Fighter Introduction Dates

Nob Akimoto

Rear Admiral
Redid the main timeline of introductions a bit.

2500s - CF-105 Scimitar, Minotaur, Thor, Gotha introduced

Late 2500s - Hurricane, Gladiator introduced

2604 - Wildcat introduced

2600s - P-64 Ferret introduced

2627 - CF-117 Rapier-I development begun

2636 - CF-117a Rapier-I introduced

2633/2634 - A-17 Broadsword, Merlin(?) introduced

Ca. 2634 - Scimitar, Minotaur, Thor, Gotha, Rapier-I, Hurricane, Gladiator, Wildcat, Hummer all in service.

Mid-2630s - Raptor, Hornet introduction(?), Falcon retired(?)

2639 - Corsair planned introduction, Wildcat planned retirement, Raptor participates in Enyo Engagement

2640s - F-27 Arrow Introduction(?), Gotha retired(?)

2645 - CF-117b Rapier-I introduced

2654 - YF-44/F-44A Rapier-II introduced, CF-117b Rapier-I retired

2655 - F-44B Rapier-II introduced, CF-105 Scimitars retired

2650s - Hellcat V, F/A-76 Longbow all in service to some degree

2657 - 2664 F-44C Rapier-"C" series introduction (Manufactured at least until 2667?), retirement of F-44A/YF-44 models from service(?)

2660s - Gladius introduced

2661 - F-54 Epee, F-57A Sabre, F-44G/H models introduced

Mid-2660s - F-66 Thunderbolt VII introduced

2667 - P-64D Super Ferret, A-18 Crossbow, F-57B Two-Seater Sabre, Morningstar, Wraith introduced

2668 - "Newline" Broadsword, F-57D Sabre-D slated to be introduced (Fleet Action)

2669 - Phantom, Banshee, F-103 Excalibur introduced

Early 2670s - F-27 Cloak-equipped Arrow, "Budget" Excalibur (Lacking Reapers Guns), Hellcat V revision (particle cannons), Thunderbolt revision (gun revision), Longbow revision (particle cannons), Bearcat introduced, Some versions of the F-44, F-27, A-17 and Hornet retired from active service and sold as surplus

2673 - Lance, "Black Hellcat" introduced

2670s - 2681 "Recon" Excalibur introduced, Thunderbolt variant with tachyon guns/ion guns introduced

Mid-2670s to 2680s - F-105 Tigershark, F-106 Piranha, F-108 Panther, F-109 Vampire, F-110 Wasp, TB-80 Devastator, TB-81 Shrike introduced

Between 2680 and 2700 - F-44 "Blade", "Cavalier", "Vanguard", F-27 "Scout", "Eclipse", "Guardian", A-17 "Executioner" "Warpig" and "Behemoth" introduced.

Some notes:
1. For the time being placed the Rapier-I introduction in the 27th century, to coincide roughly the creation of the Grand Fleet. I know this is gonna throw up controversy in the long run, but just so it's clear I'm not really wedded to either date.

2. Regarding the Wildcat, I've kept it separate from the speculation of the WC:Academy fighter that appears like the Hellcat, and instead assume that it's a self-contained fighter that no one's seen so far.

3. The Academy "Epee" and "Sabre" have been omitted and instead the introduction date of the Sabre and Epee have been placed at 2661. Also placed the Rapier-G's introduction at the same time, as it seems a good point to introduce a massive upgrade to the Rapier-II.

4. Given the T-Bolt's "F-66" designation, I've placed it sometime in the mid 2660s. This does raise the question of whether the Longbow is really same thing as the ship we see in Academy (the Academy one is lacking a rear turret, IIRC) and it may simply represent an earlier design lineage. Given that the F/A designation seems to apply along the fighter series (such as with the Tigershark) the Longbow intro date may need to be moved forward by a couple years.

5. Any statements about the obsolescence of fighters circa False Colors, or The Price of Freedom novel are taken to mean the particular versions of the fighters being flown, rather than the entire "model line". I know this is something of a stretch, but it seems to me that this would be reasonable under the idea of selling fighters as military surplus.

6. Making the assumption that manufacturing lines were tweaked sometime in the early 70s after the war to standarize certain fittings, which is why we see things like the particle cannon equipped Hellcat/Longbow, and the Bearcat, general revision of design practices. It might also coincide with an introduction of the new set of Rapiers, etc. but clearly this is conjecture so has been omitted. However, retains suggestion that older fighters outside of this "generation" are decommissioned and sold as surplus or kept in reserve wings.

