Clawfish II Heavy Fighter
After their defeat in the first war with the Terran Protectorate, the Arkhon Military Command identified one glaring technological weakness: Star fighters. They had humanity beat in virtually every other technical field, but the quality of human space fighters and the training of their pilots were the cause of defeat after defeat. When the Terran Protectorate would achieve battlefield superiority with their fighters, the Arkhon forces took horrendous damage. Their transports and supply lines were at humanity’s mercy, and in the final battle at the Volo Anchorage, it was the human Arrow and Ballista fighters that led to their ultimate defeat, flying into a space dock and destroying the reactor for a damaged Mothership, destroying the entire facility.
They knew that if there was ever another conflict, they’d need a star fighter that would level the playing field. The Spikefish was retired and relegated to picket duty and planetary defense forces. The Clawfish I, and then the Clawfish II, took the position as the new space superiority fighter of the Arkhon forces.
While the Spikefish was designed primarily for supporting ground forces, the Clawfish is designed for space combat and dog fighting. It is faster and more heavily armed, though not better armored. What’s more, it’s relatively cheap to build, and the Arkhon are hoping to overmatch humanity with quality AND quality. However, they had not anticipated the Crossbow. They were looking for a new version of the Arrow and Ballista fighters, which relied on armaments and armor. The Crossbow relies on speed and agility. It’s unclear how the two new fighters will match up over time. The Clawfish is more heavily armed, and more numerous, but the Crossbow is faster and more agile…and generally better piloted.
The Clawfish II’s primary weapons are a pair of heavy tri-beam cannons, with good range and stopping power. They are used mainly against enemy fighters and soft targets. For larger targets, the Clawfish employs a pair of wingtip-mounted short-range missile launchers fed from spacious magazines in the wings. While not having the range of the Crossbow’s medium-range missiles, the Clawfish carries 40 of the short-range missiles. Along with the tri-beam cannons, this gives the Clawfish much longer battlefield duration than the Crossbow. The Clawfish is also armed with a pair of flechette guns built directly into the cockpit, so that it has not lost the Arkhon fighter’s traditional role of ground support. Additionally, it has two missile pylons under each wing, allowing it to carry four long-range missiles or eight medium-range missiles, though this is very rare.
The Arkhon pilots are very happy with the Clawfish II, and
are eager to mix it up with the new Crossbow. There will be no fear between
these two groups of pilots, and a
Clawfish are deployed in groups of four, known as flight teams. These Flight Teams are commanded by a Swordbearer. Three flight teams make a Triangle, analogous to the Protectorate’s squadrons of 12. Each Triangle is commanded by a Knight. Four Triangles create a Shield; a force of 48 fighters. Each Shield is commanded by a Duke, who is almost always an ace (though at the beginning of the war, Dukes will be just pilots with combat experience). The largest unit of fighter craft in the Empire is a Shieldwall, consisting of 192 units, or four Shields. A Mothership has a fighter compliment of one Shieldwall, usually commanded by a Clan Prince who is quite often the son of the Mothership’s commanding officer.
The Clawfish is an ancient predatory sea creature that was a cross between an angler fish and a lobster. They filled the same biological niche as small predatory sharks.
As with all military vehicles employed by the Arkhons, the Clawfish is constructed of ceresteel, which takes half damage from energy weapons, but double damage from ballistic weaponry (though explosives do normal damage).
Model: Clawfish II Heavy Attack Fighter
M.D.C. by Location
Wings (2) – 120 each
Wing shields/Missile launchers (2) – 100 each
*Main Body – 300
Reinforced pilot’s compartment/Escape Pod – 120
*Depleting the MDC of the main body will destroy the fighter, causing the escape pod to eject. Unfortunately for the Arkhon pilots, the power plant is much more powerful on the Clawfish II, which results in the reactor exploding about 40% of the time that the fighter is destroyed, which also destroys the escape pod before it can blow clear. The escape pod can parachute down to the surface of a planet, if in atmosphere, or float adrift in space. It has a 20-hour life support supply and a powerful beacon.
Maximum Speed: 260,000 mph.
Maximum Acceleration/Deceleration: 10Gs per melee round. The anti-gravity system allows for tight turns, stopping and turning on a dime, and high-G maneuvers that most mortal beings could not withstand.
FTL Speed: Not possible.
Top Atmospheric Maneuvering Speed: Mach 7. The anti-gravity propulsion system allows the vehicle to fly into space at any speed.
Height: 13 feet
Length: 33 feet
Width: 42 feet
Cargo: None, beyond a survival package for the pilot that includes all the gear of a standard Arkhon infantryman.
Power System: Anti-matter; with an average lifespan of 20 years.
Market Cost: Not for sale.
1. Tri-Beam Cannons (2): At first, one would think that since the Spikefish had four tri-beam cannons, the Clawfish would suffer in firepower for only having two. However, the Spikefish’s pairs of tri-beam cannons could NOT be aimed at the same target; effectively cutting the firepower it had available during aerial combat in half. The Clawfish drops the extra pair and puts both close in under the cockpit. Their power output is also significantly higher, resulting in a more effective, and efficient, weapons system.
Primary Purpose: Anti-star fighter
Mega-Damage: 2D6x10 M.D. for a double blast; does double damage to most materials.
Range: 2 miles in space, 4,000 ft in atmosphere.
Rate of fire: Equal to hand-to-hand attacks of the pilot
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
2. Short-range Missile Launchers (2): Built into the distinctive wing shields, these high-capacity missile launchers are used both to attack larger vessels and to defend against other missile attacks. Fortunately, each launcher dispenses one missile at a time and are not designed to fire large volleys.
Primary Purpose: Assault
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type
Range: Varies, generally about 15 miles in space, 5 miles in atmosphere.
Rate of fire: Can be fired individually, or in pairs.
Payload: 20 missiles per launcher, for a total of 40.
3. Flechette Launchers (2): These weapons were included to keep the fighter from losing the ground support role for which the Spikefish was known. The weapon is also useful during extremely close-range dog fights.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Personnel
Mega-Damage: 1D4x10 M.D. per dual shot, or 2D6x10+10 M.D. for a 10-round burst (5 rds from each gun). Can spray an area 40 feet in diameter, causing one round (3D6 M.D.) of damage to all within the area of effect.
Range: 4,000 ft in atmosphere, about a mile and a half in space.
Rate of fire: Equal to the hand-to-hand attacks of the pilot
Payload: Two 2,000-round belts; one for each gun, for a total of 400 possible bursts.
4. Missile pylons (4): The Clawfish has four additional missile pylons, two under each wing, that allow them to carry either four long-range missiles or eight medium-range missiles. These missiles are used to turn the fighter into a fighter/bomber and are only used for heavy strike missions.
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type
Range: Varies with missile type
Rate of fire: Individually or in pairs or in volleys of four.
Payload: Four long-range missiles or eight medium-range missiles.
Sensors of note: Clawfish fighters have excellent short-range sensors, covering an area of 10,000 miles, and are able to “deep scan” cargo vessels and identify their contents at a range of 5 miles.
Bonuses: +1 to initiative and dog fighting, in addition to standard bonuses.