Tomlinson Industries V-325 Sunbird Tilt Rotor:

An international company with major manufacturing facilities in both Australia and the United States, Tomlinson Industries was a powerful company during much of the Twenty-First Century. Company interests included shipbuilding, design and development of aircraft, and even was involved in small arms production. One of the more interesting facets of the company was the founder would take over companies which were in financial trouble and allow employees wide discretion. With this mostly hand off approach, she was able to get many to flourish.

The V-325 Sunbird is designed mainly for civilian use although there are possible military applications as well. It is broadly comparable to the AgustaWestland AW609 design. The aircraft is much smaller than the V-22 operated first by the United States military and later adopted by a number of militaries around the world. The V-325 is designed for VIP transport as well as travel to remote areas without proper airfield yet beyond the range of helicopters. Unlike the C-188 design, the V-325 was not designed as an airliner.

As far as the name, V-325 Sunbird is named after a passerine bird family which can be found from Africa to Australia. Some species of sunbirds can hover in a similar manner to hummingbirds and have a similar lifestyle as well. The name seemed perfect for an Australian developed small tilt rotor aircraft design.

Development of the V-325 started in the early part of the Twenty-First Century. As one might expect, the AgustaWestland AW609 and the Tomlinson Industries V-325 Sunbird were in direct competition with each other. There were some accusations against Tomlinson Industries that they copied the other design but nothing was ever substantiated. As with the C-188, the V-325 was extremely popular and had an extremely long production run. It is quite likely that production continued until the coming of the Rifts.

In appearance, the V-325 Sunbird looks more like a long nose version of the old Bell XV-15 prototype than the AgustaWestland AW609. This includes that it has a twin tail just like the Bell design. As with tilt rotor designs, the V-325 Sunbird is capable of vertical take off and lands. It can also carry cargo slung underneath. Of course, the aircraft consumes less fuel using more conventional takeoffs and landings.

The original version of the V-325 Sunbird was conventionally fueled but a later model was developed which replaced the original turbo-shafts with light fusion turbines. Designated the V-335 Sunbird II, it has effectively unlimited range. While most operators prefer fusion powered models, both conventional and fusion powered models have survived the coming of the Rifts and can still be found.

Top speed for the conventional powered version is 325 knots while the fusion powered model has a maximum speed of 335knots. As one might expect, that is also the reason behind the designations of the two different versions of the aircraft. Normal cruise speed is around 300 knots for both models. When carrying an external cargo load, maximum speed is two hundred knots.

Range with a payload for the conventional V-325 is around one thousand nautical miles. As far as is known, there were no provisions for in flight refueling unlike the V-22 Osprey. For fusion powered models, the fusion turbines will overheat after twelve hours at around maximum speeds but up to twenty-four hours at cruising speed or below.

When development of the V-325 was begun, the design used aviation aluminum and composites. However, it was not long after the design was developed that there was a revolution in high strength materials. The V-325 was redesigned quickly using these new materials. While primarily a civilian design, the new materials made the aircraft far tougher and added to the popularity of the tilt rotor.

The cockpit of the V-325 is designed for a crew of two and is designed to be ergonomic. Over the years, the company upgraded the cockpit several times. With its advanced flight systems, the V-325 can virtually fly itself and has the ability to fly nap of the earth. When first developed, few other civilian designs of aircraft had similar systems. There is a third seat on cargo models of the aircraft which is normally reserved for a cargo master. Even though one will sometimes be embarked, it is not considered essential.

In the passenger carrying role, the V-325 can carry up to ten passengers although most VIP models only have seating for six in order to give them greater comfort. Military versions carry troops can carry up to fourteen but are extremely cramped. In the cargo carrying role, the V-325 is able to carry up to 3,000 kilograms. The fusion powered V-335 is slightly up-rated and can carry up to 3,500 kg. Maximum external payload is limited to around 1,500 kilograms at the expense of internal cargo.

As designed, the V-325 is unarmed. No combat versions seemed to have been seriously considered at the time of development. As it was used by in some military roles, there was the option for anti-missile chaff systems to be added. With regard to weaponry being added after the coming of the Rifts, the most common weaponry is a gunner position on the rear cargo ramp.

