Raven IV Model
|In service:||6095 ASC - present|
|Used by:||Jingdaoese Empire|
|Unit cost:||500 Anunia Points|
During the War of Lost Brothers the Raven IV was characterised thus:
"...an aircraft which was, if nothing else, a monument to the perseverance of its designers. Despite the prototypes having an aerodynamic profile so square and ungainly that it barely made it off the ground, this was one thing on which the lead designers had been unwilling to compromise. The task of refining the design into a thoroughbred combat fighter, therefore, politely skirted around this requirement and descended into a vicious cycle of increasing the engine size to overcome the substantial drag of the airframe, which in turn required strengthening to withstand the added physical stresses, increasing the weight of the aircraft so much that the engine size had to be increased again, this being so detrimental to the aircraft's fuel economy that it required a widening of the fuselage to an almost perfect tubular profile to accomodate extra fuel, which added more weight and required an even bigger engine still. At some point in this process the economy of scale finally kicked in and something resembling an equilibrium was reached, resulting in an absolute brick of an aircraft which stubbornly buffeted and fluttered its way around the transonic velocity range thanks to the sheer wide-bore power of its engine. Forgiving the Raven IV was not, and its pilots were soon trained to devote one eye to the cockpit's combined angle-of-attack and G-meter at all times, drilled by rote in the aircraft's hard limits and instinctively aware of the points at which the airframe would give up marshalling the air around it and suddenly begin shedding its control surfaces and/or falling into an unrecoverable spin as if succumbing to a Riccine fit of histrionic self-loathing. Those who failed to fly in the prescribed manner were often subjected to a grisly demise by the aircraft itself, without so much as a Tegong tribunal or an execution squad required. In this the aircraft was said to be a perfect manifestation of the Jingdaoese spirit, actively culling those who fell short of full purity in the realm of aeronautic skill.
For those who mastered the aircraft's foibles, however, there were certain benefits to be had - chief among which was the tendency of the plane to withstand multiple air-to-air missile strikes of the kind which would shred a craft of mere aluminium composite to pieces, on account of its massively strengthened fuselage and wing spars plus duplicated hydraulic control lines, the latter added hastily as stop-gap measure to exert increased power over the aircraft's control surfaces without redesigning the system but having the unintended benefit of redundancy and continued function in the event of a catastrophic loss of hydraulic pressure. Then there was the radar in the nose, a crude contraption by most standards whose operating parameters could only be changed in a maintenance hangar on the ground - but the sheer wattage of the thing, fed by an alternator linked directly to one of the engine's huge turbine discs, tended to overpower attempts to jam or spoof its signal at all but the closest ranges. Indeed during ground tests it was reputed possible to place the aircraft at one end of a runway and a pan full of rice and water at the other, the radar's concentrated beam microwaving it to a boil in a matter of minutes.
Although equipped with four cannons of decent calibre, the Raven IV's missile armament had been added as something of an afterthought; semi-active guidance and a narrow boresight were as far as the designers were able (or willing) to advance the technology, the Kuki squadrons largely using it as something to pass the time until they closed with the target and subjected it to a hail of cannon shells. Thus, much of the advantage gained by the Raven's robust construction and its powerful radar in the battle's night-time conditions, was lost again when it came to the actual shooting..."