i probably should’ve just waited for 4.2 but whatever i’m bored
REPORT - 1A
As the Cold War continued into the 21st Century and with the expansion into space, major leaps have been made in terms of military technology. New more efficient space engines and fuel types have allowed for breakthroughs in the militarisation of space.
No longer did humanity need to rely upon inefficient liquid fueled rocket engines and the subsequent rockets that were oh-so-desperately needed to traverse in space. As in 2007, engineers of the Socialist Federation first pioneered a “new” type of engine. Not exactly new, but building upon older Hall effect thrusters and boosting their efficiency and power significantly by incorporating nuclear technology into engines.
They were called Nuclear Ion Engines. Utilizing a new radioisotope that produced little radiation, yet was capable of giving off great energy in a very small space.
These new thrusters were capable of doing things never before thought possible, space maneuvers could be done more wastefully without the need of complex calculations, nor did they need major planning. Space travel soon became a very easy thing to do, and the Socialist Federation then became the first country to begin colonization of the Moon.
Of course, they came with drawbacks, notably how their radiation was lethal if ever a craft powered with such an engine went down. Or perhaps how they produced less thrust at less efficiency when not in a vacuum, but that changed with the introduction of Hybrid N-Ion engines, combining the thrust and efficiency of a jet at lower altitudes and the space efficiency and sheer power of Ion engines at higher altitudes and in vacuums.
The Unified States came close by with their own development of these new engines, too, as they utilized these new engines for interplanetary travel, sending the first men to Mars by the 2030s.
With the introduction of Nuclear Ion Engines and their Hybrid equivalents, Single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft were becoming no longer a pipe dream, and the price to get items to space significantly lowered, meaning more space missions were possible and were being performed every decade. Science had now reached a new frontier.
And of course, so did the military.
The first space warfare vehicles came about by the time the US had gotten to Mars and the Socialist Federation was expanding their space bases. It is still unclear which of the two countries were first to deploy a true space weapon, as the Socialist Federation had attempted in the 1980s and 1990s with their secret space stations. But it was said the Cold War’s space frontiers truly began when US President Doydlid Tyatsmir’s first “Space Force” law came into act in 2037.
Eventually entire military fleets were being launched into orbit by each country’s corresponding space forces, with different types of military spacecraft being made, from space battleships, to orbital cannons, and most importantly, space fighters with their own corresponding carriers.
With the advent of such powerful technologies, the Cold War was made even tenser. And with orbit being a bunch of jargon requiring lots of fancy spanky wanky space glitterdust nonsense, it was only natural that many close calls were being made. Risks were everywhere for large orbital fleets, with the first few space skirmishes between the Unified States and the Socialist Federation developing new tactics never before expected.
Thus, we have arrived at the present.
The Unified States’ main military headquarters.
The Space Force and the Navy have begun planning reintroducing a doctrine that it retired nearly a hundred years ago. The Socialist Federation’s latest weapon; deadly swarms of MiG-325 “Salamander” Laser Bombers. These bombers are very large but very stealthy, and theoretically could wipe out an entire US carrier group with one flyover, or perhaps an atmospheric fly-under.
Enter: The Space Fighter Attack-eXperimental Programme, or SFAX for short. A new large space fighter is under design to defend carrier battle groups from these threats.
A combination of stealthy, maneuverable both in space and in the atmosphere, as well as being capable of loading their latest ASiM-9X Reaper Missile, a very large, very fast, and very long range air/space missile capable of taking down multiple targets in close formation all at once when paired with the SWG-654 space-tracker radar.
Perfect for deterring the Socialist Federation’s new long-range laser bombers at long distances.
Among those other requirements was the usage of the new Plank & Stocking RF-60 engine. Initially designed for the failed TSW-X programme aircraft, the Space Force wants its contractors to utilize this engine to save potential cost of developing a new engine.
They plan on the aircraft entering service by the time the 90s rolls in.
And so, it begins.
REPORT - 2A
Set in 2087, the US Space Force and Navy are looking for a new Fleet-defence interceptor and attack aircraft that will be responsible for defending both on-earth carrier battlefleets and orbital battlefleets as well.
