|This article, AV-22D Sparrowhawk, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The AV-22D Sparrowhawk VTOL attack gunship is the latest version of the AV-22 line of gunships, in service since 2525.
The Venerable MV-14 Hornet had been used by the UNSC since prior to the Insurrection, its revolutionary design proving to be incredibly deadly against insurrectionist forces. However, they were extremely vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire, and the UNSC's current gunship, the Peregrine, was entering the last few years of its service life. United Aerospace began drawing up an 'expanded Hornet' design, utilising the technology behind the Hornet in a much larger, more capable platform. This soon became the Sparrowhawk.
The AV-22D is operated by two crewmen, the pilot and the gunner in standard fashion, with the gunner at the front and pilot to the rear. The gunner controls the vehicle's armaments through his Advanced Combat Engagement System.
The Sparrowhawk is operated by a triple redundant fly by light system ran through the primary flight computer. This flight computer allows the Sparrowhawk to stay stable and airborne. This is automatic and cannot be disabled or overridden, ensuring the safety of the pilot and aircraft. The Computer controls and adapts all the engine nozzles to allow optimum VTOL flight and stability. The flight computer is a self-learning neural network, being capable of learning the individual flight characteristics of the craft, as well as being capable of adjusting the flight characteristics to adjust for errors. Should one of the many on board sensors report damage to a control surface, the flight computer can adapt and adjust the flight characteristics of the craft to compensate and retain it's agility and lift. This system allows for a single flight computer to be used, without adjustment, across an entire range of aircraft, both civilian and military.
The controls for the pilot are relatively conventional left control stick and right throttle, with both containing appropriate command and control buttons for activation self defences and avionic systems.
The pilot is supported by a wide, high visibility holographic Heads Up Display, providing all flight information, sensor feeds, weaponry check listing and other support features, along with a direct voice interface system where with the thumb of a control stick button, the pilot can input direct commands to the on-board computer, which will preform the function, with a 99.99% reliability, by reading through the pilot's boom microphone.
Its communication gear consists of a wideband and encoded radio and SATLINK communication gear, with wide range, frequency hopping, adaptive spectrum frequencies and anti interception systems, giving high quality video and audio links.
Its navigation is handled by an advance GPS system, inertial guidance and laser operated gyroscopes.
The primary armament of the Sparrowhawk is two Light UNSC Ordnance Hardpoint Systems on each wing, giving it a heavy array of ordnance. Missile ordnance is guided through the aircraft's sensor suite and are selected, primed and launched by the gunner on electronic or speech command.
The Secondary Armament is a pair of 20mm rotary cannons, directly aligned with the front of the gunship, with limited traverse. This tracks the pilots helmet, allowing him to engage targets beneath the axis of the vehicle's front plane, without adjusting the position of the gunship itself. This provides a powerful weaon against light to medium armour and massed infantry formations.
The final armament is a nose mounted light gun. These are fed with a dual feeds to give it a wide variety of differing ammo, no matter the weapon system. It is kept in a folding canopy.
Armament operation, designation and assignment is operated through the Fire Control Computer. This allows the three primary ordnance systems to be operated by the pilot or gunner. so the pilot can operate the guided and unguided ordnance or 'lock' any of the guns and operate those by directing the aircraft.
The AV-22D is sleek and canted, making it difficult to detect. It is masked slightly be LASER and RADAR absorbent materials but these can only reduce its over all signature. Its difficult to mask the engines, though cold air bleeders do aid it in covering its thermal image.
The Sparrowhawk is armed with 3 DECEPTION Countermeasures, giving it a wide band defensive posture. This is supported by a CARAPACE Dual Active Protection System for 'one hit' defensive attacks against ordnance.
The primary sensor of the Sparrowhawk is an all round active electronically scanned array Fire Control RADAR, which gives it all round target detection, terrain mapping and threat detection. Enemy targets can be identified at up to 170 km and missiles at 90 km. This information is used to co-ordinate with other Marine aviation and ground elements for targeted fire and engagement. This also coordinates the Area Defence and Interception System for defensive options.
