The AEF-25 "Aquila" is the Directorate's principle fighter craft in both space and in atmosphere. Despite being considered a fighter, it is a very large craft and requires a substantial crew: Chief Officer, Pilot, co-Pilot, two Weapons Technicians, a Chief Systems Technician and four Systems Technicians, two of whom are responsible for Electronic Warfare and the other two for Defensive Systems. Despite this, the AEF-25 is not only heavily armed and well protected, but extremely maneuverable. With the assistance of magnetic launch tubes, it is capable of performing well even in the vast airless conditions of Outer Space, while in the atmosphere of a planet it may pull speeds and perform maneuvers that would make a 20th century jet fighter look like a particularly fat, slow and useless bird.
The AEF-25 Aquila is a large, tailless flying wing that resembles an angular, matte-black boomerang with its stealth features and emissions-absorbing outer coat. Each fighter, although it lacks any artificial gravity systems and thus is incapable of FTL travel, boasts internal sleeping accomodations and a mess galley for the crew, enabling it to stay away from a mother craft for relatively extended periods of time. Power is provided by two large triple reaction chamber fusion reactors and two smaller secondary reactors, while a series of fuel cells secreted throughout the ship provide energy for auxillary systems. Primary thrust comes through six twinned pairs of powerful ion engines in recessed housings on the fighter's body, while maneuvering is accomplished using a series of secondary ion pulse jets and - during atmospheric operation - "clamshell" flaps and drag fins.
The AEF-25 is armed with four 152mm Magnetohydrodynamic Cannons sunk into recesses on the underside of the fuselage, two on either side of the central cockpit section. The muzzles of these cannons do not protrude from their shrouds and can be covered up by retractable cowls to lessen their radar signature. The fighter also has four 65mm autocannons firing through "slits" in the nose. These autocannons are fire-linked in pairs, one pair per side, meaning that the cycling of one gun automatically cycles and fires its opposite. The AEF-25 also boasts two launch bays for ordnance, located on the underside of the outer fuselage near the wing roots. Missiles and bombs are carried by the fighter inside of its expansive wings and deployed through these two compartments, but the craft has no pylons for carrying payloads externally - this would ruin its stealth signature.
The Aquila also has six automated point-defense laser projectors and three automated 37mm gun emplacements located on its fuselage for defending against enemy smallcraft or munitions. It has both pulsed and full-coverage energy screen systems which operate simultaneously to create a layered defense. The latter shielding system, which completely cacoons the fighter in a crystaline matrix of highly-charged particles, absorbs and redirects incoming energy emissions; radar waves or lasers slide over the shields and give no returns, making a shielded fighter invisible to the most common forms of remote detection technologies. Each Aquila also has an extensive Electronic/Cyber Warfare Systems suite with two crewmen and an onboard A.I. to perform the task, making it largely immune to such attacks as well as capable of engaging in them itself. Finally, the hull of the craft itself is designed to be as stealthy as possible, giving the massive frame and its 60-meter wingspan the equivalent RADAR cross-section of a dove and a comparable LIDAR cross-section to a small un-stealthed drone aircraft. The external skin of the fighter, in addition to absorbing energy emissions, enables it to resist vast quantities of heat generated from high speed atmospheric flight at many times the speed of sound, and doubles as an effective defense against many types of directed energy weapons.
The AEF-25 Aquila, when used for space warfare, is an interceptor, superiority fighter and strike fighter rolled into one. It has the velocity and endurance to engage enemy smallcraft both in defense of a mothership or autonomously out away from larger vessels, as well as the modularity and raw power to do damage to vessels many times larger than itself - especially in numbers. In the atmosphere of a planet, it normally functions as a Strike Fighter, as the vast majority of opposing airforces are irreversably crippled within mere minutes of a Directorate assault on the planet. In the rare times it is called upon to wrestle control of the skies from the enemy, or to maintain air superiority, the Aquila has few rivals, pulling nearly Mach 30 [36,751 km per-hour] during normal combat and capable of cruising at far greater speeds, although the sheer inertia generated at these velocities means it must slow down considerably to perform maneuvers. Its four massive cannons shred hardened, shielded enemy emplacements, armored vehicles, groups of infantry and other aircraft alike with contemptible ease, while its computer systems may fire an anti-armor missile and hit a 1-meter by 1-meter target with 100% accuracy from anywhere within the missile's range envelope.
It should be noted, however, that the fighter's extreme speeds are only possible in atmosphere with the use of its energy screen systems. Without them, the friction would quite literally melt and incinerate the fighter in short order. During normal atmospheric operations, the AEF-25 does not exceed speeds which its hull can handle for safety reasons, but also reasons of mobility. At extremely high speeds, the fighter cannot overcome its own natural momentum and inertia to bank or perform aerial maneuvers. An Aquila fighter sprinting at speeds of Mach 30 or more is easy pray for enemy surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles, which are capable of speeds in the realm of Mach 50. Thus an AEF-25 normally operates in the range of about Mach 15 except in high atmosphere, where the air is much thinner.
Wingspan / Width: 60 meters
Length: 42 meters
Height / Depth: 6 meters
Wing Area: Approx. 620 square meters
Empty Weight: 75,000 kg [165,347 lbs]
- Type-42-3 Invictus Combine Triple Fusion Reactors x 2
- Type-60-2 Cyrus Engineering Dual Fusion Reactors x 2
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell Auxillary Network
- A-152 Type-13 Magnetohydrodynamic Cannon [152mm] x 4
- A-65 Type-25 Induction Rail Autocannon [65mm] x 4
- 28,000 kg of ordnance (missiles, bombs)
- Dual-layer Simultaneous Energy Screen System
- Ablative Energy Dispersal Outer Shell
- Ceramic-Composite / Tungsten Armor Tiles
- Titanium Alloy Inner Hull
- Full Spectrum, A.I.-assisted Electronic & Cyber Warfare Systems
- Point Defense System
--- A-L3 Type-14 Laser Projector x 6
--- A-37 Type-19 Induction Coiled Accelerator [37mm] x 3
- Absolute Maximum Velocity: Mach 36 [44,101 km per-hour]
- Normal Maximum Atmospheric Velocity: Mach 28.5 [24,913.8 km per-hour]
- Atmospheric Cruise Velocity: Mach 20 [24,800.5 km per-hour]
- Combat Velocity: Mach 12-15 [14,700.5 km per-hour to 18,375.7 km per-hour]