|This article, F-419C Sabre, was written by StoneGhost. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The F-419C Sabre a carrier-based, twin-engine, two-seat, short range interceptor used by the United Nations Space Command Navy. Introduced in 2554, the F-419C was the third incarnation in the Sabre series, a family of fighter craft which originally represented humanity's most advanced starfighter class seeing combat against the . Possessing blinding speed and agility, the Sabre was an interceptor craft, a lightweight, well armed fighter craft that sacrificed range, endurance and payload for high performance. The Sabre was designed as a carrier-based craft, its small size, good short range performance and large engines making it well suited for exoatmospheric, carrier-based operations. As an interceptor, the Sabre differed from the F/A-352B Longsword strike starfighter in that, unlike the Longsword, it was intended solely on air-to-air combat, whilst not having any ground attack or anti-ship capabilities. The Sabre was designed solely for engaging and destroying enemy single ships such as fighters and bombers, and also small craft such as dropships.
The F-419C traced its origins back to the Sabre Program of the Human-Covenant War, that intended to create an elite, highly advanced single ship capable of taking on the Covenant'son even terms. The result of the program was the , a small, agile craft protected by pioneering armour plating and reverse-engineered Covenant shielding. A small number of prototypes were held on Reach and, when the Covenant invaded in late 2552, the few craft were deployed in its defence. Although their actions eventually proved futile, they managed to score a disproportionate amount of kills against a far numerically and technologically superior enemy, playing an imperative role in . After the war, all essential military projects such as the Sabre Project were accelerated, and in 2553 the F-419A, a minor improvement over the X-419, was produced in limited numbers. The much-improved F-419B was developed in 2554, though the UNSC Navy chose to wait instead for the F-419C, which was designed specifically to function from spaceborne vessels. The 'C' model served with the Navy from its introduction in 2554 until well into the 27th century, during that time seeing action in battles against the Covenant.
The F-419C was designated an interceptor, meaning its only role was the destruction of enemy single ships. Often this meant defeating incoming starfighters bound for allied units, which, coupled with its carrier-based nature, instantly lent the Sabre a defensive role; although it was equally capable of offensive missions for locating and defeating enemy craft. Due to its fast and agile nature, it was adept at intercepting and destroying enemy single ships while avoiding their return fire. Its tasks most commonly included escorting and protecting allied bombers and their assault on enemy capital ships, while also intercepting and destroying incoming fighters and bombers attempting the same. The Sabre was not atmosphere-capable, meaning its launch from the ground required maintenance-intensive launch sites and numerous disposable booster rockets; as a result it was not capable of atmospheric operations even when launched from an orbiting carrier prior to entering planetary conditions. This was because its small size prevented it from mounting both atmospheric (oxygen-'breathing') engines and spatial ones together; rather than negatively affect its performance, the decision was taken to restrict it to purely spatial operation, guaranteeing peak performance in at least one combat environment (rather than compromising performance for operation across two environments). The F-419C was also commonly tasked with destroying incoming dropships after first dispatching any escorts, protecting UNSC vessels from boarding action. The Sabre often worked in tandem with heavier craft such as the F/A-352B Longsword, creating a screen between enemy and allied forces through which no enemy single ships could penetrate. Featuring two cyclic internal hardpoint bays, the Sabre could be equipped with a mix of guided munitions to engage multiple target types, though almost exclusively it carried 'air-to-air' missiles such as the AIM-109 Medusa. Although extremely fast and agile (far more so than traditional craft of both the UNSC and the Covenant) its range and endurance were sacrificed as a result of this, and it required frequent resupply, not least in terms of guided munitions; additional external hardpoints on the ship's hull allowed extra capacity if required at the cost of endurance. The Sabre's small size, however, meant it could be carried by some of the smallest UNSC warship classes, such as the Remembrance-class frigate, which housed a full squadron of them for offensive and defensive support.
Engines and Powerplant