7. Assumption that the WCP fighters are already 3-5 years into their service cycle by the time the game is set, so the Tigershark, Piranha etc. are slowly phased into general service right around or after WC4. (The new fighters may have already been part of the Vesuvius class construction phase, bears some thinking since it's from the Eisen that the Midway gets her first complement of Vampires from, suggesting that they're already in service on that class of carrier)

Will have revised snapshots in the next post, along with a breakdown of variants of each fighter type.

Nob Akimoto

Rear Admiral
Snapshots by Era and fighter variants.

Snapshot by Era:
Immediate Pre-War/McAuliffe (ca. 2634)
Mainline Fighter: (McAuliffe) - Wildcat (30yrs), Hurricane(40+ yrs); (Grand Fleet) - Merlin(?)
Light/Scout Fighter: (McAuliffe) - Hummer(?), P-64 Ferret
Fighter-Bomber: (McAuliffe) - Falcon(?)
Bombers: (McAuliffe) - Gladiator(40+ yrs), Trident(?); (Grand Fleet) - A-17 Broadsword(New)
"Out of Date"/"Ancient": (McAuliffe) - Minotaur(100+ yrs), Thor(50+ yrs), Gotha(50+ yrs); (Grand Fleet) - CF-105 Scimitar(100+ yrs)

Enyo Engagement (ca. 2639)
Mainline Fighter: Wildcat (34yrs), Hurricane(40+ yrs), Corsair(New?), Merlin(?), CF-117a Rapier-I(3 yrs)
Light/Scout Fighter: Hummer(?), F-27 Arrow Orig.(New?), Hornet(New?), P-64 Ferret
Fighter-Bomber: Falcon(?), Raptor(New?)
Bombers: Gladiator(40+ yrs), Trident(?), A-17 Broadsword(5 yrs)
"Out of Date"/"Ancient": CF-105 Scimitar(100+ yrs)

Custer's Carnival Offensive(ca. 2648 - 2649)
Mainline Fighter: Corsair(10 yrs?), Merlin(?), CF-117b Rapier-I (3 yrs)
Light/Scout Fighter: Hornet(New?), F-27 Arrow Orig.(5+ yrs?), P-64 Ferret
Fighter-Bomber: Raptor(~10 yrs)
Bombers: A-17 Broadsword(15 yrs)
"Out of Date"/"Ancient": CF-105 Scimitar(100+ yrs)
Presumably Withdrawn: CF-117a Rapier-I(10+ yrs), Hurricane(50+ yrs), Hummer(?), Gladiator(50+ yrs), Trident(?)

Wing Commander(inc. Movie, Academy(TV), SM1/SM2, ca. 2654 - 2656)
Mainline Fighter: Corsair(10 yrs?), Merlin(?), Hellcat V(New?), YF-44/F-44A/F-44B Rapier-II(New, 2654/2655/2656)
Light/Scout Fighter: Hornet(~5 yrs?), Arrow(~10 yrs?), P-64 Ferret
Fighter-Bomber: Raptor(10+ yrs), Longbow(New?)
Bombers: A-17 Broadsword(20 yrs), A-17 Broadsword Acad.(New?)
Withdrawn from Service: CF-105 Scimitar(100+ yrs, 2655), CF-117b Rapier-I(2654)

Wing Commander II (ca. 2666)
Mainline Fighter: Hellcat V Acad.(10+ yrs?), Hornet(30+ yrs?), F-44A Rapier-II(11 yrs), F-44C Rapier-II(5+ yrs?), F-44G/H Rapier-II(New?)
Light/Scout Fighter: Arrow Acad.(~20 yrs?), Epee Attack Variant(5 yrs), P-64D Super Ferret, P-64 Ferret
Fighter-Bomber: Raptor(20+ yrs), Longbow Acad.(~10 yrs?), F-57"A" Sabre(WCII vers., 2-3 yrs?)
Bombers: A-17 Broadsword(33 yrs), A-17 Broadsword Acad. (10+ yrs)
Presumably Withdrawn: Corsair(20 yrs), Merlin(40+ yrs?)

