New Sovietskiy Yak-244 Firedancer VSTOL Fighter:

This fighter was the newest in the Soviet Arsenal during the time before the Rifts. The first prototype did not fly until 2086 with production not beginning until 2090. Several last minute changes in the new design put it two years behind schedule. Production was originally planned for 2088. While United States and European intelligence had reports on the design, there was not much known. The aviation magazines knew even less and featured many wild drawings and conflicting statistics on the aircraft. The Soviet Government kept the design very secret. It was mainly through satellite intelligence that the Western powers got the information that they had on the fighter. The first pictures showed an aircraft that looked much like the American F-35 and FV-38 design. It was first thought that it was in reality one of those two fighters which had been acquired by the Soviet Military. It was not until a careful examination that differences were noted. The Soviet fighter was much larger, had two engines instead of one, and actual shape of the plane is a bit different. The fighter made up only about 10% of the fighter forces of the Soviet Air Force when the Rifts erupted. The previous fighter, the Foxfire was to be considered an important component of the Soviet fighter forces for the foreseeable future. The Firedancer was operated heavily off carriers not designed for non VTOL fighters and from forward bases with no real runways. Like most militaries, the Soviet military was decimated in the coming of the Rifts. Very few Firedancer VTOL fighters survived although there are many secret Soviet bunkers which may have the VTOL fighter in storage. A handful of the Firedancer fighter, along with the Foxfire fighters, are known to be operated by the New Sovietskiy. Between both fighters, a total of six squadrons exist. They have been found to be very effective with large scale bombing of attack forces having turned back Warlord attacks. As well, the fighters have been used to threaten nuclear strikes against the strongholds of the Warlords. There are signs that the Sovietskiy may be gearing up to begin producing this fighter and it might be able to tip the balance of power in their favor.

While the fighter was developed using information on the FV-38 Panther II as a basis, it is a very different aircraft. As previously mentioned, one major difference is that the fighter uses two engines instead of one. As well, the Firedancer uses two lift engines which can be manipulated separately. The left engines are just behind the cockpit and are protected by special doors when not operating. The twin engines produce far more thrust than the single engine in the American VTOL fighter and even though it is also far heavier, it has a greater top speed. The Firedancer can reach a top speed of Mach 2.3. While a bit slower than the Sea Hawk, it still is excellent for a VTOL fighter. The fuselage is wider than the Panther II to give some width between the two engines. The Firedancer wings have about the same lift area in comparison to size when compared to the Panther II. They are longer from front to back of the fighter but stick out less than the wings of the Panther II. The Firedancer has a twin tail just like the Panther and looks virtually identical. One feature of the Firedancer is that the fighter has excellent stealth characteristics.

While some pilots complained about the loss of firepower compared to the Foxfire, the Firedancer carried a single pulse laser for its main weapon. The weapon had the advantage of unlimited payload and most fights were with missiles anyway. This was one of the last minute changes in the fighter and it freed up space for a new and more powerful radar system in the nose. A second change was the improvement of the towed decoys over previous models. One item of disappointment with the Firedancer is the payload that the fighter can carry. The payload is equal to four long range missiles in the bays and four long range missiles possible on the wing hard points if there is no concern with keeping the fighter stealthy. This payload is exactly the same as the smaller Panther II and no where

Designation: Yak-244 (NATO Name Firedancer)
Vehicle Type: Dual Engine Multi-Role VTOL Fighter
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

Forward Mounted Pulse Laser (1; Wing Root):50
Wing Mounted Missile Hard Points (4):10 each
Internal Ordnance Bays (2; hatches):50 each
[1] Wings (2):150 each
[2] Elevators (2):90 each
[2] Rudders (2):90 each
[3] Forward Lift Turbo-Fan Engines (2):30 each
[3] Protective Doors for Forward Lift Engine (4, top and bottom):30 each
[4] Main Engines (2):120 each
[5] Main Body:280
Landing Gear (3):15 each
Reinforced Pilot’s Compartment / Cockpit:100
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 one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed by half and give the fighter a -3 penalty to dodge as well as removing the 5% bonus to piloting. Destroying both engines will cause the aircraft to crash. 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.
Flying: The jet propulsion system enables the Yak-244 to reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.3 (1,705.3 mph / 2,744.5) and climb to an altitude of 60,000 feet (18,300 meters). When the fighter is carrying ordnance on its external hard points, the fighter has a top speed of Mach 2.0 (1,482.9 mph / 2,386.5 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).
Maximum Effective Range: Nuclear powered, giving it continual energy, but the jet engines begin to overheat after 10 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:
Length: 72.5 feet (22.1 meters)
Wingspan: 43.2 feet (13.1 meters) extended and 37.8 feet (11.5 meters) folded
Height: 17.1 feet (5.2 meters) with landing gear down and 12.5 feet (3.8 meters) with landing gear retracted.
Weight: 58,422.5 pounds (26,500 kilograms) empty, 72,973.0 pounds (33,100 kilograms)
Power Source: Nuclear Fusion, Should have an average lifespan of 12 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment). Does not include hard points and ordnance bay. Ordnance bay, if emptied of ordnance can carry up to can carry 4,000 lbs (1,816 kg) of cargo.
Black Market Cost: Not available. Other than those operated by the New Sovietskiy, 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 Pulse Laser (1): Laser is mounted on the wing root of the fighter. While the weapon inflicts less damage than the twin rail guns carried on the Foxfire fighter. The Laser fires four shot bursts and is capable of destroying missiles and inflicting serious damage on aircraft. Laser is similar to the S-500 Cyclone Pulse Laser Rifle with extended range. 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.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 MD for four shot burst.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: Effectively unlimited.
  2. Internal Ordnance Bays (2): The fighter has two large bays 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 sixteen but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
    Payload: Each of the two bays can carry 8 short range missile or light bombs, 4 medium range missiles or medium bombs, or 2 long range missile or heavy bomb. Ordnance can be mixed and torpedoes and depth charges may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.
  3. Wing Hard Points (4): The Firedancer 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2002, Kitsune. All rights reserved.