S-Mart Vulture

Vulture in the service of the Allied Naval Fleet.
Vulture in the service of the NOMAD Air Force.

      The S-Mart Vulture's history began soon after the first production run of the S-Mart Cicada ended in mid 114PA. Although the Cicada was an excellent ground attack aircraft, it was slow, had little room for pod weapons, and was difficult to handle in complicated maneuvers. Thus a new design based on the Cicada was begun.

      At first, the Vulture was planned to be a more powerful Cicada with longer wings. The prototype, built at the end of the first Cicada production run, was tested for a short period of time. After a series of test failures during ground testing, the project was nearly cancelled completely. Fortunately it simply went back to the drawing board. Six months further would pass before the Cicada emerged from the drawing board "cocoon", as the Vulture. By the end of the design phase, the Vulture no longer resembled a long winged cousin to the Cicada. The body was lengthened, the vestigial tail was blown up into actual control surfaces, it was given a wide inverted gull wing, and the turbines were moved out to the wings with a rotating assembly similarly to a tilt rotor plane. Essentially from the Cicada - the design had evolved into an all new type entirely.

      This versions differences were many as mentioned. The new design was superior in many ways - largely due to the addition of a main wing. It could glide when engine problems would arrise, as where a Cicada and most other aerodynes drop like a stone when they suffer turbine failure. It could carry more weight than a Cicada, due to both increased thruster power and it's ability to take off in a Short Take Off rather than just in verticle take off. It could fly faster due to the wing reducing the stress on the turbines, so that they did not have to hold the full weight of the aircraft in the air at all times, not to mention making maneuvers far easier for a pilot to conduct. PLUS it has more wing surfaces to mount pod weapons. Among it's other design features was also an internal weapons bay, boosting the Vulture's ordinance capacity to two and a half times as much as a Cicada, and a slight increase in armor strength. The only sacrifice made by the design was the omition of the heavy armaments in the nose turret.

      The type was quickly accepted and entered production in late 115PA and quickly began displacing the S-Mart Cicada from it's role of ground attack aerodyne in Desert Star. Following that S-Mart began filling orders from the Allied Naval Fleet for the type to serve aboard the Dalmir Class and Kyoto Class Carriers in their service. Altogether 168 Vultures were produced between September of 115PA and March of 117PA. There are no plans at present to resume production of the type, unless sufficient numbers were to be lost as to require replacement.


Model Type: Vulture-A.
Class: Assault Aerodyne.
Crew: 2; Pilot & Gunner.
M.D.C. by Location:
    *Chin Turret-75.
    *Tail Fins(2)-120 each.
    Wings(2)-250 each.
    Reinforced Pilot's Compartment-120.
    **Turbines(2)-250 each.
    ***Main Body-310.

* These targets are small, and difficult to hit, and may only be done so at a penalty of -4 to strike.
** Destroying one of the turbines means have lost half of their means of propulsion. The aircraft has lost a great deal of it's maneuvering capabilities! Handling the aircraft is fairly difficult, as proper trim must be applied, and the other turbine must work harder to keep the aircraft flying with the correct attitude. All taken into consideration, all maneuvers will be conducted at a -20% when missing one engine.
*** 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. Landing the stricken aircraft in this state is even more difficult than in a normal aircraft, a crash landing in the Vulture must be made at -50%.

Performance:
Maximum Speed: 540 mph.
Maximum Altitude: 25,000'.
Maximum Endurance: The Vulture's thrusters are extremely reliable and almost completely free of maintenance problems, thus the Vulture can remain aloft for up to 30 hours before requiring a cooling period of at least 15 minutes.

Statistical Data:
Height: 11'.
Width: 24' 6".
Length: 38'.
Weight: 9.6 tons.
Maximum Ordinance Capacity: 4,750 Lb.
Power System: Nuclear, average energy life of 20 years.
Market Cost: The S-Mart Vulture is presently only available to the N.O.M.A.D. Military and to the Allied Naval Fleet. Each Vulture is sold to the Allied Naval Fleet at a cost of 10.6 million credits. This cost does not include any weaponry aside from the pulse laser turret, the empty pylons, and the internal weapons bay.

