The Federal Civil War brought a whole new dimension into interstellar warfare, one more destructive and horrifying than anything witnessed by mankind. Nuclear fusion weapons were being used by the Allied Free Systems in hopes of eliminating most of the FAF in the beginning months of the war. With no plans to use them as indiscriminately as their foes, the FAF recognized the need to accommodate nuclear fusion weapons in their forces to eliminate major military targets and capital warships.
The first proposal was to install them on capital-scale starships, but such a modification on SCC's ships would take months and cost hundreds of trillions of credits. The solution was to build a hyperspace-capable starfighter to carry a nuclear fusion payload. Pacific Aerospace proposed a modified SF-14C Shootingstar starfighter, dubbed the XSF-14 Shootingstar Advanced. Meant to be a stopgap design until a new heavy fighter could be developed, the XSF-14 performed admirably in testing, combining mobility, durability and heavy firepower.
In mid-2888, the FAF and SCC selected the modified Shootingstar, and in the course of a few months, the fighter was unveiled as the SF-15A Morningstar. 40 test units and 3,260 limited-production units were built, just in time to be distributed to units along the Outer Member and Frontier systems.
Airframe and Control System:
Based on the heavily-modified XSF-14 Shootingstar Advanced, the SF-15A has much in common with its predecessor. It is a large, twin-engine starfighter with high, shoulder-mounted fixed geometry wings and a single vertical tail. The fuselage supports several internal weapons pods, as well as internal fixtures in the wings. Attached along both sides of the fighter's nose are three-meter long weapon packs which contain the fighter's tachyon gun and nuclear fusion missile launcher respectively, along with additional equipment.
The Morningstar's frame is made up of advanced titanium composite alloy and orbital steel alloy in a semi-monocoque construction. The fuselage is 19.7 meters in length, much of it composed of orbital steel alloy around the engine bays and center fuselage. The cantilever booms outboard of each engine which carries the horizontal stabilators are made of titanium, as are the stabilator attachments and the spars of the fins. There is a titanium firewall between the two engines to prevent a fire in one engine from spreading to the other. The aircraft tail rises vertically between the two engines atop the titanium firewall break. The wing root and attach area is composed of advanced titanium composite for strength and to reduce weight. The fighter's frame has been augmented using a series of structural plates constructed primarily of orbital steel to prevent stress cracking from the additional weight of the weapon packs and their armament.
Much of the fighter is sealed from vacuum and other elements, except for the engine pods and the eight excess heat release vents and any weapons pods, since they open to deploy their payload.
Seven cooled cylinder hydrogen tanks provide fuel for the SF-15. Five are located in the fuselage, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 from behind the cockpit to the center aft portion of the fighter, and two wing tanks in the inboard section, for a total of 16,702 pounds of fuel. Four sealed hydraulic systems power the flight controls in atmospheric flight, each rated to 2000 psi. The electrical system itself is powered by the starfighter's two thermonuclear fusion engines, providing 38 megawatts. Should the engines fail the Fusion Propulsion Works HFP-2020-4A fusion power plant takes over, rated at 2000 kilowatts. A fire suppression system is designed to inject inerting gas throughout the hydrogen fuel system, while two hydrogen-resistant firewall shut-off valves provide a fail-safe against potential engine fire.
The Morningstar is equipped with two take-off and landing systems. One is an attach point for a carrier launch and recovery boom, located on top of the center of the fuselage. The starfighter is also equipped with 3 retractable landing gear: one underneath the cockpit, and two underneath the aft section of the fuselage, just before the engine pods, each landing gear pod 3 meters in length.
Large cantilever shoulder-mounted fixed geometry wings swept back at a 40 degree angle provide the SF-15 with exceptional lift for atmospheric flight, each approximately 408 square feet in size.
The single vertical tail structure is made of advanced titanium composite alloy. The fin is positioned for overall stability and improved maneuverability during atmospheric flight. An all-moving horizontal tail surface is mounted outboard of the vertical fin.
