|This article, F-218D/E Sabre, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "The fighter that revolutionized the war still runs rings around any fighter, or missile system, stupid enough to go toe to toe with it."
- ―Lieutenant Commander Jason Harms
The F-218 Sabre is a UNSC Fighter and Interceptor. Its used by the Navy and Air Force in a number of variants for interception and destruction of enemy space craft. Possessing speed and agility, it is the UNSC's primary space interceptor, used to engage enemy fighters and bombers before they can threaten friendly forces.
The Sabre was first conceived in late 2530. With Longsword fighters then used by the Navy and Air Force proved to be highly effective against Covenant fighters by virtue of the sheer amount of armament they carried, they proved to be vulnerable to small swarm attacks by dozens of fighters at once, and lacked agility in space. On top of that, they were sluggish and poorly defended compared to most of their Covenant counter parts. The Sabre was intended to solve that problem. The Sabre was smaller, faster, conceivably carrying as much armament as could be allowed on such a small platform. As the development grew, it began to take on several reverse engineered technologies, such as anti-gravity systems, plasma propulsion units, and eventually energy shields. Though it had some difficulty in development, development continued thanks to the assistance of the Office of Naval Intelligence, providing advanced technologies and some of their best engineers.
After three failed test flights in the forties, it was discovered that the adaptive flight system, and prototype FAI could not adjust fast enough, based on a lack of data concerning its flight capabilities, and A.I. testing proved inconclusive, due to the gulf in reaction time between humans and A.I., so UAE engineers scrambled for a response. ONI elected to bring one of its best onto the program. A SPARTAN-III. SPARTAN-B312 was highly trained in aerial and space combat, being a proficient pilot of Pelican, Longsword and Falcon-class craft. The flight data B312 provided for the program was invaluable, and allowed the on-board flight computers enough data to allow human pilots. B312 continued to fly a Sabre on a number of missions, including anti-insurgency on Mamore. The Sabre eventually entered full production, and by the 2552, there were six fully operational squadrons on Reach, with four operational squadrons on Earth, three more reserve squadrons and a dozen more in training. When Reach fell, these squadrons were almost wholly annihilated, but not before incurring significant losses on the Covenant, contesting Covenant fighters for space dominance throughout the entire campaign. The data gathered here would be invaluable in the development of the Sabre, and future deployments. On Earth, two dozen squadrons were thrown into the fray, most having been out of training for only a few days. These squadrons proved to tip the balance in the favour of the UNSC during the protracted campaign. Protecting the surviving MAC platforms in close range, pitched fire fights, these fighters also covered evacuation of civilian populaces, attributed a number of Covenant capital ship kills and flew daring missions, most of which are still classified. By the time the siege on Earth ended, with a massed UNSC-Sangheili fleet beating back the remaining Covenant ships, three squadrons remained operational, with pilots from multiple squadrons grouped in with surviving aircraft.
The Sabre entered massed production, and future variants serving before eventual replacement by the F-218D/E.
The F-218 Sabre can be divided into two current generation variants. The F-218D Super Sabre is the Navy's current interceptor, being the fastest combat spacecraft they have. The Super Sabre is outfitted for Zero-G combat, being capable of launching from a space-borne platform and landing on one again. As such, it has the capability for vertical take off and landing in zero-G environments and can be received by docking systems.
The Air Force use the F-218E Star Sabre variant, which is designed for take off and landing from terrestrial environments. It is designed to be fitted with a multi-stage booster rocket assembly, allowing it to reach orbit in the fastest possible time, reaching orbit in one minute, though time varies based upon different worlds. This booster detaches and jettisons itself, burning up in re-entry. The Star Sabre is fitted with landing gear for touching down on runways, and arrestor gear for arrestor cable supported landings. The Super and Star Sabre share 96% of their components, allowing vast amounts of interchangeability.
The primary armament of the Sabre consists of two forward facing gun. It uses two M1024 ASW/AC 30mm MLA cannons, rapid fire coilguns intended to rapidly pulverise and destroy armoured targets. Typically, these weapons are usually loaded with a mixture of Kinetic Core Penetrator (Tungsten Carbide) and Kinetic Penetrator Incendiary rounds, in a 4:1 mixture. This gives it excellent damage against shielding and armour, allowing it to incur significant amount of damage in a short space of time.
