Wildcat

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Wildcat
Type Space Interceptor
Primary User Terran Confederation
Introduction circa 2604
General Characteristics
Crew 1 (pilot)
Armament
Guns
Laser Cannons (2)

Mass Driver Cannons (2)

Default Missile Loadout
Dumb-Fire Missile (1)

"Remotely-Fired Missiles" (6)

Source Wing Commander: Action Stations



Work-in-progress, expect frequent changes. Help and feedback is welcome. See discussion page.


History

The Wildcat fighter is a purely Space-based Interceptor first introduced in 2604 and served into the early years of the Terran-Kilrathi War before being replaced several years into that war.

At the outset of the Terran-Kilrathi war in 2634, it was often quoted, most notably by Senator Jamison More - head of the Senate Appropriations Committee for the Terran Confederation Great Assembly, that the price of a Wildcat fighter was 50 million credits.

During the time when the fighter saw its first major battle in that war at the McAuliffe Ambush, it was noted by a number of pilots including then-Ensign Sir Geoffrey Tolwyn that the engines on the Wildcat were outdated and the fighters of this class would often suffer from stress flaws with the fighter having gone beyond its designed limits.

During the Ambush of McAuliffe, the Wildcat was one of the most fielded fighters during those four days.

Sources

Wing Commander: Action Stations

  • Chapter 1
    • " "Son, don't lecture me about my voters," More snapped. "They're tired of the taxes imposed by the Confederation and the overpriced toys you fly around in, and it will come to a stop. The Wildcat fighter costs fifty million a piece, son, fifty million. I guess, though, a boy like you doesn't realize just how much that is?"
      • The young ensign stood silent, as if ready to withdraw, but the cameras turned back on him. Banbridge leaned forward to listen.
      • "I am fully aware of what that money can buy, sir. It's the price of freedom."
      • More snorted derisively.
      • "It buys a machine to justify you and your admirals."
      • "Sir, I am in training so I can one day fly a Wildcat. The good Lord willing, I'll make the grade. And when I get my wings, sir, I want to point out one thing."
      • He paused as if willing to let More interject, but then forged ahead.
      • "There is a one in three chance, sir, that within five years I'll be dead. The reason, sir, is that the fleet board begged your committee for the additional ten million for a Wildcat upgrade. The engines are outdated, stress flaws are becoming increasingly common. In short they're already five years past their design limits. The Wildcat is thirty years old and its replacement, thanks to cutbacks, won't be fully on-line for at least five more years. Therefore we are in a bind, sir. Since neither the upgrade facility for the Wildcat nor the main factory for its replacement went to your district, you turned on the plan and have locked it in committee for three and a half years, sir."
      • "Respectfully, sir, on behalf of my comrades who graduated today and will fly with me, we do hope that you get your political deal, sir, and that you force the Senate to build the facilities on your world, where I understand that several of your family members own the land the proposed facilities were to be built on. Your district will profit, and, sir, I will be able to look forward to living past the age of twenty-six." "
  • Chapter 2
    • "On the rung of fighter pilots, flying a Hurrie was considered more than a few steps down from a Wildcat pure space interceptor, or even a heavy Falcon fighter-bomber. The Hurrie was a hybrid design, and like most hybrids trying to combine two functions into one, it did neither of them very well. Its original intent was to serve as a space-to-surface escort for the old Gladiator bombers andSheridan marine landing craft. If jumped by a Wildcat equivalent, it was dead meat, and, down in atmosphere, if it ran up against something like a Hawk it was dead as well."
    • "Geoff didn't know whether this was a compliment or not. After all, on the day before his encounter with Senator More he had already received his official orders posting him to Lunar orbital base five to start orientation training for the Wildcat fighter. He truly admired Turner, and would be the first to admit that the commander had done much to shape his own thinking about the fleet, its mission, and the inner sense that a crisis unlike any ever faced by the Confederation was about to unfold. Though he would never admit it to anyone, he sensed as well that there was a destiny to his life that meant that, when the time came, he would have a major part to play."
  • Chapter 6
    • " "Your comment to the press yesterday about my political motivations for blocking the upgrade facilities for the Wildcat fighters was way out of line," More began, without even the pretense of exchanging a few pleasantries before launching straight into the attack.
      • "All I said was that it is time to put political considerations aside. We are heading for a crisis and we need the upgrades now."
      • "My district or nothing, Admiral. Do you read me?"
      • "Senator. Your district is two jump points from what could be the front line."
  • Chapter 12
