Metalworks Incorporated F-500 Tigerhawk Light Fighter:

Metalworks Incorporated is a company that is west of the city of Tolkeen that constructed various ground vehicles, robots, and aircraft. Most of their designs are copies of other companies or nations. They have permission from Triax to produce under licence several Triax designs and sell them in North America. Metalworks senior staff saw that there was no affordable jet fighter designs and set out to construct a more affordable jet fighter. The result was the F-500 Tigerhawk.

The F-500 Tigerhawk is a development from the Pre-Rifts fighter, the F-5E Tiger. The F-5 Tiger light fighter was a United States aircraft design that was built to be inexpensive yet still have good performance. The F-5E had very docile handling attributes. It is almost unspinnable, and exhibits little, if any, wing drop at the stall. By grouping the two J85 engines so closely together, Northrop had greatly reduced engine-out asymmetric effects. In physical appearance, the Tigerhawk looks identical in most ways to the Tiger and if they were placed side by side, only a small number of features wound separate the Tigerhawk from the Tiger. The biggest alterations in the Tigerhawk are that the fighter has two underside canards near the intakes of the fighter and two more underside canards near the rear of the aircraft. The two rear exhausts of the engines are vectored to allow for increased maneuverability as well.

Much less obvious are the internal changes. The avionics, while improved from the original F-5 fighter, are much simpler than those carried on most Post Rifts fighters to save costs. The fighter carries virtually an identical sensor system to robots constructed on Rifts Earth with the only addition being a terrain following feature. The aircraft flight controls have been replaced by a fly by wire system for better handling.

The weapon systems are also relatively simple. The main guns of the fighter are two laser cannons. They are the laser portion of the JA-12 Laser Rifle. On the Nuke versions of the fighter, the guns pull power directly from the fighters fusion reactor and in the fuel cell version of the fighter it has a fuel cell linked to the gun itself. The aircraft also has seven hard points: one on the fuselage and three hard points on each wing. One of the wing hard points is located on the tip of the wing. Hard Points can carry ECM systems, rail gun pods, mini missile packs, missile and bombs. The wingtip hard points are limited to towed decoys, one medium range missile each, or a mini-missile pod. On fuel cell versions of this aircraft, extra fuel tanks can also be carried on hard points.

The engines of the fighter are a relatively simple thruster designs but are surprisingly powerful. The engines do not produce the thrust possible with some of the more advanced engines but the fighter is still much faster than any sky cycles is. The low complexity of the thrusters allows for the easy maintenance and repair.

The power systems of this aircraft are the most unusual feature of the aircraft. The power system of the nuclear version is a relatively small fusion reactor. While the fusion reactor takes up less space than the fuel cells do, the fusion reactor has about the same weight as the fuel tanks carried on the fuel cell version. Like most systems on this fighter, the fusion reactor is relatively simple and does not have the duration of many of the more advanced fusion reactors.

The technology for the fuel cell design was purchased from Archangel Heavy Industries who got the designs of fuel cells from pre-rifts records. The fuel cells operate by pulling the electrons off of an H2 molecule, splitting it into 2H+ molecules and 2 electrons. The electrons pass through the "load" (engines, weapons, avionics, etc.) creating current and powering the systems. Meanwhile, the 2H+ molecules pass from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte. At the other "end," the electrons then recombine with the 2H+ molecules and Oxygen (from the air) and are released as water from the rear of the aircraft. Unlike many of the ground vehicles that use the fuel cell system, the main aircraft fuel tank is fixed. The main fuel tank can be refueled by midair refueling but the external fuel tanks cannot be refueled the same way. The fuel tank holds enough Hydrogen to allow the fighter to travel 1360 nautical miles and the fighter can carry fuel tanks on its external hard points which each extends the range by 400 nautical miles. The fighter also has a fuel cell to provide power to the twin laser cannons. The fuel cell for the laser guns is relatively small but still has a good payload.

Designation: F-500A Tigerhawk
Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Fighter and Attack Craft
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Wings (2):150 each
[2] Elevators (2):80 each
[2] Rudder:85 each
[3] Engines (2):180 each
[4] Main Body:320
Landing Gear (3):40 each

[1] Destroying a Wing will cause the plane to crash
[2] Destruction of the fighter's rudder or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines and vectoring thrusters 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

