“A birrin pilot and her ground operator scramble to launch a Loyal Sky strike aircraft in defense of a forward Reclamation base being hammered by insurgent mortars and drones.”
The Kiln, once a semi-habitable region of intense heat and storms on Chriirah, was rendered a baked and heavily eroded wasteland in the aftermath of the fall of an earlier global birrin civilization.
High carbon industry pushed temperatures up around 60-70 degrees C, making average daytime temperatures lethal to unprotected birrin. However, the return of technological civilization has seen renewed interest in the region; ancient cities contain huge quantities of precious metals such as copper, electronics-bound gold, and cultural artifacts for power blocs with the resources to claim them.
Local insurgent groups and other major reclamation efforts have created a constant source of tension in the region and many birrin Houses have deployed military assets to protect their operations.
The Loyal Sky is one such asset; a short-range hybrid electric strike aircraft. To avoid debt with the Carbon Bank, much of the aircraft’s energy is derived from batteries charged at ground stations; an efficient turboshaft engine at the rear maintains battery levels during longer missions but primarily powers the cooling systems for the powerful electric engines. Power cells are distributed throughout the forward fuselage and within the wings, adding weight and placing the COG far forward. Some measure of protection for them is provided by slender internal armor plates.
The primary armament of the Loyal Sky is the nose mounted dual-barreled autocannon, firing down the centerline and passing through the ring-shaped electric motors driving the propellers. A modest munitions load can be carried beneath the fuselage, and an internal magazine of air to surface missiles can destroy hardened or more distant targets.
The single pilot of the Loyal Sky sits within a hardened windowless cocoon, well protected from projectiles or battery fires. The birrin’s four eyes are able to take in information from various directions simultaneously and so all external optical input is fed to a flight helmet from high magnification cameras and targeting systems mounted in front of the landing gear fairings. These cameras move along with the pilot’s eyes and so render the aircraft an extension of the birrin’s sensory system.
The job is hazardous and the Kiln unforgiving, and advanced safety features are incorporated into Kiln rated Loyal Skys. Small optical periscopes allow forward and rear vision in the event of total electrical failure, enough for navigation and landing if the need arises. The lack of a windshield means the pilot can be well protected in the core of the vehicle, and the entire cockpit can in explosively ejected in emergencies. This parachute equipped ejection pod can keep a pilot alive long enough to be extracted by recovery aircraft. Usually.