The Sabre is also fitted with two medium cyclic launchers. These are carried internally and are fired through the hatches on the port and starboard side of the craft. These have five pylons, and can carry two Gorgon/Quicksilver SRAAM missiles per pylon, or a single Copperhead BVRAAM or Snakebite AELRAAM per pylon, giving it a wide choice of munitions for engaging hostile craft. It can also carry the deadly Spectre-class anti-ship missile, air to ground missiles, cruise missiles, small nuclear charges and bombs. While classified as an Interceptor, this allows it to threaten capital ships.
The Sabre also has 4 external medium pylons, which are equipped at the cost of it's stealth profile. These can carry a variety of ordnance for combat, or even electronic warfare pods for support operations.
As a defensive weapon against pursuing aircraft, the Sabre has a pair of SUBTERFUGE Mine Dispenser, capable of launching five mines from the rear of the ship, which actively monitor the IFF of the incoming contact, and detonate proximity based explosions, capable of knocking down shielding of pursuing craft, or destroying unshielded aircraft outright.
Airframe and Armour
The F-218D/E Sabre'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 a 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 a 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 single crystal quartz, 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 in all spectrums.
While it has less armour than the larger Longsword, it still has the necessary armour to stave off several direct impacts, giving it a excellent survivability against aggressors.
The Sabre is fitted with a variety of sensors, allowing it to track and engage hundreds of contacts at once., It carries six active electronically scanned array RADARS, covering all aspects of the fighter, with two on the upward facing aspect of the spacecraft, two facing downwards, a rear facing one and one forward facing RADAR, giving full 360 degree RADAR visibility, and excellent threat tracking, being capable of tracking enemy fighters and missiles, as well as providing navigational data. Supporting these is a 360 degree coverage of infra-red and optical cameras, capable of tracking a designated targets, other spacecraft, missiles and navigational hazards around them, with a larger sensor cluster on the front facing aspect. Supporting these is a number of LASER sensor clusters, capable of LIDAR and range finding duties and a PAVE CROW magnetic array, capable of detecting distant magnetic signals, such as reactors, plasma weapons, shields and large metal concentrations.
The Sabre is outfitted with a Generation 3 Flight Assistance Intelligence (Gen. III Valkyrie FAI) produced by JOTUN Intelligence Engineering. The Valkyrie is a Flight Assistance Intelligence, designed to speed up the reaction times and improving the sensory awareness of the crew. The FAI is a autistic intelligence unit, dedicated solely to aiding the crew. The FAI is directly linked into all the flight systems, but is incapable of receiving or delivering digital outputs to other craft outside of the conventional datalinks or analogue systems. The FAI has a number of roles with the crew, its first be increasing the sensory awareness of the pilot, using the on-board flight systems to track threats such as enemy craft, weapon systems or projectiles and prioritising then displaying this information in holographic feeds on the HUD to the crew and advising on the best possible course of action, providing augmented reality adjustments to the HUD to display threats and evasive course action, as well as attune the settings of the on board countermeasures to allow optimum deployment and protection. Its next function is flight control, being used as an auto-pilot. By utilising the on board sensors, topographical information and mission parameters it can navigate at low altitude to preform landings or return to base commands (RTB). As well as that, during flight, it can advise on routes and manoeuvres, using GPS, topographical, meteorological and sensor assets. Its last function is autonomous control of the craft. Should the pilot or tactical officer be incapacitated in combat, the FAI can take over their roles, using the on board systems to either pilot the craft, use the weapon systems or deploy the tactical systems. Should both crew members be incapacitated, the FAI will then take control of all the Sabre's systems, allowing it to autonomously operate the entire craft. The FAI will then preform a advisory check with the nearest commanding AI and decide on the best course of action, whether it should complete it's given mission or preform an RTB. In this mode, it can operate all the combat systems and defend itself, being a capable combatant, but no match for a trained and experienced human combatant. The Last feature of the FAI is as a data management system, managing the flow of data to and from the Sabre, prioritising targeting information and command data, as well as providing sensory data to ground side units and airborne units. As well as this, it can control the Sabre's cyber protection systems, allowing it to protect the Sabre from cyberwarfare attack through a variety of methods, both aggressive and passive, legal and outlawed. The FAI is entirely autistic, meaning the only way to preform a successful hack attempt on it is to manually interface with it via a hardwire link. The FAI is equipped with a limited self learning neural net, allowing it to grow in experience and control. The FAI is fitted with a two way Direct Voice Input Control, allowing the pilot to verbally command the FAI, as well as allowing the FAI to verbally respond and alert the pilot. FAI's usually develop a 'surface' persona in the first two weeks of instalment, with a limited visual avatar and self awareness, but little depth, being no match for a fully fledged AI.