    • "Vance pivoted Lazarus forty-five degrees, clearing the launch bay, and nudged Lazarus in between two personnel transports. It was Geoff's first view inside a fleet carrier. His only previous experience had been aboard the old training ship Schweinfurt , where he did his qualification landings for surface-to-space flight. The launch and deck area looked absolutely cavernous and swarmed with what appeared to be a madhouse of confusion. Flight crews were scrambling around a line of Wildcat fighters, loading them with fuel and armaments. He sensed that, though it might look like insanity, the crews were actually performing a well-choreographed drill."
    • " "Have you ever handled a Wildcat?"
      • "Only in the simulator, sir."
      • Turner nodded. "I could use you here, son, but what do you want?"
      • Geoff took the information in. He knew that, even in the full simulator, his time was limited. The Fleet usually expected a minimum of five hundred hours of flight time on a Wildcat before they'd assign a new pilot to a combat wing. And yet, if he did stay here, a decision that no one would really question, he knew that he would question it for the rest of his life."
  • Chapter 13
    • " "Tolwyn, you're next," a voice whispered in his headset.
      • "Tolwyn ready."
      • The confidence he had tried to instill in himself while waiting to launch was on the point of evaporating. It was truly his first time in a Wildcat. The simulator might provide a trainee with almost all the sensations, but no matter how realistic, there was always that realization that when the holo field blazed white, then snapped off, all one had to do was hit the reset button… but in real life there was no reset button. He remembered to do a quick scan of his instruments, though at this point nothing short of a full engine shutdown would stop the launch. If there was a critical malfunction in any other system he was expected to launch anyhow, then get the hell out of the way and wait to die.
      • "Tolwyn… five, four..."
      • The launch officer in front of his plane darted to the left, dropped down on one knee and pointed forward.
      • "Launch!"
      • Geoff pushed the throttle up to fifty percent and, with inertial dampening cut off because he was still insideConcordias field, he felt the surge slamming him back into his seat. The star fields outside the airlock began to shift rapidly, and he had a moment of disorientation until he realized that the carrier was making a rapid turn. He felt a slight resistance as the fighter went through the airlock.
      • "Tolwyn clear!"
      • He instantly slammed the throttles forward, hit the afterburner switch, and popped out the maneuvering scoops, while at the same time pulling the stick back and to the right. The inertial dampening kicked in, the pressure on his spine easing off. He heard a beep in his headset, signaling that he had a clean connection back to Concordia's Combat Information Center , and that the center was downloading the updated data regarding the fight. His terminal screen lit up, working off the CIC data so that he did not have to light himself up by using his own radar."
    • "He banked over and looked to the left, catching sight of a Wildcat down below.
      • "Form, Tolwyn, form, we're going in!"
      • Geoff tried to jockey the fighter in on Vance's right wing, and just when he thought he had it, Vance pulled his nose up.
      • "Stick to me like glue, damn it, if you want to live!"
      • Geoff yanked back on his stick, overcompensated and nearly went into a loop. He slammed the stick forward, overcompensated yet again, then finally leveled back out.
      • "Green squadron," Vance announced, "Going for the bombers... full throttle, three, two, one, go!"
      • Vance's fighter leaped forward and Geoff remembered that he had to cover Vance. It required that he keep one on the leader, while at the same time doing a constant scan, both visually and from the instruments, for anyone trying to intercept."
    • "Geoff saw a formation of four Kilrathi fighters spread out into a line-abreast formation. Something in the back of his mind told him that this was, most likely, the first combat encounter ever between Confederation and Kilrathi carrier planes. Neither side quite knew the doctrine, the training, of the other. Everything was up for grabs now.
      • The lead fighter opened fire with lasers, the range a bit too far. They closed at what Geoff felt was a frightening speed that all but insured a head-on collision. Vance opened up with his lasers, and Geoff pressed the firing button on his stick… but the fighters were already past them! At what he felt was the same instant, something rocked his ship, forward and starboard shields flashing red. He hadn't even seen the shots that hit him. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the four Kilrathi fighters break into a climbing turn, one of them trailing a streak of fire.
      • "Keep on the bombers," Vance announced. Geoff looked over again and saw that the number two slot in their section of four was empty. What was his name? Andrews, Anders? He had simply disappeared. Looking back again, he thought he saw an expanding fireball. A shadow swept over Geoff's cockpit and, startled, he looked back to see that Vance's starboard wing was directly over his cockpit. He pushed his nose down and banked to the right, yo-yoing out of position before finally slipping back into his slot. In the brief instant he was out of formation, the bombers loomed up before him. Vance opened up, but before Geoff could even fire a shot they were past and then banking into a hard turn to the right.
