NEW Story: Drip
The Royal Vekllei Air Force runs nuclear these days. Just fifty years ago, that would have been unthinkable. Times change.
The Ramoin-Dupont Aircraft Company, with help from the research subsidiary of the absurdly-named “Government Aircraft Factories,” spent about two decades trying to get a reactor to fly. It was easy enough to build a plane around a fission reactor — the problem was keeping the pilot alive. Ramoin-Dupont figured out that, for every megawatt of power, you required about 8 tonnes of rubber and lead shielding — an intolerable figure for a fighter or light aircraft of any kind.
This changed with a breakthrough at General Reactor in Montre, which had been experimenting with sunburst-style heat exchangers but couldn’t find a way to apply the technology. In air-cooled reactor setups, already established in primitive nuclear aircraft, this reactor design could significantly reduce operating temperatures and the burden of shielding with a chromium-cadmium alloy.
The eventual widespread refinement and adoption of these innovations changed the role of the fighter, and the satellite appearance of theatres in air warfare. The days of the air-refuelling boom or drop-tank were gone — a nuclear bomber was now able to fly continuously around the world for up to thirty years.
Pictured here is a RD-64 Demon, built in Government Aircraft Factories Aeroyards in Montreya. Like most nuclear fighters in Vekllei, it carries its reactor beneath its fuselage, where it can be refuelled and detached for maintenance easily without grounding the aircraft for months at a time. They are tremendously fast, and thanks to the weight savings of sunburst reactors, are tremendously well-equipped for emerging air combat.
These jets can fly at up to 2,500km/h. They are designed for one purpose: interception. Official doctrine of Vekllei’s armed forces expects a nuclear war within a hundred years, and these jets are flown continuously over the Atlantic with powerful Horizonic radars, which talk to AEW planes and Vekllei’s navy to draw real-time maps of “Vekllei’s Atlantic.” Its weapon systems are controlled by military automan wetware, the effectiveness of which contributes to the Demon’s reputation as a fierce opponent to the rival fighter-types currently produced in the United States and the Eastern Bloc. They also hold great affection among Vekllei pilots and daydreaming children alike, as direct descendants of the biplanes and turbojet wonders of yesteryear — bred for a fight.