Model Type:

V-325 Sunbird

Conventionally Powered Version.


V-335 Sunbird II

Nuclear Powered Version.

Vehicle Type: Twin Engine VTOL (Tilt Rotor) Transport Aircraft.

Crew: Two (Pilot and Co-Pilot). Cargo versions also have space for a cargo master.


Cargo Transport



Passenger Transport

Ten (10) Passengers.


Troop Transport

Fourteen (14) Troops.


VIP Transport

Six (6) Passengers.

M.D.C. by Location:


[1] Wings (2):

125 each.


[2] Elevators (2):

45 each.


[2] Rudders (2):

45 each.





Rear Cargo Bay Door:



Side Doors (2):

25 each.


[2] Engines (2):

100 each.


[3] Main Body:



Landing Gear (3):

8 each.


[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash if in flight.

[2] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the aircraft to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but aircraft 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. The destruction of one of the engines will cause the aircraft to crash if in flight.

[3] 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 on the runway / air field and not on take off or landing. The aircraft can make both short take off and landings as well as true vertical take off and landings. In addition, the tilt rotor aircraft can land and take off from primitive air fields.

Flying: Conventional: The V-325 Sunbird can hover and go up to a maximum speed of 325 knots (374.0 mph / 601.8 km/hour). Nuclear: The V-335 Sunbird II can hover and go up to a maximum speed of 335 knots (385.5 mph / 620.4 km/hour).

Normal cruise speed for both the V-325 Sunbird and V-335 Sunbird II is 300 knots (345.2 mph / 555.6 kph). In addition, both can hover stationary up to 8,000 feet (2,438.4 meters) and can fly up to 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) if not hovering. With an underslung cargo load, both are limited to 200 knots (230.2 mph / 370.4 kph).

Range: Conventional: The V-325 Sunbird has a maximum range of 1,000 nautical miles (1,150.8 miles / 1,852 km) unloaded or only carry a light load. Reduce range by 10% if loaded between one third and two thirds of capacity. If loaded above two thirds capacity, reduce range by 20%.

Nuclear: The V-335 Sunbird II has effectively unlimited range but does overheat when operated for long periods of time. The Sunbird II engines will overheat after 12 hours of continuous operation when running at top speed and 24 hours when run at 300 knots (345.2 mph / 555.6 kph) or under.

Statistical Data:

Height over Tail Fins:

Both Models: 12.80 feet (3.9 meters).

Width, Rotors Turning:

60.70 feet (18.5 meters).

Rotor Diameter:

26.25 feet (8.0 meters).

Fuselage Length: 

45.28 feet (13.8 meters).


V-325 Sunbird:

10,692.4 pounds (4,850 kg) empty, 18,408.6 pounds (8,350 kg) maximum take off weight - limited to short take-offs and landings.


V-335 Sunbird II:

10,912.9 pounds (4,950 kg) empty, 19,510.9 pounds (8,850 kg) maximum take off weight - limited to short take-offs and landings.

Power System:

V-325 Sunbird:

Two Pratt & Whitney PT-8D turbo-shaft engines, uses aviation fuel.


V-335 Sunbird II:

Two Nuclear Fusion Turbo-Shafts, Should have an average life span of 12 years.


V-325 Sunbird:

6,613.9 lbs (3,000 kg) in cargo hold or 3,306.9 lbs (1,500 kg) slung underneath.


V-335 Sunbird II:

7,716.2 lbs (3,500 kg) in cargo hold or 3,306.9 lbs (1,500 kg) slung underneath.

Black Market Cost:

V-325 Sunbird:

1.5 to 2.0 million credits.


V-335 Sunbird II:

4.5 to 6.0 million credits.

Weapon Systems (None Standard):

  1. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser (Military Version): Located at the very tail of the aircraft 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 decoys systems are assumed to not be effective against Phase World / Three Galaxies missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)



    Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.



    Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)



    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:

Military versions of this 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).

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