WORK IN PROGRESS
Many breakthroughs in material science occurred in the 2040s, specifically in the mass production of carbon nano-materials. This allowed for a larger versatility in aircraft design due to increases in power-to-weight ratios without sacrificing on performance and protection. The Multirole Assault Gunship, or MRAG “Rhino,” started development in 2050 by the North African and Mediterranean Union (NAMU). It is a VTOL aircraft that fulfills the roles of multiple modern aircraft such as the Lockheed AC-130 Gunship as well as the modern attack helicopter, bomber, and transport aircraft. Even though the Rhino is far more expensive to produce than any single aircraft, it is still cheaper to maintain one Rhino than the multiple aircraft needed to fulfill those roles.
The Rhino first proved its capability during the Liberation of the Arabian Peninsula in 2055, where it played a large role in overwhelming enemy forces without widespread civilian casualties. Due to its versatility in function and simplicity of its modular production design, the Rhino was adopted by the UHN in 2066 to become the primary transport and support aircraft of the United Human Nations Defense Force (UHNDF). The original armament on the Rhino used chemical propulsion. It was refitted with electromagnetic weaponry after ultra-conductor and battery technology was captured from the Caudatians in 2067. Over 20,000 Rhinos were used over the duration of the Tower War (2065-2073 A.D.).
Two drawbacks of the Rhino is its size and relatively slow speed, which make it an easy target for missiles and railgun projectiles. To counter this, the Anti-Projectile Pulse Laser System (APPLS) was developed. This anti-projectile system uses a solid state laser to shoot down incoming hostile projectiles. Since incoming projectiles are usually travelling at hypersonic velocities (5x the speed of sound or greater), the laser only has to overload the projectile’s heat shielding to destroy it. Because of this, the APPLS was downsized from other close-in laser weapon systems already in use on navy ships. This means it has far less power than the original system and cannot inflict much damage on primary targets. The system eventually found use on ground vehicles as electromagnetic weaponry became more widespread.
Length: 95’ 6”
Wingspan: 131’ 4”
Height (While landed): 37’ 3”
Empty Weight: 80,000 lbs
Max Vertical Takeoff Weight: 115,000 lbs
Max Short Takeoff Weight: 160,000 lbs
Top speed at sea-level (carrying no Chap): 500 mph
4 x Anti-Projectile Pulse Laser System (APPLS)
2 x 60mm Medium Rail Cannons (MRC)
4 x 13.5mm Rotary Heavy Rail Guns (HRG)
18 x Intermediate Internal Rail Missiles (IIRM)
4 x 13.5mm door-mounted Heavy Rail Guns (HRG)
Crew and Personnel Capacity
Operational Crew: 12 (1 pilot, 1 co-pilot, 1 flight commander, 2 APPLS operators, 1 IIRM operator, 4 fire control officers, 2 aerial gunner/loaders)
Total personnel capacity (excluding operational crew): Seats for 28 personnel, but can carry more on short range missions if some stand. With an attached P-Chap, capacity increases to 52 personnel.
The Rhino features the High Altitude Insertion Pod (HAIP, or commonly referred to as “Chaps”). This pod can be dropped from a high altitude and can carry an assortment of vehicles and equipment as well as personnel. It uses rockets to stabilize itself in midair as well as land instead of a parachute, although it does have a parachute in case of malfunctions. This allows for faster deployment of the cargo from a much higher altitude than any other modern airdrop system. The HAIP is able to be outfitted in many different ways for various mission types. Some variations include the following:
1. Personnel Carrier (PC-HAIP, or commonly referred to as a P-Chap): can simultaneously carry 24 personnel and 4 WarDogs as well as accompanying equipment. This variant features a ground mobility system, allowing it to act as an APC-type vehicle after it is dropped.
2. Equipment Carrier (EC-HAIP, or commonly referred to as an E-Chap): can carry various types of equipment or an armored vehicle. This variant does not feature a ground mobility system, and thus cannot be moved after a drop.
3. Airborne Early Warning and Control Carrier (AEW&CC-HAIP, or commonly referred to as a C-Chap): can carry AEW&C systems and personnel. This variant uses the same chassis as the PC-HAIP, allowing it to act as a mobile communications/command center APC on the ground.
4. Ordnance Carrier (OC-HAIP, or commonly referred to as an O-Chap): a large rack that has numerous hardpoints that can carry a variety of anti-ground ordnance. It can carry a maximum load weight of 28,000 lbs. Since the OC-HAIP has no purpose on the ground, it does not feature a propellant system or a ground mobility system.
In military slang the HAIP is also called a “camper” due to both its resemblance to an outdoor camping trailer and the ironic fact that the most time soldiers spend in a HAIP is when they are sleeping in the wilderness after a drop.
Width: 17’ 10”
Height: 16’ 4”
Weight: 25,000 lbs
HAIP Armament (P-Chap and some C-Chaps)
Two 13.5mm mounted Heavy Rail Guns (HRG)
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