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This is a fan-made contribution.

The Shrike is a heavy fighter design of the Commonwealth Armed Forces. It is built to engage enemy forces at great distances while still possessing the average punch of a fighter of its own weight class in close and medium quarters. It is still in prototype stage but first accounts show considerable potential. 

Etymology

Shrikes are birds of the family Laniidae. The family name lanius is derived from the Latin word for "butcher", and some shrikes are also known as butcherbirds because of their feeding habits. They were native on Terra, the very heart of TOG, but have since been imported mostly by accident to various other planets were they showed an astounding adaptability to alien environments. Some shrikes are known to impale their prey, which consists of worms, insects and small animals.

Production History

Evaluation of starfighter engagements against enemy fighters and installations showed that CW fighters, while built for greater self-sufficiency in contrast to their TOG counterparts, were more dependent on getting close to a target to deliver effective damage, due to their lower reliance on missile fire. By doing so, of course, they get increasingly exposed to hostile fire.

To aggravate this problem, TOG fighter self-sufficiency, survivability, and missile-independent long-range firepower recently improved with the introduction of the Ictus and the Spatha, and these two craft surpass many of the CW fighters at their own game.

While the premier CW heavy fighter, the Fluttering Petal, has more combat prowess than its most common TOG counterpart, the Gladius, it now faces an opponent in the Spatha that is able to meet the Petal on an equal footing.

To counter this development and to give its fighters a much needed advantage, the Joint Commonwealth / Renegade Fighter Operations Board (JCRFOB) decided to launch a design competition for a machine equally suited to classical space superiority combat and for strike missions against installations. These seemingly contradictory specs were met with some scepticism.

Despite that, amongst all submissions that of a small company stood out. Tank and Bader's Design Bureau's (TaBDB)  proposal boasted two of the most powerful guns of each kind of beam weapon which a starfighter could carry, and two missile hardpoints to boot.

To date only test flights have occurred, but test jocks gave the Shrike rave reviews and rated it equal to or better than the Fluttering Petal in many respects. The ideal tactical proposal is to soften up targets from afar before the close-in furball begins. The task the Shrike a potentially decisive advantage in space battles seems to have been accomplished, at least in tests and simulations. So far the prototypes did not reveal any major deficiencies. With the test results so promising, expectations of the company for an imminent production contract are running high.

Design Philosophy and Tactical Role

Two NPCs, two heavy lasers and two hardpoint make for an exceptionally heavy turret armament, a rare case where the turret bears more sting than the hull mounts. This makes it more dangerous for enemies to tail up on the Shrike. The risk of a frozen turret and thus a majority of the armament immobilized was considered acceptable.

Initially the Shrike was targeted to install the new TPPs instead of EPCs but that resulted in the thrust dropping below acceptable margins. Its current armament gives it firepower competitive to other heavy fighters of its class over most ranges, while considerably beating them in firepower at distances between 105 km and 150 km. Against installations, its configuration is especially advantageous by enabling it to deal out heavy blows without having to get too close. During these kind of missions the massive arsenal of the turret is trained on target in a fly-by strafe. In this way, a straight approach can be avoided and velocity kept high, which makes interception of the Shrike much more difficult.

Though atmospheric combat is not the design's forte, due to its great reliance on particle cannon armament, TaBDB outfitted it with an anti-grav drive in order to endear it to the board. TaBDB made the anti-grav device modular - a novelty -, because they were anticipating a possible de-installation in exchange for a boost in weapons load. That would give the Shrike an additional edge in space combat, its natural environment.

Currently no high-thrust modicfication has been planned, but all weapon locations are designed roomy enough for an easy retrofit. In that case the turret guns were to be retained if possible. Though the unit cost is quite high, simulations indicate that it will perform well enough to justify acquisition.

The designers gave the craft an appearance similar to the Fluttering Petal or a Space Gull with the wings folded downwards. According to TaBDB this was to improve atmospheric flight characteristics. But no doubt pilots are likely to be using this feature to try and fool enemy detectors, as has happened with other variable-wing fighters. If this craft gets cleared for production and deployed in combat, the first TOG pilots it encounters will sure be in for a nasty surprise, not knowing that the Shrike carries two of the heaviest NPCs with the damage potential of SSS missiles.

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Legionnaire RPG Values: Shrike

Hit Location Sub-Location Damage Boxes / Damage
[1] Structure - [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][][] [][][][]
[2] FTL Drive - None
[3] Shields - [][][][][] []
[4] Engines / Thrust - [][][][][] ::: Thrust 5 g
[5] Armour - [][][][][] [][][][][]
[6] Crew [1-5] Pilot

[6-10] Gunner

[][][][][]

[][][][][]

[7] Weapon Computers - [][][][]
[8] Sensors - [][][]
[9] Life Support - [][][]
[10] Weapons [1] EPC-18 Damage 7
- [2] EPC-18 Damage 7
- [3] 7.5/6 Laser Damage 8
- [4] 7.5/6 Laser Damage 8
- [5] NPC-20 Damage 10
- [6] NPC-20 Damage 10
- [7] Hardpoint *
- [8] Hardpoint *

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Leviathan Values: Shrike

Fleet Action

Due to its limited atmospheric capability, the Shrike is bound to see a majority of fleet action. As a powerful dogfighter, it is well-suited to mix it up with enemy fighter complements.

Raiding Action

Too slow to be used in a true system-raiding role, the ability of the Shrike to strike at an oblique angle with its turret nevertheless makes it useful to hit immobile installations. If it is intercepted by faster fighters, its dogfighting capability is likely to deal with the pursuit, and its turret gives it the ability to continue accelerating outward from the system towards its carrier while still engaging pursuing craft.

Group (72 Fighters) Armour Missile Attack Value CRA LRA Thrust
Armour Row 6 [][][][][][] [][][][][][] [][][][][][] [] 100 223 194 5
Armour Row 5 [][][][][][] [][][][][][] [][][][] - 186 162 -
Armour Row 4 [][][][][][] [][][][][][] [] - 149 130 -
Armour Row 3 [][][][][][] [][][][] - 112 97 -
Armour Row 2 [][][][][][] [][] - 74 65 -
Armour Row 1 [][][][][][] - 37 32 -
Flight (24 Fighters) Armour Missile Attack Value CRA LRA Thrust
Armour Row 3 [][][][][][] [][][][] 25 74 65 7
Armour Row 2 [][][][][][] [][] - 50 43 -
Armour Row 1 [][][][][][] - 25 22 -
Squadron (6 Fighters) Armour Missile Attack Value CRA LRA Thrust
Armour Row 1 [][][][][][] 10 19 16 9
Single Fighter Values Armour Missile Hardpoints CRA LRA Thrust
Shrike 100 2 62 54 5

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