From Alliance News HQ in Vancouver
May 10, 2197
New Hardware on Display at FPM
By Amita Quita
Farnborough, Great Britain- The skies above the Farnborough Aerospace port came alive for over a week with the sound of the latest military aerospace craft as part of the annual Farnborough-Paris-Moscow (FPN on the galactic trade exchange index) aerospace and trade show. Skilled pilots wowed the ten thousand strong crowd with aerobatic displays while hundreds of top executives from regional, planetary, sector corporations and governments perused the latest in the cutting edge of military hardware. Among the highlights of the show were:
- The XF-66 and XF-68, the fighters designs in competition to fulfill the Alliance Military requirements for the next Advanced Carrier Fighter or ACF program. Both designs sported new crystalline ablative armor to protect them from directed energy weapons, upgraded electronics countermeasures, and new organic-machine interfaces. The ground displays showed both designs with FAST (Fuel and Sensor Tactical) packs loaded with extra munitions and the OSJ module or One-Shot-Jump module designed to give fighter size craft a limited FTL capability.
- Rostvertol/Boeing offered a new version of the A-61 Mantis gunship, dubbed the A-62 Hornet. The Hornet showed expanded modularity beyond the Mantis already vaunted flexibility. Three version were on offer: the A-62A Omnirole Attack, the A-62B Omnirole Support and the A-62C Omnirole Electronics Warfare. The Attack version dispensed with the cargo module, second crew man and switched the M350 dual machine gun turret for a pair of fixed M400 mass accelerator cannons, the same used in the UT-47A. The Support version has a larger cargo bay to carry more troops or mechs as needed while the Electronic Warfare version switches the cargo bay with an enlarged ALQ/ERP/DCC-122 jamming pod/electronic reconnaissance pod as well as expanded VI drone support, which enables a third crew member to control up to 24 combat drones at once. Each version has enlarged wing structure with three hard points each for multiple weapons packages that included triple launchers for advance drones as well as the new Peregrine Multi-Spectrum missile system in development for the Alliance Military.
- Another expanded design was the UT-47B, a heavily armed and armored version of the venerable Kodiak Drop Shuttle. NorthAm Multistellar, primary manufacturer of the Kodiak in Alliance space integrated a series of modifications made on the field by users in recent conflicts. The B model sports a pair pintle mounts for light, dual barrel mass accelerators machine guns, improved rate of fire modification for the forward mass accelerator cannons, and a pair of rear mounted rocket/missile launcher for ground attack. They were intended to fill a close escort/fire support for other shuttles during landing operations.
Controversy shrouded some of these designs. Industries insiders who talked to ANN said that the XF-66 pushes the airframe of the F-61 Trident to its limits and leaves no room for future hardware growth. They blame Shinsei Heavy Industries desire to keep costs down as well as their conservative approach to design for this development. Meanwhile the XF-68 sports a new organic-machine interface that required cybernetic modifications on the part of the pilots without any observable benefits in terms of performance. That and that the design was suspiciously similar to the fighters operated by Cerberus during the Reaper Invasion. A spokes person for Cord-Hislop Aerospace denied any connection to Cerberus past or present except that the company did analyze captured craft for the Alliance military and under their full supervision.
Meanwhile both the A-62 Hornet and the UV-47B Kodiak lived under the shadow of the McCollic case (see ANN Legal Brief) in which the former CEO of NorthAm Mulstistellar was found guilty of selling Alliance Military secrets to non-Citadel governments. Melinda Aguirre, current CEO of NorthAm assured ANN that the matter was laid to rest with the McCollic trial.
The show will move to Paris in 2198 as part of the FPM agreement to share the show's placement among the three major European cities.
Report filed by Amita Quita for ANN News Vancouver.