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A Batoidea in planetary orbit.

Overview and Design Philosophy

Aerospace combat is a crucial part of planetary invasions. Most of the weight lies on fighter craft which are able to engage in space as well as in atmosphere. To this end they are equipped with anti-grav drives or designed with streamlining right from the start. Though streamlining has more benefits than anti-grav drives in most cases even these fighters are not built to optimum aerodynamic efficiency.

While there are indeed aircraft designs being deployed on some planets they strictly operate in atmosphere and thus lack the tactical flexibility of a true aerospace fighter. Though it has been generally assumed that this restriction is not compensated by the crafts' very low acquisition costs JRCFOB commissioned a detailed evaluation of specific aerial combat parameters.

Results showed advantages some dedicated fighter aircraft have over normal aerospace craft in terms of manoeuverability in atmosphere. Of great importance is the faster angular velocity when performing certain manoeuvers. This means that the more agile craft is rather to outmanoeuver and get a faster target acquisition on an opponent. In space agility is dependent on thrust rating only and not on aerodynamics. In atmosphere advanced aerodynamics can be included in a design to give it an edge.

Joint Commonwealth / Renegade Fighter Operations Board (JCRFOB) assigned firms to bring in design proposals using the data gathered. Thus came the BATOIDEA, designed by TaBDB, into existence. It is named after a family of flat-bodied fish species of which some are bred for fancy food dishes on various planets. Word has it that the project's chief aerodynamicist, Gal Matityahu, who is a connoisseur of batoidea dishes, proposed the name which was accepted. This is in line with the companies preference to name their designs after animals. The BATOIDEA's stablemate is the SHRIKE heavy fighter.

Capabilities and Tactical Role

The BATOIDEA’s blended-wing-fuselage design combined with large control surfaces and flaps incorporates cutting edge aerodynamics. This concept enables it to be exceptionally agile in atmosphere. At the same time the ability to perform standard space-borne operations has not been disregarded.

For a light fighter it features better than average armor protection and an unusual armament configuration: it mounts one single 7.5/6 laser -the heaviest that can be installed in a fighter- in order to provide good one-shot-kill potential to critically hit or destroy an opponent fast. The absence of hardpoints was criticized though, a lack which leaves the craft without the protection of ECM equipment. The design company pointed out to the case of the aging Avenger heavy fighter which, in its common configuration, lacks any hardpoints. Yet it still can stand its ground against most foes and is a mainstay of the Commonwealth and Renegade Armed Forces. How this drawback will affect the Batoidea in a hostile environment with heavy ground-to-air missile fire remains to be seen.

The high thrust variant addresses this flaw by carrying four hardpoints under its wings. With a whopping acceleration of 12 G it is very fast and surpassed only by the TOG Arcubalista at recon missions. It requires a special breed of pilots to get the most out of such a hot rod.

TaBDB faces some stern competition from other firms which brought in their own proposals. Trials on all the prototype designs involved have not completed yet. So the decision of the Board on which will become the new light fighter remains to be seen.
















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