F-52 Hawk Vehicle in Domain | World Anvil
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F-52 Hawk

The F-52 Sparrow is a combat spacecraft capable of functionally performing in both atmosphere and vacumn environments. It operates as a Range Extension Vehicle in space (basically the space equivalent of a fighter/dive bomber hybrid) and as a Ground Attack Aircraft while in atmosphere. F-52s are considered the United State's answer to the Swifts operated by the Ceti, and in fact is derived in large part from Reverse-engineered Ceti technology.   See it in action here:  

Design History

Though they do not appear that impressive, and space planes of various forms have been in use for a few centuries, the F-52 represents a truly gargantuan stride in human military technology. Designing a vehicle that can operate effectively in space and in flight is much more difficult than achieving one or the other, and making that vehicle capable of combat in both domains requires a seamless combination of extremely advanced technologies. The benefits of such a vehicle have long interested military designers. DARPA had begun experiments down this avenue as early as the 21st century, and as humanity grew closer to developing such technology the Air Force commissioned the codename Starflyer project to explore development of the AeroSpace Combat Vehicle.   However, work on the Starflyer project quickly stalled due to technical challenges. While the initial X-43 gave reason for optimism in achieving their original goal, the X-46 demonstrated that mounting EPD's or rockets on a plane added too much unwieldy mass (on top of hampering an aerodynamic profile) and that the same was true for adding endoatmospheric engines like jets to a spacecraft. With too many delays and few meaningful results, Congress pulled the plug on the Starflyer project.   When the Interspecies War began and the Ceti were discovered, the proof-of-concept that was the Ceti Swift renewed interest in creating a vehicle to counter its well-rounded power. In 2258 the USSF took developmental control over project Starfire and revitalized it based on the technology found in captured and destroyed Ceti Swifts. These technologies allowed for a new atmospheric engine that could feed off the vehicle's main reactor while being light enough to not significantly decrease engine efficiency. While the end result is not the best air-superiority fighter or most powerful range extension vehicle, but it is good enough in both fields to be worth the cost.

Propulsion

For operations outside of atmosphere, as well as in reaching orbit, the Sparrow operates two light EPD engine blocks in the rear, combined with RCS thrusters scattered around the outside of the hull. They can achieve a maximum of 40 g's of constant forward thrust, though this is far beyond safe limits. In atmosphere the vehicle has a pair of highly-advanced, reverse engineered variable configuration airbreathing engines. They are based directly from stolen Ceti technology and allow the fighter to operate effectively as a plane while not adding an undue amount of mass to move around. Its internal framework is designed to vary while in flight to optimize itself for efficiency at different speeds.

Weapons & Armament

The F-52 has four light missile launchers that can each carry two standardized missiles (launched one at a time), two Heavy Cannons mounted on the wings, an underside weapons bay for carrying larger missile payloads and bombs, and a hardpoint on the nose that is usually fitted with a 30 mm cannon for dogfights and ground attack missions.

Armor and defense

For defense F 52 Sparrows are outfitted with a suite of electronic and physical countermeasures, including basic D-fields to protect themselves from enemy weaponry. Some are also equipped with advanced EP-Shields to protect themselves.
cockpit.png
by jmcninja
 
The interior of a SF-52's cockpit
Nickname
Starflyer
Manufacturer
Owning Organization
Price
826 Million NAD
Rarity
Uncommon, relatively new technology
Length
65 ft
Weight
41,000 Pounds (Dry Mass), 54,000 Pounds (Fully Equipped and Wet Mass)
Speed
.51 c (Achieved) .99 c (Theoretical)
Complement / Crew
1-2, Pilot and Copilot
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
None

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