Weapon Systems

1. HPL-7C Pulse Laser Turret: This turret contains a pair of heavy pulse lasers derived from the HPL-7A & HPL-7B carried by some N.O.M.A.D. Military ground personnel. It is primarily used in strafing assaults, or in a defensive role. 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: Defense.
Mega-Damage: 4D4x10 M.D. for a 3 round pulse from both pulse lasers.
Rate of Fire: Equal to the gunner's hand to hand attacks.
Maximum Effective Range: 2,000'.
Payload: Effectively unlimited, thanks to the nuclear power supply.

2. Internal Weapons Bay: Under the belly of the Vulture is a large weapons bay for the deployment of a variety of ordinance. Within this bay it can carry a variety of missiles and bombs, equaling 10 pod spaces of weaponry. For the outfitting of the weapons carried, please See S-Mart's Pod Weapons for the options that are available.

3. Wing Pylons(6): The Vulture is outfitted with a series of six wing pylons, one above, and two below each wing. The two on top of the wings can only carry single pylon weapons such as a Red Knight AAM or a 30 mm SM-333 Cannon Pod. Those underneath the wings can handle two pod spaces of weapons each. This totals out to 10 pod spaces of weapons available on the wings. See S-Mart's Pod Weapons for options available.

    N.O.M.A.D. General Ops Load Out

    2 - Short Range Missile Pods. (Under Wings.)
    2 - Medium Range Missile Pods. (Under Wings.)
    2 - Red Knight AAMs. (Above Wings.)
    4 - Spectre HATGMs. (Internal Weapons Bay.)
    2 - 500 Lbs Bombs. (Internal Weapons Bay.)
    1 - 100 Lbs Bomb Rack (9 Bombs.). (Internal Weapons Bay.)

    Allied Naval Fleet General Ops Load Out

    2 - Short Range Missile/Torpedo Pods. (Under Wings.)
    1 - Medium Range Missile/Torpedo Pod. (Under Wing.)
    1 - Sonar Pod. (Under Wing.)
    2 - Red Knight AAMs. (Above Wings.)
    2 - Long Range Torpedoes. (Internal Weapons Bay.)
    2 - 500 Lbs Bombs. (Internal Weapons Bay.)
    1 - 100 Lbs Bomb Rack (9 Bombs.). (Internal Weapons Bay.)

4. Systems of Note: The Vulture is outfitted with a number of systems to improve survivability and mission performance, with almost identical details to the Cicada with a handful of differences. All of the systems carried are;
    1. Military Radio & Scrambler: The radio system on board allows for a maximum broadcast range of 50 miles, but by readjusting the radio transmitter, can achieve a fairly consistent directional range of 500 miles. The scrambler attached to this radio is of the conventional variety intended to encrypt and unscramble messages, using known communications codes.
    2. Laser Communicator: This system allows the Locust crew to communicate with any similarly equipped Vulture at up to 5 miles distance, without risking their transmissions interception.
    3. 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 50 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.)
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Laser Detector: A handy system that sounds an alarm as soon as any laser targeting system even crosses over the aircraft.
    7. Radar Detector: This system notifies the pilot when the aircraft has been sighted on radar.
    8. Infrared Optics: This system allows the pilot or gunner 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Ejection Seats: Both pilot and gunner have ejection seats and chutes for use in emergency situations.
    12. Electronics Counter Measures Systems: This system garbles/interferes with any communications transmissions with a 65% efficiency rate. Furthermore, this system can, and does interfere with enemy radar, and all types of missile tracking systems up to 5 miles away.
    13. Electronics Counter Couter Measures System: Extensive Efforts have been taken to "harden" the radar and communications systems against ECM. That does not make it impervious to it's effects, but does reduce it's efficiency, meaning that 80% of the time when ECM would work it doesn't! (ie first roll on the ECM %, if that is successful, then roll on the ECCM's %.)



      The picture used above was inspired by the description of the Militech AVX-9C Viper from page 42 of R. Talsorian Games Inc. Cyberpunk 2020's Sourcebook Maximum Metal. This image was by no means created in an effort to steal the credit for such an impressively styled aircraft from the authors of R. Talsorian Games Inc., but was included here in an effort to emulate a well designed vehicle in the RIFTS role playing game.




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