Its optics system is the Target Acquisition and Designation System/Pilot Night Vision System linked directly to the dual 20mm gun, hidden in the nose canopy and slaved into the weapon officer's helmet, providing a holographic image fed from the camera, controlled through his head and iris movements and targeting system changed by a simple press of a button on his control stick. The system has a thermal imaging system, a laser ranger finder, a full colour TV camera, a LIDAR system and a night vision camera. It can identify almost 300 targets, infantry and vehicle, and engage them.
Along the sides it carries several pairs of short range thermal and monochrome TV cameras with steadied auto-tracking and display systems. It can lock onto one target designated by the weapons officer and by passing from one camera to another, maintain an optical lock.
All optics can be switched through the weapon officers HUD, put on one of the screens in the cockpit, put on the main HUD or create a 3-D composite hologram of all cameras.
Armour and Airframe
The AV-22D Sparrowhawk's airframe is constructed from a basis of superplastic-shaped diffusion-adhered metal matrix composites. These light, oxidation resistant light-matrix composites are formed from high modulus and high strength gold doped zirconium oxide fibres and a titanium/aluminium laminate matrix, formed by heat bonding layers of titanium, aluminium and titanium aluminide, forming high strength crystal matrices, the results forming a high strength, yet flexible and light airframe. The skin is formed from four layered plates attached to the frame. The inside layer is a high strength carbon nanotube nanobud mesh composite, which does not melt on re-entry and protects the ship and occupants. Above this is an environmental layer, which regulates internal and external heat, preventing layers from outright melting or freezing, and protecting the occupants. The third layer is a resin bonded layer of structural titanium aluminide with a titanium mesh insert. The fourth layer is an outer layer of AEGIS tiles, built on a non-newtonian shock absorbing layer, providing thermal and oxidation protection. The cockpit is situated in titanium-AEGIS compound armoured 'tubs'. These give limited protection against enemy fire. The windscreen is bullet-proof diffusion-bonded self-regenerating stretched-acrylic, with a coating of liquid glass, with a variable electronically controlled gold tinted setting, which protects it from solar rays, laser dazzles and electronic interference. These give limited protection against enemy fire. The skin is painted with thermal diffusing paint, heat controlled hull to generate a black body exterior, infra-red suppressors on the engines, RADAR absorbent paint, liquid glass composites and LASER absorbent laminates, which when compounded with its stealth design, gives it excellent stealth abilities.
The survivability of the airframe is legendary, as it was for it's predecessors. It is capable of surviving crashes relatively intact at low speed and low altitude. The ruggedness of the Sparrowhawk is incredibly, capable of sustaining heavy amounts of enemy fire or even with a whole tail missing. As well as being hardened against electromagnetic effects, it its covered in a sensor network that reports directly to the pilot's damage computer, meaning any and all damage is immediately detected and analysed.
Powerplant and Engines
The Sparrowhawk has come some way since the older generation ducted air fans. It now uses a pair of high power multi directional compact turbofans. This allows it to go faster and with increased agility. These can allow it to perform incredible moves, even things the designers never dreamed of, such as back flips or aileron rolls. Despite it's bulk, its agility is surprisingly good, fully capable of even dodging missiles in terminal flight. These engines are mounted on high performance optically guided tilt systems. These are supported by a powerful turbofan engine that is mounted in a fixed, horizontal position, allowing it to give it powerful forward motion. It is supported by an electrical powerplant to supply power to the vehicle's chain guns and electrical systems.
It features a pressurized cockpit, triple redundant hydraulic landing gear and ejector seats for the pilot and weapons officer.
The Sparrowhawk acts as a forward air to ground suppression platform, capable of engaging tanks, infantry and anti-aircraft systems. Being the most durable, if not the most agile gunship in the UNSC arsenal, it is capable of taking heavy fire without sustaining sever damage. Even after that, its triple redundancy allows it to continue even when damaged.
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