Confederation F/A-76A Longbow Strike Bomber (Wing Commander):


The Longbow was designed as a replacement for the well known A-17F Broadsword heavy bomber. It is currently the most modern torpedo bomber operated by the Confederation Navy. While Broadsword bombers were sturdy and dependable, its huge size makes it comparatively un-maneuverable as well as the heavy bomber being extremely slow in acceleration. It was perceived that the triple neutron cannons could not adequately protect the heavy bomber against fighter swarms.


Confederation BuShips thus asked several aerospace industries to develop a next generation torpedo bomber to replace the Broadsword heavy bomber. The prototype submitted by Douglas Aerospace, a bomber with greater speed and agility without sacrificing either offensive firepower or armor, was called the Crossbow and seemed likely to replace the Broadsword bomber. It had already found uses within the Special Operations division.


Surprisingly, a small up-and-coming aerospace company, McCall Industries, also submitted their own variant of a new torpedo bomber. Previously they had never developed fighter designs but instead concentrated on shuttle and other similar designs. As might be expected, their bomber design was based on a shuttle design, McCall's decades old Search and Rescue Shuttle design. Instead of cargo space, more powerful engines, a missile bay, missile hard points, and heavy armor and shields were adapted to the design.


When Douglas Aerospace engineers looked at McCall's prototype specifications, they laughed at it due to its resemblance to a standard shuttle. There executives thought that the Confederation Navy would not adopt a bomber design which looked like a cargo shuttle. They also attempted legal action against McCall Industries for using the name Longbow, stating that it was an attempt to latch onto the reputation already gained by Douglas's Crossbow bomber.


While the two companies fought legal battles and fought for the government contract for the new bomber contract, the Kilrathi sprung a surprise attack against Earth which later became know as the Battle of Terra. During the battle, Most Broadsword bombers were destroyed during ill-fated torpedo runs against Kilrathi supercarriers, most Broadsword bombers were destroyed during ill-fated torpedo runs against the Kilrathi supercarriers. Simply, the heavy bombers were not fast enough or maneuverable enough to survive the ships firepower.


After the dust cleared, Confederation BuShips launched an investigation into how to best overcome the main vulnerabilities exhibited by the bombers. The board concluded that a higher speed as well as the ability to carry more anti-fighter ordnance would vastly increase the ability for a bomber to survive. BuShips awarded the contract to McCall Industries, whose Longbow seemed more suitable than the Crossbow in meeting these new goals. This was an extreme upset to Douglas Aerospace, who though they had a lock on the contract. After rigorous testing, the Longbow prototype was given the F/A-76A designation and the bomber entered front-line service. The "F" designator was added to the design to overcome government reluctance for the new bomber, which is extremely expensive, by designating it to be a multi-role design.


While the Longbow is unconventional in appearance, the bomber carries some of the best features of the Broadsword heavy bomber while eliminating some of the heavy bombers glaring weaknesses. The biggest feature is the additional of a high performance auxiliary thruster which vastly increases the bomber's acceleration when engages although limited in duration. This vastly increases the bomber's ability to survive against Kilrathi fighters. Like the Broadsword and the Crossbow, the Longbow is jump capable.


While the bomber only has a single tail gun turret compared to three turrets mounting neutron cannons on the Broadsword, the Longbow mounts longer ranged particle beams in the rear turret. This allows the bomber to engage fighters attack from the rear much further out. To increase the Longbow's survival, the bomber carries a total of sixteen missile hard points in addition to the torpedo bays. Compared to the Crossbow mounting three mass drivers and two neutron cannons, the Longbow mounts two plasma cannons and two neutron cannons.


The Longbow bombers main offensive punch matches that of the much heavier Broadsword bomber, and the bomber carries four Lance Mk IV Ship-killer torpedoes with two in each of two bays. The Longbow also incorporates advanced targeting systems to better targeting for its torpedoes. A variety of smaller ordnance can be substituted for the anti-ship torpedoes as well. Since entering service, the Longbow bomber has a very successful service record and in addition to its high rate of success against capital ships, the F/A-76A Longbow also maintains an excellent kill-to-loss ratio against Kilrathi fighters. There are reports that Kilrathi pilots, deceived by the heavy bombers similarity to a shuttle until it is too late, being devastated by a volley of missiles coming from the bomber.


