Golden Age Weaponsmiths F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (Block Three):


With delays in production for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, it was decided for the United States Navy to purchase more F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters. Various improvements were made to the design however. This was that the fighter had twenty percent more powerful engines, conformal fuel tanks above the fuselage, and an under fuselage missile pod. With this pod, the fighter has a low radar cross signature although cannot really be considered a true stealth fighter. Various other small modifications were made to the fighter at the same time. These new design features were based on the Boeing "International Roadmap" design. There is also a "Growler" version of the Super Hornet Block Three developed.


These served until the introduction of high strength alloys and composites made all designs obsolete virtually overnight. It was designed to retire the aircraft instead of recondition them even though they were fairly new. Still, they were carefully mothballed due to the potential of reactivating the fighters at a later time. They were never reactivated and almost forgotten about. Golden Age Weaponsmiths found the old fighters in this condition. They decided to recondition these fighters in a similar manner to the previous F/A-18 Hornet and other fighters which they had restored.


The Coalition, having already purchased a number of F-14 Tomcats and older F/A-18 Hornet fighters was not interested in more Super Hornet fighters. As well, they had turned towards producing their own fighters for their own air force. Still, the improved Super Hornets have found a ready market among customers who could not afford new fighters but wanted to have fighters of their own. Golden Age Weaponsmiths has been selling them for slightly more than the older models of the Super Hornet. Even though a carrier aircraft, none of the owners operate these fighters from carriers. It is easier to maintain than most previous designs as well.


Golden Age Weaponsmith engineers are considering copying an old aircraft design and starting manufacturing new aircraft based on it. The F/A-18E/F is one of those being considered and it likely that some of the upgrades to the "Block Three" are being considered as well. Other designs being considered is the F-16 Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft. The F-15E Strike Eagle design would be a good as well but has not sold as well.


These fighters were originally retired due to them simply unable to withstand the weaponry of the far more powerful weaponry post the revolution in new materials. Golden Age basically completely strips the fuselage and replaces it with new composites so that it can withstand this greater damage potential. As well, the fighter is reinforced in various areas. It was already surprisingly strongly built, designed to be able to be operated from carriers. Still, the fighter is far from being as tough as most more modern fighters.


The twin General Electric F414-EPE engines had to be reconditioned in most of the aircraft when the fighters were rebuilt. They were already designed with bio-fuels in mind so there was no problem with the more common fuels after the coming of the Rifts. With the two conformal fuel tanks, the range of the fighter is greatly extended over previous models while there is little reduction in combat capabilities. The engines are also slightly more fuel efficient. Electronic systems are retained with no major upgrading of systems. In some cases, these systems had to be rebuilt using newer components. Even though there is no great increase in capability, the systems are reasonably effective with the radar system being an actively scanned array.


The 20 mm Vulcan is retained from the older Super Hornet models although it is a slightly lighter model. A total of five hundred and seventy-two rounds are carried. To make the gun effective, the standard ammunition is replaced by special ramjet ammunition manufactured by Wellington Industries. While the weapon does not have the sustained fire of a standard rail gun, using these advanced rounds, it inflicts similar damage. Otherwise, other than reconditioning the weapon systems, the guns are unmodified.


To keep a low radar cross signature, the fighter is designed to carry a centerline missile pod. Originally designed for the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, it is modified to be able to be able to carry almost any standard medium range missiles. Otherwise, the fighter retains the standard eleven hard points. When trying to attack in a "stealthy" mode, no ordinance is carried on these except for the pod. In addition to the centerline hard point, there is a hard point on either side of the fuselage. There are three more under each of the wings and one on each wingtip. These hard points are modified to be able to carry most standard missile and bomb types.


While it can carry up to five fuel tanks, these are rarely carried except when being used when acting in the role of refueling other aircraft. In this role, the fighter carries enough fuel to completely refill a single F/A-18E/F from the tanks or partially refuel (basically top off) a number of other fighters.


Model Number: F/A-18E and F/A-18F (Block Three)
Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Strike Fighter
Crew: F/A-18E; One F/A-18F; Two


M.D.C. by Location:

Conformal Fuel Tanks (2, above fuselage):40 each
Fuselage Missile Pod (1, centerline)40
[1] Wings (2):80 each
[2] Elevators (2):50 each
[2] Rudders (2):50 each
Cockpit:100
[3] Engines (2):120 each
Landing Gear (3):5 each
[4] Main Body:150


Notes:
[1] Destroying a Wing will cause the plane to crash
[2] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the fighter has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls. Destruction of both of the elevators will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot must eject to survive.
[3] The destruction of one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 10% penalty to piloting. Destruction of both engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject.
[4] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless and causing it to crash if in flight.


Speed:
Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling and not on take off or landing. Has a tail hook for carrier landings and designed to be catapult launched.
Flying: The "Block Three" Super Hornet can reach a top speed of Mach 1.9 (1,223.4 knots /1,408.8 mph/ 2,267.2 kph) on full afterburner (the fighter can only last a few minutes at that speed and consumes most of the fuel.) Top speed is reduced by about 10% when fully loaded. The fighter's normal cruise speed is about 400 knots (460.6 mph / 741.3 kph) but varies on situation. The fighter has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 m)
Range: 1,326 nautical miles (1527 miles / 2,457.4 kilometers) with no external ordnance load on internal fuel only. Conformal fuel tanks increase range by 140 nautical miles (161.2 miles / 259.5 kilometers) each for 280 nautical miles (322.4 miles / 518.9 kilometers.) total for both. Can carry up to five external 480 gallon tanks in place of ordnance (Centerline and Wing hard points.) Each extends range by 130 nautical miles (149.7 miles / 240.9 kilometers.) Normally a maximum of three are carried unless in the refueling role. Reduce aircraft's range by 15% if partially loaded (two long range missiles, four medium range missile or eight short range missiles, or more - carry missile pod counts as partially loaded) and by 25% if fully loaded. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet can be refueled in the air.


