Plane Elements in Tactical Surface Attackers; A-10 Thunderbolt II

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known by its nickname Warthog, is an iconic piece of aviation. It entered service in 1976, it is still the US Air Force’s primary low-altitude close air support aircraft. It was designed to counter enemy (i.e. Soviet) armoured units and artillery, nothing less and nothing more. Its core design was to allow it to fly low, take hits and litter the battlefield with bullets. Its high-lift wings have large control surfaces, making the A-10 very manoeuvrable during its flight. It also helps the A-10 has a short take-off and landing allows it to function near the frontlines in rougher environment. These wings also cover the craft’s engines from down below, adding an extra layer of protection. Its ease of control allows pilots to do night missions with just a pair of night-vision goggles.

These engines are General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans with 4 115kg of thrust. Turbofans were selected over conventional jet engines due to the fact that they gives off less heat, thus making them less vulnerable to heat-seeking weaponry. Their high position gives them an extra layer of protection from ground fire.

In addition, the A-10 was designed to be largely symmetrical. Many of the parts are interchangeable between sides, including the engines and main landing gear, making it easy to be operated from austere bases with limited facilities.

A-10’s primary weapon is the GAU-8 Avenger, a 30mm gatling gun that takes most of its internal space. Somebody once told me they designed a cannon awesome and big enough that they needed to bolt an aircraft around it. It is the largest cannon ever fitted to an aircraft, and uses both depleted uranium armour-piercing and high explosive incendiary rounds, firing either one 35 rounds per second. In addition, the A-10 can carry a large range of general bombs, cluster bombs, rockets and missiles, including the Maverick anti-armour and Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles. It can carry up to respectable 7 264kg of additional weapons weight.

 

This BRRRRRRRRRRRT is a well spread meme

Essentially, the Thunderbolt II flies in, shoots the ever-living shit out of everything, makes the battlefield radioactive with depleted uranium and leaves metal wreckage in its wake, possibly with a distinct smell of napalm.

A-10 Thunderbolt II saw numerous little upgrades to it over the years, like the Pave Penny laser receiver pod in 1978, inertial navigation system in 1980 and the like. GPS systems were installed in 1999, and in 2005 the A-10 fleet began to receive the Precision Engagement upgrades to improve it to the new electronic warfare. This included better fire controlling system, electronic countermeasures, digital stores management, LITENING, Sniper advanced targeting pod integration SADL, VMF, GPS-guided weapons and upgraded to DC power among other upgrades. Now, the A-10 fleet carriers the A-10C designation.

The main difference between a Tactical Surface Fighter and Attacker is their role. Whereas TSFs are all about mobility and Hive infiltration, the TSAs are all about ranged combat with overwhelming fire power. They are, without a doubt, the shield to TSFs’ sword. The A-6 Intruder proved itself in beach landing operations, but due to the lack of Jump Units their role would always be limited. The answer to this was the A-10 Thunderbolt II, designed to litter the field with bullets like its real world counterpart.

The A-10 is essentially designed on F-4’s frame, and it shares its problems with increased bulk and weight. The A-10 balances these out adding even more armour (some optional!), superior Jump Units and sheer amount of fire power it carries. On its shoulders the A-10 carries two GAU-8 Avenger gatling guns in addition whatever weapon they can carry in their arms, like the WS-16 Assault Gun. It doesn’t have any Mount Pylons, but it needs none. In addition, the A-10 has Javelin CIDS Mk. 1 system installed all over its body. These are essentially explosive spikes that can be shot out in an explosive manner to get Tank-Class BETA off its surface.

 

The additional armour makes it look like it's hiding from its sempai. Just add blushing lines in there
The additional armour makes it look like it’s hiding from its sempai. Just add blushing lines in there

The role A-10 serves on the field is simple; massive crowd control. Its main role is to keep the smaller BETA strain under control, mainly the Tank-Class, while the TSFs can concentrate on the larger strains. The two comp each other, as A-10 is not terribly good against the larger strains due to its lack of mobility and melee weapons. Their main moment of glory was in late 1983, when Attack Squadron Pit Masters defended Hamburg from BETA invasion. Despite 50% losses, the invasion was halted, and the German civilians gave the craft an affectionate nickname Kanonenvogel after the Ju-87 Bomber.

Much like the real world version, the TSA A-10 gained some upgrades throughout the tears, mainly upgraded to use Operation by Light controls, newer and lighter armour plating as well as access to the Mk.57 Squad Support Gun and AMWS-21 Assault Gun. Much like with the real life version, the TSA has overall better performance after the upgrades.

