LTV FA-112 Chimera Aerospace Fighter

AF-112B Chimera 1 - Copy

 

Ling-Temco-Vought FA-112 Chimera Aerospace Fighter

by Tim Wing, Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen

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The FA-112 Chimera was a single seat trans-atmospheric heavy fighter used by the United Earth Defense Force Tactical Space Corps (UEDF-TSC). The FA-112 was powered by four fusion turbine engines and had the highest thrust to weight ratio of any fighter ever fielded by the Earth’s militaries. The Chimera was used primarily in the anti-spaceship, fleet defense role by the TSC.

  • Role: All-weather Non-Variable Heavy Aerospace Superiority Fighter
  • Manufacturer: Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV)
  • First Flight: February 2024
  • Introduction: December 2025
  • Retired: 2032
  • Status: Retired
  • Primary Users: UEDF Tactical Space Corps
  • Number Built: 1,689
  • Unit Cost: $124 Million (In adjusted 2070 International Credits)

Development

Background

While the infant Reconnaissance Expeditionary Force (REF, later re-designated the United Earth Expeditionary Force) chose an upgrade of the UN Spacy’s FA-101 Vulture space fighter as its main conventional aerospace fighter, the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) Tactical Space Corps (TSC) chose a different set of criteria for the fighter that would fill this role on its warships. The TSC did not feel that the fighter’s main gun need be as powerful as the Vulture’s EP-100, and preferred a somewhat smaller installation. Missiles, on the other hand, were considered more essential to the fleet-defense duties by the TSC than the REF, especially because the REF expected to have less access to resupply and manufacturing facilities at this early date in its campaign. Finally, the TSC desired a greater autonomy for their fighter, meaning a greater delta-v capacity.

To this fulfill this design brief, the newly re-established Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) Aerospace Company offered up the YF-112 Corsair III. This name was meant, of course, to bring to mind such famous historical aircraft as the F4U Corsair of the Second World War. It was an appropriate name, as the the YF-112’s wings resembled the gull wings of the original Corsair, and the forward air intake was similar to that of LTV’s A-7 Corsair II. This name was not meant to be however, as LTV no longer held the copyrights to the Corsair name. LTV found this out when Ford Motor Company filed a lawsuit in late 2024. The name was then changed to Chimera. In competition with this design was the Northrop Grumman’s YFA-108 Tivar. Northrop Grumman, however, failed to read the TSC’s request for design proposals, and submitted a fighter that had a truly massive particle beam cannon main armament with limited provision for missile carriage.

The YF-112 won the preliminary competition, and the first prototype flew in February 2024. Testing proceeding at pace, and the first low rate production FA-112As began to enter production in December of 2025.

Design

Overview

AF-112A+ Chimera 3DEssentially, the FA-112 was a very large, fusion-powered trans-atmospheric flying missile battery. As an air and space strike fighter, the Chimera surpassed UEEF’s VF/B-9 Beta. It carried a heavier missile armament, was slightly less un-maneuverable and cost significantly less to produce.  In the fleet defense role, the Chimera served like the Legioss (Alpha/Beta pair) as an escort fighter. However, because of its non-transformable nature, its historical importance is often overshadowed by the Veritechs. In addition to its load of no less than 27 heavy missiles, the Chimera carried a heavy ion cannon in the nose.

Though the original name was chosen to bring to mind World War Two fighter planes, the historical plane that the FA-112 had the most in common with was the F-4 Phantom. Not because of any outward resemblance, or any similarity in capabilities or roles, but because the Chimera and the Phantom both proved the old adage “if you put big enough engines on something, you can make even a brick fly.” The Chimera was capable of trans-atmospheric speeds and blistering climb rates. But, due to its poor aerodynamic shape and heavy wing loadings, the Chimera was relatively clumsy and un-maneuverable. The FA-112B later addressed this issue, somewhat, by adding thrust vectoring paddles to three of the main engines.

The lack of agility was not such a big issue as the Chimera was never meant to be a true dog-fighter. The plane was used primarily in the fleet defense and attack roles, both anti-spaceship and anti-ground. A typical TSC Fleet Space Wing would include a mix of Chimeras and VF-7 Logans in the anti-spaceship and anti-mecha roles respectively.

