Inheriting its graceful lines from a civilian seaplane, the Irridalli RO (Radar/Optical) was named for the sleek marine predator of Chriirahs’ equatorial oceans abiogenisis.deviantart.com/art…, and provides far ranging oversight of all surface activity across the Kiln desert.
Once the airframe was acquired by the kiln administrators, the original civilian platform was heavily modified for its new role. Already optimised for efficient long range travel, the underpowered turbines were replaced with advanced low-infrared emission models to render them less tempting targets for the heat seeking SAMS sometimes launched against kiln administration aircraft. These turbines drive a highly efficient, though very loud, counter-rotating propfan capable of impressive speed and range; critical components in a vehicle which patrols the largest inhospitable region on the planet.
The sensor suite of the Irridalli R/O is one of the most advanced produced by any post-fall birrin society. The original high visibility canopy of the civilian model has been largely replaced by plate armour enclosing the pilot, and protecting them from small arms fire. The pilot observes the world outside via a nose and fuselage mounted optical system: these interlinked cameras feed a wealth of infrared and visible light imagery to an integrating helmet, which takes full advantage of the birrin’s four eyes and rapid multi-image neural processing abilities. Should the aircraft suffer an electronics failure in these systems, small viewports can be accessed by ejecting their armoured coverings to allow limited visual navigation.
While these systems significantly enhance a birrin’s natural vision, most Irridalli R/Os’ carry a large recon pod beneath their fuselage. Roughly the size, shape and position of the civilian version’s float, it contains both a high resolution camera system and a side looking radar. The radar performs regular high resolution scans which can either be analysed by the pilot or sent via satellite to analysts who will look for any changes in existing structures and other suspicious surface features.
Though originally a seaplane, the Irridalli R/O was designed for terrestrial landings and its retrofitted landing gear is designed to prevent both the underslung equipment from impacting the ground and the huge blades of the propfan striking the runway. Telescoping downwards, fore and aft pairs of wheels lower from their mounts on the wings to provide centrally balanced 4-point undercarriage. In the event of a technical failure, the observation pod must be dropped for any chance at a survivable gear-up landing.
Direct confrontation of Irridalli over the kiln is a relatively rare event: any attempts to shoot one down have historically resulted in large scale counter attacks. Missiles fired at these aircraft are also unlikely to ever make their targets, as they are quickly confused by escalating waves of electronic and physical countermeasure systems fitted to every Irridalli R/O.
Should they go down, either prey to anti-aircraft fire or simple mechanical failure, the pilot can be explosively ejected out of the top of the fuselage. The pilots’ parachute equipped seat comes fitted with ice suits, small arms and other survival supplies to keep them alive long enough for rescue to arrive. Pilot recovery units are always standing by, as without shelter no birrin can survive long in the baking sands of the Kiln.