There was some resistance from pilots on giving up their Broadsword heavy bomber but the Longbow has since become a favorite of torpedo bomber pilots. Most pilots especially love the bombers ability to devastate enemy fighters with both its forward guns. Longbows are often escorted by Hellcat medium fighters and comprise the main component of a Confederation Fleet carrier's offensive striking punch. While much smaller that the Broadsword Bomber, the Longbow is still too large to be carried onboard Escort Carriers and the old Sabre fighter bombers is still retained for such vessels.


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/A-76A Longbow Strike Bomber
Vehicle Type: Fleet Attack Bomber
Crew: Three (Pilot, Weapons Officer, and Tail Gunner)


M.D.C. By Location:

Nose Mounted Plasma Cannons (2):60 each
Forward Neutron Cannons (2):50 each
Heavy Missile Bays (2):120 each
Missile Hard Points (16):10 each
Tail Mounted Neutron Cannon (2, in turret)50 each
Rear Ball Turret (1)100
[1] Engines (2):500 each
Landing Struts (3):20 each
[2] Main Body:1,700
Reinforced Pilots Cockpit:450
[3] Variable Force Field:500 per side (3,000 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% (150 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. Bomber can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.72 percent of light per melee maximum. The bomber has auxiliary thrusters which can be used a maximum of 15 minutes before fuel is exhausted. On auxiliary thrusters, the bomber has a maximum acceleration of 1.1 percent of light per melee maximum.
Atmospheric Propulsion: Unlike most fighters, the bomber is not very aerodynamic and not very maneuverable in an atmosphere. As a result, the fighter can achieve escape velocity (Mach 32.6 / 25053 mph / 40320 kph) but cannon fight effectively in an atmosphere and is generally limited to Mach 2.68 (1,988.4 mph / 3,200 kph) or less and flies through brute force. The bomber also has Gravitic propulsion systems enabling it to leave an atmosphere even at low velocities.
Stardrive: The bomber 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. Bomber uses a very small fusion cell system for power systems. The bomber carries three weeks of consumables for bomber's crew.


Statistical Data:
Length: 124.67 feet (38 meters)
Height: 47.24 feet (14.4 meters)
Width: 46.26 feet (14.1 meters)
Weight: 24.25 tons (22 metric tons) unloaded
Power System: Fusion power supply with a 10 year duration.
Cargo: Small Storage Space, 3.5 ft x 3.5 ft x 4 ft. Used for emergency equipment and weapons. Does not include internal bays. Ordnance bays can carry 6000 lbs (2724 kg) each.
Market Cost: 102.1 million credits.


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. 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 neutron cannons weapons for 12D6x10+40)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Twin Neutron Cannons: These cannons are mounted on the sides of the bomber. While not as long range as lasers, they pack a much larger punch. Neutron cannons are being replaced by particle beams on most Confederation fighters. 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: 1,534.3 miles (2,500 km) in space and 7.8 miles (12.5 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 2D6x10+10 per cannon and 4D6x10+20 for both cannons (Combined with plasma cannons, inflicts 12D6x10+40)
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  3. Missile Bays (2): Instead of carrying cruise missile on hard points, the bomber has two missile bays. Each missile bay can carry two cruise missiles or a mixture of lighter ordnance. 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: Two Cruise Missiles (Two Long Range Missiles or Four Medium Range Missiles can be substituted for each Cruise Missile).
  4. Missile Pylons (16): The Longbow bomber has a total of sixteen hard points which are stress to carry a sinle long range missile or a variety of other ordnance. One Long Range Missile or two Medium Range Missile can be carried on each hard point. 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. Since starships will no longer engage at rock throwing distances, whether weapons can be shot down is calculated from the speed of target, launcher, and missile. 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.) Cruise missiles have minuses to hit small targets but are all missiles are normally considered to be smart missiles. Missiles can be launched on multiple targets simultaneously.
    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, 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 (Long Range Fusion warheads inflict 2D4x100 M.D.C. each.)
    Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of two, three, or four missiles.
    Payload: One Long Range Missile or two Medium Range Missile each hard point.
  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: Twenty-Four (24)


COMBAT BONUSES: The F/A-76 Longbow Bomber is not very maneuverable compared to most fighters but is 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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