The Airmaster-class Combat Dropship is a front-line transport vehicle designed by Gorana Aerospace to insert and extract forces from combat zones quickly and safely.
|Product Line||Critical Role Aircraft|
|Class||Jet aircraft - assault dropship|
|Size||30m x 23m x 10m|
|Compliment||15-20 soldiers; 12-18 powered armored troops or 10 soldiers & a light vehicle|
Design & Construction
Designed as a sales piece by Gorana Aerospace, the original XM29 was intended to simply be a rapid VTOL aircraft to get military forces in and out of the front lines in a degree of safety and speed that they felt they lacked from their current catalogue. However, what was quickly found with the XM29 was that VTOL systems were often slower in getting off the ground than conventional vehicles, and so a new approach would be needed.
The final XM29; and the AM29 series that was derived from it, was instead a STOL system with enough power to get itself off the ground in a distance only slightly greater than double it's length. This was backed up with weapons that were surprisingly powerful for a ship initially intended to be an air transport. The fusion reactor was left powering four turbojet engines; with two standard thrust jets and the other two split into multiple vector jets, as well as two plasma mortar projectors. These weapons allowed the XM29 to bombard locations in its forward firing arc fairly safely, before flying in close and deploying the onboard forces. From there, the final design was a simple matter of defensive weapons and then going from there.
Fitted with thick armor, and with a standard airspeed of around 720km/h, the Airmaster-class Combat Dropship is dedicated to a front-line role, though whether that role is transport or portable artillery gunship, most tacticians are not certain. Capable of carrying up to 20 soldiers, 18 powered troopers or a mix of infantry and a light vehicle, the Airmaster does not boast the largest capacity of transport aircraft, but with the heavy armor and reasonable speed, it is capable of safely seeing out its mission.
The primary weapon system of the Airmaster are a pair of plasma mortar projectors mounted between wing and fuselage capable of lobbing balls of plasma over a moderate distance. This is normally performed on marked locations or before deploying troops in order to clear out a landing zone. Defensive weapons for close range, in contrast, are regarded by some crews as lacking, simply consisting of a chin-mounted twin chaingun turret controlled by the copilot. Similarly, the only anti-air weapon it carries is a set of six air-to-air homing rockets mounted on the rear arc fired on the copilot's command. These vehicles have a crew of four, with a pilot, co-pilot and gunner all positioned within a three-seat cockpit section at the front of the ship, while the crew chief is stationed in the troop bay near the deployment controls.
Stock Production Variants
- AM29-PT – One of the civil variations created by Gorana Aerospace, the AM29 Police Transport sacrifices the firepower of the plasma mortars and rocket pack to convert the aircraft into a portable tactical response vehicle. Retaining the chin turret of the standard variant, the rest of the weaponry was removed and replaced. The plasma mortars are typically replaced with tactical munitions launchers outfitted with a range of non-lethal canister weapons such as tear gas, pepper spray, even water canisters to assist in firefighting operations, while a machine gun turret is mounted to the rear for emergencies. These units are normally only deployed in instances of major crisis or civil unrest; or as reinforcements for military vehicles.
- AM29-AT - Designed to order by the G.U.N. Fourth Army, Naval Fleet and Air Wings, the AM29 Artillery Transport are modified to greater suit the cybernetically enhanced piloting crews of the Augmented Forces. While these ships lose their chin turret; they retain the rest of their armament and gain slightly more frontal armor in exchange, while the crew positions are reduced to only three, as the gunner doubles up as a crew chief for deployment time. These vehicles also have magnetized floors in their troop bays to help powered troopers and cyborg soldiers stick to the ground during high-speed manoeuvres.
- AM29-FT - Designed for the G.U.N. Sixth Army and Air Wings, the AM29 Fast Transport variation sacrifices firepower for speed. By losing the plasma mortars, the rockets, the gunner’s position and some of the armor while tuning the engines to a greater degree, it was found that these dropships can fly at speeds of up to 980km/h, a fairly considerable speed boost. Due to this, these planes are deemed ideal for the Swift Sixth's doctrine of speed over strength. However, this also relegates these planes to purely a support role, as the twin chaingun turret on the front does not offer anywhere near enough firepower. Pilots of these aircraft are often reputed to be talented but gung ho, relying purely on their skill to evade enemy firepower no matter how much their passengers throw up.
- AM29-X1 – One of the new trial versions of the AM29; the X1 is an attempt to take an already effective transport and convert it into an assault bomber. The troop bay was removed to make space for a bomb bay, which Gorana stated was aimed to be kitted out with mines or other explosives. In place of the chin turret, a new grenade launcher was mounted, and this was typically loaded out with plasma grenades in a manner resembling the mortars of the classic production vehicle. As an anti-air weapon they decided to add a fast-firing plasma cannon turret to the dorsal side of the aircraft. Uniquely, the X1 was also fitted with an unusual teleportation system which is still in the mid-experimental phases, unlike any units that will be derived from it. This teleporter has short range, and is mostly used as a form of relocating countermeasure to hostile fire. While they indicated that the teleportation system was not under consideration for any future production bomber in the Airmaster range; Gorana did not answer any questions about any illegal or non-ethical weapon considerations made in the process.
- Airsassin – A heavily modified example of the Police Transport variation stolen during a major prison break in the United Federations and sold to black market vehicle techs, the Airsassin has been converted into a nightmare vehicle for many law enforcement communities. Unlike many of the official variants, the Airsassin has replaced the ballistics-based front chin turret with a single plasma cannon; this gives the co-pilot of the Airsassin a much more potent weapon against hostile ground vehicles, and a more precise one than the traditional plasma mortars. Onboard, despite the name, the vehicle has been modified to serve as a personal transport and criminal hub, ironically enough for a former police vehicle. The troop bay has been converted into a combined planning room and lounge, with enough space on board for ten people to fit comfortably. Even the engines have been refitted, in order to make fuelling cheaper, easier and safer. While the plasma cannon offers some level of threat, as the only weapon on board the true danger that many are worried about is the minds on board and the criminal plots devised there.