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Wasp fighter bomber
The Wasp multirole fighter is an ornithopter designed to engage both air and ground targets. Developed from the earlier Albatross class scout ornithopter, the Wasp is a monowing, one place aircraft that has been in service for almost six years. Wasps are Drogue based naval fighters, meant to provide air superiority and close air support (CAS) for skyborne jump troops.
Wasps are highly maneuverable due to their excellent lift-to-weight ratio, and are generally considered to be one of the best tactical aircraft among all Panacean empires. While Wasps excel at dogfighting, their roles are not limited solely to air-to-air combat. Depending on mission, Wasps can be outfitted solely for close air support, or stripped down and used for long range reconnaissance flights. Range and endurance for a combat-loaded Wasp is roughly sixty miles, or two hours of flight time. Recon flights have roughly double that endurance.
Wasps are designed for pilots of smaller stature. Weight and size limits are generally those at the top end of what one would find in Halflings and Gnomes, about 4’8” tall and 90 pounds at the top end. This design decision was made to allow the Wasp to be an overall more compact aircraft, and carry heavier mission payloads.
Standard armament on a Wasp fighter is a pair of forward facing heavy repeaters on a chin mount under the cockpit. Heavy repeaters are a magical device utilizing charged crystals to fire bolts of energy to ranges up to 200 yards, with a maximum sustained rate of fire of 120 rounds per minute. When in a ground attack role, the Wasp can also be fitted with munitions canisters carrying variable alchemical payloads, such as alchemical fire, frost, thunder globes, or acid.
Deployment and Tactics
A standard squadron will have 5 Wasp fighters, split into two elements. The first element is the squad leader and two wingmen, both set up for air-to-air engagements to provide air superiority over the battlefield and cover for the second squad element. The second element consists of a pair of Wasps configured as CAS gunships. The CAS element will generally trail the lead element by a quarter mile or so, due to the fact that the CAS ships are much less maneuverable when loaded down with munitions.
An Air Wing consists of 5 squadrons of wasps, their pilots, and ground crews.