Confederation F-66A Thunderbolt VII Heavy Fighter (Wing Commander):


The Thunderbolt fighter of World War II is one of the most famous fighters of all time. Extremely rugged and able to dish out incredible damage in return. There are stories of the fighters having several cylinders of their engines shot away and parts of their wings blow off yet still making it back home. Other aircraft with the Thunderbolt name, such as the A-10, follows with the same reputation for toughness. The Confederation Thunderbolt VII Heavy Fighter follows in this tradition as an extremely heavily armed and tough fighter.


Like most of the new fighters operated by the Confederation Fleet, the F-66A Thunderbolt VII was developed by Douglas Aerospace. The first prototypes of the F-66A Thunderbolt VII became operation in 2668 with an extremely rapid development process and the fighter entering the fleet in squadron status in 2669. The new heavy fighter officially has replaced the f-57C Sabre as the Confederation's primary heavy fighter although the Strike Sabre was retained as the primary fighter bomber on escort carriers. Still, most pilots greatly love the new fighter, able to take on large numbers of enemy fighters and even attack light capital ships, and as a result the fighter is given the affectionate nickname of "Thud" by many pilots.


The Thunderbolt VII was the first Confederation fighter equipped with six forward firing energy weapons. The Kilrathi Jalthi class heavy fighter, while produced in only limited numbers, introduced a six beam array before the Confederation and the Crossbow class bomber carried a five gun forward firing array. The Thunderbolt VII herslef mounts the most dangerous combination of firepower currently in use on a fighter, the F-66A's beam weaponry consists of dual plasma cannons, dual photon cannons, and dual meson blasters. With this incredible array of forward firing "Guns", a single volley of energy weapons can savage virtually any "Kitty" fighter within range. In addition, the fighter has two missile bays which can carry three long range missiles each and a bay for a single cruise missile for anti-ship roles. The Thunderbolt has scored killed again many Kilrathi capital ships ranging from transports, corvettes, frigates, destroyer escorts, and fleet destroyers. The heavy fighter carries extremely heavy armor and shields, enabling it to withstand massive damage.


The Thunderbolt's main weakness comes in its relatively poor speed, agility, and acceleration in respect to faster, more nimble light fighters. The fighter's maneuverability reminds some of the old Raptors and some pilots, mostly light fighter pilots, have nicknamed the Thunderbolt VII the "Lead Sled" due to this. Even so, light fighters, even with their superior speed and maneuverability, often find it difficult to drop the defenses of a Thunderbolt and Kilrathi pilots are known to curse in frustration at the amount of punishment the Thunderbolt VII will take. Quite often, a Kilrathi light fighter pilot's last mistake comes the moment he decides to fight head-on with a Thunderbolt VII and face the heavy energy weapon array. For additional defense, all Thunderbolts have a mass-driver dual turret mounted to the rear to keep fighters off their tail.


The Thunderbolt VII is a favorite for pilots who love the ship's firepower even though it has mediocre speed and agility. Though most Thunderbolt VII pilots prefer to simply rely on the fighters heavy firepower and armor, the fighter, in the hands of a highly skilled pilot that can maneuver the big fighter to its limits, has proven itself nearly invincible.


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-66A Thunderbolt VII Heavy Fighter
Vehicle Type: Heavy Attack Fighter
Crew: Two (Pilot and Tail Gunner)


M.D.C. By Location:

Plasma Cannons (2):60 each
Photon Cannons (2):50 each
Meson Cannons (2):60 each
Missile Bays (2):100 each
Heavy Missile Bay (1):120
Tail Mounted Mass Drivers (2, in turret)40 each
Rear Ball Turret (1)100
[1] Engines (2):240 each
Landing Struts (3):10 each
[2] Main Body:728
Reinforced Pilots Cockpit:240
[3] Variable Force Field:250 per side (1,500 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 .78 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 1.4 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 / 25,053 mph / 40,320 kph) but normally operates at Mach 3.85 (2,858.31 mph / 4,600 kph) or less. The fighter also has Gravitic propulsion systems enabling it to leave an atmosphere even at low velocities.
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 two weeks of consumables for fighter's crew.


Statistical Data:
Length: 111.55 feet (34.0 meters)
Height: 21.98 feet (6.7 meters)
Width: 59.06 feet (18.0 meters)
Weight: 22.0 tons (20.0 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: 63.2 million credits.


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. Twin Photon Cannons: These cannons are mounted on the sides of the starfighter. Weapon system has good range and inflicts better damage than the standard laser which it is based on. 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. Photon 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: 2D4x10+10 per cannon and 4D4x10+20 for both cannons (Combined with other weapons for 15D6x10+40)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Twin Mason Cannons: These cannons are mounted on the sides of the starfighter. Weapon system has good range and inflicts good damage. The main weakness of the weapons is that they have limited range within an atmosphere. 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 7.0 miles (11.25 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 2D6x10 per cannon and 4D6x10 for both cannons (Combined with other weapons for 15D6x10+40)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  3. Twin Plasma Cannons: 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: 1,864.1 miles (3,000 km) in space and 9.3 miles (15 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 4D6x10+10 per cannon and 8D6x10+20 for both cannons. (Combined with other weapons for 15D6x10+40)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  4. Twin Mass Drivers in Ball Turret: Cannons are mounted in a ball turret in the rear of the starfighter. While not as long range as lasers, they pack a much larger punch. Turret can rotate about from centerline to track targets. The weapon inflict about equal damage to most energy weapons carried on most C.A.F. Starfighters but, even though short range by Confederation standards, have a longer range than most fighter weapons in the Three Galaxies.
    Maximum Effective Range: 1,242.7 miles (2,000 km) in space and 6.21 miles (10 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 2D6x10 per cannon per 20 round burst and 4D6x10 for both cannons firing a 40 round burst
    Rate of Fire: Equal to gunners hand to hand (Usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 10,000 Rounds (500 Bursts) per cannon.
  5. Three Missile Bays: Instead of mounting hard points, the fighter has three missile bays. The central bay can carry a single cruise missiles or a mixture of lighter ordnance. The side missile bays are limited to long range missiles or smaller but can carry three long range missiles each. Cruise Missiles have a top speed of Mach 25 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 10% of light per turn (far faster than any starship). 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. 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: Cruise Missiles range is 8,000 miles (12,875 km) in an atmosphere and 4,000,000 miles (6,437,376 km/ 21.5 light seconds), 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, and Medium Range Missiles range is 160 miles (257.5 km) in an atmosphere and 80,000 miles (128,750 km/0.43 light seconds).
    Mega-Damage & Properties: See revised Phase World missile tables for details (Cruise Anti-Matter does 4D6x100 M.D.C. and Long Range Fusion does 2D4x100 M.D.C.).
    Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of two, three, or four missiles.
    Payload: Central Missile Bay: One Cruise Missile (Two Long Range Missiles or Four Medium Range Missiles can be substituted for the Cruise Missile). Side Missile Bays: Three Long Range Missiles Per Bay (Two Medium Range Missiles can be substituted for a long range missile).
  6. 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: Twenty-Four (24)


COMBAT BONUSES: The F-66A Thunderbolt VII Starfighter is very maneuverable and very accurate. Use the Phase World Starfighter combat (Elite or Basic) skill.




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


[ Douglas Aerospace TM, Kilrah TM, Kilrathi TM, Major Todd "Maniac" Marshall TM, and McAuliffe Ambush TM are trademarks of Origin Productions. ]

[ Wing Commander copyright © Origin Productions. ]


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


Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Rifts Conversion Copyright © 2006 & 2013, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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