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Broadsword

Macronesian SA-33 Broadsword Subfighter

Class:
SA-33 "Broadsword" Class Submersible Marine-Superiority Fighter

Contractor/Builder:
ASC (Alliance Shipbuilding Corporation), Brisbane.

Length:
21.5m

Wingspan:
12.1m

Height:
3.3m

Submerged Displacement:
20,100 Kilograms


(Above: The Broadsword's large size becomes apparent when placed next to the UEO SF-38 Raptor II)

 

Hull Composition:
Single-layer Titanium Alloy over a Carbon-Composite Frame

Analysis of the wreckage of a downed SA-33 has given the UEO Office of Naval Intelligence new insights in to Macronesian fighter design and construction, and has shown that the Broadsword is a significant step forward from the preceding SA-29 Lysander. While a larger fighter, the SA-33 is a clear evolution of the Lysander, and retains the low-profile of the Lysander through a highly tensile frame of dense carbon composites which seem to be largely on par with the UEO's own C65 materials used in Raptor construction. Like present UEO fighters, the canopy of the Broadsword is a transparent metallic alloy approximately 3.5 inches thick which provides the Broadsword with enough performance endurance to attain depths greater than 20,000 feet. Wide control surfaces that stretch as wide as the entire fuselage provide the fighter with a previously unknown level of agility when compared to earlier Alliance fighters.

Maximum Operational Depth:
Estimated 25,000 feet

Propulsion:
Twin Deon-Maynard SX-44L Hydrojet Turbines.

Note: Statistics and performance unknown.

Power source:
Primary - Two Deon-Maynard Taurus-pattern Fusion Reactors, engine-integrated.
Secondary - Two SX-44L Turbine Generators

Fuel:
Primary - Tritium, Deuterium (Required for Fusion Reactor)
Secondary - Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Range: 1700 Nautical mile combat radius at a cruising speed of 250 knots

Top Speed:
350 knots (observed)

Cost per unit:
Estimated $80 Million (U.S.)

Weapons systems:

Twin ASC M12/F Pulse Laser Cannons
Twin ASC S10/A Particle Decelerator Cannons ("Subduction guns")
2 wing-stored Internal weapons bays with 6 Mk4/D Electro-Plasma Torpedoes
OR 8 minature Mk6/A Electro-Plasma Torpedoes

Defence systems:
2 intercept torpedoes
ECM Suite
Intercept package: chaff, noisemakers

Computer system:
Deon Systems F41 Multi-Engagement Combat System, limited AI functions.

Sensors:
Tactical Hypersonar, effective range 40km
Active and Passive sensor suite, effective range 40km
Model VII Hypersonar/Laser-based Sensor array, Effective Range ; 30km

Utilitarian systems:
1 tempered steel grapple (range: 100m)

Crew compliment:
1 Pilot

Development history and class background...

The SA-33 Broadsword has its roots as early as 2035 when the Macronesian Alliance begun early research and development in to a new class of subfighter to replace the capable, but ageing SA-29 Lysander. While unaware of the UEO's own plans to develop the SF-37 series of fighter, the Alliance was very much aware of the Chaodai Dynasty's own next-generation subfighter programs that were threatening to give the Alliance neighbour a decisive edge in subfighter engagements. And so, the Broadsword could better be thought of as a counter to the Chaodai's Xiao-Yu class Interceptors rather than a direct competitor to the UEO Raptor.

An upgrade program for the Lysander class in 2036 would inevitably delay the Alliance's next generation fighter design, and a defence agreement tentatively made with the Chaodai in the late 2030s ensured that the potential threat of the Xiao-Yu would remain a moot point in strategic discussions. Indeed, while it took several years to work out the details, the Alliance's relationship with the Chaodai brought about more cooperation than it did rivalry or animosity, with the UEO being mutually recognised as a far more significant threat. The alliance with the Chaodai also began a second fighter program born of technologies shared between the two confederations. The SA-35 "Nosferatu" would ultimately be the pinnacle of Alliance and Chaodai fighter technologies, but it was still many years from fruition.

Thus, the SA-33 and SA-35 programs continued to be developed in tandem. While the SA-35 was seen as being a far more valuable program in the longer run, the cost of the planned Stealth fighter was skyrocketing, and it became apparent that the Nosferatu would never become the fleet's mainstay fighter as was originally intended. No military program benefitted from this more than the SA-33, as the perceived value of what would become known as the "Broadsword" increased, and more resources were allocated to it to ensure an on-time arrival of no less than twenty squadrons by 2040.

When it was first developed in the mid-2020s, the Lysander class stood as the most advanced subfighter in the world. Capable of engagements up to speeds of 300 knots and equipped with a powerful armament of subduction weapons, there weren't many potential adversaries in the world's navies that could match the Lysander, with one possible exception. The UEO's SF-2 "Spectre" subfighters were durable, well-armed and highly agile craft that frequently engaged the Lysander in border skirmishes, and were just as frequently victorious. In many respects, the Broadsword was designed to fix the problems that led to so many Lysanders being destroyed throughout the 2030.

With a larger powerplant, better stability and higher manoeverability than the Lysander, the Broadsword additionally benefitted from a much heavier armament. Sporting a four-strong array of subduction and laser cannons, the Broadsword boasted an internal weapons bay that wouldn't be eclipsed until the launch of the UEO's Stormhawk class bomber, being able to carry six large torpedoes with no loss in agility or speed thanks largely to its msssive control surfaces and engines. (A single SX-44L Turbine is almost as large as entire Raptor class subfighter.)

Since entering service in 2040, the Broadsword has steadily begun to fill the ranks of the Alliance fleet. For the time being, due to their relatively small numbers, the Broadsword is assigned only to experienced squadrons, with the most recognisable user of this craft being the elite 188th Fighter Squadron, the Blackravens, under the command of Captain William Bishop.

What the Broadsword lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in adaptability. A direct comparison of the Broadsword to other next-generation fighters such as the UEO Raptor or the NSC Seafire would suggest it has already been top-trumped. Its somewhat simple armament derived of laser cannons and subduction weapons, combined with its prominent size put it at a disadvantage next to the UEO and NSC craft. Like the Lysander before it, the Broadsword has a large footprint which easily falls under the gunsights of inexperienced pilots, making the Raptor in particular a uniquely dangerous adversary in no small part due to its immensely powerful Hades cannons. Critics of the Broadsword are fast to point out that despite the improvements made in several key areas including propulsion, mobility and sensors, the vast majority of the systems aboard the Broadsword are - at the very least - derived from old-generation technologies. Despite this, much to the fighter's favour, this relative simplicity in design makes it one of the most easily maintainable subfighters in the world, and a high level of survivability often sees them through engagements that would otherwise overwhelm either of its two adversaries.

In spite of these critics, the Broadsword's combat record is unmatched, with experienced pilots finding the reliability and sturdy design of the fighter preferable to the newer, more advanced and far more temperamental SA-35 Nosferatu.

 

Copyright 2006-2009 James Ward. All reference pertaining to "seaQuest DSV" and "seaQuest 2032" are copyrights of Universal/Amblin enterainment and no claim is made to these titles. Atlantis DSV and all related themes are copyright of James Ward and associated writers.

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