Earthforce SA-23 Aurora Starfury (Babylon Five):

The SA-23 Aurora Starfury has been the standard space fighter for all Earth Alliance Space-borne Forces since before the war between the humans and the Minbari. At that time it was one of the most advanced fighter designed and only the fighters of the First Ones, Minbari, and the Centauri. Until the introduction of the SA-26 Thunderbolt Starfury it remained one of the most advanced fighters although had been updated and was on the SA-23E model. Unfortunately, it was not able to fight the Minbari fighters on anything approaching equal combat. Interestingly, this means that there are far fewer of the older models remain because most of them we destroyed during the Earth / Minbari war.

Several variants of the SA-23 exist. The guns on older models inflict less damage and is slightly slower. A common variant is the SA-23H which has four hard points to carry missiles. The ability to carry missiles is standard with the new SA-26 Thunderbolt Starfury. Another version, flown by the Black Omega Squadron, have advanced stealth features (although no where near as advanced as those carried on the Minbari fighters - Treat as having an -50% of not being picked up on radar systems of Earth force tech level - Minbari and Centauri would have no penalties to detect the fighters).

In comparison to modern aircraft, the position of the pilot is unusual. Instead of being seated, the pilot is in almost a standing position. This is not an extreme problem because the pilot will normally be weightless and the cockpit is designed to relive stress from acceleration since the Earthforce has to developed any form of inertial dampening. The controls of the fighter are very responsive and are operated by a combination of hand, foot, and voice-activated controls.

For a Space Fighter for the younger races (with the exception of the Minbari and the Centauri), The SA-23E Aurora Star Fury is well armed. The fighters beam weaponry are four linked pulse cannons. These cannons are used for dogfighting and against capital ships although it takes a large number of fighter runs to do significant damage. This is the reason why the H Version of the Aurora was developed. The H-Version of the Aurora has four missile hard points under its upper wings. This places the missiles in line with the Starfuries center of gravity and makes targeting easier. The SA-23 Aurora Starfury also has a special grappling claw that allows the fighter to grab objects in space.

The fighter is powered by fusion batteries that while they give good performance have a very limited endurance. The newer Thunderbolt has a much greater endurance. The Aurora star fury is very maneuverable due to the fact the engines are widely separated. The fighters only real weakness compared to some of the fighters of other younger races is that the fighter cannot be used in an atmosphere. If it enters an atmosphere, it will crash.

Listed is the formula to allow player and game masters to calculate the fighter’s velocity and distance traveled:

Model Type:SA-23 A, B, C Original Model Aurora-Class Starfury
SA-23 ELater Model Aurora-Class Starfury
SA-23 HBomber Variant Aurora-Class Starfury
SA-23 PSIPsi Corp Stealth Variant Aurora-Class Starfury
Vehicle Type: Quad Engine Space Fighter
Crew: One

M.D.C. By Location:SA-23 A, B, C:SA-23 E and Later:
Pulse cannons (4):35 each45 each
Engines (4):120 each150 each
Reinforced Pilots Compartment:120150
[1] Main Body:280350

[1] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless.

Driving on Ground: Not Possible
Flying; In atmosphere: The SA-23 Aurora Starfury cannot operate within an atmosphere. If the fighter enters an atmosphere, it will crash.
Flying; Space:
SA-23 A, B, C Models: The fighter does not have an effective top speed but is limited by acceleration. Fighter can reach a top acceleration of 8 G but is normally limited to 2 Gs except in combat to conserve fuel.
SA-23 E and Later Models: The fighter does not have an effective top speed but is limited by acceleration. Fighter can reach a top acceleration of 10 G but is normally limited to 2 Gs except in combat to conserve fuel.
Stardrive: The fighter does not have a jump drive but can use already formed jump points such as those formed by jump gates. While in hyperspace, the fighter can reach a maximum of 5 light-year per hour. This means that the fighter could theoretically cover the Galaxy in about 24 month (will need to refuel very often and the fighters are not meant to operate very far from their home base or ship).
Maximum Effective Range: The fighter has enough fuel for 20 minutes at maximum performance. If fighter is operating at less maximum performance, the fighters range is vastly increased. The fighter has 5 hours 20 minutes of endurance if operating at only 2 Gs and for every increase of 2 Gs, the fighter burns reaction mass twice as fast. Fighter uses hydrogen for fuel for a fusion reactor. The fighter can operate with engines on standby to increase fighters range.
Fighter has supplies for the pilot for 4 days.

Statistical Data:
Height: 14.5 feet (4.4 meters)
Length: 35.1 feet (10.7 meters)
Width: 61 feet (18.6 meters)
Weight: 16.5 tons (15 metric tons)
Power System: 3 Fusion Batteries (At maximum output, duration is 20 minutes)
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment).
Cost: SA-23 A, B, C Models: 8 million to construct, SA-23 E Model: 10 million to construct, SA-23 H Model: 11 million to construct, Black Omega Model: 25 million to construct (Never sold).

Weapons Systems:

  1. Linked Pulse Cannons (4): These cannons are the fighters main anti starfighter and missile weapon system. These cannons fire rapid fire bursts of super charged Plasma and are similar to those carried on the Earth Force Omega and Nova destroyers but are much smaller. These cannons are slightly less powerful that those carried on the Thunderbolt Starfury. The cannons on earlier fighters inflict less damage than those on the present models. Author Note: The source on this weapon system lists the weapons range as 160,000 km. It has been reduces to fit more with Palladium frameworks and because they are a fighter mounted weapon system.
    Mega Damage:
    SA-23 A, B, C Models: 4D4x10 for all four cannons combined. Each cannon does 1D4x10 but all four cannons are normally fired together.
    SA-23 E and Later Models: 4D6x10 for all four cannons combined. Each cannon does 1D6x10 but all four cannons are normally fired together.
    Maximum Effective Range: 10 miles (16 km) in an atmosphere and 995 miles (1,600 km) in space.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Missiles Hard Points (H-Version Only): The fighter can carry missiles externally under its upper wings. In space the fighter normally carries four long range missiles with fusion warheads but can carry eight medium range or sixteen short range missiles as well. Missiles are assumed to accelerate at 2 times normal mach speed in Gs greater than the starships speed when used in space. Missiles can be launched at non moving targets beyond the powered range of the missiles to hit targets without the chance of the launching ship being hit by missiles itself but penalties exist when launching missiles beyond normal missile range. Missiles can be mixed and matched at the rate of four shot range missiles or two medium range missiles for one long range missile.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, assume power range is 8 x normal in space (Go to revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Damage: Varies with missile types (Go to revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of 2, 4, 6, or 8.
    Payload: 4 long range missiles, 8 medium range missile, or 16 short range missiles in space
  3. Grapple Claw: The Aurora Starfighter has a grapple claw that is used for docking with vehicles that do not have landing bays and to grab items. The Grapple Claw has a breaking strain of 100 tons.
    Maximum Effective Range: 30 feet (9.1 meters)
    Mega Damage: None (S.D.C. Targets will take 1D4x10 S.D.C.)
    Rate of Fire: Once per four melees rounds
    Payload: 1 shot but may be retracted and used again

Special Equipment:


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Technical information sourced partially from Babylon 5 Technical Manual!

CGI of Ship by Craig P. Condu . More of his CGI pictures of B-5 Ships at Epsilon Jumpgate.

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa) and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Rifts Conversion Copyright © 1998 & 1999, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.