Metalworks Incorporated F-600 Sparrowhawk Ultra-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.

The owner of Metalworks was at the REEF florida base when he saw an aircraft that immediately caught his interesting. This was the turbo fan jet that was being sold to citizens as well as being used for a trainer. He thought that the aircraft would make an excellent aircraft to deal with a sky cycle and for general purposes as well. He asked and got permission to develop an advanced version. He also purchased several examples of the turbo fan jet. He then set up a team to develop the new aircraft and after a few months of work, the prototype for the F-600 Sparrowhawk was rolled out and began testing. During one of the first few flight tests, the aircraft ran against two of the new Coalition sky cycles that were investigating the area outside of the Metalworks factories and they seem to have flown low enough not to have been picked up on radar. Luckily, Metalworks normally has their aircraft carry ordnance on their prototypes for testing because the Coalition sky cycles engaged the Sparrowhawk. They soon found that they were outmatched and one was shot down by a combination of pilot skill and fighter speed and maneuverability. The other sky cycle attempted to run was intercepted by other units. After this, the Sparrowhawk quickly passed all of its other tests and has just recently entered production. Already several parties, including the mercenary company 'Larson's Brigade', have placed small orders for the Sparrowhawk. The only problem is that some purchasers consider the aircraft to essentially be a smaller version of the Tigerhawk which at least in some ways seems to be true.

The design for the Sparrowhawk breaks no new ground but is still an excellent aircraft. In appearance, the Sparrowhawk looks virtually identical to the turbo fan jet of RDF times and looks much like the aircraft flown by Rick Hunter. The only noticeable changes are that on the sides of the intake are two variable position nozzles for VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) operation and each thruster is slightly wider and mounted on a mount that allows for the vectoring of the thrust. Like the F-500 Tigerhawk, the Sparrowhawk is designed to be inexpensive. Because of this, the aircraft is designed with relatively simple electronics that are similar to those carried in most robot vehicles. This aircraft is expected to normally engage at short ranges and so long range radar was not seen as needed. Maneuverability was not sacrificed and the design uses advanced fly by wire controls. The flight computer also has terrain following features to allow for nap of the Earth flying. The fuselage of the aircraft is constructed so it can be taken apart within and be packed for transport within an hour. This is a great aid to maintenance and all repair take about half the time that would be expected.

The weapon systems were kept as simple as possible. The main guns of the aircraft are two laser cannons that are modified JA-12 Laser rifles without the grenade launcher. These mounts are identical to those carried on the Tigerhawk. On the Nuke versions of the fighter, the guns pull power directly from the fighters fusion reactor and in Fuel Cell version of the fighter it has a fuel cell linked to the gun itself. The Sparrowhawk has a much reduced number of hard points when compared to the Tigerhawk with a total of four hard points with two on each wing. One is out 1/3 of the length of the wing and the other is on the tips of the wings. The wingtip hard points are limited to one medium range missile each, two short missiles each, or a mini-missile pod each. The inner hard points can carry ECM systems, rail gun pods, mini missile packs, missile, and/or bombs. On fuel cell versions of this aircraft, extra fuel tanks can also be carried on inner hard points.

The engines and thrusters are of a relatively simple thruster but still are quite powerful and the Sparrowhawk is much faster than the sky cycles it was designed to fight. The VTOL thrusters allow for vertical take off and landings as well as making it more capable in urban combat environments. The low complexity of the thrusters allows for the easy maintenance and repair.

The power systems of this aircraft are also very similar to the F-500 Tigerhawk and are likely the most unusual feature of the aircraft. The power system of the nuclear version is a relatively small fusion reactor similar to that on many medium power armors. While the fusion reactor takes up less space than the fuel cells do, the fusion reactor has virtually 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 800 nautical miles and the fighter can carry fuel tanks on its external hard points which each extends the range by 600 nautical miles. The fighter also has a fuel cell to provide power to the twin laser cannons. The fuel cell to the laser guns is relatively small but has a good payload.

Designation: F-600 Sparrowhawk
Vehicle Type: Single Engine Fighter and Attack Craft
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Wings (2):80 each
[2] Rudder:50
[3] Fan Jet Engine:140 each
[3] Turbojet Thrusters (6):10 each
[3] VTOL Thruster60
[4] Main Body:210
Landing Gear (3):20 each

[1] Destroying a Wing will cause the plane to crash
[2] Destruction of the fighter's rudder 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.
[3] Destruction of the fighters fan jet engine will leave the fighter relying on the turbojet thrusters and the VTOL thrusters which burns fuel very quickly and will be limited to a top speed of 400 mph (644 kph). Destruction of VTOL thruster reduces afterburner speed by 100 mph (161 kph) for each one destroyed. Each turbo thruster is -3 to strike. Destruction of VTOL thruster will prevent hovering. Destruction of all of the fighters engines will cause the aircraft to crash.
[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 conventional take off or landing.
Flying: The Sparrowhawk can hover and can go up to a maximum speed of 650 mph (1,046.1 kph / 564.8 knots) without engaging the turbojet thrusters. Using the aircrafts turbojet thrusters, the Sparrowhawk has a maximum speed of Mach 1.5 (1,112.2 mph / 1,789.9 kph / 966.5 knots). Fighters with fuel cells have to be careful with fuel consumption and fighter with fusion reactors will reduce reactors life span as well if operated at full thrust constantly). The fighters normal cruise is about 300 mph (482.8 kph / 260.7 knots) but varies on the situation. The fighter has a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet (12,192 meters)
Maximum Effective Range: Fusion Reactor: Effectively Unlimited. Thrusters overheat after twenty hours of use below 300 mph (482.8 kph), 10 hours of use from 300 mph (482.8 kph) to 650 mph (1,046.1 kph), and 4 hours of use over 650 mph (1,046.1 kph). Fuel Cell Version: 800 nautical miles (920.6 miles/1,481.6 km) with no external ordnance load. The Fuel cell version can carry up to two external fuel tanks style ( inner wing hard points) that extend range by 600 nautical miles (690.5 miles/1,111.2 km) each. Reduce aircrafts range by 15% if partially loaded (Over 2 medium range missile, 4 short range missiles, or two 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 theoretically a problem with multiple refuelings in the air.

Statistical Data:
Length: 20.6 feet (6.3 meters)
Wingspan: 22 feet (6.7 meters)
Height: 7.9 feet (2.4 meters)
Weight: 3.5 tons (3.2 metric tons) empty, 5 tons (4.5 metric tons) light combat load, and 6.5 tons (5.9 metric tons) 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), does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: Nuclear Reactor: 3.5 million credits. Fuel Cell Version: 1.4 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. Laser Cannons (2): 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. Hard Points (4): The F-600 has four 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.
    Inner Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel Tanks, ECM Pod, Rocket packs, Rail Gun Pods, or Missiles/Bombs (1 Long Range Missile /Heavy, 2 Medium Range/Medium, or 4 Short Range/Light).
    Wing Tip Hard Points (2): Rocket packs or Missiles (1 medium range missile or 2 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.) 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) mini-missiles 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 16 mini-missile.
    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
      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.
      Maximum Effective 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: 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:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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