      • A stream of bolts slammed into Geoff's stern and, as they banked around, he saw that two of the tail gunners were zeroed in on him. He jinked slightly, trying to throw them off as his stern shield indicator began to glow from yellow to red. A mass driver round popped through, durasteel peeling back. He jinked again, the stream of shots going wide.
      • "Three of the fighters are bearing in 090, positive 40," Vance announced. "Keep on the bombers."
      • They came out of their turn, lined up, and charged in on the bombers, which were now lined up in a row. Vance opened up, aiming for the middle of the group. Geoff tried to line up the bomber in his sights, his opening shots going wide. He could see flashes of fire coming back but he ignored them, focusing on the target. Vance's shots continued to hammer across the top of the bomber, shards of armor flashing off as the rounds punched through the shield. Geoff tried to focus his own rounds in on the same spot, but went wide of the mark. The bomber loomed up, filling his screen, and he sensed more than saw Vance pull out in a tight, spinning turn. Geoff tried to hang onto Vance's wing. There was a flash of another bomber appearing. He fired, shots finally hitting something at last, then the target disappeared.
      • Everything was happening far faster than he could fully comprehend. He knew he should check shield levels, energy levels for weapons, damage control, position on Vance's wing, position of the bombers, position of the closing fighters, position of the carrier. He tried to stay focused simply on Vance, knowing that if he was to survive it would be by following the lead of someone far more experienced than himself.
      • They swept up into what was once called an Immelmann back on Earth, and again lined up on the bombers. A stream of light erupted from behind and Geoff caught a flashing red light on his screen, showing that an enemy fighter was hanging on his six o'clock position.
      • The bombers were straight ahead. Again Vance lined up on the one they had hammered before. At the same instant another section of fighters fromConcordia swept in for a head-on attack and their target disappeared in a shower of debris. Geoff focused on the next one in line and squeezed the trigger, his fire intersecting the stream of rounds from Vance.
      • The starboard wing of the bomber sheared off and the target spun out of control. At the same instant a hammer blow struck Geoff from behind."
    • "Prince Ratha lined up on his target, furious that the three fighters had managed to turn inside of him and position themselves for a second attack. His target kept bobbing and weaving erratically and he wondered, was it remarkable skill, or was it, rather, the flying of someone who did not know yet how to fly?
      • He closed to near point-blank range and finally opened up, his very first shot slamming into his opponents shield. He held the trigger down, switching to mass driver rounds, fearing that if he used lasers their instantaneous speed might hit the bombers straight ahead, while the slower rounds would miss the bombers completely by the time they arrived where the planes had been.
      • He could see the flashes of his enemy's shields, surprised that the tiny fighter could take so much punishment; an equal number of hits on his own ship would have destroyed it.
      • The middle bomber in the group disappeared as a second enemy section raced through the line, while his own target raised his sights and started to tear into the next bomber in line.
      • Ratha continued to fire, swearing vehemently, expecting the target to disintegrate, yet still the shields held.
      • Finally bright flashes erupted, showing that the shields had folded and he was now tearing into armor. Directly ahead he saw another bomber die. Momentarily diverted by the sight of the explosion, he did not see his target jerk abruptly into a vertical climb.
      • Pulling back on his stick, Geoff broke out of formation. "On my tail, Vance, breaking up!"
      • "Try and reform, I'm staying on the bombers." Geoff looked back over his shoulder, surprised to see that his tormentor was not behind him. The warning chime of shield overload beeped in his headset and he suddenly realized it had, in fact, been sounding for several seconds.
      • Still climbing away from the fight he continued to scan for the Cat fighter on his tail. His six position cleared, he pushed the stick forward and caught a flash of Vance finishing his run and banking over to his left, two fighters on his tail. Vance's number three was trailing a stream of fire as one of the fighters closed in to point-blank range.
      • Geoff continued to nose over, realizing that his inertial dampening had blinked off, power diverting to restore shields. Pulling four negative g's, he felt as though his stomach was about to explode out his mouth. He could hear the blood pounding in his ears. He lined up on the two enemy fighters just as number three exploded. Both of the Cats flew through the debris and started to line up on Vance, who was continuing to turn for another sweep on the bombers.
