Confederation F-103A Excalibur Heavy Fighter (Wing Commander):

While Confederation fighters usually had technical superiority over Kilrathi designs, one advantage the Kilrathi always maintained a technological edge over the Confederation in the area of stealth technology. At first Confederation Intelligence was highly skeptical even of the existence of stealth fighters with the existence of cloaked fighters taking to prove even after the destruction of the TCS Tiger's Claw. Many capital ships and pilots have lost their lives under the guns of the now infamous Strakha stealth fighters, a ship which did not exist officially.


After the existence of the Strakha fighter, the Confederation tried to develop a cloaking device for their own fighters but had little success. It was until a Special Operations group was able to capture a fully functional Strakha stealth fighter that the Confederation was able to develop their own stealth fighter. The stealth system was adapted for the newly developed F-103 Excalibur heavy fighter and with the introduction of that fighter, the Confederation is finally able to close the stealth technology gap.


With the introduction of the Confederation's first true stealth fighter, the hope is that the Excalibur should prove itself able to effectively destroy any fighter in the Kilrathi fleet. Unlike the Strakha stealth fighter, which is rather underpowered, the Excalibur carries an advanced fusion power plant which produces far more power than the Kilrathi equivalent. The fighter's agility and acceleration rivals that of the Arrow light fighter. It has an excellent airframe for atmospheric operations like the Hellcat. Finally, like the old Morningstar heavy fighter, the Excalibur incorporates a jump drive while allows it to operate on cross system raids without needing the support of a capital ship.


The Excalibur mounts the most powerful direct fire energy weapon array of any fighter operated by the Confederation including the Thunderbolt Heavy Fighter. Four Tachyon cannons and two Reaper cannons are mounted in a forward firing array on the Excalibur along with a powerful fire control system. The Excalibur is capable of destroying even the heaviest Kilrathi fighters in just a few volleys. Instead of carrying missile on hard points, the Excalibur carries its ordnance in four internal bays. Its only weakness is that, unlike the Longbow heavy bomber, the Excalibur lacks a tail gunner position. Still, most fleet officials support the fighter as the lead heavy fighter in the Confederation forces with new levels of lethality.


The Excalibur has not entered full production and the first Excalibur fighters are currently undergoing testing. It is planned that the first squadrons of the fighter will enter service soon. Some government officials have attempted to block production of the fighter due to it being almost twice the cost of the Thunderbolt but the Navy leaders were able to win out for production of the new fighter. Their argument is that when the fighter enters full service, the Confederation Space Force will become virtually invincible. That is too be seen.


Notes of game conversion:
Because of the nature of the Video Game series "Wing Commander" and the needs to put the fighter into game mechanics, the fighter has several modification compared to the Video Game. The most important change it to change top speed to acceleration. Like fighters in Star Wars and original Battlestar Galactica, the fighters appear to act as if they are in the atmosphere even when they operating in space. This is incorrect. The Television series Babylon 5 and the new Battlestar Galactic are good series to watch to get a clearer idea on how space vehicles would probably maneuver although still not a perfect perspective. The fighter has been modified to uses my revised phase world starship rules and can hold their own against most C.A.F and Kreeghor fighters. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World for more details.


Model Type: F-103A Excalibur Heavy Fighter
Vehicle Type: Heavy Space Superiority Fighter / Stealth Fighter
Crew: One


M.D.C. By Location:

Tachyon Cannons (4):75 each
Reaper Cannons (2):60 each
Heavy Missile Bays (4):120 each
[1] Engines (2):200 each
Landing Struts (3):10 each
[2] Main Body:690
Reinforced Pilots Cockpit:225
[3] Variable Force Field:250 per side (1500 total)


Notes:
[1] Loss of an engine will reduce performance of fighter by one half and loss of two engines will prevent fighter from performing beyond 5% of normal (This is using maneuvering thrusters and gravitic propulsion). Due to gravitic propulsion systems, fighter will not crash in an atmosphere even if both engines are destroyed.
[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the fighter out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support and internal gravity. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck. In an atmosphere, the fighter will crash.
[3] Shields positions can be varied and all could be combined in one shield. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (75 M.D.C.) per melee.


Speed:
Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 40 percent of the speed of light. Fighter can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.9 percent of light per melee maximum. Fighter has auxiliary thrusters which can be used a maximum of 15 minutes before fuel is exhausted. On auxiliary thrusters, the fighter has a maximum acceleration of 1.7 percent of light per melee maximum.
Atmospheric Propulsion: The fighter is fairly aerodynamic and is quite capable in an atmosphere. As a result, the fighter can achieve escape velocity (Mach 32.6 / 25053 mph / 40320 kph) but normally operates at Mach 5.70 (4,225.3 mph / 6,800 kph) or less. The fighter also has Gravitic propulsion systems enabling it to leave an atmosphere even at low velocities.
Stardrive: The heavy fighter mounts a jump drive which is capable of jumping instantly from a fixed point in a system to another fixed point in a system. These points are weaknesses in the fabric of space and have been mapped in most cases. The jump drive has enough fuel for two jumps which is removed from auxiliary thruster fuel (costs six minutes of thruster fuel per jump) leaving three minutes of auxiliary thruster fuel with two jumps. Fuel is hydrogen and fighters can also carry buddy tanks.
Maximum Range: Effectively unlimited by internal fuel (10 year duration) although auxiliary thruster range is limited to approximately 15 minutes. Fighter uses a very small fusion cell system for power systems. The fighter carries three weeks of consumables for fighter's crew.


