Cicada in the service of Wa-Daisho's Air Force.
Cicada in the service of the Tenzan Elite.
The S-Mart Cicada has it's origins, like many of S-Mart's products, before the great cataclysm, and the coming of the RIFTS. Back in the so called Golden Age, the Cicada was known as the Boeing AV-26 "Wasp II", named after the successor to the Apache, from the 2030s. The Wasp II was a new breed of close air support aircraft, called an Aerodyne, the logical successor to Helicopters above the battlefield. An aircraft built specifically to use vectored nozzles to provide all modes of flight, from hovering, to flying forward, backwards, and side to side. Rolling with an aerodyne could prove very difficult, but could be accomplished by a skilled pilot. It's primary advantages were two fold - no vulnerable rotors, and it could be much faster than a helicopter. This aircraft entered service in this guise, in July of 2079, replacing the last of the US Army's Attack Helicopters. Among the features flaunted by it's designers, were; heavy armor, high speed, and a magnificent payload of ordinance.
When the war with Mexico began, following the destruction of Salt Lake City, the Wasps were almost immediately sent to the front in Mexico. Once there, they proved to be everything that the poster said, and more. They were able to provide heavy support to combat troops in one sector, and to troops in another sector at a moment's notice due to their great speed. It's speed and versatility also was proven in a field it was not intended for; the Wasp unwittingly gained a notorious reputation as a helicopter hunter! Their punishing weaponry, and durability proved itself in other areas. One battle near Ciudad Victoria illustrated these factors very well. After an American armored company was surrounded by a division of Mexican Nationals, the only thing that saved them from being completely obliterated was a dozen Wasps that flew round the clock ground attack operations over the course of three days. Their constant punishing attacks opened a hole in the Mexican lines and permitted the men in the company to escape. No ground support army squadron could have hoped to have that much effect before the Wasp came into service.
By the beginning of the cataclysm, the AV-26 was a nineteen year veteran of war. It was so successful it was produced under licence in both the United Kingdom and Israel. All told, over 4,200 Wasps were built between March of 2078 and December of 2098. When the cataclysm began is where their known history also ends.
Now several hundred years later, there are only a half dozen pre-cataclysm Wasps known to have survived the cataclysm. One of these is in a museum in Berlin. It was one of the UK's examples, having flown there centuries before to attend an air show that was interupted by the cataclysm! Another of the UK's Wasps was recovered when a dig North of New Camelot struck a sealed hardened hangar with one partially overhauled Wasp sitting in it as it's only contents. It was finished by a pair of traveling operators, refitted, and is now serving as a key part of the fledgling air force that defends New Camelot. Two American incarnations of the Wasp were recovered near Ft. El Dorado in the ruins of a US Army base. These were both restored to flight condition and are currently part of Ft El Dorado's private air force. The other two survivors are also American examples and belong to mercenaries who have had the aircraft passed down to them from previous generations of their family.
When S-Mart was founded by the King of Desert Star, Ace Ripley, one of the first projects decided upon was the ancient Wasp. Ace found the aircraft to be of excellent design which would also give his company great experience in producing Aerodynes. As such, in early 114PA, new Wasps began rolling off of the production lines in Desert Star - now named the S-Mart Cicada.
It was in rapid production for barely a year, outfitting both the NOMAD Air Force (55 examples) and Wa-Daisho's Air Force (24 examples) with ground attack aerodynes. They were later returned to production in May of 117PA, producing an additional 42 Cicadas which were sold to Wa-Daisho (12), Kingsdale (10), and Tolkeen (8). The remaining twelve were put up for sale on the open market. This production run was supposed to be followed by a LARGE production run solely for sale to Tolkeen. The expected Tolkeenite order never came to pass, however, as they chose to use their own less expensive vintage style techno-wizard aircraft and iron juggernauts for the close air support mission. (See Rifter #5 for details on vintage style TW aircraft and Siege on Tolkeen Book 3: Sorcerer's Revenge for details on flying Iron Juggernauts.)
At the end of 115PA, the NOMAD Air Force of Desert Star, began phasing the Cicada out of service, trading them in for S-Mart Vultures. Their Cicadas were immediately sent to outfit the Imperial Kyatashiro Navy with purpose built assault aircraft.
Model Type: Cicada-A. (Wa-Daisho's own pilots have nicknamed the Cicada the "Flying Tiger", for it's distinctive roar during it's hover mode.)
Class: Assault Aerodyne.
Crew: 2; Pilot & Gunner.
M.D.C. by Location:
Reinforced Pilot's Compartment-120.
***Directional Thrusters(4)-50 each.
* These targets are small and difficult targets to hit. As a result this may only be done so at a penalty of -4 to strike.
** Destroying one of the turbines means that two of the directional thrusters have lost their means of propulsion. The aircraft has lost MOST of it's maneuvering capabilities! Handling the aircraft is very difficult, as it must lean heavily to one side - as such all maneuvers are conducted at -50%.
*** These targets are small and difficult to hit, and may only be done so at a penalty of -4 to strike. Naturally, if any of these are destroyed, the performance of this aircraft will be severely hampered. For every one destroyed, all maneuvers will be conducted at a -25%! If three are destroyed, the aircraft will begin to lose altitude, and either a crash landing must be made at the -75% penalty - or the crew must bail out.
**** Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body means that the aircraft's fuselage is in tatters, and for safety measures the thrusters have disengaged. There is no chance of landing an aerodyne so stricken, meaning that the pilot and gunner MUST bail out.
Maximum Speed: 405 mph.
Maximum Altitude: 13,000'.
Maximum Endurance: The Cicada's thrusters are extremely reliable and almost completely free of maintenance problems, thus the Cicada can remain aloft for up to 20 hours before requiring a cooling period of at least 15 minutes.
Weight: 4.8 tons.
Maximum External Stores: 2,580Lbs.
Power System: Nuclear; Average energy life of 20 years.
Market Cost: The S-Mart Cicada normally costs 6.5 million credits with only the chin turret, all other weapons (And the ammo for the turret!) must be purchased separately.
1. 30 mm SM-233 Auto Cannon & Automatic Grenade Launcher Turret: This turret carries both a 20 mm cannon and a 40 mm Automatic Grenade Launcher in a side by side, stabilized mounting. Unlike many 20th century turret designs which were aimed through hand controls, this turret's aim is slaved to the gunner's head movements, and fired through vocal command, or a button on the control stick.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Anti-Armor.
Mega-Damage: 2D4x10+10MD for a 20 round burst of 30 mm cannon shells, and 3D6x10MD for a 10 round burst of 40 mm AP Grenades.
Rate of Fire: Equal to the gunner's hand to hand attacks.
Maximum Effective Range: 5,000' for each.
Payload: An ammo drum contained within the turret has room for 200 30 mm cannon shells, (Enough for 10 bursts.) and room for 50 40 mm Armor Piercing Grenades. (Enough for 5 bursts.)
2. Underbelly Hardpoints(2): There are two hard points under the belly that permit the mounting of any pod weapon/pylon mounted weapon that takes only ONE pod space. Typically these are Red Knight A.A.M.s one facing forward, and the other facing rearwards, but could be 30 mm gun pods positioned forward. See S-Mart's Pod Weapons for options available.
3. Weapon Winglet Hardpoints(4): The Cicada is equipped with a pair of winglets specifically intended for slinging ordinance under them. Each winglet has two hard points under it, each with up to 2 pod spaces of weapons storage. Meaning, that a maximum of EIGHT pod spaces of weapons may be stowed under the winglets. See S-Mart's Pod Weapons for options available.
Wa-Daisho General Ops Load Out
2 - Short Range Missile Pods. (Winglet)
2 - Medium Range Missile Pods. (Winglet)
2 - SM-333 30 mm Gun Pods. (Underbelly)
Imperial Kyatashiro Navy General Ops Load Out
2 - Depth Charge Racks. (Winglet)
2 - Short Range Missile Pods. (Winglet)
2 - Red Knight A.A.M.s. (Underbelly)
4. Systems of Note: The Cicada is outfitted with a number of systems to improve survivability and mission performance. These are those systems;
1. Military Radio & Scrambler: 500 mile range.
2. Radar & Target ID: 50 mile range. Is capable of look-down up to 5 miles out, and is programmed with most aircraft (from before and after the RIFTS on RIFTS Earth, as well as most common types of star fighters found in the Three Galaxies. Additionally, it is programmed to recognize 6,200 different species of flying monsters/D-Bees. Can track up to 36 targets simultaneously, but may only engage one target at a time. (Can fire only ONE weapon system at a time - or both turret mounted weapons at once.)
3. Targeting/Combat Computer: This targeting computer assists the pilot in targeting, by providing him with a heads up display that includes all pertinent information. It provides a bonus of +1 to strike with all weapons installed.
4. Inertial Navigation Computer: This system uses the gravitational forces of the earth, to plot out where exactly the aircraft is. This system, can effectively pinpoint the location of the aircraft down to the nearest hundred yards, to the pilot. Adds a +20% to Navigational skills.
5. Laser Detector: A handy system that sounds an alarm as soon as any laser targeting system even crosses over the aircraft.
6. Radar Detector: This system notifies the pilot when the aircraft has been sighted on radar.
7. Infrared Optics: This system allows the pilot to pull a monacle over his or her eye and see in perfect darkness. The range is limited to about five miles, and is slaved to the gunner's head movements.
8. Chaff & Flare Dispenser: This dual system is designed to negate the effectiveness of missiles, thereby improving the aircraft's survivability. If the incoming missile is Radar Guided, the Chaff has an 80% chance of throwing it off course, if it is Optical or Heat guided, the flare has a 90% chance of knocking it off course.
9. Auto Pilot: This allows the aircraft to lock in on a specific course and setting, and to fly itself from point A to point B. It can be programmed for set course changes and to perform certain maneuvers on it's own as well, but this must be programmed into the navigation computer. An aircraft can virtually fly itself then, change directions on it's own a handful of times, and do everything but take off, fight, and land.
10. Ejection Seats: Both pilot and gunner have ejection seats and chutes for use in emergency situations.
The image above is reprinted, with permission, from R. Talsorian Games Inc. Cyberpunk 2020®'s Sourcebook Maximum Metal. In the sourcebook it is seen as the AV-8 Assault Aerodyne. All rights remain reserved by R. Talsorian Games Inc., and SirTenzan's RIFTS Gallery acknowledges and respects these rights. This image is reprinted as a means of creating a wonderful new vehicle for RIFTS, using the spectacular artistry of R. Talsorian Games Inc. illustrators.