NG-1a "Green Conure" NavGuard Fighter
The NG-1a NavGuard Fighter - also known as the "Green Conure" - is an escort fighter used by by the Navigator's Guild's security cadres. The primary purpose of the Green Conure is defensive in nature, serving to dissuade opponents from harassing Guild Navigators in the course of their duties. Featuring a variety of unusual and experimental design concepts, the sleek and futuristic-looking Green Conure is flown by instrument-rated NavGuard pilots who possess other piloting experience in both fixed-wing aircraft and autogyros.
A Green Conure is propelled by a single dieseltech powerplant mounted behind the crew cabin in the aft taper of the fuselage. A clutch and gearbox assembly allows this engine to be used to start the overhead rotor spinning in preparation for launch.
The wing and rotor configuration of the Green Conure is highly unusual. The aircraft is an autogyro propelled by a single rotor in a push configuration, but this rotor is situated within a channel wing to generate additional lift. Under many conditions, this means that the Green Conure is fully capable of vertical take-off and landing; in less favorable conditions, it can make use of runways less than 100' long. A long central wing plane bisects the channel wing and allows the aircraft to glide if necessary. The Green Conure is actually a three-surface aircraft in addition to being an autogyro, being one of the only modern production aircraft to feature canards. The autogyro rotors can be cast free via an emergency switch, turning the aircraft into a powered glider for safe landing in the event of rotor damage or malfunction. Alternatively, the rotor spin-up clutch can be manually disengaged in the event of engine malfunction, allowing simple auto-rotation to bring the aircraft down safely; doing so also inserts plugs into the engine intakes, preventing a dieseltech runaway as long as the pilot has the foresight to activate this function. If all propulsion fails, the Green Conure is capable of clumsily gliding and, with a skilled (or lucky) pilot, returning to earth without any power whatsoever. If the pilot is incapacitated, their copilot or passenger can pilot the craft via an auxiliary control stick (and attendant linkages) in front of the copilot's chair.
Weapons & Armament
The Green Conure is not heavily armed, featuring a single forward-facing 18mm Grease Gun for offensive purposes.
Armor and defense
The primary defensive facility of the Green Conure is its paint scheme and identifying markings, including the stylized magnetic armillary of the Guild Board of Trustees' official sanction. Any opponent foolhardy enough to attack an aircraft painted in the sea green and gold of the Navigator's Guild does so with the knowledge that they will soon face the economic sanctions of the Guild and the wrath of any attendant NavGuard or mercenaries serving as their retainers. The secondary defensive facility of the craft is its multiple system redundancy. While the overwhelming emphasis on lift, control, and redundancy have left little in terms of capacity for weapons or armor, the craft can sustain a degree of damage which would cripple most other aircraft and still be able to safely land or dock with a carrier airship. The Green Conure does feature a unique defensive weapon system which deploys aerostat bomblets from its wingtips to dissuade pursuers. These bomblets are scarcely more than slightly oversized infantry grenades affixed to self-filling ballutes, but they linger for a long time in the air along the Green Conure's flight path. The bomblets feature self-arming motion triggers so that they detonate in response to a pursuing aircraft's wing turbulence, though they will also detonate in response to falling too low in altitude once they have armed themselves; this is used to reduce deadly (and politically uncomfortable) collateral damage which could reflect badly on the (ostensibly neutral) Navigator's Guild.
Communication Tools & Systems
The Green Conure features a robust radio communication and navigational suite, being capable of accessing encrypted RadNet channels to communicate with Guild officials over longer distances than what would be expected for a craft of that size.
Hangars & docked vessels
A lug at the top of the rotor mast allows the Green Conure to launch and land via a carrier airship's launch trapeeze. The extraordinary control given by the Green Conure's unusual design allowe it to do so with relative ease.
Green Conures are only found among the NavGuard. Even there, fewer than 100 of the aircraft are in service as of the year 10,000 AR.
Complement / Crew
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
1 copilot or navigator
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
I like that it's capable of gliding a little if things go wrong.