New Sovietskiy Mi-223 Firebird Attack VTOL:

Excerpt from Fox's Combat Aircraft of the World, 2090 to 2091:

One of the most successful design ever to enter service was the Mi-23, otherwise known as the Hind. The attack helicopter was heavily armed while still able to carry troops. It was exported to countries around the world and refitted versions are still in service in some nations although it was taken from Soviet service in 2068. Initially, many of the old helicopters were refitted with high strength composite armors to enable them to survive the damage inflicted in a modern battlefield. The design was very robust and could actually carry more armor than the refitted Hokum helicopter and was preferred by many crews. Still, the design was getting old and the remaining helicopters were plagued with maintenance problems. Like other refitted designs, the Soviet Government made the claim that their refitted designs were just as good as the modern American and European designs. As such, new design were not developed.

It was not until the early Twenty-Sixties that the Soviet military was able to get authorization to develop VTOL attack aircraft designs to replace outdated helicopters. This was behind the Americans who already had their "Steel Tiger" Attack VTOL. The development criteria for the new attack aircraft was to develop an attack VTOL which could also carry troops. In other words, a thrust based VTOL which filled exactly the same role as the Hind. Mil, who had previously only designed helicopters, was in direct competition with Yakovlev, which had already developed several VTOL aircraft. Still, Mil was able to get the contract and the prototype rolled from the design hanger in 2065. It shared many of the same features with the smaller Mi-221 design. It was first seen by Western Analysts in 2067 and was code-named "Firebird" by them. The code-name was quite popular among the soviet crews and they adopted the name as well. Production concentrated on the Mi-223 over the Mi-221 due the Firebird being required in far larger numbers. Like the Mi-221, the Mi-223 Firebird has not been sold in large numbers outside the Soviet Union although India and Argentina, among other nations, have purchased a few.

While production has been cut back, the Mi-223 is still produced in the Soviet Union and there appears to be no plans to replace it in service. The Mi-223 fills the ground attack and troop assault role within the Soviet Army. Its heavy weaponry is capable of heavy damage against tanks and has limited ability of self defense against aircraft. In effect, it fills the roles of the original Mi-23 with that of the Su-25 ground attack aircraft. Most American and European analysts state that the design is less capable than Western designs but is still quite effective.

The main feature of the Firebird is heavy armor and is capable of withstanding incredible damage. It carries over twice the armor of the smaller Mi-221 and is considered by many crews to be as tough as a tank. In addition, the pilot compartment is heavily armored and is also designed to be crash survivable. As a final measure, the cockpit has ejector systems for all three crew-members. The twelve man troop compartment is lighter armored but still able to withstand heavy abuse. The troop compartment is designed with a rear door with a cargo hoist for underslung loads. The engines are fusion turbines but have a superior cooling system to the Mi-221 although speed is slightly less, around 500 knots compared to around 550 knots for the smaller attack aircraft. The Firebird has lift engines in each wing and two thrust engines in the main fuselage. Flight systems are designed to be rugged and the aircraft has a quadruple redundant fly by wire system which is protected by armored cable-ways. Electronics are mostly equal to those on other Soviet aircraft.

Like the smaller attack VTOL, the Firebird is armed with twin 20-mm rail guns in the nose. These are in a turret which is designed to be controlled by the gunner but can also be controlled by the pilot. Primary purpose is for ground strafing but can also be used to engage other aircraft. The turret has a 60 degree side to side rotation and can be moved up and down up to 45 degrees. The attack aircraft also has two side gunner positions on each side. Originally, light rail guns were carried but they have been replaced by pulse lasers in many models. The pulse lasers have a greater range and do not require ammo. On each wingtip, there are permanent large capacity mini-missile pods and the aircraft has an additional six wing hard points. These hard points can carry addition mini-missile pods, heavy missiles and bombs, or additional rail-guns. The Firebird is quite capable of dealing with infantry, armored bunkers, and heavy armor.

Model Number: Mi-223"Firebird"
Vehicle Type: Attack & Transport VTOL Aircraft
Crew: Seven: One pilot, one co-pilot, one communications/sensor officer, and four gunners.
Troop Payload: Twelve soldiers in full gear (Eight human sized Cyborgs / Four heavy Cyborgs)

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Forward Heavy 20-mm Rail Guns (2)25 each
Nose Ball Turret60
[1] Side Mounted 5 mm Rail-Gun (4, Early Models):25 each
[1] Side Mounted Pulse Laser Mount (4, Later Models):40 each
Wing Mini-Missile Launchers (2):50 each
Ordnance Hard Points (6):10 each
[2] Wings (2):250 each
[3] Elevators (2):80 each
[3] Rudders (1):80
[3] Lift Engines (2):180 each
[3] Thrust Engines (2):180 each
Rear Cargo Bay Doors:150
Side Doors (2):100 each
Reinforced Pilot's Compartment / Cockpit:225
[4] Main Body:725
Landing Gear (3):15 each

[1] All indicated hit locations are small and/or difficult targets to hit. An attacker must make a called shot and has a -3 penalty as well.
[2] Destroying a Wing will cause the plane to crash.
[3] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the aircraft to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but aircraft 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. The destruction of one of the lift engine will cause the aircraft to crash and destruction of both of the thrust engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Destruction of one of the thrust engines will reduce to speed by half.
[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.
Flying: The maximum speed of the aircraft is 581.5 mph (505 knots/ 935.9 kph) and has a maximum altitude of 32,808.4 feet (10,000 meters). The aircraft is Vertical Take Off and Landing which allows it to take off virtually anywhere and can hover. The Firebird cannot travel over 200 mph (321.9 kph) with an underslung cargo load.
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively Unlimited. Thrusters overheat after 12 hours of use from 200 mph (321.9 kph) to 500 mph (804.6 kph), and 8 hours of use over 500 mph (804.6 kph).

