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F-44 Rapier II

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Rapier Attack Fighter
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Production
Manufacturer Origin Aerospace
Type Medium Fighter[1]
Class Rapier
Model F-44
Specifications
Length 24 meters[1]
Mass 13.5 metric tonnes[1]
Weapons Mk. 25 Laser Cannons (2), Mk. 40F Neutron Guns (2),[2][1] Dart DF missiles (2),[1] Pilum FF missiles (2),[1] Spiculum IR missile,[1]
Shield 7/7cm[1]
Hull 5/3/4cm[1]
Speed 250/450 kps[1]
Yaw/Pitch/Roll 10/10/10dps[1]
Crew 1 pilot
Usage
Affiliation Terran Confederation
Appearances

The F-44 Rapier II Attack Fighter is an advanced medium starfighter of the Terran Confederation. It was developed by Origin Aerospace and was first introduced in the year 2654. The Rapier served under the Terran Confederation Navy onwards replacing the earlier CF-117 Rapier models.[3]

HistoryEdit

The YF-44 Rapier is the prototype model which is field-tested in 2654, with its final field test being an examination deployment from the TCS Tiger's Claw in 2654 in the Gimle System[4] by Angel and Spirit.[5] After the test-runs, the YF-44 would be accepted into production as the F-44A Rapier II. Test deemed the prototype performed magnificently.

Colonel Peter Halcyon soon created Black Lion, the first squadron of Rapiers on active duty.[6]

The Rapier II also saw action in the Vega Campaign in the Kurasawa system.

The Claw received the first set of production Rapiers, dubbed F-44A. In time, the Rapier became one of the finest starfighters ever fielded by Confed, and it distinguished itself in many battles and campaigns. For example, Christopher Blair and Lt. Ian St. John destroyed the Kilrathi Starbase in the Venice System while flying Rapiers, thereby winning the Vega Sector for Confed.[7]Kilrathi pilots operated Rapiers which were captured with the TCS Gwenhyvar and used them against the Confed.[8] Rapiers also saw much action during Operation: Thor's Hammer.[9][10]

During its first 15-years of active duty service, the Rapier would go through a significant redesign of its frame, reducing the overall size and mass of the fighter. There would be many variants of the fighter, with the F-44H Rapier II model being the last production model used by the Terran Confederation Navy. These newer production models were considered Medium Attack Fighters rather than the first models, which were regarded as Light Fighters.

The Rapier II is seen still in active service as the F-44G Rapier II production model.

Surplus Rapiers would serve with both the Free Republic of the Landreich and the Union of Border Worlds through the mid 2670s.

SpecificationsEdit

The Rapier II has a high maximum speed of 450 kilometers per second (even faster than the speedy, light Hornet), afterburners up to 1,250 km/s, and rapid maneuverability.

While developing the Rapier, aerospace engineers tried to correct the flaw seen on Hornets, Scimitars, and Raptors, whose arrangement of thrusters produce an unusual flight characteristic: up-down movements cannot be completed in as tight a radius as left-right movements, obliging pilots to resolve to roll-and-turn maneuvers.[11] Rapiers thus have a balanced yaw and pitch radius, obsoleting the need for such maneuvers.

Its main engines ran on nuclear cells, so there was no danger of being stranded in space when the fuel was depleted.[12]

It has very strong shields, but relatively weak armor.[4]

The blueprints inside the Wing Commander I box don't indicate the presence of a cooling system or a shield generator on the Rapier, unlike in other fighter schematics. It is not known if they were ommissions or if the Rapier utilised alternative systems.

Although initially tagged a "light fighter", its firepower was better than the dated Scimitar's. It includes twin laser cannons for long-distance fighting, twin neutron guns for close-in[13] giving the option of full guns which however would use blaster power at an alarming rate, as the price for added power. Full guns were advised only against an isolated single target or capital ships.[11] It also has an array of five missiles (two Dart Dumbfire, two Pilum Friend-or-Foe and one Spiculum Image Recognition missile).

GalleryEdit

TriviaEdit

  • The real-life XF-108 Rapier was a prototype Mach 3 interceptor/escort fighter developed by the North American Aircraft Company to escort its supersonic XB-70 Valkyrie long-range bomber. It was designed in the late 1950s and discarded without even a maiden flight when the XB-70 was cancelled.
  • The Rapier bears a strong resemblance to the fictional military aircraft MiG-31 Firefox from the novel and movie Firefox.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Claw Marks (Wing Commander I box package), Friend or Foe
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named blue
  3. Star*Soldier, pg7
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wing Commander I, Gimle series (Mission 2)
  5. The Memoirs of Lieutenant Colonel T. LaFong
  6. Wing Commander I, Gimle series (Mission 3)
  7. Wing Commander I, Venice series
  8. Wing Commander I, Jotunheim series (Mission 3)
  9. Wing Commander I, Valgard series
  10. Wing Commander I, Vigrid series
  11. 11.0 11.1 Mike Harrison, Wing Commander I and II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide, The Academy Years
  12. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 3
  13. Wing Commander I, Gimle series (Mission 2)

External linksEdit

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