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. Because of the vectoring of the thrusters, the fighter can take off in a short distance.
Flying: The Tigerhawk can reach a top speed of Mach 1.75 (1,297.6 mph /2,088.2 kph) on full output (The fighter consumes energy and fuel at a rate of ten times greater than normal. Fighters with fuel cells have to be careful and the fighter with fusion reactors will reduce reactors life span as well if operated at full thrust constantly). Top speed is reduced by about 10% when fully loaded. The fighters normal cruise is about 600 mph (965.6 kph) but varies on the situation. Stall speed of the fighter is 100 mph (160.9 kph). The fighter has a maximum altitude of 55,000 feet (16,764 meters)
Range: Fusion Reactor: Effectively Unlimited. Thrusters overheat after twenty hours of use below 250 mph (402.3 kph), 10 hours of use from 250 mph (402.3 kph) to 650 mph (1,046.1 kph), and 4 hours of use over 650 mph (1,046.1 kph). Fuel Cell Version: 1,360 nautical miles (1,565.1 miles/2,518.7 km) with no external ordnance load. The Fuel cell version can carry up to three external fuel tanks style (on center and inner wing hard points) that extend range by 400 nautical miles (574.2 miles/924.1 km) each. Reduce aircrafts range by 15% if partially loaded (Over 4 medium range missile, 8 short range missiles, or four mini-missile pods.) and by 25% if fully loaded. The fighter can be refueled in the air but the external fuel tanks cannot be refueled in the air. With fuel cells, the aircraft has the same problems that the nuclear version aircraft does. The engine will overheat. While normally not a problem, it can be a problem with multiple refueling.

Statistical Data:
Length: 50 feet 7 inches (15.42 meters)
Wingspan: 28 feet (8.5 meters)
Height: 14 feet (4.3 meters)
Weight: 10,651.3 pounds (4,831.3 kg) empty, 14,685 pounds (6,661 kg) light combat load, and 27,143.6 pounds (12,312.1 kg) maximum takeoff load.
Power Source: Two versions. Nuclear with 5 year fusion reactor and Fuel cell version that uses Hydrogen as a fuel to produce electricity.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: Nuclear Reactor: 8.5 million credits. Fuel Cell Version: 3.2 million credits.
Mini-Missile launchers cost 200,000 credits each, Rail gun pods cost 95,000 credits each, and Jamming Pod costs 350,000 credits each

Weapon Systems:

  1. Two (2) Laser Cannons: Laser cannons are mounted on either side of the cockpit in the front of the fighter. The fighter's laser cannons are from the barrels and inner working of the JA-12 Assault Rifle. On the nuclear powered version, the laser cannons pull power directly from the fusion reactor of the fighter. On the fuel cell version, the laser cannons are powered by a fuel cell
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).
    Mega Damage: 4D6 for one cannon, 8D6 for both cannons, 1D6x10+10 for three round burst from one cannon, 2D6x10+20 for three round burst from both barrels (6 total shots)
    Rate of Fire:Equal to the pilots combined hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: Nuclear Reactor: Effectively Unlimited (Draws Power off the main engines). Fuel Cell Version: 600 shots. However, for damage purposes, consider a "magazine" to be 100 bursts of 6 shots. It takes approximately two minutes for a trained crew to change the hydrogen tank that powers the weapon, assuming that a spare tank is available. Untrained crews will take about six minutes to accomplish this task.
  2. Seven (7) Hard Points: The F-500 has seven hard points for ordnance and equipment. 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.
    Central Hard Point: Fuel tanks (Fuel Cell Version), ECM pod, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile / heavy bomb, two medium range missile / medium bomb, or four short range missile / light bomb).
    Inner Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks (Fuel Cell Version), ECM pod, towed decoy pod, rocket packs, rail gun pods, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile /heavy bomb, two medium range / medium bombs, or four short range missile / light bombs).
    Middle Wing Hard Points (2): ECM pod, towed decoy pod, rocket packs, rail gun pods, or missiles/bombs (one long range missile / heavy bombs, two medium range missiles / medium bombs, or four short range missiles / light bombs).
    Wing Tip Hard Points (2): Towed decoy pod, rocket packs or missiles (one medium range missile or two short range missiles).
    1. 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.
      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)
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The Aircraft normally carries missile pods for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      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.
    3. Rail Gun Pods: Copies of the NG-202 set up in a pod that is designed to be mounted on the hard points. The cannon is set up like the NG-202 on the Samson power armor with a greater rate of fire that the normal NG-202.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
      Mega Damage: 1D6x10 M.D.C. per burst of 60 rounds for one rail gun (Multiple rail guns can be combined for greater damage.)
      Rate of Fire: Equal to pilots hand to hand (usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: 3,000 rounds each gun, That is 50 Bursts for each rail gun.
    4. Active Jamming Pod: Pod takes place of all ordnance on the Hard Point. Causes -25% to detection but when it is active, other vehicles/ bases can detect that it is jamming, and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. Jamming also causes a -4 penalty to all radar guided weapons.
    5. Advanced Towed Decoys (4): 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. The decoy has a special jammer that is designed to decoy missiles that have been programmed to home on jamming signals. 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 80% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 50% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 25% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles. Against missiles homing on a jamming signal, jamming has an 40% chance of tricking missiles if both the aircraft and missile are jamming and an 80% chance if the jamming system on the aircraft is deactivated before the missile reaches is.
      Range: Not Applicable although 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
  3. Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter are two chaff dispensers. When tailed by a missile, a cloud of chaff and other obtrusive particles can be released to confuse or detonate the enemy's attack. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate on Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
    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: Eight (8)
Combat Bonuses:

[ Altarian TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Larsen's Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk's Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

Image drawn and copyrighted by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Artist has no home Page at present.

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1998, 2000, 2001, & 2011, Kitsune. All rights reserved.