EA-28H Howler Electronic Warfare Aircraft:

Excerpt from Fox’s Combat Aircraft of the World, 2090 to 2091:

With the retirement of the EA-18G Growler, the United States Navy was left without a high performance Electronic Warfare aircraft. The F-38 Panther II was not considered an idea platform for the system so the Navy looked at the F/A-28 Tiger Hornet as a electronic warfare platform. The Navy had already purchased a limited number of these aircraft when the F-38 program was delayed. Manufactured by Boeing, the F/A-28 was largely based on well proven systems and was a relatively low risk design.

The first prototype of the EA-28H flew in 2050 and was soon given the name Howler. Production of the new Howler started in 2053. Using the same facilities as the Tiger Hornet greatly simplified production. A total production of around one hundred and twenty was completed compared with around twice as many F/A-28 Tiger Hornets for the United States Navy. Including exports, total run of the aircraft was around two hundred aircraft. Many of the same nations which purchased the Tiger Hornet also purchased the Howler.

While the final operation F/A-28 aircraft were retired from United States Navy service in 2080, EA-28H continue to serve in U.S. Navy service, mostly in reserve squadrons. The United States Navy plans to eventual replace the Howler with the electronic warfare version of the FV-45 Sea Hawk with the last squadron slated for the new aircraft around 2099. There is discussion that this might be delayed. Those in non United States service are expected to several at least until 2120 if not longer.

To further simplify production, the EA-28H mounts the same basic jamming suite as the E-32A Pelican. The system takes the place of all ordnance in the main bay. It lacks the sophistication of the suite carried on the FV-45 but is still quite effective. In United States Navy service, the system has been upgraded to keep up with current threats. Other militaries have not upgraded the system as extensively as the U.S.N.

Most other electronics are from the F/A-28 which are in most cases from the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. This includes the AN/APG-79 EASA radar system, cockpit controls and displays, combat and flight computers, and helmet targeting system. Much of the computer coding is modified from the code originally developed for the EA-18G Growler. From the Growler also comes a pair of sophisticated radar detection systems. These are mounted inside the wingtips.

The airframe is virtually unaltered compared to the F/A-28H with a vastly reduced radar cross signature. While it might seem counter intuitive to have a reduced cross signature in an aircraft which primary role is jamming, it can be useful in a vary of circumstances. If the jamming is shut down, the aircraft become much harder to target. The aircraft is also often used for electronic surveillance roles. One change is that the cockpit is slightly lengthened to allow for a second crew member to operate the electronic warfare suite. Even so, the cockpit is more cramped than the F/A-28. The EA-28H has been put into service for training even though not really designed for that role.

The original General Electric FFT-445 fusion turbines are retained with a top speed around Mach 2.0, making it over twice as far as the E-32A Pelican. This allows the Howler to operate alongside fighter squadrons unlike the electronic warfare Pelican. Each of the engines is rated at approximately Kilo-Newtons of thrust. While the vectored thrust allows for short take offs and landings, it does not permit true vertical flight. This has restricted the aircraft to full sized carrier flight decks and land based squadrons.

While not designated a fighter, the Howler retains the ability to be an extremely effective fighter. While electronic warfare equipment replaces the ordnance in the main bay, the four smaller bays on the sides of the engines are retained for additional ordnance. A variety of different missiles with ranges up to around eighty miles can be carried. The aircraft also has the ability to mount up to four external hair points at the expense of a greatly increased radar cross signature. Early models of the EA-28 Howler did not mount the 20 mm M61A2 Vulcan Cannon mount but later models mount the USA-M31 Rail gun, although payload is halved compared to the Tiger Hornet, or a pulse laser. Block II upgraded versions of the Howler also take advantage of stronger composites and alloys.

Model Type:EA-28HOriginal Model
EA-28H Block IIUpgraded Model
Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Electronic Warfare Aircraft
Crew: Two

M.D.C. By Location:Original Model:Upgraded Model:
[1] Forward Mounted Gun (1; Wing Root):N.A.45
Main Internal E.C.M. Bay (Hatch):40 each50 each
Small Internal Ordnance Bays (4; Hatch):25 each35 each
[2] Wings (2):100 each140 each
[3] Elevators (2):50 each70 each
[3] Rudders (2):50 each70 each
[4] Engines (2):100 each120 each
Landing Gear (3):10 each10 each
[5] Main Body:140220

[1] These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot,” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
[2] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
[3] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels 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.
[4] 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.
[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. 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 EA-28 Howler has a top speed of Mach 2.0 (1320 mph/ 1,147.0 knots / 2124.3 kph) and has a maximum altitude of 65,000 feet (19,812 meters). When the aircraft is carrying ordnance on its external hard points, the aircraft has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (1,188 mph / 1032.3 knots / 1,911.9 kph) but reduction in aircraft's top speed is negligible with internal ordnance.
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, 0 inches (4.88 meters).
Wingspan: 45 feet, 3 inches (13.79 meters)
Length: 60 feet, 9 inches (18.52 meters).
Weight: 48,800 pounds (22135.3 kg) empty and 67,500 pounds (30,617.5 kg) fully loaded
Power System: Twin FFT-445 Fusion Thrusters (Should have an average life span of 10 years.)
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include ordnance bays or hard points. Small ordnance bays can carry 1,000 lbs (454 kg) each.
Black Market Cost: Virtually unavailable. Would likely range from around 80 to 100 million if available (Decrease by about 10 million for older models)

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) Forward Mounted Gun: Only mounted on later models of the aircraft. 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. The weapon is controlled by the pilot.
    1. USA-M31 Rail gun: Mounted on later EA-28 Howlers. It does not require any primer and a larger number of rounds can be carried than the original 20 mm cannon. The weapons design comes from the original Pre-Rifts SAMAS design. The rail gun has fewer bursts and is heavier but the rail gun inflicts more damage than the post Rifts C-40R. Has half the payload of the Tiger Hornet. Some non-American fighters mount different rail guns although the damage is generally approximately the same.
      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: 2,000 round magazine for 50 bursts each.
    2. Pulse Laser Mount: Refitted on many later block Howlers as an upgrade. The weapon replaced both the 20 mm cannon and the rail gun due to having an unlimited payload. A variety of similar pulse laser weaponry is fitted to aircraft operated by other air forces although most have similar statistics.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 per pulse.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot or commander.
      Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Four (4) Secondary Ordnance Bays: Main ordnance bay carried E.C.M gear in place of ordnance. The aircraft has two ordnance bays on each side of the fighter’s engines. Unlike the primary ordnance bay, these are limited to missiles only. A single medium range missile or a pair of short range missiles can be carried in each bay.
    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 (2)
    Payload: Two (2) short range missile or one (1) medium range missiles each bay.
  3. Wing Hard Points (4): The Howler 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 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 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. Four (4) Advanced Towed Decoys: These are mounted in dispensers on the tips of the aircraft'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 each
    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.
    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: Four (4) Decoys [two (2) each.]

Special Equipment:
The aircraft 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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