A-10
The only officially coloured lineart of A-10 can be found in Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse World Guidance’s upgraded tech tree in a very miniscule size. There’s a fan render out there that’s using wrong colours too. Technically, the one used here is a A-10C, but the two share the same lineart

This TSA has the least of lines out of any piece I’ve done thus far. The main reason for this is the same as with MiG-21; it adheres to the in-universe logic that F-4 was the starting point and directly ascending it or using its frame use its main form. The TSA A-10 follows more the idea of field littering support unit than the form of the craft. This is applied to the armouring as well. Even the Jump Units are unique in that they replicate only the latter part of the craft and one of the sides.

There is very little A-10 in A-10 in terms of clear visual cues. The additional armour gives it more curved surface resembling the aircraft, but outside that it’s very stripped down. I would have preferred to see a more direct adoption of sleek curves from the plane itself instead of opting to follow the F-4 TSFs. At least the legs could’ve used some elements from the landing gears.

Plane elements in Tactical Surface Fighters; Dass-Ault Rafale

rafale
Here’s the original as per usual and the image board version

With the rather recent news of India and Qatar purchasing Rafales from Dassault Aviation to bolster their airforces, and the more recent new of Schwarzesmarken getting animated later this year, it’s pretty good time to celebrate the more obscure side of Muv-Luv a little bit, if obscure even is a thing when it comes to this franchise.

Rafale, the fighter, is pretty damn neat. It’s a multi-role fighter to some extent, able to do both short and long range missions, dogfight, attack land and sea targets and if necessary, enact a nuclear strike. It’s a fighter bred and born in France, developed by major French defence contractors. There is something French in the shape of the fuselage, with all the slight curves one would want to caress with interesting details to explore. It should be noted that prior to Rafale’s development, French Air Force and French Navy had a need for a proper next generation fighter. Due to this fact, it was chosen to combine the two projects into one, which would explain why Rafale is Duke’s wet dream coming true, able to fight in the land, sea and air. Still, the original project fell through due to multiple nations being part of the project, which is without the doubt why French took it to themselves to tackle the project. Nevertheless, the Rafale is a successful result despite all this and essentially has been replacing numerous different fighters the French forces have been using, including classics like F-8P Crusader.

The Tactical Surface Fighter mirrors the real life fighter in this nature. France was part of a multi-national project to replace Second and earlier generations TSF, that could not meet the need to tackle BETA to the needed extent. The European Front is different from America and even from Japan. It’s more akin to Kamchatka we saw in Total Eclipse, with constant threat from BETA from everywhere. There’s not much water to use in the middle of the continent, whereas Japan is a set of islands that can make use of Navy when needed. The rivers and lakes aren’t the best place to bring your naval support. Just like in real world, French dropped from the multi- national project because there was a disagreement on the engines of the Jump Units.

The Rafale and EF-2000 Typhoon share a lot same elements, as they were built from the same set of data and all that. The Rafale as a TSF has curved surfaces to it than the Typhoon, though the two have comparable performance in how they slay BETA. Indeed, both of them were built to kill them invaders by the dozen, and combined with the A-10C Thunderbolt II squadrons, both Rafale and Typhoon are pretty damn effective in their intended role of kicking ass and taking names. Their high-mobility design puts them well on par with the rest of the third generation machines and a good Surface Pilot could do whatever insane stuff is needed to weave through the enemy lines.

However, as Rafale is designed to fight the BETA, it lacks any notion of stealth. Stealth is useless against BETA, but against human targets it offers good leverage. I could see a future where Semi-fourth generation and actual Fourth generation European TSFs would employ stealth as one of their secondary capabilities just to counter the the possible battles they would have against the US forces. Knowing how much the US wants to fuck with the rest of the world for their own ends, there’s very little doubt that at some point after Alternative we would get at least minor wars between human fronts using TSFs.

Outside what reads on the chart, there’s not much to say about Rafale’s design. Its groin guard lacks the fighter’s nose, but outside that it incorporates all the elements the archetypical TSF takes from the planes. I would argue that the torso the design has should be more shaped to looks similar to the plane. While the EF-2000 Typhoon is related to the Rafale in visual concepts, the torsos are far too similar and making Rafale smoother with curved surfaces would’ve made a larger impact on the viewer. The geometry is more complex to create, but that would’ve been a small price to pay.  It also lacks the flight refuelling probe, but there wasn’t much they could done with it with the TSFs, and as it is removable, it was dropped.

There’s few things I’d like to put out there. I aim to use illustrations from the books as much as possible as not all TSFs or TSAs have sprites. In case of Rafale I could have used some of the sprites, but for uniform look I’ll stick with scanned illustrations, if possible. Secondly, despite I wanted to to write about the Falcate Sword the Rafale works, but that’s just slightly out of topic. There will be a post or two about TSF weapons at some point, as they could make a decent post on whether or not they are actually practical. For Falcate Sword, I’ll just say that’s it’s pretty damn retarded weapon, and that scythes don’t do too well on the battlefield due to obvious reasons.

Next time in TSF comparisons we’re going back in time to check out either MiG-21 or branch off to TSAs and check out what sort of elements the A-10 Thunderbold II has.