As there is literally zero way of making functional fighters in Automation this will be a purely design-based challenge. However, I won’t be just going “ah yes this looks better than that plane and as such this will win” (well actually I will). Since the rules are almost entirely free with the exception of engines, missiles and seat count, it’s up to your imagination as to how far the potentials of your space fighter design will go.
With that out of the way; time for some guidelines/rules because that’s fun!
Fighter must be made in Automation. (lmao no shit)
Spacecraft requires a description of its specifications and capabilities. I don’t expect whole paragraphs and essays about its combat abilities here, all I need is a list of what it can do, what it runs on, etc. Though if you want to do the former, that’s up to you.
Spacecraft must look functional (Aka show your specifications in your design, if you’re gonna say it can supercruise at Mach 3 while at sea level and pull a negative 20G inverted dive, make sure it at least looks the part.)
Spacecraft must be able to carry at least three ASiM-9 Reaper missiles
“But Yuri!” you may ask, “How are we gonna tell if it can do that?”
Easy! Just take the largest cylinder in the 3D fixtures menu, and scale it to:
And with that, the cylinder should now be in the scale of an ASiM-9.
NOTE: This is not the diameter of the missile fuselage, if you are adding fins they must be within this scale too.
Spacecraft requires P&S RF-60 Nuclear Ion engines.
Like with the ASiM-9, the engine innards are a fixed size and you can measure its size by rescaling the cylinder as such:
This won’t be judged too hard so you can go marginally larger/smaller for the engine nacelles.
Spacecraft requires seating for two: A WSO (Weapon Systems Officer, aka the other pilot that controls most of the plane’s weaponry systems), and the pilot. (Again, show this in your design!)
To see if your spacecraft can fit more than one pilot, it is recommended to use the helmet mod fixture to get a reference of the seating arrangements in the cockpit.
Standardized prototype paint/insignias are required (Basically, I’m not expecting there will be any squadron insignias or anything like that on the spacecraft). The Air/Space roundel of the Unified States must also be visible on the spacecraft (Air/Space roundel is basically the Gasmea roundel from this pack.)
The spacecraft’s designation (YSF-###) must also be visible on the spacecraft. The rest of the paint scheme can be done to the entrant’s liking.
Other than those six “guidelines”, that’s pretty much all there is. Everything is free game basically and it’s up to you as to what could potentially come up with for the Space Force.
for .car file: Model: <forum username> Trim: <fighter’s name goes here>
Aircraft name: YSF-<number above 45 here> <(optional) aircraft name>
To submit an entry, send a private message on the forum with the topic set as “SFAX submission”. I will not be accepting entries sent through Discord.
REPORT - 3A
Engineering in design + Description fidelity
How well written your spacecraft description is, and if your design matches along with what is written.
Details + Proportions
How well detailed and proportioned your spacecraft is. I don’t expect you to do full-on interior bullshittery and engineerings whatevers or full out smooth 5th gen stealth panelling nonsense because i myself can’t do that lmao but extra points will be rewarded for those with spacecraft that stand out from the rest.
TL;DR, how good the aircraft actually looks.
Actual feasibility by the Space Force/Navy
This section is where Officials will be seeing how feasible your spacecraft could be for the Armed Forces. From ease of maintenance engineering, to capabilites, gimmicks, whatnot.
This would at the very least be just extra flavour text based on what my eyes see and what your description says.
Other Tips + Trivia
(Not rules but helpful for aircraft design)
(Also known as extra lore)
Hybrid Nuclear Ion Engine-powered fighters most commonly utilize either thrust vectoring or a reaction control system (RCS) to maneuver in space. What you will use as RCS is completely up to you.
The fighters will still be flying through the atmosphere occasionally, and Hybrid Nuclear Ion Engines need air in the atmosphere in order to work, so intakes might be necessary.
