|XB-3 Mesofortress Gunship|
|The Mesofortress with its escorts|
|Production Building||Aeronautics Complex|
|Secondary Ability||Return to Base|
|Heroic Upgrade||Chronoshift RTB|
"I'm the package explosive things come in."
- - Mesofortress pilot
Tactical Analysis Edit
- Today's main course, all-you-can-eat tanks: The Mesofortess Gunship is the Allies' premier anti-armour aircraft, almost a super-Vindicator. But while its smaller cousin can only go on one run, the Mesofortress can rain a barrage of missiles on an entire armoured column before having to return to base. Thanks to a multi-target tracker, it can lock onto and engage multiple targets at once.
- My little friends: The Mesofortress only has air to ground missiles and cannot attack air targets, which is why FutureTech equipped the Mesofortress with Lamprey parasite fighters. These micro-fighters will engage any enemy aircraft nearby with abandon, slowing and damaging them. They are faster than the Mesofortress, so they will scout ahead for it.
- I'm a tankitarian, if you please: If the Mesofortress could be said to have any weakness (except for cost and the inability to be maintained at a normal airfield) it would be that its missiles are ineffective against buildings, as they are precision weapons rather than carpet bombs.
- 4-Dimensional Runway: A Mesofortress is an incredibly complex machine, and losing one, especially one with an experienced crew, is a huge blow. Thus, several Mesofortresses have been equipped with an experimental chronoshift device; when ordered to return to base, a delay of a few seconds will take place, and the Mesofortress will then chronoshift back.
Radio Transcript between 1st Recon, Charlie Company, Second Platoon (Two-One) and Mesofortress Bravo One
8:30 am, April 6th, 1968
(Six D-3 Riptides and two Multigunner IFVs are visible, pinned down on a road leading to a large bunker complex)
<Two-One> Bravo One, do you have a visual on our location?
<Bravo One Control> Copy Two-One, we've got a visual. What's the sitrep?
<Two-One> Our lead D-3 is down and our retreat is cut off. Hostiles engaging from the bunker complex with small arms, rockets and mortars. We can't get at 'em here!
<Bravo One Control> I see 'em. There's just an acre of these bastards. Weapons free, we'll get you clear.
<Bravo One Gunner> Roger that, I've got the main doors to the left of the road, confirm target.
<Two-One> That's it. Blow it off it's hinges, we'll go in and get the codes.
<Bravo One Gunner> Roger, five rounds rapid, tight spread. Firing.
(Spectrum Designator overloads from light)
<Bravo One Control> ...Two-One, you still there?
(Spectrum Designator refreshes. Bunker complex has been completely leveled)
<Two-One> You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!When the bottom finally fell out of the Harbinger Gunship project, there was a mad scramble by the Allies and FutureTech to make something out of the multimillion dollar failure. Teams of analysts and experts carefully deconstructed every portion of the debacle, figuring out its failures and successes. The eventual damning conclusion was that all the technology and engineering in the Harbinger was sound, but the end result shoehorned too many complex features together in one package.
The massive airframe couldn't hope to hold the massive generator, battery banks, and accelerators necessary for its Proton Collider weapons to work properly while remaining well cooled, manoeuvring acceptably, and handling recoil. There were so many parts vital to its operation, each staggeringly intricate and cutting edge, that simple part failure due to manufacturing defect would statistically ground the aircraft, nevermind actual wear and tear. FutureTech's wonder weapon had been grounded by the sheer complexity of their design.
Having recieved the results of the study, the Allies told FutureTech if they wanted to get back into their good graces they had best focus on simplification. FutureTech began gutting their stock of complex machinery, using them in simplified forms. For example, the Grand Collider turret was the result of simply mounting one of the Harbinger's weapons directly to a reinforced turret mount.
Another project that was resurrected was the XB-3 Mesofortress Gunship, the Harbinger's original shape; a clean-lined delta-wing with an extremely short wing span (shorter than a Firebolt's), completed with a pair of custom tuned Rolls-Royce Phantom afterburning turbofans. The aircraft had been designed over the course of five years, reaching the prototype stage, before being discarded in favour of the Galaxy airframe due to the ever-increasing complexity and weight of the Harbinger's weapons systems.
The weapon systems were another simple innovation; one-shot "test" colliders from the early days of proton weapon testing were strapped to spectrum guided missiles with a proximity detector. These proton cores, essentially one magnetic ring from a particle accelerator, were built cheaply as an alternative to full sized colliders in order to test various settings. As they are not intended to survive more than one use, they could be built out of cheaper, less durable materials. By fitting them to missiles, they can be dropped close to a target before setting them off, throwing a number of hydrogen atoms at the target at relativistic speeds. Power, normally supplied by large plants or powerful generators, is provided by a self contained collider cell. All parts designed for the Harbinger, but used in a simpler manner and utterly disposable.
Finally, to protect the new strike aircraft from attack, two of the three modular bays were given over to QF-14 Lamprey Parasite Fighters. Initially designed by FutureTech as a cheap successor to the Shooting Star of World War II, the Lamprey had seen action throughout World War III attached to Century squadrons or launched from bases as last-ditch defences. The simple little machines are little more than a two-way radio, a cockpit, a jet engine, and a pair of rocket pods slung under stubby wings, but they are capable of hiding in the heat and radar shadow of their charge before veering onto their target and unleashing a barrage of heat-seeking rockets filled with superheated ball bearings, a weapon specifically designed to confound target tracking systems while tearing into an aircraft. This ensures the Mesofortress will always be protected from fighter attack without the need for a seperate fighter escort, one of the Harbinger's primary disadvantages.
After just three months of assembling discarded prototypes and test equipment, FutureTech had a design that was supremely practical and quite deadly. Though lacking the sheer destructive output of the Harbinger's massive guns, the Mesofortress was purpose-made to tear apart tank divisions with casual ease. Like a phoenix out of the flames, the graceful profile of the Mesofortress rose from the remains of the Harbinger program. Though still in prototyping stages, Allied command considers the Mesofortress a worthy successor to their promised wonder weapon; not nearly so flashy, but practical, reliable, and deadly in its own right.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- The Lamprey may have drawn inspiration from the XF-85 Goblin, a parasite fighter designed to be carried as an escort by the B-36 Peacemaker
Just the StatsEdit
|Lock-On(1s), Tracking, Limited Ammo(15)|
|Armour Type||Thin Skinned|
|Mezz(Weapon, 1s), Tracking|