U.S. SR-91 Aurora Reconnaissance Aircraft:
From Researcher Colin Walker, Coalition Lone Star Archivist:
I have been attempting to research a top secret pre-rifts reconnaissance aircraft known as the "Aurora" and have examined both Lone Star and Chi-Town archives on the aircraft. What we have are extremely incomplete and filled with as much rumor and speculation as actual fact. In truth, we cannot even be sure if the aircraft actually ever existed.
If it was built, this aircraft was one of the most secret aircraft ever built. The aircraft appears to have been kept secret right up until the coming of the Rifts. It would have been built as a long range reconnaissance aircraft built to spy on an enemy nation called the "Soviet Union" which appears to refer to a nation which existed next to where the "New German Republic" now exists. This aircraft appears to be a replacement for a previous aircraft known as the SR-71 Blackbird. While most intelligence gathering was done by satellites or unmanned drones, there were distinct advantages of high performance manned aircraft.
There had been rumors of a new reconnaissance aircraft since the end of the Twentieth Century. Our evidence for the aircraft comes from several different sources. The American Empire's government allowed its financial records to be perused by anyone. Some researchers noted several large sums of money which appeared to have been funneled towards a black project which appeared to be some sort of top secret aircraft. As well, there were various reports of sightings of this aircraft and unidentified sonic booms.
There is some problems with these reports because some of the people reporting these aircraft seemed to attributed the aircraft to some sort of unknown D-Bee, often grey skinned. Various reports seem to attribute something called "Flying Saucers" to these sightings. There are also some which indicate that the Aurora might have built using some sort of technology from these D-Bees.
Most reports seem to agree on some facets of this aircraft. All reports give the aircraft an incredible top speed, anywhere from Mach Five to Mach Ten. It would have been classified as a hypersonic aircraft. The first reports of the aircraft were before the introduction of fusion turbines so it is possible that there was a later upgraded model fitted with fusion turbines. Several other American Empire designs with the introduction of super strong alloys and fusion engines were similarly upgraded.
As well, the aircraft was suppose to be a stealth design which made it virtually invisible on radar systems. The aircraft in most interpretations is an elongated triangular type design with the engines mounted under the body. Most interpretations also give the reconnaissance aircraft a matt black appearance from the an anti-radar coating.
Internal systems can mostly be only guessed at although it is likely an advanced sensor array system is mounted in the aircraft. Likely all systems are passive and it is unknown if the aircraft even has active jamming systems. If the aircraft is armed or not is unknown. The predecessor, the SR-71 Blackbird, appears to have had a fighter version planned which was armed with missiles and a cannon which fired slightly downward so the fighter did not run into its own rounds.
As far as where these aircraft may have been based, some sources talk about a location called "Area 51" while others state a location called "Groom Lake." There is some suggestion that the two locations are in reality a single facility but there is not enough evidence in the fragmentary reports which we have. Multiple top secret aircraft designs are believed to have been developed in those facilities. They appear to be locations somewhere in the western part the American Empire but the actual location appears to have been lost. As such, it is hard to know where to direct a research team to find these bases.
Model Number: SR-91 Aurora
Vehicle Type: Quad Engine Supersonic Spy Plane
Crew: 2 (pilot and reconnaissance systems officer)
M.D.C. by Location:
|Main Fuselage Ordnance Bays (2):
|Secondary Wing Ordnance Bays (2):
| Wings (2):
| Elevators (2):
| Rudders (2):
| Landing Gear (3):
| Engines (4):
| Main Body:
 Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
 Destruction of the aircraft's rudder or one elevator will still allow the aircraft to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the 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.
 All indicated hit locations are small and/or difficult targets to hit. An attacker must make a called shot and has a -3 penalty as well.
 The destruction of one engine will reduce the aircraft's top speed by one quarter and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 5% penalty to piloting. The destruction of additional engines will give cumulative penalties. Destruction of all four engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt a emergency landing or bomber crew can choose to eject.
 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 conventional 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. Requires a large runway to operate from.
Flying: The Fusion Pulse engines enables the Aurora to reach a maximum speed of Mach 8 (5,280 mph /4,588.2 knots / 8497.3 kph) with a maximum altitude of 135,000 feet (41,150 meters). The Aurora cannot be considered a short take off and landing design and has a minimum speed of 200 knots (230.2 mph / 370.4 kph) to maintain lift. The aircraft is designed for long duration hypersonic cruising with a cruise velocity of Mach 5 (3,300 mph / 2,867.6 knots /5,310.83 kph) or greater and at high altitudes (80,000 feet / 24,384 meters or greater)
Maximum Effective Range: Nuclear powered, effectively unlimited. Engine has an incredibly advanced cooling system for its time and can maintain a cruise velocity of Mach 5 for 36 hours. At speeds above around Mach 5.5, engines overheat after 12 of flight.