The pilot's cockpit is mounted high on the forward fuselage central pod behind a one-piece windshield. The canopy itself is a single transparency with only one transverse frame. It is constructed of transparent steel for combat survivability and triple-sealed against vacuum. It is hinged at the rear and opens in a clamshell-type fashion. The cockpit canopy offers excellent all-round visibility, and incorporates a unique Heads-Up Display system, tracking targets and flight information on the canopy glass wherever the pilot looks.
A Pacific Aerospace E-74 ejection seat is installed in the cockpit, and can safely eject the pilot complete with emergency portable survival system in 0.5 seconds in vacuum, and can do so in 1.2 seconds in atmosphere, with only 1.1 more seconds elapsing before parachute deploy.
The Morningstar operates a dual triple redundant fly-by-light flight control system. A series of lasers are generated by the Central Flight Control Interface, sent to Subsidiary Flight Control Interfaces to each individual vernier control system or Hydraulic Actuator Control System, which will in turn fire or actuate the applicable flight control. The CFCI is the brains of the Morningstar's avionics, and regulates the pitch and yaw rate, angle of attack, dynamic pressure sensors, and accelerometers which continuously monitor vertical and lateral accelerations. The interface computes the correct settings for the control surfaces at any combination of speed and g forces. The interface also senses the stick forces applied by the pilot and converts them into laser signals to apply the correct amount of wavelength to the flight control systems. The CFCI is a dual system in which the signals generated by each optic chain are compared with each other. If a difference greater than a preset amount is detected, this is interpreted as a malfunction and the Interface automatically disengages, with the conventional mechanical hydraulic system or back-up vernier control system taking over.
SF-15A Morningstar powerplant:
The SF-15A is powered by two Fusion Propulsion Works TFE-1005-200B thermonuclear fusion engines, replacing the original 1005-100 engines that powered the SF-14A. These engines were augmented from the 1005-200s for additional thrust capability. These engines are trans-sat capable, utilizing airflow for thrust and lift in a terrestrial atmospheric environment. Each engine is interchangeable with the other for ease of maintenance and creating availability for spare engines if the need arose in a wartime situation. The TFE-1005-200B's have a maximum velocity burn in space, and after burn in atmosphere.
These engines utilize a liquid hydrogen injection system in the nuclear processing unit, fusing the hydrogen isotopes into helium and expelling it for substantial thrust out the engine nozzles. The nozzles use a series of three vectoring plates to direct thrust in coordination with the fighter's verniers, enabling superior maneuverability.
Electronics and sensors suite:
One of the earliest concerns for the SF-15A was the need for an advanced sensor suite so the pilot would have the best available early detection upon exiting hyperspace into hostile space. The Terran Standard G&C-Stellar Combat Command SPR-11A Radar, or Spatial Pulse Radar type 11, is the result and the primary sensor of the Morningstar. The primary radar projects magnetic pulse signals rated at 220 GHz in front of the fighter, sweeping at a 3 dimensional, 45 degree angle, with a maximum range of 14,200 miles. These pulses map the contours of the target, and return the data as they deflect off the target's surface. The ATDIC, or Advanced Targeting Data Interpretation Computer, compiles the pulse data, giving the pilot the target's size, location, approximate type, direction, and speed through its interface in the Heads-Up Display. The SPR-11A can track up to 800 targets simultaneously, and can receive additional information from a EWAC ship, its home base, or from satellite via data-link.
The Interstellar Electrics MTSS-93 Multi-Type Sensor System is the secondary sensor system, but is used primarily for meticulous target data collection and short-range detection. The MTSS-93 incorporates a lidar, or laser radar, for short-range target acquisition. It can discern friendly or hostile IFF laser signals up at a range of 790 miles, but is designed as back-up should the SPR-6R fail, and cannot bring a detailed description of the target. The MTSS is also equipped with a magnetometer to detect magnetic fields at a 360 degree, 3 dimensional spread at a range of 350 miles in diameter. It is also equipped with a radcounter, microwave detector/transmitter, and motion detectors for short-range early warning of complex movement, rated at a range of 62 miles in diameter.
