Confederation F-86C Hellcat V Medium Starfighter (Wing Commander):

The F-86C Hellcat V was developed by Douglas Aerospace as a replacement for the aging F-44G Rapier II which had been the mainstay fighter of the Confederation for many years. While the Rapier II was still an excellent fighter, the design was showing its age in some areas. Some pilots would have preferred simply an improved version of the Rapier but they were overruled and a new fighter was developed to replace the Rapier.

The F-86C Hellcat V is designed as a multi-role medium interceptor fighter and many pilots have already been won over due to the fighter’s flexibility to perform just about role. Need a long range combat space patrol? Send Hellcats. Carrier under attack from incoming Kilrathi fighters? Launch the ready Hellcat fighters. Have a group of transport which need escort? Send Hellcats. Need support for marines on a planet? Drop a group of Hellcat fighters.

The F-86C Hellcat V deserves the name Hellcat and is a tough all-purpose fighter with well-balanced characteristics. The name Hellcat traces its way all the way back to the old wet navy fighter of the United States during World War II. The Confederation fighter is a modular design which allows for quick turn around time as far as maintenance and for the easy change-out of systems. Some modules available for the fighter are special tractor beam pods and high powered reconnaissance pods. The fighter design was developed to be both cheap to manufacture and maintain. As a result, the Hellcat was produced in larger number than any other fighter in the Confederation Fleet.

The fighter is considered to be a Jack-of-All-Trades-but-Master-of-None design which many consider to be both the fighters greatest strength and its looming weakness. The mass driver cannons which are carried on the Hellcat are shorter ranged than the particle beams mounted on the Rapier. Another weakness is that the Hellcat V is slightly less maneuverable than the Rapier. Still, the fighter is extremely tough and carries both powerful shields and heavy armor.

The Hellcat V has one advantage over most other fighters which the Confederation Fleet. While most fighters can operate in an atmosphere, the Hellcat V was developed with atmospheric operations specifically in mind. This, combined with the fighter’s sturdy airframe, allows the fighter to play a critical role in ground attack missions and planetary assault operations. As a result, Terran Confederation Marines consider the fighter worth is weight in gold. For these missions, the fighter can carry guided anti-matter bombs, guided plasma bombs, armor piercing mini-missile pods, rockets, and other air-to-ground attack weapons. Unlike most other fighters, these hard points are mounted internally in bays.

Notes of game conversion:

Because of the nature of the Video Game series “Wing Commander” and the needs to put the fighter into game mechanics, the fighter has several modification compared to the Video Game. The most important change it to change top speed to acceleration. Like fighters in Star Wars and original Battlestar Galactica, the fighters appear to act as if they are in the atmosphere even when they operating in space. This is incorrect. The Television series Babylon 5 and the new Battlestar Galactic are good series to watch to get a clearer idea on how space vehicles would probably maneuver although still not a perfect perspective. The fighter has been modified to uses my revised phase world starship rules and can hold their own against most C.A.F and Kreeghor fighters. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.

Model Type: F-86C Hellcat V Medium Fighter
Vehicle Type: Space Superiority / Multi-Role Medium Fighter
Crew: One

M.D.C. By Location:

Mass Driver Cannons (2):40 each
Ion Cannons (2):50 each
Missile Bays (2):100 each
[1] Engines (2):200 each
Landing Struts (3):10 each
[2] Main Body:580
Reinforced Pilots Cockpit:220
[3] Variable Force Field:220 per side (1,320 otal)

[1] Loss of an engine will reduce performance of fighter by one half and loss of two engines will prevent fighter from performing beyond 5% of normal (This is using maneuvering thrusters and gravitic propulsion). Due to gravitic propulsion systems, fighter will not crash in an atmosphere even if both engines are destroyed.
[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the fighter out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support and internal gravity. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck. In an atmosphere, the fighter will crash.
[3] Shields positions can be varied and all could be combined in one shield. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (66 M.D.C.) per melee.

Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 40 percent of the speed of light. Fighter can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of .82 percent of light per melee maximum. Fighter has auxiliary thrusters which can be used a maximum of 15 minutes before fuel is exhausted. On auxiliary thrusters, the fighter has a maximum acceleration of 1.6 percent of light per melee maximum.
Atmospheric Propulsion: The fighter is fairly aerodynamic and is quite capable in an atmosphere. As a result, the fighter can achieve escape velocity (Mach 32.6 / 25,053 mph / 40,320 kph) but normally operates at Mach 6.54 (4846.69 mph / 7,800 kph) or less. The fighter also has Gravitic propulsion systems enabling it to leave an atmosphere even at low velocities.
Maximum Range: Effectively unlimited by internal fuel (10 year duration) although auxiliary thruster range is limited to approximately 15 minutes. Fighter uses a very small fusion cell system for power systems. The fighter carries one week of consumables for fighter’s crew.

