Or “What are those planes on the cover of 4th edition?’
This is the Skywalker X8: a cheap, easily-assembled and easily-modifoed drone. It’s marketed for the “FPV” (First Person View) hobbyist and is powered by batteries – although some hobbyists have installed jet turbines.
This is a real-world device which can be purchased for about $200. Cameras, motors, batteries and a remote control system can easily add another 3 or 4 hundred. Or a few thousand if Night Vision capabilities are desired
The X8 is not a Predator Drone – it is best used at distances of less that 10 kilometres. Looking over the “next hill” is the best use for the vehicle. However it does have an impressive payload bay and can stay airborne for about an hour.
The Atlantis Project planners like the X8 because it’s perfectly legal to own and operate
The Powered Parachute is a very limited method of powered flight. However, it is a simple, inexpensive and a fairly safe way to fly. Therefore, some relatively high-tech groups have been known to experiment with these “vehicles”. The only complexity is finding enough material to make the parachute – and this is usually the result of a lucky find in an old airfield.
The various Armed Forces of the Kentucky Free State are notorious for their bureaucratic infighting and lack of mutual trust. Because of these problems, the KFS River Patrol finds it necessary to operate its own Air Force: a tiny squadron of 6 ultralight amphibians, known as “Defiants”. These are “Wing in Ground Effect” vehicles: hybrid boat/planes designed to cruise at a height of 3 metres above the surface of the river (although they can make “hops” to an altitude of 30 metres).
The unimpressive specifications are due to the the political power of the “real” KFS Air Force – which will not allow any other Service to operate vehicles that can fly above 100 feet. These aircraft are not (officially) permitted to carry bombs but – even so – they are CHEAP and perform several useful functions for the River Patrol: reconnaissance, survey, artillery direction and liaison/communications.
The KFS Air Force operates ‘modern’ copies of the P47 Thunderbolt. These aircraft are usually equipped with 8 wing-mounted Heavy Machine Guns and perhaps a couple of 500-lb bombs.
However, the KFS Air Force can field other weapons and capabilities
1. HVAR (High Velocity Aircraft Rocket)
The KFS Air Force is a relatively cheap way for the KFS to enforce its will and to make swift reprisals for “Acts of Disrupting Commerce” (their equivalent of an Act of War). Note that the KFS don’t intend to just ‘kill people and break things’ (that removes valuable property and customers). Instead, the aim is to ensure the smmoth flow of commerce, trade and taxation .
So how does it work? Well let me set up a scenario for Air Control & Coercion campaigns.
This adventure idea revolves around the players coming up with plans to destroy the mystique of the KFS Air Force. Shooting down a P-47 isn’t enough; they must publicise this victory and show that the KFS Air Force is not omnipotent.
A major component of the Kentucky Free State’s military strategy is the use of ‘punitive strikes’ performed by the Air Force’s P-47 aircraft – bombing anyone who threatens the KFS or one of its Agrovilles
The KFS Air Force needs detailed intelligenceif it is to be effective in punitive strikes. This information is necessary for 2 purposes: early warning and the identification of schwerpunkts (focal points). This intelligence also enables the KFS Air Force to avoid ‘collateral damage’ (strikes on uninvolved groups) – not from any sense of justice – but from a simple desire for efficiency.
The KFS Air Force does not have trained intelligence officers and this means that it relies entirely upon the Secret Police. These SP operatives are tasked with monitoring every community within their area of responsibility (both overtly and covertly). Naturally, these operatives sometimes become corrupt and use their power for personal enrichment.
The SP are also responsible for the KFS PSYOP campaign that the players will have to counter. This campaign is designed to portray the KFS Air Force as impersonal, overwhelming and awe-inspiring – capable of rapidly applying firepower in any location and with extreme precision.
Combat Search & Rescue and Downed-Aircraft Retrieval
As a component of the PSYOP campaign, the Air Force and the SP are very aware of the need to recover any lost personnel or aircraft – or cover-up any losses. Pilots can be rescued (or sometimes eliminated) by several different methods but aircraft are either destroyed in situ or retrieved by the KFS Heavy-Lift helicopter .
The Morrow Project planners needed a helicopter gunship – but these are difficult to obtain. The planners also wanted a multi-purpose aircraft that could perform other functions – such as VIP transport