For visual scanning, the SF-15A is also equipped with the Interstellar Electrics I-U-T-S 22-B, or Infrared-Ultraviolet-Telescoping-Sensor type 22-B. This sensor was designed for night or low-light conditions with a range of 30 miles. The telescoping portion uses a gravity lens effect to see distant objects, down to the size of a capital ship at a maximum distance of 1.2 light years.
Both the MTSS-93 and the I-U-T-S 22-B can interface with the SPR-11A Radar through the ATDIC for confirmation of a target should the range permit it.
The Heads-Up Display of the Morningstar consists of the entire canopy, able to display critical flight information and targeting wherever necessary. The fighter's HUD can also integrate with the SCC Type 8 HUD helmet and provide flight data and targeting information and assistance to the pilot. Also installed into the fighter's avionics is the Nav-Space 87 Spatial Navigational Computer, which utilizes an onboard navigational memory bank to provide location and maps of virtually every known star system, and can download updates from satellites or from other FAF craft through data-link.
The avionics and weapons systems are controlled through the main control panel, using the applicable buttons and switches. Eight liquid crystal displays project necessary flight data as well as weapons configuration and current fuel quantity. Weapons configuration and targeting can also be controlled by switches on the flight stick and the throttle. The starfighter itself is controlled through the flight stick, throttle, and pedals, each with pressure sensors to determine proper inertia and pitch/yaw rate. Other navigation aids include an Interstellar Mechanical Works glidescope localizer antenna, and an angle-of-attack sensor.
The Morningstar is equipped with a Interstellar Electrics Mark 115 advanced electronic countermeasures system to provide missile and pulse radar jamming against hostile war craft. The all solid state ALR-929B is based on a digitally-controlled dual channel receiver that scans from 3-230 GHz, while changes in the perceived threat can be accommodated by changing the software. The Terran Standard G&C ALR-72-G pulse radar warning receiver (PRWR) system has external antennae mounted on the each fin tip and on both wingtips.
An ICC Mk-200 communication system is installed in the Morningstar, using sublight particles to transmit signals over very great distances. The maximum range is 3 A.U., or 279 million miles. The Mk-200 also contains a distress beacon with similar range in case of communications or power failure.
Finally, the SF-15A utilizes an ICC Mk-138 satellite uplink system, enabling the fighter to coordinate and download real-time information from orbiting satellites, such as hostiles in orbital space, maps of the planet it's orbiting for navigation, and a boost in communications. This system easily gives the Morningstar a planetary range of operations in orbit, so long as a satellite is positioned there.
Armament of the SF-15A:
The SF-15A is equipped with two Federal Optics Mk-204 high-energy laser cannons mounted on each wing-tip. Each cannon is rated to 7.8 Megawatts with a maximum effective range of 60 miles.
One large internal bay, one medium internal dorsal bay, two small internal side bays, two missile packs mounted dorsally, and the left forward weapons pack are all utilized for missile storage.
Pacific Aerospace Mk-28 space-based long-range missile launchers give the Morningstar impressive long-range striking power. Each missile launcher carries two munitions, each with a 75 kilogram armor-piercing explosive warhead, and a range of 2,500 miles, traveling at a speed of 9.0 g's. Two can be stored in each long range missile pack, as well as two in the left forward weapons pack, for a possible total of six missiles.
For short-range missile delivery, Pacific Aerospace Mk-30 space-based short-range missiles can be provided, each carrying a 12 kilogram explosive warhead, with a range of 280 miles at a maximum speed of 10.0 g's. Twenty-four missiles can be stored in the large bay, four in the medium dorsal bay, and one in each side bay, for a possible total of thirty missiles in a strict short-range engagement configuration.