Height 19 feet 9 inches (5.99 meters)
Wingspan: 68 feet 4 inches (20.83 meters)
Length: 122 feet 6 inches (37.34 meters)
Weight: 140,000 pounds (63,503 kilograms) empty, 155,000 pounds (70,307 kilograms) fully loaded
Power System: Nuclear Fusion, Should have an average life span of 10 years.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not include ordinance bays. Main ordnance bays can carry 2,000 lbs (907.2 kg) each and secondary ordnance bays can carry 1,500 lbs (680.4 kg) each if emptied of all ordnance.
Black Market Cost: Not for sale! Only around 24 of these reconnaissance aircraft were ever built. It is likely that all have been destroyed but if one was found intact could be worth up to 500 million credits to the Coalition or the Black Market.
- Forward Mounted Pulse Laser Mount: A fixed forward weapon
is mounted on the wing root of the aircraft as a last line of defense against
enemy planes and missile volleys. Theoretically could be used for strafing
runs against ground targets when they are out of missiles but the Aurora
was never designed as a fighter. Pulse laser has an unlimited payload.
The weapon mount is controlled by the pilot.
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.
- Main Ordnance Bays (2): The aircraft has two ordnance bays
at the bottom of the fuselage. Unlike the bays of many other aircraft,
these bays were only designed to carry missiles. Ordnance may be carried
at the rate of four short range missile, or two medium range missiles for
one long range missile. Never meant as a fighter, these missiles are carried
mainly for self defense. The missiles are generally controlled by the pilot
although the reconnaissance systems officer has controls as well.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies by long, medium, or short missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega Damage: Varies by long, medium, or short missile 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 or four but must be the same size (all light or medium).
Payload: 8 short range missile, 4 medium range missiles, or 2 long range missiles per bay. Ordnance can be mixed.
- Secondary Ordnance Bays (2): The aircraft has two ordnance
bays in the wing roots of the reconnaissance aircraft. Unlike the bays
of many other aircraft, these were only designed to carry missiles. Ordnance
may be carried at the rate of two short range missile for one medium range
missile. Never meant as a fighter, these missiles are carried mainly for
self defense. The missiles are generally controlled by the pilot although
the reconnaissance systems officer has controls as well.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies by medium or short missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega Damage: Varies by medium or short missile 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, four, or six but must be the same size (all light or medium).
Payload: 6 short range missile or 3 medium range missiles each bay. Ordnance can be mixed.
- 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.
Payload: Eight (8)
- Advanced Towed Decoys (4): 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.
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)
The aircraft has all the standard features of a standard fighter (same as standard robot minus loudspeaker and microphone) except radar systems plus these special features listed below..
- Stealth Features: The aircraft is covered with the same radar absorbent materials as carried on many advanced stealth aircraft. Coupled with its shape, this makes the Aurora nearly invisible to any radar system at long range (-80% to be detected). When a Aurora is battle damaged it becomes less stealthy (For every 10% of damage to the main body, reduce the aircrafts stealth by 15% of its total.). Despite the special shape of its exhaust the plane is quite visible to IR sensors, due to the huge heat signature of the engines. Normally the plane is -20% to detect using IR sensors. All IR guided missiles are -2 to strike. Go to General Detection Penalties for more information on penalties and bonuses to use with stealth.
- E.S.M.: Radar Detector, Passively detects other radars being operated at 125% of the other radars maximum detection range.
- ALIR: Around Looking Infrared. Range 40 miles (64.4 km). A set of IR sensors set to cover the entire hemisphere, including aft of the plane. Allows the Star Blade`s Pilot to get visuals on targets at night, and also allows the pilot to target an enemy plane by detecting the heat from its engines.
- T.C.S.: Visual magnification that multiplies all images by about 300 times which allows visual identification and tracking of fighter sized objects out to 30 to 40 miles (48.3 km to 64.4 km). System has low light amplifications to allow for the systems use during night time conditions. The low light system uses light amplification to make a picture. Emits no light but will not work in absolute darkness. System can be dazzled by sudden bright lights but does not physically blind the pilot.
- Laser Communications: Long range directional communication system that was designed to be able to communicate with satellites. Range is 20,000 miles (32,186.8 km) and can communicate with 20 vehicles simultaneously.
- Laser Navigational System: Allow flight at low altitude without use of Radar. Gives a map of the Terrain.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2008, Kitsune. All rights reserved.