Hellcat V vs. Rapier II

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
I don't know why, but it seems as though every fan mod says that the Hellcat V has superior shielding/weapons to the Rapier II and that it replaced the "aging fighter" ... COME ON! The first time we see the Hellcat V is in WC Academy when Maverick and Maniac are flying in the simulator. It was also my understanding that the Hellcat predated the Rapier by quite a bit of time.

I had always thought that the reason we see the Hellcat V so much in WC 3 + 4 is chalked up to two things: 1. Rapiers had been frontline fighters for years and we being blasted in greater volumes then the Hellcat V was, also, how many had been mothballed during the Truce?

Plus... the fighter sucks!
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Really, going strictly by the numbers, all the Hellcat has going for it over the Rapier is moderately stronger shields and ion guns instead of lasers, while it has less speed and maneuverability.
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
Really, going strictly by the numbers, all the Hellcat has going for it over the Rapier is moderately stronger shields and ion guns instead of lasers, while it has less speed and maneuverability.

I never cared for the Ion gun. I thought its stopping power was lame. The laser has very little stopping power, but you can lean down on the trigger, constantly fire, and the damn thing won't overheat!
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I don't like the ion guns of the hellcat, either. Too much energy consumption. I just use them for long distances.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I don't know why, but it seems as though every fan mod says that the Hellcat V has superior shielding/weapons to the Rapier II and that it replaced the "aging fighter" ... COME ON! The first time we see the Hellcat V is in WC Academy when Maverick and Maniac are flying in the simulator. It was also my understanding that the Hellcat predated the Rapier by quite a bit of time.

You are correct; in all likelyhood, the Hellcat is at least several months older than the Rapier II (and then probably much older, since there's a statue of one at the Flight School...) The 'fanon' that the Hellcat replaced the Rapier does have some reasonable basis, though - the CCG has a Hellcat V card for Black Lion Squadron (the Rapier II squadron from WC1.) At best, though, I think that suggests only that they were contemporaries...

Note that I say in all likelyhood - a story that I personally like but WHICH IS NOT FROM THE CONTINUITY (I have such trouble separating my thoughts from the holy writ these days) is that the ships in Academy were 'Wildcats' (from Action Stations)... and that they look like Hellcat Vs in the same way that F4F Wildcats looked like F6F Hellcats in World War II.

I had always thought that the reason we see the Hellcat V so much in WC 3 + 4 is chalked up to two things: 1. Rapiers had been frontline fighters for years and we being blasted in greater volumes then the Hellcat V was, also, how many had been mothballed during the Truce?

That's dangerous territory - the old 'they took away all of this kind of ship for some reason during the truce' explanation is kind of silly and was created entirely by fans. The reason we see it in WC3 and 4 is simply because Hellcat squadrons are assigned to the ships we serve on in those games. They're still being built in 2673, too - the Hellcats on the Lexington were fresh ships. Rapier IIs, too, are still in production years later - we see new variants that fought the Nephilim in Arena.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Ion guns did less damage than particle cannons and ate more power, while having comparable range and only a slightly higher refire rate. They would have been decent middle-light guns if only they didn't require so much power to use.
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
Rapier IIs, too, are still in production years later - we see new variants that fought the Nephilim in Arena.
It was also my understanding that the Hellcat predated the Rapier by quite a bit of time.

Hmmm... So I guess my Convoy Intercept mission wasn't as non-canon as I had thought. ;)

Plus... the fighter sucks!

The Hellcat is my personal favourite fighter because it can dish out a lot of firepower while it can hold it's own pretty well. Except when you're facing two corvettes at once. (I had to retry a single mission in WC3 again and again just because of two corvettes.)

The only thing I don't really like about the Hellcat is the gun energy capacity. However, I think most ships in WC3 were like that.
 

Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
It was a real eye opener for me to fly Rapier II's in Standoff. I love that ship! I hate the Hellcat. That extra 100kps really makes a difference. It's faster than even many of the Kilrathi light fighters, and only 50kps slower than a Darket. That speed can make all the difference when you're trying to shoot down enemy bombers before they get to your capship or in protecting your bombers from enemy fighters. A statistic that surprised me is that the Rapier has the same top speed as the Excalibur; which is a superfighter that was produced 15 yrs. later!

