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design by Stan Bundy
The Golem is a purpose-built STOL attack aircraft made on Luhtal, using local technology. Inspired by the ancient Solomani Thunderbolt II and Frogfoot designs, it incorporates higher tech than these aircraft, without using technologies that the planet would have to import.
It is a two-seat design, with the weapons officer sharing flight duties when needed on long missions. With the capability of 14-hour missions with its drop tanks, this is a necessity. Standard armament are the TL 7 anti-aircraft and anti-armor missiles common to the low-tech RC worlds and the wilds (RCEG, p. 108), as well as a 3 cm/75 six-barreled autocannon built into the fuselage, that uses APFSDSDU ammunition for the anti-armor role. It has an internal fuel supply of 7 hours for its HBT turbines, and 14 hours for its onboard fuel cells (the cost and weight of a MHD turbine was considered excessive for the design). With the wing drop tanks, flight time is increased to 14 hours - enough for a 3000 km mission radius under the right conditions. Furthermore, the Golem is capable of in-flight refueling, making the drop tanks optional.
It is also extremely maneuverable, having a full 30% of its mass dedicated to maneuverability. Its minimum flight speed more befits a biplane than a TL 8 aircraft with 4 tonnes of thrust. Its high agility lets it turn on the proverbial dime, with 9 cents change. Even loaded up to its maximum take-off weight, it only requires a 400 meter runway for its take-off roll.
There are several variants and prototypes. The original prototype had 6 tons of thrust; a side-effect of trying to generate more power through the flight systems, and reducing the size of the fuel cell. However, this option was considered unfeasible, as it so severely overpowered the plane as to endanger its structural integrity. The one major variant (stats not given here) replaces the outer wing tri-bomb/missile racks with multi-racks, for a total payload of 36 missiles, 48 if the drop tanks are not used. This variant is generally meant for use against TL 4 & TL 5 foes by RCES forces, as both an attack AND air superiority aircraft against the subsonic aircraft used by these worlds.
Also in the works is a TL 9 variant of the fighter the Golem-B, with upgraded systems and an HBT replacing the fuel cells. This version will be a joint venture between the Luhtalan manufacturer and a minor Oriflamme aircraft manufacturer seeking to expand its operations. The latter was not originally enthused with the prospect of a business venture with the Luhtalans, until its owner got a chance to fly one of the standard Golems, and was so impressed with the design that the usual Centrist/Federalist rivalries took a back seat to the desire to build such a well- rounded design.
An uncommon variant (Golem A) uses multi-bomb/missile racks on all the ordnance hard points, for a total of 36 or 48 missiles (the latter if the drop tanks are not used). This variant is slightly heavier in its dry weight, and has more drag points. However, it was built to serve both attack and air superiority roles for RC assistance on TL 4 & TL 5 worlds.
Golem Attack Craft
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