As the fighters work in both space and in the atmosphere, they need a way to efficiently enter the atmosphere from orbit without burning up. Although it is possible to re-enter using mainly engine thrust to slow down, this is a practice not commonly used as fighters still utilize non-ablative atmospheric shielding during re-entry, usually in the form of a very fine ceramic coating on the edges and underside of the wings, as well as the underside of the fuselage. It is encouraged to come up with other more creative re-entry solutions for your fighters.
The fighters still utilize landing gears with wheels as well as arrestor wires and cable hooks. However, instead of utilizing a glideslope in space, the fighters instead approach almost parallel to the carrier’s landing deck. In the atmosphere, they land like normal with a glideslope.
Deck and hangar spaces on space carriers are still limited, and as such folding wings would be appreciated by both the Navy and Space Force.
If your design has multiple modes and you wish to add more fidelity to it (Say for instance, lowered gear, opening internal weapons bay, foldable wings, variable-sweep, variable incidence, etc), you may send more than one .car file showing the various states of the spacecraft. (If possible, do send a version with landing gear as it’ll be easier to display at a standstill.)
The RF-60 engine generates 250kN (56,202 pounds-force) of thrust at full atmospheric military power. Dry thrust generated is 99kN. In a vacuum, the engine can generate 5-130kN of thrust and has an Isp ranging from 3750-13,500s. The engine weighs 4,050kg (8930 lbs) and has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 6.29:1.
The RF-60’s specifications are not final. Potential entrants are encouraged to work with Plank & Stocking with additional development of the engine. (In other words, you’re free to change the specifications slightly to your design. So if you decide on a single-engine fighter, you can opt for more thrust and vice versa for twin-engine fighters.)
The radioisotope powering the RF-60’s systems is an advanced and non-naturally generating derivative of Plutonium-238, with a slightly shorter half-life whilst producing less radiation but still a relatively large amount of heat. The fuel used is a blend of Helium and Argon (HARP) with a blend of JP-D, a type of heavily compacted jet fuel. Potential entrants are encouraged to come up with more creative fuel sources.
I have not yet come up with an idea of what the ASiM-9 missile looks like, so this is completely up to creative interpretation by potential entrants.
The ASiM-9 is a very large and long range multi-mission nuclear-armed missile capable of both anti-satellite and anti-aircraft. Think of it as the result between a threesome of the real-life ASM-135, AIM-54 Phoenix, and AIR-2 Genie. The missile in its entirety weighs just a little under two tonnes at 1370kg.
Powering the ASIM-9 is a conventional solid rocket motor, in a vacuum the missile has a useable ∆v of 4700m/s. In-atmo the missile has a range of around 500km.
The SWG-654 radar is a rather large and heavy APAR capable of tracking multiple targets at once, and has a great scanning range. The system is modular so it is recommended to come up with creative add-ons to the radar to improve its combat capability.
The largest 3d fixture cube in-game is 25cm^3 (1 side is 25cm), useful for size referencing.
Spacecraft will likely not be able to fit in smaller design rooms, and the camera in Automation only goes so far. It is recommended to use the F key whilst selecting a distant fixture to move the camera around.
When coming up with other weapon systems for your fighters, anything goes. Just replace machine guns with lasers and try not to go too absurd with your weapons selections. (But generally, I look forward to a lot of cool stuff that I somehow haven’t thought of.)
The deadline saying 2091 is for effect, it’s actually 2021 lol
Additional reference air/spacecraft.
you found me!
CLASSIFIED EYES ONLY
REQUIRED CLEARANCE FROM DEFD
MILITARY CONTRACTORS ONLY
FROM AGENCY OF INTELLIGENCE
REQUESTED BY DEFENSE DEPARTMENT OF THE UNIFIED STATES
Strategic space bomber fleets of the Socialist Federation are usually comprised of at least five space bombers, and escort spacecraft usually ranging from a single fighter to a small wing of three.
MiG-325s and derivatives are observed to have no self-defense armament to save weight and increase bomb payload and range, thus needing escorts like the Su-71 and its derivatives. The MiG-325s do feature countermeasures however, and are often observed to act like Spaceborne Early Warning spacecraft as well.