Continuing the gripe about the Hellcat: the 1200kps top speed of the Hellcat is equal to the Sabre, but the Sabre has a much better missile loadout including torps and also has a rear turret. I'll take the Rapier II any day over the Hellcat.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
The problem with comparing the Rapier II to the Hellcat is that we don't know what their stats are for CONTEMPORARY versions of the fighters. We don't know what the stats of the Hellcat V would have been in the WC2 timeperiod, and we don't know what the stats of the Rapier II would have been upgraded in the WC3 time period.

The F-16 Falcon and the F-18 Hornet were designed at the same time, and initially the F-16 was the superior design (20-30 years ago or so) and was put into production in larger numbers. However, as technology has evolved, the F-18 has proved to be the better fighter when upgraded with 1990's and 2000's technology, and now is much more heavily employed.

I always thought of the Rapier II and the Hellcat in similar terms. Maybe they were designed at the same time (the similarities in their hull shape and wing layout always suggested this to me), or maybe the Hellcat really is older, and in the WC2 era, the Rapier II was the superior design. As component technologies were upgraded and improved on, maybe some of these upgrades degraded the Rapier's performance more than the Hellcat's, and so by the time WC3 happens the Hellcat V versions that appear then are superior to how the Rapier II's would perform when upgraded with similar technologies.

For some purely conjectural examples of how this could occur, maybe there was some advance in reactor technology that extended the range of the fighters, or improved their reliability, or eased maintenance, or had some advantage that all fighters needed that upgrade in order to stay competitive. Maybe the new reactor was slightly more massive, or bulkier, and the Rapier's chassis couldn't support that upgrade, while the Hellcat's could, or maybe they both could support the upgrade but various engineering shortcuts in the Rapier's design meant that it's max speed dropped by 300 kps whereas the Hellcat's dropped by only like 50 or something. Or maybe the decoy system that is standard in WC3 but almost non-existent in WC2 simply couldn't be mounted on a Rapier II whereas it could on a Hellcat V. Or maybe some advance in gun technologies necessitated a differently designed shield generator to counter, and that generator was not compatible with the Rapier's design, or if it was, could only produce shields so weak that the Rapier would be inferior to the Arror.

Or maybe it is just a simple matter of the designs being roughly equal, and we happen to be on ships with Rapiers in wC2 and with Hellcats in WC3.

Out of curiosity, how can one compare their shields and armor going "strictly by the numbers"? The CIC database lists the WC2 Rapier as having 11.5 cm shields and 7.5 cm armor, whereas it lists the Hellcat V as having 250 cm shields and 100 cm armor. Is the database wrong? I always figured either there was a major advancement in both weapon power and shield/armor thickness between the two games, or a unit was misplaced (i.e. the WC3 database should be in mm, not cm)? Where are you finding numbers that allow you to compare the two ships?
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I just had another thought. Another possibility is that the evolution of the Arrow may have made the Rapier II obselete. The Arror we see in WC3 is more or less superior to the WC2 Rapier II in almost every way--it's faster, more maneuverable, presents a smaller target profile, carries more missiles, is decoy-equipped and ITTS equipped (although maybe the Rapier II could have been retrofitted with decoys and ITTS as well, but, like I mentioned above, we don't know if that would have degraded it in other ways), can autoslide, and I *think* has comparable armor. The only advantage the Rapier II has is a slightly more powerful gun loadout and maybe thicker shields when converted into consistent units? (Like I mentioned above, I don't know how to compare the WC3 shield ratings, which are listed in 100's of cm, to the WC2 ratings, which are ~10-20 cm, and, for that matter, the CIC database doesn't even have a listing for the Arrow at present...).

So it's true that maybe there are missions where you'd rather have a Rapier II than a Hellcat V, but probably for all those missions you'd rather have an Arror than a Rapier. If the Arrow is preferable to the Rapier in all cases, why keep the Rapier around? Meanwhile, there are definitely times when you want to pick a Hellcat over an Arrow. At least, I felt that way.
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
The Arror we see in WC3 is more or less superior to the WC2 Rapier II in almost every way...
Except that we don't know what kind of evolution the Rapier has seen since WC2, so I don't think you can verify any such reasoning at all.