End Run/Fleet Action (ca. 2668)
Mainline Fighter: Hellcat V HotT?(New?), Hornet(30+ yrs?), F-44C Rapier-II(5+ yrs?), F-44G/H Rapier-II(2-3 yrs?), Gladius(New?), Wraith(New)
Light/Scout Fighter: Arrow Arm.(New?), Arrow HotT(New?), Epee Attack Variant(7 yrs), P-64D Super Ferret(2-3 yrs)
Fighter-Bomber: Raptor(30+ yrs), Longbow HotT(New?), F-57"A" Sabre(5-6 yrs?), F-57B Sabre-CVE(New), F-57D Sabre-D(New), HF-66A Thunderbolt VII(New), Morningstar(New)
Bombers: A-17 Broadsword(35 yrs), A-18 Crossbow(New), "New Line" A-17 Broadsword(New)
Presumably Withdrawn: Arrow Acad.(20+ yrs?), Hellcat V Acad. (10+ yrs?), F-44A Rapier(11 yrs), A-17 Broadsword Acad. (10+ yrs), P-64 Ferret(40+ yrs)

Wing Commander Armada/Privateer/III (ca. 2669)
Mainline Fighter: Hellcat V HotT?(2-3 yrs?), Hornet(30+ yrs?), F-44C Rapier-II(5+ yrs?), F-44G/H Rapier-II(5-6 yrs?), Gladius(2-3 yrs?), Wraith(2-3 yrs), F-103 "Reaper" Excalibur(New)
Light/Scout Fighter: Arrow Arm.(2-3 yrs, same as "Interceptor" Arrow?), Arrow HotT(2-3 yrs, same as "point defense" Arrow?), Epee Attack Variant(8 yrs), Phantom(New)
Fighter-Bomber: Raptor(30+ yrs), Longbow HotT(2-3 yrs?), F-57B Sabre-CVE(2-3 yrs), F-57D Sabre-D(2-3 yrs), HF-66A Thunderbolt VII(2-3 yrs), Morningstar(2-3 yrs)
Bombers: "New Line" A-17 Broadsword(2 yrs), A-18 Crossbow(2 yrs), Banshee(New), A-17 Broadsword Patrol Fighter(Same as WCA ver.? 5-6 yrs?)
Presumably Withdrawn: A-17 Broadsword(36 yrs), F-57"A" Sabre(6-8 yrs.)

Wing Commander IV (ca. 2673)
Mainline Fighter: Hellcat V PoF(2-3 yrs?), F-44G/H Rapier-II(7-8 yrs?), Wraith(3-4 yrs), F-103 Excalibur Prod.(2-3 yrs?), F-104 Bearcat(New)
Light/Scout Fighter: Arrow Cloak(New?), Epee Attack Variant(5 yrs), Phantom(4-5 yrs)
Fighter-Bomber: Longbow PoF(2-3yrs?), F-57D Sabre-D(4-5), HF-66 Thunderbolt VII PoF(2-3 yrs?)
Bombers: "New Line" A-17 Broadsword(4-5 yrs, Reserve Wings Only), A-18 Crossbow(4-5 yrs), Banshee(4-5 years)
Presumably Withdrawn: Arrow Arm.(4-5 yrs?), Arrow HotT(4-5 yrs?), "Reaper" Excalibur(2-3 yrs?), Hellcat V HotT?(2-3 yrs?), Longbow HotT(2-3 yrs?), Raptor(30+ yrs), Hornets(40+ yrs?), F-57B Sabre-CVE(5-6 yrs), HF-66A Thunderbolt VII HoTT(3-4 yrs?)

Wing Commander Prophecy/Secret Ops (ca. 2681)
Mainline Fighter: Wraith(10-12 yrs), F-103 Excalibur Prod.(10+ yrs?), F-104 Bearcat(7-8 yrs), F-108 Panther(4-5 yrs), F-109 Vampire(2-3 yrs?), F-110 Wasp
Light/Scout Fighter: Recon Excalibur(7-8 yrs), Epee Attack Variant(5 yrs), Phantom(4-5 yrs), F-106 Piranha(4-5 yrs)
Fighter-Bomber: F-57D Sabre-D(4-5), HF-66 Thunderbolt VII SO(5-6 yrs?)
Bombers: "New Line" A-17 Broadsword(9-10 yrs, Reserves Only), A-18 Crossbow(9-10 yrs), Banshee(9-10 years)
Presumably Withdrawn/In Process of being Withdrawn: Longbow PoF(5-6yrs?), Hellcat V TPoF(8-9 yrs?), F-44G/H Rapier-II(15 yrs?), HF-66 Thunderbolt VII PoF(5-6 yrs)

Variants by fighter type and when we actually see them in service. (Does not include conjectural models.

