.

Like nearly all the designed coming out of the Twenty-First Century, the Mirage VIII mounted all its weaponry internally. Two large bays were incorporated on either side of the engines with two smaller bays in the wing roots. The larger bays could each carry a single cruise missile while the smaller bays could carry a pair of long-range missiles. A multi-barrel railgun, the same used in the Creusot-Loire CIWS, was mounted in the right wing root for close-in action. The fighter/bomber carried a variety of defensive systems which were designed to protect it from missiles. These included an internal active jamming system, chaff and flare packs, and towed decoy dispensers located at the tips of the wings.

After finalizing the design, production of the Mirage VIII began in 2069. The first air force units stood up in 2070 with the first naval units becoming operational in 2071. Though both services used the exact same aircraft, the “N” designation was given to the naval aircraft to separate them from their land-based brethren. Each naval squadron had eleven aircraft assigned while air force units had thirteen aircraft assigned. The total number of Mirage VIII’s produced was 312 from 2069 to 2082.

Model Type:Mirage VIIILand Based Air Force Fighter/Bomber
Mirage VIII-NNavy Fighter/Bomber
Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Multi-Role Fighter/Bomber
Crew: Two (Pilot / Sensor & Electronic System operator)

M.D.C. by Location:

Forward Mounted Gun (1; Wing Root):35
Wing Mounted Missile Hard Points (4):10 each
Large Internal Ordnance Bays (2; hatch):50 each
Small Internal Ordnance Bays (2; hatch):35 each
[1] Wings (2):110 each
[2] Forward Canard Wings (2):30 each
[3] Rudders (2):60 each
Reinforced Crew Compartment / Cockpit:140
Ejection Seats (2):2 each
[3] Engines (2):130 each
Landing Gear (3):10 each
[4] Main Body:210

[1] Destroying one or both Canard Wings will result in reducing bonuses to dodge by two and removing the 10% bonus to piloting the aircraft.
[2] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash.
[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. 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 Mirage VIII has a top speed of Mach 2.6 (1,927.8 mph / 3,102.5 kph) and has a maximum altitude of 60,000 feet (18,285 meters). When the fighter is carrying ordnance on its external hard points, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 2.1 (1557.1 mph / 2,505.8) but reduction in fighter’s top speed is negligible with internal ordnance. The fighter has a minimum glide-speed of 140 mph (224 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 300 mph (481 kph) and Mach 1.3 (1070.9 mph/ 1717.7 kph) at low altitude.
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: 16 feet 5 inches (5.0 meters)
Wingspan: 46 feet (14.0 meters)
Length: 65.0 feet (19.5 meters)
Weight: 36,080 pounds (16,400 kg) empty and 53,900 pounds (24,500 kg) fully loaded.
Power System: Nuclear fusion; should have an average lifespan of 10 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not include ordnance bays or hard points. Small ordnance bays can carry 2,200 lbs (1000 kg) each and large bays can carry 4,400 lbs (2000 kg) each
Black Market Cost: Not available. None are known to have survived the coming of the Rifts. The jet has never been recovered by enemies or mercenaries. Such an aircraft would sell for 60 to 100 million credits on the open market.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Forward Mounted Rail gun: A fix 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. The weapon is controlled by the pilot.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
    Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds does 1D6x10.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot or commander.
    Payload: 4,000 round magazine for 100 bursts each.
  2. Main Ordnance Bays (2): The aircraft has two ordnance bays at the bottom of the mid-fuselage. The Mirage VIII can carry one cruise missiles two long range missiles, four medium range missiles, or their equivalent in smaller ordnance or bombs. Ordnance types can include missiles, torpedoes, naval mines, and bombs. 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 eight short range missile, eight light bombs, four medium range missiles, four medium bombs, two long range missiles, or two heavy bombs for each cruise missile or extra heavy bomb. Both guided and unguided ordnance may be carried. The weapons officer controls the missiles but the pilot has auxiliary controls.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile and varies by altitude 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, five, eight, or sixteen but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
    Payload: 8 short range missile or light bombs, 4 medium range missiles or medium bombs, 2 long range missiles or heavy bombs, or 1 cruise missile or extra heavy bomb in each bay. Ordnance can be mixed and naval mines may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.
  3. Secondary Ordnance Bays (2): The aircraft has two ordnance bays on the intake sides. The bays are designed to carry two long range missiles, four medium range missiles, or eight short range missiles. Ordnance may be carried at the rate of four short range missiles or two medium range missiles for one long range missile. Missiles can be mixed and matched but normally the bay carries all the same type of missiles. The weapons officer controls the missiles but the pilot has auxiliary controls.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies by missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.).
    Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired one at a time or in volleys of two, or four but must be the same size (light or medium).
    Payload: 4 short range missiles, 2 medium range missiles, or 1 long range missile each bay.
  4. Wing Hard Points (4): The Mirage VIII has four external hard points for ordnance and equipment. The hard points can be used to carry missiles, bombs, and rocket packs as needed by the mission. Missiles, rocket packs, and bombs can be mixed or matched but all ordnance on a hard point must be the same type. Carrying ordnance on the aircrafts external hard points negate the aircraft's stealth from the bottom, sides, front, and back of the aircraft. The aircraft will retain normal stealth from the top when carrying wing mounted ordnance. Reduce Stealth by 10% for every hard point carrying ordnance.
    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: One long range missile or heavy bomb, two medium range missile or medium bombs, or four short range missiles or light bombs (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.
      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), or eight (8) 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.
  5. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter are two chaff dispensers. 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 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: Eight (8)
  6. Advanced Towed Decoys (4): These are mounted in dispensers on the tips of the fighter’s wings with two decoys in the dispenser on either wing. 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 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 (2 each)

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:

[ 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 Kamikazi (

Copyright © 2004, Kamikazi. All rights reserved.