As LOAF said: you don't see Rapiers after WC2 because you don't see Rapiers after WC2. It's not because they were all retired at some point, or because they stopped being upgraded altogether and then other ships which were inferior became superior (...due to being upgraded themselves).
 

Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
So it's true that maybe there are missions where you'd rather have a Rapier II than a Hellcat V, but probably for all those missions you'd rather have an Arror than a Rapier. If the Arrow is preferable to the Rapier in all cases, why keep the Rapier around? Meanwhile, there are definitely times when you want to pick a Hellcat over an Arrow. At least, I felt that way.
I also would rather have the Arrow than the Rapier. I also can't think of a mission where I'd rather have a Hellcat than an Arrow. Even going up against heavy ships, I'd rather have the Arrow's extra 2 missiles and the ability to escape with it's superior speed and autoslide. I would assume that the Rapier has heavier shields and armor and more powerful guns than the Arrow, but of course we can't know that for sure. Even if the Hellcat edged the Rapier out in gun power and armor, I wouldn't trade that for the extra speed and maneuverability.

One plus I can think of with the Hellcats is that their guns don't get as easily damaged. If you take a few shots in the face while flying a Rapier, you can't shoot. Perhaps durability is a plus on the Hellcat's side. As a pilot I'd still choose the Rapier, but maybe admirals and technicians would think differently.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I would personally rather be in a Hellcat than an Arrow (or a Rapier II, for that matter) any time I was facing large numbers of Vaktoths, or more than one corvette, and any time I was flying a fleet defense mission against Paktahns.

The Arrow can keep up with the Vaktoth, but doesn't have the firepower to contend with their shields. Vaktoth shields seem to recharge so quickly and are so thick that, combined with their maneuverability and the usual superios skill of their pilots, I had the devil of a time trying to bring one down with an Arrow. A 'Cat still has the speed to keep up with one (unlike a Tunderbolt), and the firepower to actually dent its shields. Plus the extra armor is nice when their rear gun scores a lucky shot.

This is even more true when facing Paktahns. The Paktahn is so slow that you can fly circles around one in either an Arrow or a Hellcat, but their powerful reargun means that you have to use an extreme amount of finesse to tangle with one when in an arrow. Couple that with the Arrow's light weapons and the Paktahn's armor, and I always found that while it's easy to shoot them down with an Arrow, it takes a while. On the other hand, the Hellcat's increased firepower goes through them more quickly, and the 'Cat has the armor to take one in the nose from their rear gun while doing so, so you can afford to slug it out to take them down quickly. Speed is important when big things with torpedoes are heading for your carrier.

Similar logic for corvettes. Attacking corvettes in anything smaller than an Thunderbolt just sucks, but it's at least bearable in a Hellcat.

I agree that I'd take an Arrow over a Cat for large ship fleet attack--the speed and maneuverability makes it far more effective at dodging the antimatter bolts from a cruiser, getting safely behind a destroyer, or safely inside a carrier.
 

RogueBanshee

Rear Admiral
Note that I say in all likelyhood - a story that I personally like but WHICH IS NOT FROM THE CONTINUITY (I have such trouble separating my thoughts from the holy writ these days) is that the ships in Academy were 'Wildcats' (from Action Stations)... and that they look like Hellcat Vs in the same way that F4F Wildcats looked like F6F Hellcats in World War II.

Do you remember what the gun loadout on the sim fighter was? Also I thought all of the fighters on the Victory were older models. We see Longbows in Academy, and IIRC Blair refers to the Thunderbolt as a old fighter in the WC3 novel.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
I would personally rather be in a Hellcat than an Arrow (or a Rapier II, for that matter) any time I was facing large numbers of Vaktoths, or more than one corvette, and any time I was flying a fleet defense mission against Paktahns.

