Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Boomerang Spotter Plane
Boomerang Spotter Plane (5 tons)
Power Plant : GM AeroProp Turbine
Cruise Speed : 43.3 kph (4)
Flank Speed : 64.8 kph (6)
Armor : None (Armor Factor -) : 0.0 tons
Front – 0
Right Side – 0
Left Side – 0
Rear – 0
Rotor – 0
Cargo (Recon Gear) : 0.5 tons (Body)
Manufacturer : Cal-Boeing of Dorwinion, Belladonna (Federated Suns).
Communications System : Achernar Air Whistler
Targeting and Tracking System : None
Notes : Cost = 69,000 Cs. Crew : 1.
Features Ultra-Light, STOL and Prop Chassis and Control Mods. Ejection Seat.
Overview : Named for its distinctive “V-Shape”, the Boomerang is representative of typical spy planes in use by all armed forces in the Inner Sphere. It acts as a mobile spotter for artillery strikes, and as a forward observer for advancing Mech units.
Capabilities : The Boomerang is the Federated Suns standard reconnaissance plane. Introduced in 2888, it was the first plane designed expressly for aerial recon in the Successor States era. Until then, civilian planes and their pilots were typically pressed into military service, with varying results.
The Boomerang’s most obvious feature, is its long wingspan. The long, tapering wings make the plane fuel-efficient and an excellent glide platform. The two forewings are perched on thin spars made of foamed aluminum, making them strong enough to support the winglets and their control cables. These forewings promote its stability and control, making it almost impervious to stalls.
Two vertical stabilizers sit to either side of the cockpit. When in use, the entire stabilizer pivots, instead of just the trailing edge as on other conventional aircraft. This coupled with the stabilizer’s placement in the swift airflow caused by its tapered slipstream, makes the Boomerang exceptionally maneuverable.
The engine, a standard electric turbofan design, is mounted just below the cockpit floor. It is highly efficient and quiet, using the 3000 km of fuel stored in its wings to extend the range to 5000 kms or more if the pilot carefully chooses to glide from time to time. The Boomerang’s engine has an unusual heat-bleeding system that channels the heat waste through two slits on the upper edge of the wings between the two vertical stabilizers and the cockpit. The propeller then disperses the heat, making it difficult to track the vehicle via infrared tracking systems. The large propeller is variable-pitched, reducing noise. The pitch also allows the pilot to feather the prop when putting it into glide mode; in this mode, the craft is virtually silent.
Such a large prop on an oddly proportioned airframe posed some difficulties in designing suitable landing gear. The Boomerang’s designers decided to stow the nose gear below the fuselage, and its long, thin landing wheels beneath the wings. Because of its long wingspan, the Boomerang requires only forty-four meters of landing space on a dry, level surface, and only seventy-five meters for take-off.
The light-weight Boomerang does not have many of the computer-guided systems common to modern aircraft. A Boomerang’s pilot must therefore develop a natural flair for flying. With its engine running, the big-winged Boomerang’s maximum ceiling is almost 18,000 meters.
The Boomerang can carry over five hundred kilos of reconnaissance gear, usually in the form of a pair of high-definition cameras with IR and low-light capabilities, enabling the Boomerang to function in all but the worst weather conditions. The two cameras often work independently, locking on two separate targets and relaying that information back to trailing Mosquito radar planes or even low-orbit DropShips.
The Boomerang’s major weakness is its lack of arms and armor. To compensate for this vulnerability, the pilots usually fly at least three hundred meters above the ground , somewhat reducing the camera’s abilities, but keeping the plane out of danger.
Deployment : The Boomerang has performed long and well in service to the Federated Suns. With light-weight, low maintenance materials, the plane has an excellent maintenance history. Most active duty regiments and planetary militias have at least one Boomerang in operation. Heavy-action units such as the Davion Brigade of Guards typically have up to fifteen Boomerangs in the air during operational engagements.
The Boomerang – and most of its House counterparts – are easily disassembled for quick storage in even the smallest of DropShip holds. The only complaint from most technicians, is the delicacy of the camera sensors; heavily ionized or irradiated atmospheres tend to corrode the sensors faster, degrading the camera’s performance.
Variants : As many variants exist as House militaries; the key differences mainly being in the plane’s silhouette and optics quality. The Capellan Dragonfly has a knock-off electric engine that tends to short-out after a few seconds of sustained G-Force application. The Kuritan Shuriken has a smaller wingspan, necessitating longer runways. The Lyran Warbler mounts radio interception gear in place of one camera system – though if not properly counter-balanced in the nose, it tends to stall. The Marik Hyperion cockpit forces the pilot to lie horizontally inside the wing-like fuselage, allowing the pilot to rest during extremely long sorties but mandating a complete reliance on instruments and sensors to properly fly the craft.