      • Geoff lined his sights up on the fighter to his left, and opened fire. The first shots were just astern and he pulled up slightly, then bore straight in. The stream of fire from his guns intersected just aft of the cockpit. Shields sparkled, flashed and, to his amazement, the ship disintegrated. He suddenly realized that he was going straight in and tried to turn. There was another jolting blow as his fighter slammed through the debris, forward shields shorting out."
    • "He looked back at his ship and was stunned. Most of the upper aft section was gone, scorched wires hanging out, durasteel armor peeled back like crumpled tinfoil. Smoke was cascading out of the plane. A tractor with an extended boom arm latched onto the back of the fighter and pulled it clear of the safety net. A warning light flashed on the far bulkhead. The crash crew, still spraying the fighter with fire retardant, scrambled back as an airlock field formed around the bulkhead, which then slid back to reveal open space on the other side. The tractor pushed the fighter through the airlock, gave it a sharp blow and disconnected from the fighter, which tumbled out into space and disappeared from view.
      • "Well, Tolwyn, you just blew off an even fifty million," one of the rescue personnel announced calmly as he stood back up and prepared to greet the next fighter coming in."
  • Chapter 14
    • " "Now, here's the tough part. Just before hitting the carrier you will break off, head for McAuliffe, loop the planet and nail the transports and landing craft. Once the bombers strike their carrier, Ark Royal's fighters will form the second wave and loop in after you. Remember, that is the real main target in this attack. The only hope Third Marine has of holding the planet is our dumping their assault landing craft before they hit the surface. You'll only have time for one sweep. You can't slow down, you'll need all the velocity you have to loop back out and make it to the rendezvous point, so it's a straight in and then out strike. Toggle all your missiles into your computer and let it do the acquisition and firing. You just handle your guns." "
    • "The bombers had slowed to a stop and were reversing thrust in order to keep themselves in front of the frigates. For several precious seconds they were sitting targets. Geoff lined up on the nose of one and held his firing button down, shields taking the strike, shimmering hot. He was tempted to drop a dumb fire missile on it, but orders were to hold them for the second part of the mission."
    • "He slammed his scoops shut, cutting down on all drag and then punched in afterburners. It was going to be one hell of a fast ride in, he thought. The one big question, though, was whether they would be coming back."
    • "Exuberant cries filled the comm link. Geoff spared a quick glance at his battle screen as his computer switched on its own radar and swept the area ahead. The entire forward edge of the screen glowed red with targets. Geoff toggled in to Hawkins' computer, which would take the data analysis from each of the strike fighters and then allocate targets so that no two attackers would go for the same target. Less than a second later, yellow circles appeared around half a dozen of the landing craft, indicating which targets his computer had been assigned."
    • "Vance, now several clicks ahead, opened up on the lead ship, pouring in a hail of mass driver rounds. Within seconds the landing craft was in flames and tumbling. He banked, dropped off a dumb fire missile and began to pull out. The missile struck a second landing craft, which lurched, but stayed together. Geoff lined up on the damaged vessel and opened fire with his mass driver guns, the rounds going incandescent as they tore through the thin atmosphere. The landing craft burst and he caught a frightening glimpse of Kilrathi warriors, dressed in battle camouflage, tumbling out into space to begin their long fifty-mile fall down to the surface. It was the first glimpse he'd had of who he was fighting against. He banked, lined up on the third craft, fired off his one dumb fire missile and pulled up.
      • Geoff rolled his fighter over and looked back. His missile had hit. Smoke trailed out of the landing craft, and then it was lost to view as he continued to accelerate up and away from the planet. The Cat jamming lifted for a moment. Again the radio was filled with a wild confusion of shouts of fierce joy, terror, and screams of rage as the fighters tore through the massed landing craft. Flashes on Geoff's screen indicated that three of his six remotely-fired missiles had scored hits."
    • " "Concordia to Yorkshire, any report how many planes coming back?"
      • "We've got ten fighters of yours on the scanners now, Concordia."
      • Winston let the information sink in. He had started the fight with forty, lost sixteen in the first encounter, and now another fourteen were gone. Half ofArkRoyal's bombers assigned to the attack were gone as well, even before their fighters had broken off to join in the second wave of the counterattack on McAuliffe."