Well, as a light fighter the Arrow is not meant for going up against large numbers of Vaktoths or corvettes. However, for defending the Victory against Paktahns, I preferred to have the extra speed so that I could intercept each new wave of bombers as they appear, before they can launch their torpedoes--a missile up the tailpipe makes it easy enough to kill one, and I don't recall ever having to kill more than about ten of them at once, so running out of missiles was not much of a problem.
 

Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
Also I thought all of the fighters on the Victory were older models. We see Longbows in Academy, and IIRC Blair refers to the Thunderbolt as a old fighter in the WC3 novel.

That makes sense when you look at the stats. I always assumed the fighters would be more 'modern' than in WC2 since the game came later, but when you compare, there are several ships from WC2 that appear better than their WC3 counterparts. The Sabre vs. Thunderbolt, Rapier vs. Hellcat, even the Wraith vs. the Excalibur. I still prefer the Longbow over the Crossbow or Broadsword since it has afterburners and isn't as much of a flying death trap.

My theory is that most of the front line fighters were destroyed defending Earth when the Kilrathi invaded. The Kilrathi also destoyed the factories that produced these fighters on their push to Sol. With no new fighters of these models on their way in and not enough left over to justify using them as Confed's primary fighter, other fighters replaced them. It would take years to get these factories back up and running; that's why we don't see them in WC3 and 4, but see them back again in Arena. Again, that's just my theory.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Except that we don't know what kind of evolution the Rapier has seen since WC2, so I don't think you can verify any such reasoning at all.

As LOAF said: you don't see Rapiers after WC2 because you don't see Rapiers after WC2. It's not because they were all retired at some point, or because they stopped being upgraded altogether and then other ships which were inferior became superior (...due to being upgraded themselves).

Actually, that's not technically true - they show up in the Star*Soldier manual on the page after the Arrow, and they have less speed, the same amount of shielding, but twice the armor and guns (and missiles) of an equivalent Arrow. As you've stated, it's just that they're apparently not used in the squadrons we serve with in later games; wheter this means they're second-line fighters, are being sold on the civilian market now, or else just are on ships we don't see action with is another question.

They've been upgraded since and have served combat duty in the Nephilim incursions, but they're no longer God's own fighter compared to similar craft of their class (the Tigercat has better overall stats, for example). Personally, I don't have a problem with the Rapier or heavier fighters than the Arrow, at least so far as most combat duties go. The Arrow we see in WC3 is different from the WC4 version, probably due to it being a variant that was designed for other roles (interceptor versus scout).
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
Actually, that's not technically true - they show up in the Star*Soldier manual on the page after the Arrow, and they have less speed, the same amount of shielding, but twice the armor and guns (and missiles) of an equivalent Arrow.
Yes, we know what Rapiers are like in 2667, we know what Arrows are like in 2668, and we know what both Rapiers and Arrows are like in 2701... and still, none of that supports the suggestion that Rapiers were second-hand, outdated, or discontinued fighters during the 2668 to 2700 period, much less that they were completely retired in favor of Hellcats or Arrows, or made obsolete by them. That was my point...
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Yes, we know what Rapiers are like in 2667, we know what Arrows are like in 2668, and we know what both Rapiers and Arrows are like in 2701... and still, none of that supports the suggestion that Rapiers were second-hand, outdated, or discontinued fighters during the 2668 to 2700 period, much less that they were completely retired in favor of Hellcats or Arrows, or made obsolete by them. That was my point...

I was only trying to point out that we do know that the Rapier II -did- evolve, and we've seen one of the end products as of 2701; namely Rapier II's for sale to non-Fleet personnel, in a configuration which was combat-tested during the Nephilim war. We MAY be able to use this as a basis for hypothesizing about what sorts of changes took place between the last time we saw it in 2665-2666 and 2701.

In response to Farbourne's post, yes, the WC3 Arrow's better than the WC2 Rapier II, but that's probably because the latter had tech upgrades that we didn't see on the Rapier II in 2666. As you indicated in your post, we don't know what other changes were made since then to the Rapier II... but Star*Soldier's listings suggests that the company went on to improve the shields and armor much in the same way that Douglas Aerospace bumped up the Excalibur's shields and armor when we saw it again in Secret Ops.
 
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