The Star Army
Main Article: Star Army of Yamatai
Main Article: Star Army of Yamatai
Developed starting in YE 33 and into YE 34, the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A is a ‘Thought Starfighter’ developed by Taisa Kage Yaichiro with Project THOUGHT technologies as well as extensive support and input from Murasaki Emiko, creator of the Ke-V9 "Nodachi" Assault Fighter and ensuring a certain level of cross-compatibility. Unlike previous efforts in the Project THOUGHT design lineage such as the Tsubame Prototype Fighter from which the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A was developed, this was designed as a true military project.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A is a redesign of the successful Ke-V6-1D "Hayabusa" Starfighter which retains many of the systems and components which made the it successful in the first place. Standardization allows for existing Hayabusa V6D and Hayabusa SD frames to be upgraded to Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A specifications and integrates some features of the Ke-V9 "Nodachi" Assault Fighter. It utilizes the Ke-V9-E3303 Fighter Cockpit of the V9 Nodachi or the Type 32 Pilot Pod, the latter of which allows for a full panoramic view with tactile controls for conventional control, as well as a fully thought-based control system for improved response time and micromanaging. The Pilot Pod's thought-based control system, however, requires a digital brain present in the NH-series.
Though it uses advanced technologies and Ke-V9 "Nodachi" Assault Fighter systems in places, it is intended both to serve alongside the V9 Nodachi as well as to be a cost effective refit and mass production program for the Empire's existing starfighter forces.
Descended from the Tsubame Prototype Fighter, the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A is a long-intended upgrade to the Starfighter line using technology derived from Project Thought’s efforts to develop the Keiko Thought Armor and Kirie Thought Armor. Unlike them, however, it can be used by pilots without digital minds in a conventional configuration while allowing for improved control and visibility. Developed with the resources of the Seventh Fleet in secret, this machine is intended to expand upon and improve Yamatai’s existing armaments through an upgrade program to existing Hayabusa V6D and Hayabusa SD frames. During this time, Murasaki Emiko served in the same fleet, and concepts of the Ke-V9 "Nodachi" Assault Fighter were integrated into the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A design not only to solve various problems, but also to ensure compatibility.
While the earliest concepts are only two years old, the technology in the craft has been in development for four years – a notably long development period. This is due both to security concerns regarding the core technologies of the project, and the fact that it is an offshoot design – a deviation from the original Power Armor focus of its designer. However, the intent of the machine to slash response time and give the pilot an edge is the same as in its Power Armor cousins, and it uses many of the same technologies and software. Overall, this is intended to notably improve hit ratios and generally re-establish Yamataian superiority in Starfighter combat against brain-slave controlled NMX craft.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A could be considered the completed form of the Tsubame prototype designed two years prior, utilizing the same type of ejectable cockpit and boasting similar technologies. The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A, however, can come as both an upgrade and as a new machine, allowing an efficient upgrade program to be enacted throughout the Star Army. Engine designs explored on the Thought Armors are included, however, and are a generation beyond the crude versions on the Tsubame. Thrust Vectoring is also notably improved, the main type no longer relying exclusively on additional verniers or physical movement of the thrusters. Even the weapons systems have been modified to allow for the V9 Nodachi's modular system on the underbody which permits the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A to carry an array of weapons or equipment. The turrets of the machine have even been modified with new joint types devised from four years of research to improve target acquisition. The design is a general improvement to the already well-proven design, and elements of the Ke-V9 "Nodachi" Assault Fighter have been integrated for even greater effect and common parts pool.
The control system in the Pilot Pod was made from the beginning to allow for the integration of the SPINE interface for NH-29 use as well as mental transceivers for Yamataian use, but the panoramic cockpit and tactile configuration allows a single pilot to manage the craft effectively. The inclusion of SPINE into both the military-upgraded Minkan and the standard Nekovalkyrja, Type 33 models was not finalized at the time the project was first conceived, but only helps to aid the acceptance of the SPINE-derived thought-based piloting system as the standard. The V9 Nodachi cockpit can be used in lieu of the Pilot Pod, as an advanced but conventional option. The software of the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A uses code based on that in the Kirie and Keiko, and has an option to change the system's function to more closely match that of the V9 Nodachi. This allows for a larger degree of ease in transitioning between Power Armor and Starfighter roles and a reduction in training time for new soldiers training to use both systems. It even includes the Army's new protections to ensure that the craft is being accessed by a trusted ally before being used.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A’s cockpit is in the conventional location in the fuselage, but can be a standard Pilot Pod or a V9's cockpit. When the V9 Nodachi cockpit is used, the system is accessed and utilized in the conventional manner.
