|This article, F/AV-77 Raptor, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "I saw them. Just seven of them, painted as black as night. They swarmed us, our Banshees were no match, our Wraiths were nothing. Within fourty minutes... they had destroyed everything."
- ―Brute Captain Glaramus
The Fighter/Attack VTOL-77 Raptor is a two seat multi platform gunship. Nimble and deadly, this ultramodern, two-person, VTOL aircraft combines a multi-purpose arsenal with a uniquely flexible flight profile, allowing the Raptor to strike both air and ground targets with unparalleled force and accuracy. The Raptor's munitions include a gunner-controlled medium gun and a number of stub wing pylons and internal compartments for missiles and rockets.
The F/AV-77 Raptor's airframe is constructed from a basis of superplastic-shaped diffusion-adhered metal matrix composites. These light, oxidation resistant light-matrix composites are formed from high modulus and high strength gold doped zirconium oxide fibres and a titanium/aluminium laminate matrix, formed by heat bonding layers of titanium, aluminium and titanium aluminide, forming high strength crystal matrices, the results forming a high strength, yet flexible and light airframe. The skin is formed from four layered plates attached to the frame. The inside layer is a high strength carbon nanotube nanobud mesh composite, which does not melt on re-entry and protects the ship and occupants. Above this is a environmental layer, which regulates internal and external heat, preventing layers from outright melting or freezing, and protecting the occupants. The third layer is a resin bonded layer of structural titanium aluminide with a titanium mesh insert. The fourth layer is a outer layer of AEGIS tiles, built on a non-newtonian shock absorbing layer, providing thermal and oxidation protection. The cockpit is situated in titanium-AEGIS compound armoured 'tubs'. These give limited protection against enemy fire. The windscreen is bullet-proof diffusion-bonded self-regenerating stretched-acrylic, with a coating of liquid glass, with a variable electronically controlled gold tinted setting, which protects it from solar rays, laser dazzles and electronic interference. These give limited protection against enemy fire. The skin is painted with thermal diffusing paint, heat controlled hull to generate a black body exterior, infra-red suppressors on the engines, RADAR absorbent paint, liquid glass composites and LASER absorbent laminates, which when compounded with its stealth design, gives it excellent stealth abilities.
It utilises tilting engines with multi-axis thrust vectoring nozzles, developed from experience gained from the development of the Pelican and the Hornet. This allows it to match enemy fighters for speed and also become a stable VTOL craft. This means it can both fulfil the role of light fighter and gunship without the addition of vectored thrust engines or ducted fans. It is stabilised by a pair of secondary X-13 Series engines to provide transatmospheric flight and stabilising engines for VTOL and forward flight. The Raptor is stealthy by design with a RADAR resistant design and RADAR resistant paint usually applied. Despite this, its paint scheme regularly changes from matte black 'strike' paint to wrap around blue-white 'air superiority' paint, digitised woodland camouflage and the traditional olive green. To aid in its stealthy nature, its wing stubs are part of the hull and fold out when it changes to the attack profile.
The Raptor is naturally armed with both DECEPTION countermeasure launchers and CARAPACE Dual Active Protection Systems though it lacks a point defence laser. Rockets and air to air missiles are directed by the pilot using a directed holographic interface and optical lock on systems. The co-pilot operates both air to ground missiles and the forward gun using TADS/PNVS slaved into his helmet and a mixture of optical, infra-red and laser designation to spot and lock onto the target along with the on-board active electronically scanned array RADAR. To enable maximum stealth attack potential, it has a deployable RADAR on it's roof, which it can raise when it is stationed behind cover, such as buildings and trees, allowing it to lock on to targets then rise out of cover and engage them, or allow other UNSC units to engage them, acting as a airborne reconnaissance and observation platform. On it's tail it mounts a RADAR receiver, allowing it to detect RADAR guided missiles and RADAR locks.
For its armament it mounts six internal pylons. Two are mounted on each side and fold out to deliver fire power while two more deploy from the bottom hard points, usually recessed into the bottom of the fuselage. For close support, the gunner controls a medium gun hardpoint recessed into the hull, allowing them to engage infantry or armour at close range. This gun is linked to their helmet, allowing them to track the target with their head and eye motions, allowing unparalleled gun accuracy.
The Raptor is used by the UNSC Marine Corps for short to medium range strike fighter, capable of engage enemy fast movers and ground targets. In air attack roles, while slower than many other fighters, it has unequalled agility, thanks to its tilting MATV engines. These also allow it excellent prowess against ground targets. It can generate frightfully accurate support fire and is dangerous against both infantry and armour., It is lightly armoured, in comparison to the AV-22D Sparrowhawk, but is much faster, and carries a heavier payload of missiles. The are most commonly used to engage large armoured formations with air support, but may also engage in special forces support missinos, having the payload, range and stealth capacity to support them far into enemy territory.
"We had Carrions strafing our airstrip during the siege of Kasiim, stopping our Katanas from taking off. Five minutes later, under both our RADAR and their RADAR, fifteen of these badboys descend from the sky. Two minutes after they came, they moved on, leaving a pile of burning tanks and crashed Carrions... "
"These things came into their own during our defence of Skaville. The fly boys had a tactic of workin' in twos, one would hide behind a building with missiles and rockets and shit, get lock on on targets, jump out, blow shit up then go back into hiding. When their air support came in, one fitted with SRAAMs would jump out, nail those bitches with missiles and they'd both relocate, like flying missile snipers! heh!"
"We got wind the Necros were gonna land en masse at Afield Plain, covered by ground based AA units, we went in in two waves. Wild Weasel first then we came in next, attacking their dropships and their gunships. Flaming shit all over, it was damn pretty. We were really tearing them up until their Assault Craft turned up. Nuts to fighting one of those. You need either special forces or a pile of Spectre missiles to take down one of those beetches."