The MiG-325 has recently been reported to have been carrying newer RDS-80 Family Thermoplasma orbital bombs, with a yield of approximately 15 megatons and a laser range of approximately 140km.
Sukhoi Su-71s, reporting name “Firefox”, is the latest in the Socialist Federation’s family of fourth-generation low-observable (Stealth) space fighters. The spacecraft was first observed over the skies of ██████, ███████ in December 207█. Latest intelligence reports suggest the spacecraft is of multirole capability, is highly maneuverable in-atmo, and is capable of large amounts of movement in space.
The Firefox carries its weapons in an internal weapons storage bay, though it has been seen with up to eight wing-mounted hardpoints capable of carrying either highly maneuverable AA-23 Anteater heat-seeking missiles, or the longer-ranged radar-guided AA-24 Alvin missile.
It is said that these weapons are controllable by thought in combination with the Firefox’s avionics systems, the Agency of Intelligence is currently dispatching Agent ██████ ███████ to ██████ and ████████ a ██████ ██-██ ███ ████ ██ ████ ██ ████ from the ██████ ███████████ ████████.[DATA EXPUNGED]
The Firefox is assumed to be capable of Hypersonic flight in the atmosphere, with an estimated top speed of Mach 6 or lower. Though this is being debated, as studies have shown that sustained Mach 5 or higher flights could cause significant damage to the airframe and the engines.
In the atmosphere, the Firefox is observed to be supermaneuverable at speeds of up to Mach 2, and is capable of sustaining up to 15+Gs in a turn. On accounts of the Incident over ██████ ███, where a Dassault Faucon of the █████ ████ encountered two of the type, a █████ maneuver was performed at speeds exceeding Mach 1.
Carrier-capable variants of the Su-71, designated Firefox-C, have been spotted testing near the Sea of █████ near ██████ aboard the carriers Red October and Iyosef Staling.The Su-73 with reporting name “Firefox-C” is a carrier-capable variant of the Su-71. Said to have nearly the same specifications as a regular Su-71.
AIRCRAFT INFORMATION DIRECTORY
Updated as of 5/15/87
BOEING SF-36F STARFIRE
Lightweight Multirole Strike Fighter
First flight: 2061
- Crew: 2 (1 Pilot, 1 WSO)
- Length: 53.4 ft (20.1 m)
- Wingspan: 44.6 ft (14.9 m)
- Empty weight: 41,382 lbs (18,771kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 53,484 lbs (24,260 kg)
- Powerplant: 2x Generic Electro F9060-GE-500 Hybrid Nuclear Ion Engines, 15,000 lbf (66 kN) thrust each dry, 40,400 lbf (180 kN) with afterburner, 170-21,800 lbf (0.76-97 kN) in a vacuum.
- Maximum atmospheric speed: 1,400 kn (1,600 mph, 2,600 kmh) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
- Maximum atmospheric speed: Mach 2.1
- Atmospheric range: 1,160 nmi (1,330 mi, 2,150 km)
- Atmospheric combat range: 550 nmi (630 mi, 1,000 km) combat radius
- Atmospheric ferry range: 1,500 nmi (1,720 mi, 2,800km)
- Design load factor: 10.5 g
- Guns: None
- Hardpoints: 9 (3x under-wing 3x under fuselage)
SUKHOI SU-71 “FIREFOX”
Large Multirole Strike/Air Superiority Fighter
- Crew: 2
- Length: 22.5m
- Wingspan: 16.3m
- Empty weight: [NO DATA]
- Max takeoff weight: [NO DATA]
- Powerplant: [NO DATA]
- Maximum atmospheric speed: 4,300+ kn (5,000 mph, 8,000 kmh) at altitude (estimated)
- Maximum atmospheric speed: Mach 6.5+ (est)
- Atmospheric range: [NO DATA]
- Atmospheric combat range: [NO DATA]
- Atmospheric ferry range: [NO DATA]
- Design load factor: 20+ g (est)
- Guns: [NO DATA]
- Hardpoints: 11 (7x internal, 4x external)
DEAD LINE: 2300U MAY 31 2091
PROGRAMME BEGINS: NET 0000U MAY 1 2087