Statistical Data:
Length: 104.99 feet (32 meters)
Height: 32.81 feet (10 meters)
Width: 74.48 feet (22.7 meters)
Weight: 19.84 tons (18 metric tons) unloaded
Power System: Fusion power supply with a 10 year duration.
Cargo: Small Storage Space, 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft x 2 ft. Used for emergency equipment and weapons. Does not include internal bays. Ordnance bays can carry 3000 lbs (1362 kg) each.
Market Cost: 112.325 million credits.


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. Twin RCX-V1 Reaper Cannon: These cannons are mounted on the sides of the starfighter. Weapon system has good range and inflicts good damage. The weapon inflict about equal damage to most energy weapons carried on most C.A.F. Starfighters and have a much longer range than most fighter weapons in the Three Galaxies. Mason cannons can be combined with other guns for greater damage.
    Maximum Effective Range: 2,796.2 miles (4,500 km) in space and 14.0 miles (22.5 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 2D6x10 per cannon and 4D6x10 for both cannons (Combined with other weapons for 20D6x10+40)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Quad Tachyon Cannon: These cannons are mounted on the sides of the starfighter. Weapon system is incredibly powerful but are comparatively short ranged. The weapon inflict heavy damage compared to most energy weapons carried on most C.A.F. Starfighters and have a much longer range than most fighter weapons in the Three Galaxies. Plasma cannons can be combined with other guns for greater damage.
    Maximum Effective Range: 1,988 miles (3,200 km) in space and 9.94 miles (16 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 4D6x10+10 per cannon and 16D6x10+50 for both cannons. (Combined with other weapons for 20D6x10+40)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  3. Quad Missile Bays: Instead of mounting hard points, the fighter has four missile bays. Ordnance bay may carry a mix of different missiles with a pair of medium range missiles taking the place each long range missile. Other types of ordnance such as missile pods may be carried as well in the internal bays in the medium fighter. Mini-Missiles can be carried at the rate of eight mini-missiles for each long range missile..Long Range Missiles have a top speed of Mach 20 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 8% of light per turn (faster than any starship). Medium Range Missiles have a top speed of Mach 15 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 6% of light per turn. Mini-Missiles have a top speed of Mach 10 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 2% of light per turn (slightly faster than any starship except if it is exceeding it maximum safe acceleration). Mini-Missile are normally self guided unlike standard Rifts mini-missiles. When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless set to self destruct but has very low odds of hitting starships (Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile when dead at -25% to detect.) Missiles can be launched on multiple targets simultaneously and all missiles are normally considered smart missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: Long Range Missiles range is 3,400 miles (5470 km) in an atmosphere and 1,800,000 miles (2,897,000 km/9.7 light seconds) in space, Medium Range Missiles range is 160 miles (257.5 km) in an atmosphere and 80,000 miles (128,750 km/0.43 light seconds), and Mini-Missiles range is 2 miles (3.2 km) in an atmosphere and 100 miles (161 km) in space.
    Mega-Damage & Properties: See revised Phase World missile tables for details (Long Range Fusion warheads inflict 2D4x100 M.D.C. each.)
    Rate of Fire: Long Range and Medium Range Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two, three, or four missiles. Mini-Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two, three, four, or eight missiles. Payload: Three Long Range Missiles Per Bay (Two Medium Range Missiles or Eight Mini-Missiles can be substituted for a long range missile).
  4. Cloaking Device: The Excalibur Starfighter has a cloaking device that allows the stealth fighter to be undetectable by most sensors. In phase world this system has the problem that it does not hide the ships signature on gravitic sensors. The fighter cannot fire any weapons while cloaked, for one attack previous to cloaking, or just after decloaking although shields still operate while cloaked. Cloaking is limited to a six hour period before needing to be shut down for thirty minutes.
    When attacking and if fighter is not detected, the fighter has +8 initiative bonus against a target that is not alerted and +4 initiative bonus against targets that are alerted (at general quarters). If the cloaked fighter get a higher initiative, the fighter can fire its weapons previous to any opponents attacks.
    Each time the fighter's main body gets damaged, there is a percentage chance the cloaking device will be damaged. This is done by determining the total damage the ship has sustained and dividing that by the amount of damage the ship can take (690 in the Excalibur's case) and getting a percentage of the hull that the ship has taken for damage. A percentile roll is then made. If the percentile roll is less than the percentage of damage the cloaking device is damaged and will be non operational.
  5. Anti-Missile Decoy Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter are two decoy dispensers. When a missile if fired at the fighter, a decoy can be released to confuse or detonate the enemy's attack. Decoy system works against Phase World missiles although has a -10% penalty against Brilliant missiles.
    Effect:
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates on decoy - 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, missile is still on target.
    Payload: Thirty (30)


COMBAT BONUSES: The F-103A Excalibur Starfighter is very maneuverable and very accurate. Use the Phase World Starfighter combat (Elite or Basic) skill.




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CGI / Artwork of starship created by Wing Commander Guide. Picture taken from Wing Commander CIC.


Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Rifts Conversion Copyright © 2007 & 2013, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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