F-27 Arrow
Academy Version: ~2654 (WCATV)
Armada Type: ~2669
HotT Type: ~2669
Cloak Type: ~2673
TPoF "Budget"/"Pirate" Type: ~2673
"Point Defense" Type: ~2669 (*Note: Possibly HotT Arrow, HotT Novel)
"Interceptor" Type: ~2669 (*Note: Possibly Armada Arrow, HotT Novel)
"Scout": ~2701 (Arena)
"Eclipse": ~2701 (Arena)
"Guardian": ~2701 (Arena)

Service Type: ~2669 (Armada)

Service Type: ~2673 (WC4)

A-17 Broadsword
WCM Type: ~2654(WCM)
Academy Type: ~2654 (WCATV)
Service Type: ~2666 - 2668( WC2/End Run/Fleet Action)
"New Line": ~2668 (Fleet Action, Mention only?)
Patrol Fighter Type: ~2669 - 2970 (*Note: Possibly CF-131, Privateer/False Colors)

"In Development": ~2634 (Action Stations)

A-18 Crossbow
YA-18: ~2667(SO1)
A-18: ~2667(SO1)

TB-80 Devastator
TB-80A: ~2681 (WCP)
TB-80S: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

F-54 Epee
Service Type: ~2666(WC2)

F-103 Excalibur
YF-103A: ~2669 (WC3)
F-103A: ~2669 (WC3)
F-103B: ~2673 (WC4)
F-103D: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

P-64 Ferret
P-64: ~2666 (WC2)
P-64D: ~2666 - 2668 (WC2, End Run, Fleet Action)
P-64 "Recon/Survey" Ferret: ~2629 (Confederation Handbook)

Service Version: ~2634 (Action Stations)

Patrol Type: ~2669 (Privateer)
TCN Type: ~2669 (Armada)

Service Type: ~2634 (Action Stations)

Hellcat V
Academy Sim Type: ~2654 (WCATV)
HotT Type: ~2669 (WC3)
TPoF Type: ~2673 (WC4)
Black Hellcat Type: ~2673 (WC4)

Service Type: ~2654 - 2656/2668/2670 (WC1/FA/FC)

Service Type: ~2634 (Action Stations)

Two-Seater Trainer: ~2630 (Action Stations)
Service Type: ~2634 (Action Stations)

Service Type: ~2673 (WC4)

F/A-76 Longbow
Academy Type: ~2654(WCATV)
HotT Type: ~2669 (WC3)
TPoF: ~2673 (WC4)
Arena Type: ~2701 (Arena)

Service Type: ~2634 (Confederation Handbook)

Service Type: ~2634 (Action Stations)

Prototype: ~2667(SO2)
Production Type: ~2668(WCA)

F-108 Panther
F-108A: ~2681 (WCP)
F-108S: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

Service Type: ~2669 (Armada)

F-106 Piranha
F-106A: ~2681 (WCP)
F-106C: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

CF-117 Rapier-I
CF-117a: Up to 2645, never actually "seen" (Confederation Handbook)
CF-11b: ~2654 (WCM)

F-44 Rapier-II
YF-44A: ~2654 (WC1)
F-44A: ~2654 - 2656/2668 - 2673 (WC1/FA/FC/TPoF Novel)
F-44B: ~2655 (SWC)
F-44C: ~2667 (End Run)
F-44G: ~2666 (WC2 Manual)
F-44H: ~2666 (WC2)
F-44 Blade: ~2701 (Arena)
F-44 Cavalier: ~2701 (Arena)
F-44 Vanguard: ~2701 (Arena)

Mine-Layer Type: ~2639 (Claw Marks)
Service Type: ~2654 - 2656 (WC1)

F-57 Sabre
F-57A: ~2666-2668 (WC2, End Run/FA)
F-57B: ~2667 (End Run)
F-57D: ~2668 (Fleet Action, mention only)

CF-105 Scimitar
Academy Type: ~2654 (WCATV)
Service Type: ~2654 - 2655/2668 (WC1/FA)

TB-81 Shrike
TB-81A: ~2681 (WCP)
TB-81S: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

Patrol Type: ~2669 (Privateer)

Patrol Type: ~2669 (Privateer)

Service Type: ~2634 (Action Stations)

F/A-105 Tigershark
F/A-105A: ~2681 (WCP)
F/A-105B: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

F-66 Thunderbolt VII
HF-66A: ~2669 (WC3)
F-66B: ~2673 (WC4)
F-66D: ~2681 (SO)

Service Type: ~2634 (Action Stations)

F-109 Vampire
F-109A: ~2681 (WCP)
F-109B: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)
F-109S: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

F-110 Wasp
F-110A: ~2681 (WCP)
F-110S: ~2681 (SO/WCPG)

Service Type: ~2634 (Action Stations)

Prototype: ~2668 (WCA)
Production Type: ~2669 (Armada)

Nob Akimoto

Rear Admiral
And finally three graphical timelines.

It's a bit large so I've put them up at:
First is simply alphabetical sorting.

Second is sorted by introduction date.

Last one is by withdrawal date.