A considerable upgrade to the Mk-1 energy missiles installed on the SF-14, the SF-15A is can be equipped with Federal Optics-Pacific Aerospace Mk-2 energy-based missiles. Each missile contains a micro-particle generator for a warhead, rated at 1.5 GW, weighing approximately 30 kilograms, with a maximum range of 380 miles and speed of 12.0 g's. Twenty-four such missiles can be stored in the large bay, four in the medium dorsal bay, and one in each side bay, for a possible total of thirty missiles in a strict short-range/energy-based engagement configuration.
Pacific Aerospace Mk-43 space-based medium-range missiles give the SF-14A medium to long-range striking power. Each missile possess as 48 kilogram armor-piercing explosive warhead, and a range of 1250 miles, traveling at a maximum speed of 9.0 g's. The large internal bay can be equipped with twelve of these missiles; the medium dorsal bay with two, and the small side bays with one each, for a possible total of sixteen Mk-43's for medium-to-long-range engagements.
In addition to the standard weapon systems, the Morningstar also has two forward weapons packs along either side of the fighter's nose. In the right weapons pack is the latest energy weapon system. The Federal Optics-Stellar Combat Command Mk-1 tachyon particle gun is the result of years of combined research in miniaturized particle technology and tachyon physics. The tachyon gun is power-hungry, rated at 24.1 Megawatts with a rate of fire of one shot every twelve seconds, with an effective range of 224 miles.
Installed in the left weapons pack is the very reason behind the Morningstar's development and construction: the Stellar Combat Command Mk-1 "Purifier" tactical nuclear fusion missile. The left weapons pack can only hold a mere two munitions, but each missile contains its own thermonuclear fusion processing unit warhead, rated at 35 megatons. The missile has an effective range of 5,750 miles, traveling at a speed of 8.0 g's.
For defensive armament, the SF-15A carries an SCC-Federal Optics Mk-12 screen deflection generator, which generates a shield of energy-deflecting particles to reduce enemy beam strength, providing limited protection against laser or particle weapons.
The initial run of 40 test-bed units and 3,260 limited-production units for the SF-15A were completed by September 1st of 2890 to ensure swift deployment for Operation Star Lightning, along with the nuclear fusion missile delivery to the base carriers and Space Wings. The first Morningstar, designated 90-0001 was delivered to the TFS Phoenix on September 30th, 2890.
Each SF-15A weighs 18 tons unloaded and defueled, and 44 tons fully-loaded, including 8.351 tons of hydrogen fuel. Two Fusion Propulsion Works TFE-1005-200B thermonuclear fusion engines propel the fighter to speed of up to 6.0 g in space, or Mach 5.1 in atmosphere at a service ceiling of 40,000 feet.
Specifications SF-15A Morningstar
Crew: 1; pilot Length: 64 ft 10 in Wingspan: 42 ft 10 in Height: 22 ft 6 in Wing area: 408 ft² Airfoil: 65A005 mod root, 65A003.5 mod tip Empty weight: 36,000 lb (16,344 kg) Loaded weight: 52,702 lb (23,927 kg) Max takeoff weight: 88,000 lb (39,952 kg) Powerplant: 2 × Fusion Propulsion Works TFE-1005-200B thermonuclear fusion engine -Dry thrust: 34,550 lbf (153.75 kN) each -Thrust with afterburner: 38,754 lbf for -200B (175.94 kN for -200B) each Fuel capacity: 16,702 lb (7,557 kg) internal
Maximum speed (atmosphere): Mach 5.1 Maximum speed (Space): 6.0g acceleration High altitude: Mach 5.0+ Low altitude: Mach 4.2 Combat radius: 10,061 nmi (planetary) Combat radius: 220,000 smi (spatial) Ferry range: 5,450 mi (planetary) Service ceiling: 40,000 ft Rate of climb: >57,500 ft/min Wing loading: 73.1 lb/ft² (358 kg/m²) Thrust/weight: 2.15 (-200B)
