SF-22 “Jack Jumper”
The Jack Jumper, named after a vicious, poisonous ant from earth that somehow followed mankind to the stars, was originally designed to be a civil defense fighter. Instead it has more often been the bane of the GISS and defense agencies throughout human-controlled space.
The Jack Jumper is an economical but effective fighter that has the distinction of being the first mass-produced “kit” fighter. This means that a trained mechanic can open a shipping crate with a disassembled Jack Jumper and, with a group of four people, have the fighter assembled and prepped for flight in under half an hour.
Originally, the design team that created the fighter had intended it to be a carrier-based fighter that would allow a small carrier, like the Archer, to haul many times more fighters. But they had to cut too many corners to make it easy to disassemble and reassemble, especially in the way or armor. Eventually, the same design team went on to create the Crossbow, which is now the mainline fighter for the Terra Protectorate.
The Jack Jumper did find a market in the Free Colonies. Originally, it was sold as a civil defense fighter to the colonies, in an effort to compete with the government’s surplus Arrow fighters, which were based on aging technology. It also offered the possibility to the colonies of being able to field small carriers of their own. But the colonies, to this day, have never embraced the carrier concept (no real need for them) or the Jack Jumper. Only New Tortuga and its dependent colonies deploy a large amount of these fighters.
Where the Jack Jumper has taken off in popularity is among mercenary units and pirate groups. They love the portability and low cost of the fighter. They also love that, despite its budget design, it has a hard-hitting weapons package and is easy to fly and maintain. What the GISS, the Protectorate, and the other Free Colonies would like to know is where the pirates and mercenaries are getting them. Science Frontiers, the design company, has recorded no sales to independent dealers (and seem to be genuinely upset about the misuse of their product and the fact that they aren’t seeing a dime of the profits of these illegal sales). It only has some light sales to the Free Colonies and the large sale to New Tortuga on record. This has led some to believe that either New Tortuga or a merchant from the Xintrin Merchant Guild is selling knock-offs on the Black Market. The fighters are cheap enough and the design basic enough (to keep maintenance quick and cheap), that this fighter is one of the easier units to duplicate.
Besides being cheap, the Jack Jumper is fast and deadly. One of the fastest production fighters ever made, it is armed with four light lasers on a pair of shielded weapon arms, two hard points for medium-range missiles, and a pair of short-range missile launchers. This is more than enough fire power to destroy opposing fighters, intimidate “prizes” into rolling over for pirates, and to make civil defense forces think twice.
Where the fighter lacks is armor, sensors, and “legs.” The fighter has a fusion plant that runs off Helium-3. While Helium-3 is cheap, the fighter burns the stuff at a prodigious rate, reducing its range dramatically. It is not suitable for deep space flight or protracted combat. It has only the most basic of sensor packages, though there are black market upgrades that provide it with hull-penetrating scanners. As for armor, well there have been several reported cases of Jack Jumpers being brought down by small arms fire.
Model: SF-22 Civil Defense Fighter.
Class: Space Fighter
M.D.C. by Location
Weapon Arms (2) – 75 each
Wings (2) – 100 each
Wing-mounted engine nacelles (2) – 60 each
Short-range missile launchers (2) – 50 each
Main thrusters (2) – 85 each
Reinforced pilot’s compartment – 150
*Main body – 300
*Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will cause the fighter to explode. A successful piloting roll at -20% means the pilot was able to eject the pilot’s compartment, which acts as an escape pod. The pod has 2 days of emergency life support and a powerful radio distress beacon.
Maximum Speed: 280,000 m.p.h.
Maximum Acceleration/Deceleration: 11 Gs per melee round
FTL: Not possible.
Top Atmospheric Speed: Mach 6, able to achieve escape velocity on a full burn (uses up half the total fuel however)
Height: 14 ft
Width: 30 ft
Length: 36 ft
Mass: 5 tons
Cargo: There’s a surprisingly sizable cargo bay with an automated lift on the bottom of the craft, about the size of a 21s Century automobile trunk. It has a maximum load of 500 lbs.
Power Plant: Helium-3 powered fusion drive.
Range: Approximately one million miles (most are not used beyond a planet’s lunar orbit or out of scanning range of a mother ship)
Market Cost: 2 million to 2.5 million credits, depending on the state of the market. Sold only to individuals on the Black Market. A Class 2 weapons permit is required to legally own one. Governments and entities with the legal right to buy sub-military gear can purchase them for 1.5 million apiece.
1. Dual Light Lasers (2): Attached to each of the weapon arms are a pair of light laser cannons with not much more punch than a powerful laser rifle. However, they have good range and, well, there are four of them. The weapon arms were originally designed to be replaceable with different weapon systems, including a particle beam cannon, more missiles, grappling gear for rescue work or additional cargo pods. Some are on the market, but they are a rarity (see below).
Primary Purpose: Assault
Mega-Damage: 2D4x10 M.D. per dual blast. Both arms can rotate 45 degrees in any direction and can be used against targets as small as two feet in diameter. A quad blast from both arms does 4D4x10 M.D. and costs one attack.
Rate of Fire: Equal to the hand-to-hand attacks of the pilot.
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
2. Medium-range missiles (2): Two hard points under the cockpit hold two medium-range missiles, giving the fighter long-range punch and enough fire power to truly threaten most independent spacers and opposing fighters. They also allow the fighter to threaten capital ships with massed attacks.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Ship
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type.
Rate of Fire: Individually or as a pair.
3. Short-range missile launchers (2): A pair of short range missile launchers are dorsally mounted behind the pilot’s compartment. These are used to defend against incoming attacks and as additional anti-starship weaponry.
Primary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type.
Rate of Fire: Individually or in volleys of 2, 3 or 6.
Payload: 6 total; 3 in each launcher.
Sensors: Standard star fighter sensors.
Optional Weapon Arm Packages
The discs carrying the light lasers can be removed and swapped with one of the packages below. Generally used in pairs, it IS possible to use two different discs at once. Availability of all but the cargo pods and grapplers is extremely rare.
Particle Beam Cannon: An energy-intensive replacement for the light lasers that does more damage, but has shorter range. Damage is 3D6x10 M.D. per cannon; range is one mile in space and 2,000 feet in atmosphere; can be fired four times per melee round, and the payload is unlimited. Cost: 100,000 credits each
Hull-penetrating sensors: These discs have powerful sensors that can scan through hull armor and identify most complex molecules, allowing the pilot to identify a ship’s cargo or detect how many life forms are onboard. Range: 5 miles. Cost: 70,000 credits each
Cargo pods: These are simply two pods, each capable of carrying up to 500 lbs. of cargo in a 6x4x4 foot box. Cost: 10,000 credits each.
Electro-magnetic grappler: Fires a strong (10-ton weight limit) tether line of advanced composites attached to a powerful electro-magnetic pad. Range: 3,000 feet. Cost: 15,000 credits each.