When the Pilot Pod option is used, it is shielded by a solid armor canopy rather than a transparent canopy. This armor panel slides back to reveal the Pilot Pod inside, which has its own internal hatch slide down to allow access. The pilot enters through this hatch and seats themselves in the cockpit, adjusting the seat to a comfortable position as they either connect to SPINE or link with the transceivers in the headrest if thought-based control is to be used. If the pilot aims to use tactile controls, these controls are slid out from the armrests and down into position. After the pilot is in position, the hatch of the Pilot Pod and the armored cockpit canopy both close.
It should be noted that the pilot can wear a spacesuit, bodysuit, regular uniform, or other gear so long as it permits the pilot to effectively interface or connect to the machine. It is also possible to store supplemental anti-personnel weaponry as well as provisions in the Pilot pod if desired.
Once the pilot has connected to the SPINE or the Mental Transceivers in the Pilot Pod, the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A’s sensory and motor input overrides that of the pilot's body. The pilot's body is cared for by the Pilot Pod's systems while the pilot's mind is free to use the craft as their body instead. This does not happen, however, in a standard V9 Nodachi cockpit.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A can be piloted in two ways. The first manner is with the use of a V9 Nodachi cockpit, an advanced-yet-conventional ejectable aerospace fighter cockpit with two seats. The unit is capable of volumetric projection, allowing for a large view of the exterior of the craft. It closer to the V6D's cockpit system than the alternative, with various enhancements and options which make it more suitable to some Hayabusa veterans.
The second manner is via Pilot Pod and is intended to be moved much like the user’s own body when controlled by thought, though it having a different shape than a humanoid form clearly makes it less intuitive than conventional piloting. Pilots will have to practice to learn how get the feel of piloting the craft first, since it feels so different from what they may be used to. Rather than quick changes in direction or flexibility, the pilots must focus on precision and speed as well as targeting. Controls are very fine in this form for thrust vectoring and attitude control, as well as for the aiming of weapons.
Early on, pilots using the Pilot Pods may complain of a feeling of having a ‘rigid’ body as they pilot, but some grow to enjoy the freedom of flight as they develop their skills. The ability to feel how much stress a craft can take in thrust vectoring at high speed or how fast it can turn are important elements which, with an experienced pilot, can become like second nature and allow them to use their starfighters in a more effective ways when fighting.
Unless using a V9 Nodachi cockpit, rookies will start out with a Pilot Pod using the Immersion System’s Directed Vision setting to get used to piloting and detecting things normally outside their range of vision, though this will leave some of the turrets allowing 360 degree coverage to computer control unless the pilot focuses on a specific threat. A Pilot Pod user will gradually expand to Panoramic Vision mode, and be able to fire upon targets with full coverage with notably improved response time.
If the pilot is one who has an analog brain, they are not capable of using SPINE or thought-guided features and can only only see out of the panoramic cockpit. Still, they will have more access to visual information than they would in a V6D, and can use a V9 Nodachi cockpit's most basic features as well.
Note: The range is largely defined by food, water, and air stored in the machine's cockpit.
See Damage Rating (Version 3) for an explanation of the damage system.
The Ke-V6-2A comprises the following systems:
The frame of the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A is made of Durandium, with Yamataium armor plates on the exterior. The exterior of the Yamataium has Active Camouflage elements which also serve to permit the pilot’s panoramic view. The armor and frame have also been simplified in the new models for easier production and refit as well as to increase the durability of the craft when thrust vectoring and making tight turns. Refitted models have strategically placed supplemental frame struts which give roughly the same added support. Because of the nature of the Active Camouflage, those with permission and rank may be permitted to use it to emulate custom colors and symbols. This, however, is reserved for the best of the best and depends on the wishes of their superiors. It is also often used to emulate running lights and for visual stealth or disguise.