For the ease of viewability the scale is limited to the 27th century, and also includes some conjecture.

For the purposes of this chart, the following assumptions were made:
1. Action Stations craft were retired around 2635-2640 as replacements came online.
2. Most war era designs were retired in the 2680s.
3. Remaining war era, immediate post-war designs retired in 2690s.

Again, conjecture, so take it with a grain of salt. I did extend the length of the span of the fighter seen in Arena to the "present" of 2701, but again that's conjecture, too. It's unlikely they were in commission for the entire time, but that's another kettle of fish.


Cry some more!
Nob, why are the Thud and the Excal retired so early in your graphics, considering we saw them in WCSO?

Nob Akimoto

Rear Admiral
I'm not sure what you mean by early. 2690 is a fairly late date given the last time we see them in service is in the later half of 2681, and only then with local system defense force units, rather than front line TCSF service.

However, I've edited out the "end" dates as 2695 (for T-Bolt/Excal) and 2685 for the late war era fighters to indicate their expected end of service dates, with a period of around 5 years as being the expected phase-out rate.

Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
And finally three graphical timelines.

It's a bit large so I've put them up at:
First is simply alphabetical sorting.

Second is sorted by introduction date.

Last one is by withdrawal date.

For the ease of viewability the scale is limited to the 27th century, and also includes some conjecture.

For the purposes of this chart, the following assumptions were made:
1. Action Stations craft were retired around 2635-2640 as replacements came online.
2. Most war era designs were retired in the 2680s.
3. Remaining war era, immediate post-war designs retired in 2690s.

Again, conjecture, so take it with a grain of salt. I did extend the length of the span of the fighter seen in Arena to the "present" of 2701, but again that's conjecture, too. It's unlikely they were in commission for the entire time, but that's another kettle of fish.

Nice job! I like the graphs for introduction/withdrawl dates, it helps to get a visual of what fighters were available at which times. Of course conjecture has to be involved and much of it isn't confirmed, but it could be helpful for people making fan projects. Perhaps question marks should be inserted wherever information isn't confirmed: for instance all of the ships listed as retiring in 2640. Instead of all of the bars breaking off abruptly, you could have them end with ? marks wherever it's unconfirmed.


Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
One thing you can do is just colorize your chart. Make the bars solid blue for the ranges that you know for sure and fade them out over the estimated time frames. I'm also not sure why you pushed the Epee and Sabre dates back though.

Nob Akimoto

Rear Admiral
I pushed the "2680" date fighters back to 2685 as a range between 2680 - 2685 as their gradual phase out, rather than all of them being retired at once.


Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I was talking about their introduction dates. If you're question-marking phase-ins, I'd probably start the ? in 2654. They're a less definite than other ships, but it's not so much that you can say for sure that they're not them. I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that's what was intended.

Nob Akimoto

Rear Admiral
Oh as for that...

Two main reasons.

The first is as LOAF suggested there's some ambiguity as to whether or not the WCA ships were really Sabres or Epees, though granted their silhouettes are close enough to be the assumed homages, but for the sake of this timeline, I figured it wouldn't hurt to err on the side of disregarding, the questionable reference. I can add the question mark back and stage it back to 2654 if it's gonna cause a big fuss.

Second was mostly the designator on both fighters being a good deal higher than the Rapier-II's, which is supposedly the "newest and baddest" circa 2654 as an evaluation prototype. Granted, I suppose it's possible that the F-54/F-57 chronologically was developed around the same time as the F-44, but I find it odd that A. there'd be such a gap in that process and B. that they'd be available so easily that pirates could get their hands on them.

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Yeah, I discussed the Epee a little bit above - there's a quote in the WC1/2USG that gives it a 2661 intro date.


Finder of things, Doer of stuff

This actually looks like an epee/ferret *and* two sabres, to me. The sabres don't apear to have the same wing configuration in this shot to the third fighter
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Victory, you say?
The middle and right ones look like Sabres indeed, especially where the guns are placed. In my view, that could be a Sabre, but it isn't a perfect match, so it could be a similar looking fighter.

That one on the left is a Longbow, even if it looks a bit thin. :)

Here's a WCA Epee, courtesy of the CIC:

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Nob Akimoto

Rear Admiral
A quick reply.

I did adjust the service entry dates for the Gladius and Raptor a bit further back to match the Broadsword.

Slightly puzzling on that respect is that there's no major "attack" role craft between the Broadsword and the Crossbow for over 35 years.

This might make the likelihood that Confed redesignated their fighters/bombers at some point between 2630 - 2660 and that the Broadsword started out as the CF-131, but was redesignated as A-17.