HG-64/Z 'Hellfire' Gunship as used by the Escean Military. Updated.
Year of Service Entry: 2094.
An element of Escea’s Airborne Renewal Program, the Hale Gunship - 64 /Zulu – also known as the ‘Hellfire’ – is the primary attack VTOL used by the Escean military. Commissioned in 2088 and introduced in 2094, the Hellfire replaced the HG-60/M ‘Firebird’ in Escea’s ‘Terrestrial Triangle’, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps branches operating on Earth. Smaller, lighter and faster than its predecessor, the Hellfire is also equipped with a larger array of weaponry and more advanced avionics.
The Hellfire was developed as a counter to Rotha’s Z-41/B ‘Dragonfly’, which outperformed the Firebird in terms of firepower. Hale Aerospace met the requirements put forward by the Escean military by outfitting the Hellfire with a helmet-guided, tri-weapon turret that integrates a 25mm Gatling cannon with a pair of 11mm models, with the option to switch between the weapons or fire simultaneously. The stub wing systems of the VTOL were designed to accept six pylons and a number of weapon systems. These include racks of AGM-159 ‘Mohawk’ anti-tank missiles or 14-round FFAR Honeycomb rocket pods. In addition to these, the Hellfire was equipped with six pylons on its main wings to carry AIM-21 ‘Whiplash’ air-to-air missiles. At full load, the Hellfire can carry up to 1500x rounds of 25mm, 2000x rounds of 11mm, 6x AIM-21 AA Missiles, and 140x 2.75-inch Folding Fin Aerial Rockets, 24x AGM-159 AT Missiles or 6x KP-4D 30mm Gun Pods with 500x rounds each.
One of the unique features of this aircraft is its ability to transport up to three personal in a rear compartment, either for emergency extraction or for fast and heavily armed infiltration by SOF personnel.
Primary propulsion is supplied by Pyotr-H BX85 Thrust Vectoring Turbofans, which are an identical but smaller model of those fitted to the HVT/A-32 ‘Thundersnow’ capable of pushing the VTOL in the realm of high-subsonic flight. The exhaust nozzles of these engines are capable of manoeuvring downward to provide vertical takeoff, working in tandem with a tail-mounted Direct Jet Thruster. The DJT also provides additional control in flight. The Hellfire has a retractable tricycle undercarriage.
Hellfire VTOLs carry a powerful ECM package to defend against guided weapon systems, as well as pyrotechnic countermeasures to help confuse heatseeking weaponry. An artificial assistant program is included to reduce workload on the pilot and to aid control of the aircraft when attention is focused upon the weapon systems. The AA system helps to protect the aircraft from electronic attacks as well, while composite ballistic materials and aluminium oxynitride windows increase survivability from physical impacts. Like other Escean aircraft, a collimated display is projected across the windshield to provide the pilot with a variety of information regarding his aircraft and the locations of friendly or enemy units. This windshield can also polarise against harsh sunlight or become opaque entirely for night operations. Haptic flight controls controlled by CIT or SST cards are also installed in addition to physical backups.
Crew: 1 (Pilot)
Capacity: 3 in Rear Compartment (Optional)
Empty Weight: 10,312kg
Loaded Weight: 17,553kg
Max. Takeoff Weight: 19,260kg
Powerplant: 4x Pytor-F BX85 Pitch Thrust Vectoring Turbofans
Maximum Speed: Mach 0.90
Combat Radius: 312nmi
Ferry Range: 1,645nmi
Service Ceiling: 26,000ft
Rate of Climb: 21,000ft/min
Armament: 1x 25mm Chin-Mounted K-1B Gatling Cannon w/1500 Rounds, 2x 11mm Chin-Mounted K-2G Gatling Cannon w/2000 Rounds, 6x AIM-21 ‘Whiplash’ Air-to-Air Missiles, 10x 14-Round FFAR Honeycomb Rocket Pods, 24x AGM-159 ‘Mohawk’ Anti-Tank Missiles, 6x KP-4D 30mm Gun Pods w/500 Rounds per.
Those are max load outs for particular weapon types, of course. You could mix and match depending on requirements. Only constant with a Hellfire is the tri-turret and the AA missiles.
By the way, why make it a biplane instead of simply mounting the rocket pods under the main wing, as the air-to-air missiles are? Are either set of wings retractable?