Sketches – deWulf Space Fighter

Developed to counter Elysian gunboats, the Trans-Solar Armament Industries (TSAI) Muräne-class fighter craft was the first dedicated space superiority small craft fielded by the deWulf. Drawing inspiration from aerospace combat craft like the deWulf Industries Aspe-class, the Muräne fully embraces drive-field propulsion to make it an effective deep space combatant.

The first and most visible difference is the blocky design. Fully abandoning any streamlining, it loses any real transatmospheric combat ability as it relies entirely on its drive system for maneuverability. Fortunately, in space this is not a concern. Another change is the shift from lasers to heavy plasma cannons as the primary onboard weapons system. While less accurate than laser systems, the Subach: Witzig plasma cannons ensure that the first hit is often the last hit needed. Learning from earlier experiences managing the external weapon mounts of the Amur-class Gunboats, the external mounts on the Muräne are instead hot-swappable mounts designed to slide on and off with minimal effort.

The final design change is the pilot pod. Instead of standard boarding and accommodations on longer-ranged gunboats, the Muräne instead has a fully modular cockpit that is dropped into the fighter after an external armor panel slides forward and out of the way. Doubling as an escape system, the modular cockpit means a pilot can customize their own controls and seating without tying themselves exclusively to a single craft.

Still, care should be taken to be aware of the Muräne’s shortcomings. It has substantially less endurance than an Amur, it does not have the sheer firepower of an Amur, and most critically it is far more fragile than an Amur. Current data suggests that in combat conditions an Amur or technologically equivalent gunboat has as much as a 50% survivability advantage. In addition, its weapons are focused on a small arc forward, while a gunboat enjoys an almost 720 degree field of fire. Current doctrine states that fighters should work to establish an at-minimum two-to-one local advantage in combat; more if possible. This allows the Muräne to tear apart hostile small craft without taking excessive damage. Using the Muräne against full on warships should be avoided at all costs.

When the deWulf deployed fighters (finally!) I knew that they’d need their own design. Unlike the Sintillan-inspired Amur, the Muräne is a deWulf design from the ground up. And it looks it; with the relatively trademarked blocky hull with open forward jaw and quad block engine, it looks like a destroyer that shrank in the wash. The biggest single inspiration is the drop-in cockpit, something that I first saw in the Legends of Galactic Heroes anime, and something that I think makes sense to see in this deWulf design.

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