|Wing Commander craft|
|F-44 Rapier Attack Fighter|
|Type||Light or Medium starfighter|
|Weight||13.5-15 metric tonnes|
|Weapons|| 2 Mk. 28 Laser Cannons|
2 Mk. 40F Neutron Guns/Particle Cannons
2-4 Dart Dumbfire missiles
2-4 Pilum Friend or Foe Missiles
1-2 Spiculum Image Recognition missiles
2 Javelin Heat-seeking missiles
|Hull||6-9cm armor plating|
|Top Speed||450 kps|
The F-44 Rapier II Attack Fighter is a spacecraft found in Wing Commander I.
The F-44A Rapier II was an advanced medium starfighter developed by Origin Aerospace and was first introduced in the year 2654. The Rapier served under the Terran Confederation Navy from its service entry in 2654 onwards.
The Rapier II first debuted in Wing Commander I during Kurasawa campaign in 2654 after a brief test run in the Gimle system. 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. Its firepower includes twin laser cannons for long-distance fighting, twin neutron guns for close-in and an array of five missiles (two Dart Dumbfire, two Pilum Friend-or-Foe and one Spiculum Image Recognition missile).
In Wing Commander I, 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. After the test-runs, the YF-44 would be accepted into production as the F-44A Rapier II. In the game, the early appearance of the Rapier serves as a "teaser" for players, giving them an early opportunity to pilot the high-performance fighter. Test deemed the prototype performed magnificently. Later, the TCS Tiger's Claw would receive 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.
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.
In Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, the Rapier II is seen still in active service as the F-44G production model. The neutron guns have been replaced with longer-ranged particle cannon and the missile loadout is expanded to six (two Dart DF, two Pilum FF and two Spiculum IR). The Rapiers from the T.C.S. Concordia had distinctive lightning bolt tails on their wings.
Surplus Rapiers would serve with both the Free Republic of the Landreich and the Union of Border Worlds through the mid 2670s.
Wing Commander filmEdit
In the Wing Commander (film), the Rapier has a very different appearance from the game (the full-scale stage mock-up being constructed from the nose and cockpit sections of two English Electric Lightning jet fighters). This version of the Rapier is designated CF-117b and its primary weapon is a gigantic Gatling neutron gun on its nose, although the lasers were never fired during the movie.
- 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.