Statistical Data:
Height: 16 feet (4.8 meters)
Wingspan: 44 feet 8 inches (13.5 meters)
Length: 60 feet 1 inch (18.1 meters)
Weight: 32,081 lb (14,552 kg) empty and 69,000 pounds (31,280 kilograms) fully loaded including conformal tanks.
Power System: Conventional, Two General Electric F414-EPE enhanced performance turbofan engines (16,800 lb dry thrust and 26,400 lbs thrust each on afterburner), uses aviation fuel
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: 4.25 million credits (Can sometimes sell for double that price.)


Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) M61A2 20 mm Vulcan Cannon: This is the original Pre-Rifts cannon mounted in the nose of the fighter. Lighter version of the cannon design carried on the original F/A-18 Hornet, the F-14 Tomcat, the F-15 Eagle, and the F-16 Falcon although otherwise extremely similar. They have replaced the standard ammo with mega damage, armor piercing ramjet ammunition produced by Wellington Industries which allows the aircraft to hold it own against other Rifts aircraft. The gun mount is controlled by the fighters pilot in both the single seat and two seat variants.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 for a burst of 30 round, 2D4 for each round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 570 rounds (19 bursts)
  2. Eleven (11) Hard Points: The Super Hornet has a total of eleven hard points to carry ordinance. The aircraft has one hard point on the wing tips, three on each of the wings, one hard point on either side of the fuselage, and one centerline. Below is a list of hard points and the loads that they can carry. Missiles, rocket packs, and bombs can be mixed or matched but all ordnance on a hard point must be the same type. The missile pod is only carried on the central hard point.
    Centerline Hard Point: Fuel tanks, missile pod, missiles/bombs (one long range /heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry missile pod, heavy bombs, or fuel tanks.
    Outer Fuselage Hard Points (2): Missiles only (one medium range missile or two short range missiles each.) Originally designed to carry the Sparrow and AMRAAM missiles.
    Inner Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks, towed decoy, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range/heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry fuel tanks, heavy bombs, JSOW`s, Harpoons, HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    Middle Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks, towed decoy, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range /heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry fuel tanks, heavy bombs, Harpoons, HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    Outer Wing Hard Points (2): Towed decoy, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one medium range/medium, or two short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    Wing Tip Hard Points (2): Towed decoy or missiles (one medium range missile or two short range missiles each.) Originally designed to carry the Sidewinder and AMRAAM missiles.
    1. Centerline Missile Pod: Special pod designed to be carried on the centerline of the fighter. It is designed to carry ordnance while keeping the fighter with a low radar cross signature. It is designed to carry either four medium range missiles or eight short range missiles. Usually medium range missiles are carried in the centerline pod. In two pilot versions, missiles are controlled by either the pilot or the weapons officer.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by short or m medium range missile type for missile (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by short or medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) but must be the same size (light or medium).
      Payload: Eight (8) short range missile or four (4) medium range missiles in pod
    2. Bombs and Missiles: The only restriction is that a hard point must carry all the same type of missiles or bombs. Both unguided and guided bombs can be carried. In two pilot versions, missiles are controlled by either the pilot or the weapons officer.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile and varies by altitude bombs are dropped at (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by missile or bomb type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired and bombs can be dropped one at a time per hard point. Multiple hard points can be linked as one attack but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley)
      Payload: Varies by hard point (see above - all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance).
    3. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The mini missile pods are normally carried for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles. In two pilot versions, mini missile pods are controlled by the pilot.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Each pod can fire one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16 - all.) and can be linked with other mini missile pods for greater number of missiles (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley)
      Payload: Each pod carries sixteen (16) mini-missiles.
    4. Towed Decoys (4): The pod takes place of all ordnance on the hard point. The aircraft can carry a special pod that carries four advanced towed decoy drones. These drones are dragged about 328 feet (100 meters) behind the aircraft on a thin cable. Each is a specially designed radar lure that creates a radar image to mimic the aircraft. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World weapons due to technological difference.
      M.D.C.: 5 each
      Effects: The decoy has an 65% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 35% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles.
      Range: Not Applicable although the decoy is deployed 328 feet (100 meters) from the aircraft
      Rate of Fire: One can be deployed at a time and requires 15 seconds to deploy (Reel Out) another decoy
      Payload: Four (4) decoys each pod.
  3. One (1) Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser: Use the same effects as the TRIAX model. However, each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
    Effect:
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 25 chaff, 50 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.


Special Equipment:
The equipment of the fighter has been upgraded but many of the original systems are still on the fighter. Consider the fighter to carry all standard equipment that robot vehicles carry (not including loudspeaker and microphone) plus the following extra systems:

Combat Bonuses:



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Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa) and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2011, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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