The armor is capable of volumetric projection and manipulation capabilities which can change its appearance to that of something else, or even render it invisible by displaying whatever is on the opposite side of the craft. This level of three dimensional volumetric projection has a range of four meters out from the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A’s hull, and can emulate red and green collision avoidance strips and lights. The functionality, while similar to earlier craft, has some supplemental capabilities which it shares with Project THOUGHT machines.
This was initially designed as a signal flare for ground and space use, but was enhanced to put out bright and varying wavelengths with the intention of overloading the optical sensors of enemy units, with the ability to flicker as well. The frequency of the light and the flicker is adjustable as the optical systems of various Mishhuvurthyar craft and cadavers are studied. This can cause anything from visual disorientation in the enemy pilot/brain slave due to seeing uncomfortable flicker and color change, to failures of the enemy unit’s optical processing in varying degrees. This system can also be used to distract enemies or temporarily blind organic eyes as an anti-personnel non-lethal measure. It should be noted that this may cause epileptic seizures in those susceptible if used with sufficient intensity. In certain types of computer-assisted munitions such as missiles, it may cause them to malfunction if their targeting system has a visual component.
The optical systems of the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A are designed to be able to handle and compensate for the light changes at the hardware level, and also protect the pilot from their impact.
Since the Active Camouflage System allows the transmission and reception of light to be processed, the ability to emit tight beam lasers has been added to allow covert communication. These lasers can be emitted from or strike anywhere on the craft’s exterior and allow data transmission of many types, including audio and video. This functionality is fully integrated with the Immersion System software and is fully compatible with the Kirie and Keiko.
The cockpit block allows multiple configuration options. It is possible to install a Ke-V9-E3303 Fighter Cockpit two seater and computer system if a conventional cockpit system with modern technologies are preferred, while still allowing a basic escape and detachment functionality. This allows for the easy participation of a gunner or backup pilot, and utilizes the SPINE interface, though it uses the standard Compact Integrated Electronics System (CIES) systems rather than a Ke-V9-E3301 Unified Tactical Sensor Array / FTL Ansible. Another option is the use of a Type 32 Pilot Pod which is reclined seventy-five degrees and it replaces the standard cockpit entirely while also adding supplemental armor over it.
It should be noted, however, that it is possible to tilt Pilot Pods by 45 degrees instead and cram two into the same space if absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, this requires removing the protective canopy from the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A entirely and exposing the Pilot Pods to weapons fire. While not often used due to the risk of removing the armor, this ability to carry a second occupant can be used to covertly deposit personnel if needed, or allow a Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A to carry a dedicated gunner. This double-pod configuration is most often seen in training, in ride-alongs. Any Pilot Pods installed can be ejected simultaneously or independently. In addition to housing the pilot pods, stronger anti-shock and inertial dampening systems have been added to take care of the pilot’s body as well as the craft’s computer system in high-G maneuvers.
The cockpit holds the computer system, software, Type 33 Star Army Communications Network Encryption System, pilot, life support, sensor, and other systems. Due to this they are not explained at length in this article, as the ‘brain’ of the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A is stored in this device as a Pilot Pod flavor or conventional Compact Integrated Electronics System (CIES). The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A cannot normally function without a cockpit installed, though in some rare cases the cockpit may be retrofitted with a conventional V6D cockpit.
Built into the frame of the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A is a PT-M1-R3200 Scalable Graviton Beam Projector, designed for the purposes of both grabbing onto surfaces and items securely, as well as for towing. Though they are intended mainly for this use, it is also possible prevent other craft from going to FTL, to throw off an unshielded enemy’s aim by manipulating the gravity in their area, or any number of other useful ways yet to be discovered. Since some NMX craft can only use their FTL once in a set span of time, effective use of this method may disrupt NMX battle tactics with a bit of luck. It is also possible to use this system to “cling” to the hull of a friendly craft, effectively permitting the craft to support and carry more Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A than their facilities would normally allow.