Statistical Data:
Length: 88.58 feet (27.0 meters)
Height: 23.29 feet (7.1 meters)
Width: 62.00 feet (18.9 meters)
Weight: 15.4 tons (14.0 metric tons) unloaded
Power System: Fusion power supply with a 10 year duration.
Cargo: Small Storage Space, 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft x 2 ft. Used for emergency equipment and weapons. Does not include internal bays. Ordnance bays can carry 3000 lbs (1362 kg) each.
Market Cost: 41.4 million credits.


  1. Twin Mass Driver Cannons: These cannons are mounted on the sides of the starfighter. Cannons are shorter ranged than lasers but inflict greater damage. The mass driver is a very solid weapon which is basically a rail gun that uses a linear accelerator to fire projectiles of metallic mass at a target. In addition to range, the mass driver needs to use ammunition and has a limited payload.
    Maximum Effective Range: 1,242.7 miles (2000 km) in space and 6.21 miles (10 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 2D6x10 per cannon per 20 round burst and 4D6x10 for both cannons firing a 40 round burst (Combined with ion cannons, inflicts 7D6x10+20)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 10,000 Rounds (500 Bursts) per cannon
  2. Twin Ion Cannons: These cannons are mounted on the sides of the starfighter. Less powerful that particle beams but have slightly longer range and are still quite powerful. The weapon inflict about equal damage to most energy weapons carried on most C.A.F. Starfighters and have a much longer range than most fighter weapons in the Three Galaxies.
    Maximum Effective Range: 2,796.2 miles (4,500 km) in space and 14.0 miles (22.5 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 2D4x10+10 per cannon and 4D4x10+20 for both cannons (Combined with mass drivers, inflicts 7D6x10+20)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  3. Twin Missile Bays: Instead of mounting hard points, the fighter has a pair of missile bays. Ordnance bay may carry a mix of different missiles with a pair of medium range missiles taking the place each long range missile. Other types of ordnance such as missile pods may be carried as well in the internal bays in the medium fighter. Mini-Missiles can be carried at the rate of eight mini-missiles for each long range missile..Long Range Missiles have a top speed of Mach 20 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 8% of light per turn (faster than any starship). Medium Range Missiles have a top speed of Mach 15 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 6% of light per turn. Mini-Missiles have a top speed of Mach 10 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 2% of light per turn (slightly faster than any starship except if it is exceeding it maximum safe acceleration). Mini-Missile are normally self guided unlike standard Rifts mini-missiles. When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless set to self destruct but has very low odds of hitting starships (Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile, when unpowered, is at -25% to be detected.) Missiles can be launched on multiple targets simultaneously and all missiles are normally considered smart missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: Long Range Missiles range is 3,400 miles (5470 km) in an atmosphere and 1,800,000 miles (2,897,000 km/9.7 light seconds) in space, Medium Range Missiles range is 160 miles (257.5 km) in an atmosphere and 80,000 miles (128,750 km/0.43 light seconds) in space, and Mini-Missiles range is 2 miles (3.2 km) in an atmosphere and 100 miles (161 km) in space.
    Mega-Damage & Properties: See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details (Long Range Fusion warheads inflict 2D4x100 M.D.C. each.)
    Rate of Fire: Long Range and Medium Range Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two, three, or four missiles. Mini-Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two (2), three (3), four (4), or eight (8) missiles.
    Payload: Three Long Range Missiles Per Bay (Two Medium Range Missiles or Eight Mini-Missiles can be substituted for a long range missile).
  4. Anti-Missile Decoy Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter are two decoy dispensers. When a missile if fired at the fighter, a decoy can be released to confuse or detonate the enemy's attack. Decoy system works against Phase World missiles although has a -10% penalty against Brilliant missiles.
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates on decoy - 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, missile is still on target.
    Payload: Twenty-Four (24)

Special Systems:
The Hellcat carries all the standard equipment of a Phase World starfighter including long range sensors and communications (No gravity sensors / communications). In addition, the Hellcat can carry special internal pods for increased capabilities. Only a single pod can be carried by the fighter.

COMBAT BONUSES: The F-86C Hellcat V Starfighter is very maneuverable and very accurate. Use the Phase World Starfighter combat (Elite or Basic) skill.

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CGI / Artwork of starship created by Wing Commander Guide. Picture taken from Wing Commander CIC.

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Rifts Conversion Copyright © 2006 & 2013, Kitsune. All rights reserved.