The Sabre is also fitted with an Adaptive Flight Control System to provide optimal flight capabilities, keep the Sabre flying and balanced and learn to adapt to the flight properties. For Atmospheric and exoatmospheric combat, the Sabre is fitted with a variety of thrusters, allowing excellent agility, and control surfaces, allowing it to preform high speed manoeuvres.
The Sabre has a number of countermeasure systems, the most prominent being the DECEPTION Countermeasure launcher. There are five of these located on the Sabre, to cover all aspects of it against threats. These contained a three barrelled loader, with each barrel capable of being loaded with a different munition. It is fitted with a magazine containing multiple caseless munitions, including chaff launchers to confuse RADAR, infra-red flares, capable of creating lifelike decoys in both the infra-red and ultra-violet spectrums, or just outright blinding the sensor of the missile, smoke projecting munition to blind optical sensors, or miniature jammers to jam the RADAR incoming missiles or spacecraft, feed electronic false targets to incoming missiles or provide a decoy for jam homing missiles.
Powerplant and Engines
The Sabre is powered by two high output Mk. XXXIX CENTURION Fusion reactors. These power all the shipboard systems, including the engines, the shields, the weapon systems, sensors and life support, with power to spare. These are a vast improvement on older generation toroid fusion reactors used on its predecessors.
The main engines of the Sabre are a pair of X-13 series high power engines, capable of atmospheric or exoatmospheric travel. These are fitted with infra-red dampening systems, reducing their visible output, and are fitted with a advanced multi-axis thrust vectoring system, allowing unparalleled direction control.
Fitted at the end of each wing is a Rolls Royce PV2 Plasma Propulsion Drives. Using plasma pumped directly from the reactors, these engines use an advance array of magnetic arrays to blast it out at high speeds, allowing the Sabre to not only have excellent acceleration, but also a high top speed, and a high, and efficient, cruising speed. Plasma produced is chilled to near background levels, greatly reducing its visibility, and works with limited effectiveness in atmospheric conditions.
These four engines allow the Sabre unparalleled speed in exoatmospheric and atmospheric conditions, being capable of outpacing most missiles and every other combat craft used by other races.
It's main feature is two pairs of massive engines, creating one of the fastest combat ships yet. This rendered it almost immune from chasing missiles. Though the vehicle had light armour, it could easily out pace enemy weapon systems and fighters. The engine is highly adaptable, allowing the ship to quickly decelerate to match speeds of those in front. While it is one of the fastest fighters, it is also quite agile, being capable of out-manoeuvring craft of a similar class.
The Sabre is operated by a single Pilot and a Weapon System Officer who operates the weapon systems, sensors, navigation and designates targets, increasing the pilot's situational awareness. This allows the Sabre to operate in a much more deadly fashion, especially when engaging multiple opponents.
The Super Sabre is used by the Navy as both a high-speed air-superiority fighter, rapidly destroying enemy fighter constellations or bomber squadrons, and a high speed strike fighter, capable of harrying and harming capital ships. It is also used to hunt down enemy interceptors and protect more vulnerable craft against enemy interceptors. While their range is shorter than the Katana, they can be used to harry enemy interdictors at long range and provide close in protection against enemy fighters for larger ships. The Navy and Air Force used a number of Star Sabres for planetary defence, assaulting enemy capital ships and fighters, preventing them from landing troops and materiel, up until Navy capital ships or ground-based interdictors can enter the fray.
List of air and space craft of the UNSCDF
T-66 Falx | T-102 Tanto | TD-114 Frigatebird | TD-55 Booby | F-108 Rondel