The Graviton Beam Projector is powerful enough to tow another Hayabusa or even a Ke-V8 "Kawarime" Fighter under full power, though at a predictably reduced acceleration at STL and at FTL. This makes them able to aid in the recovery of various probes as well. Depending on the type of engines used and the configuration, care should be taken not to damage the towed craft with the device’s exhaust. It is often recommended to use the CFS for propulsion in this situation, or to tow the craft from a fair distance.
The Ke-V6-2A is protected by the following shielding systems:
The main shielding needs of the Hayabusa are covered by the Ke-V6-P3400, a Combined Field System configured for optimal shield output and 5000c FTL speed. It is the same system as its predecessor in its V6D sibling, but modified to be able to tow craft of comparable mass or a bit larger so as to help its damaged allies away from the battlefield. When the CFS is extended around a friendly craft, however, its protective strength is notably reduced to less than half of its standard output.
The Ke-V6-2A has advanced optics and audio sensors.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A, while not a ground machine, does have aerospace capability and is able to hear sound around it. Due to this, it has a panoramic audio detection system comprised of a four Dual-crystal Crystalline Audio Sensor Array arranged in a polyphonic array to detect and determine the directional source of a wide array of sounds, manipulate the audio in real time as needed using the Immersion System’s Audio System, feed this data to the pilot via the THOUGHT Interface and quantum computer, and have access to it in records for later review after the mission. Unfortunately, this system is rarely utilized, and is best for combat in atmosphere at sub-sonic speeds. Because it is a system with a limited use, its sensors are not as quite as advanced as in Power Armor which can see ground deployment. It is, however, capable of detecting the discharge of weapons and engines, as well as sonic booms from other craft.
Like many old variants of the Ke-M2 "Mindy" Series of Power Armor and the Kirie, the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A can obtain visual data through its active camouflage sensors. This system allows a full omnidirectional panoramic field of view at any given time, which can be parsed through the Immersion System with help from the quantum computer for processing, and then loaded in real time directly into the pilot’s mind via the THOUGHT Control and Sensory Interface (CSI). This typically manifests as the equivalent to Skin Vision, much like certain classes of Nekovalkyrja such as the NH-27.
A pilot can also configure the Optical Tracking System to work with other CIES sensors in the Pilot Pod to display an array of normally non-visual energies and wavelengths for analysis as needed. This includes visual representations of magnetic, gravimetric, or spatial distortions, Aetheric energy sources, infrared (thermal) imaging, ultraviolet imaging, and many other things detectable by the CIES sensor package. Often, one only enables these capabilities as needed due to the potential cluttering of the field of view with the various visual cues. The Optical Tracking System is also designed to receive laser communications, which the computer can decode into data and process accordingly, making up half of the Laser Transceiver.
It should be noted that it is difficult and disorienting to use the Immersion System’s Panoramic Vision setting right away unless experienced with Skin Vision, therefore the Directed Vision setting is recommended for beginners.
The Conventional Optics are a set of cameras across the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A which serve as a backup to the Active Camouflage-based system. They also have a boosted visual range and can be used in a similar way to the Wide-Band Variable Optical Imaging Array on most AIES-equipped Power Armors. They are mainly used for targeting the larger weapons of the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A, and thus, chiefly face forward. They can be used for gaining additional knowledge on an enemy location and vector distantly and precisely before attacking, or for gathering more detailed data on a specific object by focusing on it. They serve the same role as a pilot’s eyes, and are usually the main optics used when operating the Immersion System in the Directed Vision or Legacy Vision settings. These can also be lost without eliminating the combat effectiveness of the machine.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A has a single well-shielded Aether Generator and Capacitor system, though a supplemental one can be mounted to the underside of the craft if a specific loadout requires it. If this system disabled, the small Mindy Aether Generator inside the Pilot Pod can be used to power the most rudimentary systems to try and get the craft back to its allies. However, FTL and all heavy weapons are disabled, and STL speed is reduced to 0.25c. In atmosphere, the craft is limited to sub-sonic speeds in this Emergency Mode.
The Ke-V6-2A has the following propulsion systems:
Across the Hayabuse II’s frame is an array of roughly a dozen small thrusters which allow for minute changes in velocity and rotation, generally aiding in control of the high speed machine. A secondary role of the thrusters is to aid in recoil reduction.