Guns: 2 X Federal Optics Mk-204 high-energy laser cannons 1 X Federal Optics-Stellar Combat Command Mk-1 Tachyon Particle Gun (Rt. Fwd. Weapon Pack) Missiles: 1 Large Internal Bay, 1 Medium Dorsal Bay, 2 Small Side Bays, 2 LRM Packs, Lt. Fwd Weapon Pack) Possible Load-outs: Large Internal Bay: -Pacific Aerospace Mk-30 Short Range Missiles (24 munitions) or -Pacific Aerospace Mk-43 Medium Range Missiles (12 munitions) or -Federal Optics/Pacific Aerospace Mk-1 Energy-based Missiles (24 munitions) Medium Dorsal Bay: -Pacific Aerospace Mk-30 Short Range Missiles (4 munitions) or -Pacific Aerospace Mk-43 Medium Range Missiles (2 munitions) or -Federal Optics/Pacific Aerospace Mk-1 Energy-based Missiles (4 munitions) Small Side Bays: -Pacific Aerospace Mk-30 Short Range Missiles (1 munition) or -Pacific Aerospace Mk-43 Medium Range Missiles (1 munition) or -Federal Optics/Pacific Aerospace Mk-1 Energy-based Missiles (1 munition) Long-Range Missile Packs: -Pacific Aerospace Mk-28 Long-Range Missiles (2 munitions each) Left Forward Weapon Pack: -Stellar Combat Command Mk-1 Tactical Nuclear Fusion Missile (2 munitions) or -Pacific Aerospace Mk-28 Long-Range Missiles (2 munitions)
Radar: RWR (Radar warning receiver): 12400 smi (19840 km) or more] Radar: Terran Standard G&C/Interstellar Electronics SPR-11A Advanced Spatial Radar 12,775–14,200 miles (20440–22720 km) against 1 m2 (6 sq ft) targets (estimated range) Halliven MJU-39/40 flares for protection against IR missiles.
Countermeasures: Terran Standard G&C AN/APX-180-S Identify Friend/Foe (IFF) interrogator Interstellar Electronics Mark 115 Spatial Electronic Warfare Warning Set (SEWWS) - part of Spatial Tactical Electronic Warfare Systems (STEWS) Interstellar Electronics AN/ALR-72-G Pulse Radar warning receivers (PRWR) - part of STEWS Interstellar Electronics ALR-929B Internal Countermeasures System (ICS) - part of STEWS Halliven AN/ALR-180 Chaff/Flares dispenser system - part of STEWS Commission for shogunblade
trying to get past mach 3 with a straight wing planform is going to rip your wings off. the pressure waves coming off the nose will see to that. and the 2000+ degree temps make it unlikely you'd be using a bubble canopy, even ALON melts at those speeds. (the SR-71 travelled half as fast, and it's cockpit had to a titanium shell around the pilot, with tiny tiny windows. you basically flew it on autopilot.)
honestly, for mach 5 plus your looking at a SR-71 esque shape, or a wave ridder pumpkind seed lifting body.
this fighter looks great, but it's looks don't match up with it's performance..
which makes it worse, since the shape is all wrong for safe reentry...and the performance is lousy. "mach 5", even if you use a set value for each mach (1072kmh or about 300meters per second is typical), is insufficent to even exit the atmosphere, much less reach orbit. if transleted into "mach numbers", your looking at having to reach 'mach 30 to 33', depending on orbit. and technically, you should list accelleration, not a speed.
The fighter from my writing project is designed for both space and atmospheric flight, but not designed to leave a planetary body without a booster; it's not even really designed for atmospheric re-entry. It can operate in either environment, but not necessarily transition to and from.
The intent is that the operator (Stellar Combat Command) can purchase one type of fighter that can serve both roles without modifications.
I can see your point from a technical standpoint; but in the end, my work is military science fiction (light on the science, focused more on the social dynamics of the military and combat); it's set in 2885, which is more of an excuse for me to explain why a fighter shaped like the F-15 can go above speeds of Mach 2.5 than any serious approach to modern aerodynamics.
That being said, I do appreciate your critique. In a hard science fiction setting, this wouldn't suffice.
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