Kushan "Thunderbolt" Attack Bomber

Homeworld Statistics

Class: Fighter
Build Cost
: 85 RUs
Build Time: 20 s
Maneuverability: Medium
: 975 m/s^2
Max Velocity: 750 m/s
Hit Points: 110
Fuel Capacity: 14,000
Firepower: 45
Coverage: 5%
Mass: 90 tons

Salvage No.: 1
Nav Lights: 0
Special Abilities

Required Tech:
Fighter Drive
Fighter Chassis
Plasma Bomb Launcher

Weapons: Damage: Range: Fire Time:
2 Plasma Bomb Launchers 50-65 5,800 m 2.7 s

One of the benefits of a larger Fighter frame is the ability to modify a Strike Craft to carry powerful directed energy payloads. The plasma bomb system draws high-energy plasma from the Fighter's fusion torch drive and vents it into a small magnetic containment sphere mounted aboard a direct fire missile. The plasma venting occurs in the split second between the pilot firing the bomb and the bomb actually leaving its cradle. Upon impact with the target, the bomb's containment sphere ruptures and releases the near-fusion plasma in a single massive burst. While the missile is unable to accurately target fast-moving Strike Craft, it can be devastating to slower-moving Capital Ships. This complex and powerful weapon system leaves a Strike Craft without any room to mount other weapons.

After the costly battle with the Taiidan fleet that had been responsible for the Burning of Kharak, it became clear to Fleet Intelligence that the Hammer-class heavy corvettes that had been so effective against enemy fighters at Selim Point and the Great Wasteland were now taking serious losses at the hands of Taiidan capital ships. Fleet Command put the task to the research division to develop a strike craft that could deliver lethal damage to enemy capital assets and yet still maintain the speed and maneuverability to avoid the turreted heavy weapons of the larger targets. Research crews set to work on a heavier, more potent version of the standard mass driver cannon that was present on existing fighters and corvettes. However, initial trials quickly revealed that this goal was impractical, as the heavier weapon inevitably caused severe stress fractures to the small fighter frame. 

Searching for another solution to the problem, a young research technician noticed that the Intelligence division already had examples of captured Taiidan weaponry that might meet the requirements laid out by Fleet Command. After analyzing records of the captured Taiidan Kudaark-class assault frigate, the research team devised a miniaturized version of the plasma bomb launcher that had been installed in the captured frigate. The crash development program that ensued became as famous for its short development cycle as for the plasma venting accident that resulted in the exposure of six decks of the Mothership's testing facilities to the hard vacuum of space.

The resulting design, designated the 'Thunderbolt' Attack Bomber, was something of a compromise. Because of the size and power requirements of the plasma containment and launching mechanisms, the Thunderbolt would be slower than most pure fighters and unable to mount any additional anti-fighter weapons with which to defend itself. Still, the impressive damage-dealing potential of the design revealed in trials convinced planners to go forward with production.

The baptismal combat engagement of the Thunderbolt against an enemy carrier resulted in the loss of the entire 10-craft wing, but left the target carrier crippled and burning; it was later finished off by a flight of Arrow scouts sent to survey the battlefield. Appalled by the losses but encouraged by the results, tactics were altered to ensure that Thunderbolts would always be escorted by a wing of faster light and heavy interceptors, as much to distract the guns of the target frigates as to protect them from enemy fighters.