Faster Than Light travel is also provided by the Ke-V6-P3400 CFS, and at 5000c. However, when towing additional mass, the speed of the craft shrinks proportionally. A Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A towing another Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A would have its top FTL speed drop to 2500c, and towing a Kawarime would drop the craft’s speed even further.
The CFS can also allow the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A to travel at sublight speeds of up to 0.40c as a backup Slower Than Light propulsion system, again reduced as mass towed increases. The Combined Field System is sometimes used upon initial launching of a space-borne Hayabusa V6D from a ship or when in close proximity to friendly targets that could be damaged by STL engine output, such as when towing.
On its ventral surface, the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A can mount various weapons and other systems on its modified hardpoints – including the Ke-T8-P3102 Hyperspace Fold Module. This is intended to allow the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A to conduct longer range patrols, help escort ships while moving at a higher speed, and perhaps participate in longer range reconnaissance operations with the addition of sensory equipment on other hardpoints. This takes up two adjacent hardpoints. This system gives the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A a Faster Than Light capability comparable to the Ke-V9 "Nodachi" Assault Fighter, though the Nodachi's version is internalized.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A has two main Slower Than Light engine types in addition to the CFS’ back up mode. It should be noted the upper limits to the speed in atmosphere or water have more to do with the frame integrity and the energy which can be safely used in matter than the upper bounds of the systems.
The Ke-V6-P3401 is a Dual Stage Aether Drive option comparable to the Ke-M12-P3301 for the Kirie, with Force Field Thrust Vectoring added. It allows for Stage 1 (Aether Jet) operation in atmosphere or underwater, or Stage 2 (Turbo Aether Plasma) in high altitudes or space. It is a relatively simple propulsion system which is useful when operating in atmosphere or in trans-atmospheric conditions. Most craft which see both space and terrestrial use are equipped with this engine configuration. It should be noted that the harmful effect of the Turbo Aether Plasma dissipates after a few minutes, though it can be detected on sensors for roughly a week. This is a KFY-only component due to legality.
Unlike most other engine types, these engines possess force fields to alter the directional thrust of the output of the engine, allowing for superior mobility. A limiter exists to keep the frame of the craft from being over-strained with this capability, but the limiter can be disabled in an emergency.
The Ke-V6-P3402 is a Two Stage Laser Engine based on that of the Tsubame Prototype Fighter and the Kirie’s Ke-M12-P3302 which, while usable on planet, is geared more toward stealthy space operation. Though very hard to detect in space unless the laser defocusing systems are engaged, it is easy to detect in atmosphere. It is also more costly to produce than the Dual Stage Aether Drive, though its usage costs are just as low as it does not use fuel in the conventional sense. It should not be used at high speeds in close proximity to populated areas while in atmosphere, and is usually limited to a 400 kmh speed limit. Many units which are exclusively space-based and rely on stealth utilize this configuration.
The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A has better weapons capabilities than the base Hayabusa, though many pilots will find its base armament familiar. The Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A has the same pair of forward-facing Heavy Cannons as its predecessor, and the same six double turrets, though the turrets have been modified to use the Project Thought Simplified Joint to hasten target acquisition and minimize the impact of recoil on their accuracy between shots.
What sets the Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A’s armament apart is that its Missile Hardpoints have been expanded into full-blown Ke-V9-W3304 Variable Equipment Mounts derived from the Nodachi which also allow the mounting of hardware. This includes additional sensory systems, mounted weapons, power systems, or even the Ke-T8-P3102 Hyperspace Fold Module for longer range operations and patrols. Some systems may require the use of more than one hardpoint, or specific hardpoints.
The Hayabusa can self-destruct by overloading its Aether generator much like the Kirie Thought Armor, though more powerful because it is significantly larger than even a heavy power armor. The maximum damage a Hayabusa Ke-V6-2A can cause when self destructing is a tiers 13 (Light Anti-Capital Ship) explosion which is 56 meters in radius, sufficient to cause notable damage to an enemy vessel depending on shield strength and size. Damage falls off similar to the chart for a self-destructing Kirie Thought Armor, but one tier higher with all radii doubled.