Statistical Data:
Height: 16.7 feet (5.1 meters).
Width: 64.0 feet (19.5 meters).
Length: 73.8 feet (22.5 meters)
Weight: 31.2 tons (28.3 metric tons) fully loaded.
Cargo: In place of troops, it can carry 6 tons in cargo hold or 4 tons slung underneath.
Power Source: Nuclear, Should have an average life span of 8 years.
Black Market Cost: Not available. Models were scatted around the Soviet Union and were deployed forward. Most are operated by the New Sovietskiy but a few are operated by the Warlords and Mercenaries. When available, such aircrafts sell for 25 to 40 million credits on the open market.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Standard Heavy 20-mm Rail Guns (2): Two huge cannon-like guns protrude from the front of the aircraft and are in a ball type turret which can rotate 60 degrees side to side and have a 45 degree up and down movement. Rail guns are normally controlled by the gunner but the pilot also has emergency controls. Rail gun fires standard 20 mm rail gun rounds at a very high speed and is very effective against both other aircraft and ground targets including heavy armor.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6,560 feet (2,000 meters / 2 kilometers).
    Mega Damage: 1D4x10 for a half-burst of 10 rounds, 2D4x10 for a full burst of 20 rounds or for both cannons firing linked 10 round bursts, and 4D4x10 for a full burst from both cannons firing linked.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 5 or 6).
    Payload: 250 rounds (25 half-bursts/12 full bursts) per gun, 500 rounds total.
  2. Side Mounted Weapon Mounts (4): On each side of the attack aircraft are two light weapons in ball type turrets. Each one is controlled by a separate gunner. In some cases, additional gunners are replaced by troops who control the mounts. The weapon is designed for use against troops assaulting the aircraft and against low level aircraft. Originally the weapon carried was 5-mm light rail gun but was later replaced by a pulse laser.
    1. 5 millimeter GSR-05 Medium Rail-gun: Finally developed as a replacement for the medium machine-gun for previous tank design and was mounted on original versions of the BMP-8 Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Many crews would have preferred a heavier rail gun.
      Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (609.6 meters)
      Mega Damage: One round does 1D4 M.D.C. to M.D.C. targets or 6D6x10 S.D.C. to soft targets. Twenty round bursts do 4D6 M.D.C.; Forty round full bursts do 1D4x10
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner.
      Payload: Carries 3,000 rounds total (150 full bursts or 75 half-bursts)
    2. Pulse Laser Mount: Replaces the medium rail-gun in later models and many older models replace the rail gun as well when refitted. The Laser fires four shot bursts and is capable of destroying missiles and inflicting serious damage on aircraft. The weapon is also useful against armor and infantry. Laser is similar to the S-500 Cyclone Pulse Laser Rifle with extended range.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
      Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 MD for four shot burst.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner.
      Payload: Effectively unlimited.
  3. Mini-Missile Launchers (2): Large capacity mini-missile pods are permanently mounted on the outside edge of each wing. The launchers are normally used for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missiles 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 launcher can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), sixteen (16), or twenty-four (24) missiles and both launchers can be linked with the other mini missile launcher for up to 48 missiles as one volley (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley).
    Payload: Each launcher carries 24 mini-missiles for a total of 48 mini-missiles.
  4. External Hard Points (6): The Mi-223 has a total of six hard points with three hard points under each wing of the aircraft. The hard points can carry two long range missiles each with the ability to carry missile pods and additional rail guns as well. Missiles are most commonly carried when air attack is expected and most gunners prefer mini-missile pods over additional rail guns. Each hard points must carry the same type of missile but different hard points may carry different ordnance types but ordnance is normally carried in symmetrical pairs. Both unguided and guided bombs can be carried by the aircraft.
    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: range missiles or light bombs (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 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) 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-missiles.
    3. Standard 20 mm Rail gun (1): Carried on hard point in place of other ordinance. Used on all Soviet Frontal Aviation models of the Ka-50 and Ka-52 and on 60% of export versions.) These were the standard Soviet Air to Air weapons mounted on virtually all fighters and attack Helicopters and with a secondary use for ground strafing and tank-busting. Several rail guns can be combined for additional damage and can be combined with the nose mounted rail guns.
      Maximum Effective Range: 6,560 feet (2,000 meters / 2 kilometers).
      Mega Damage: 1D4x10 for a half-burst of 10 rounds, 2D4x10 for a full burst of 20 rounds (Can be combined with nose rail guns and additional hard point mounted rail guns.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 5 or 6).
      Payload: 500 rounds (50 half-bursts/25 full bursts) per gun.
  5. Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser (1): 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.)
      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: 20 chaff, 40 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.

Special Equipment:
The fighter has all the standard features of a standard fighter (same as standard robot minus loudspeaker and microphone) plus these special features listed below.:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2002, Kitsune. All rights reserved.