Fuselage and wings

The Chimera had delta wings with a 32 degree droop. On the end of the wings were winglets that turned up at a 45 degree angle. This gave the Chimera a distinctive gull-wing appearance, similar to the fighter’s original namesake. This design produced significant compression lift. Compression lift refers to a wing that uses shock waves generated in supersonic flight to generate lift. This design lead to dramatic improvements in lift at hypersonic speeds at high altitude, very important for a trans-atmospheric aircraft.

At low altitude, the Chimera’s wedge shape design created significant drag at low altitudes. In the thin air at high altitudes, however, this design increased stability significantly.

The skin of the Chimera was composed of space metal and advanced titanium-steel alloys. The armored skin stopped all small arms fire, provided good to excellent protection against heavier weapons, such as a 12.7mm machinegun round, and fair to good resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round.

The Chimera’s pilot could eject via a fully pressurized crew survival module.

AF-112B Chimera 3Engines

The Chimera originally had four combined cycle Pratt & Whitney JG100B fusion turbines. These engines made a maximum of 267 kN of thrust each. At low altitude, the JG100Bs used air as the primary fuel for the fusion turbines, giving the Chimera theoretically unlimited range. This unlimited range is theoretical only, due to the engine’s susceptibility damage due to heat soak. At low thrust settings, the Pratt & Whitney engines could only operate for 19 hours before the engines risked possible damage. This gave the FA-112 a ferry range of only 16,900 km. This problem was later rectified in 2027 with the introduction of the upgraded JG100F. This engine made slightly less thrust, only 263 kN, but was far more robust and able to operate for periods far in excess of a pilot’s endurance.

When in space, the JG100 used Stabilized Liquid Metallic Hydrogen (SLMH) for reaction mass. When in the trans-atmospheric regime, the JB100 used variable reaction mass supplementation. As the Chimera gained altitude, the thinning air would become less and less capable of supporting full thrust. The reaction mass management system would offset this by introducing carried reaction mass. Electrical power for the JG100’s magnetic fusion bottle was provided by a micronized SCRR mk10 protoculture generator.

In addition, the Chimera had assorted auxiliary and maneuvering thrusters for operation in space and at high altitude.

Avionics and flight controls

The Chimera had a Westinghouse APG-145 X-band pulse-Doppler omni-directional phased array radar. This radar gave 360 degree vertical coverage and full coverage from the forward arc to 56 degrees coverage to the rear. Three phased array antennas were mounted on the forward section of each of the missile bay doors. A minor design flaw in this arrangement was the fact that radar lock would be temporarily lost when the doors opened to fire missiles. This was not an insurmountable problem. As soon as the bay doors close, radar contact would be re-established with the target, and this information would be handed off to the already inflight missiles. The APG-145 was not particularly powerful, with a detection range in atmosphere of only 160 km. It could identify and track up to 50 targets at one time.

AF-112B Chimera 2Optical tracking was provided by a Phillips AllView II multi-band digital camera system mounted in the lower forward part of the aircraft’s canopy windscreen. This system allowed for medium range all attitude infra-red imaging, visible spectrum and ultra-violet band detection and tracking. Mounted coaxially to this was a Thomson LT-5 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator (LRD). The LRD could target designate for laser guided munitions.

The Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS) included an Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), OlDelft Infra-red Warning Warning Receiver (IRWR), Selenia Sky Warrior active/passive sensor jammers, chaff dispensers and Flares.

Armament

The main gun of the Chimera was a Mauser IWS-44 30mm Rapid Fire Ion Cannon, powered by plane’s mk10 protoculture generator. Maximum effective range for the ion cannon was 1200 meters. The cannon fired a four pulse blast, each pulse being 35MJ. The cannon’s capacitor could maintain a sustained rate of fire of five blasts per minute.

The Chimera had three internal missile bays, each holding nine medium range missiles each. Though the opening of the bay doors created significant drag, this was never an operational concern since they were not used in air-to-air combat.

SCAR Cobra 1The Chimera typically carried nine SCAR Cobra long range missiles per missile bay. This missile was unique to the Chimera, and included conventional and 50kT nuclear variants. Though primarily an anti-spaceship missile, it could also be used in ground attack modes. Combined active/passive radar and IIR guided and with a maximum range of 80 km in Earth’s atmosphere, the Cobra was an outstanding missile.

Rather than nine Cobras, the Chimera could instead carry three RMS-2 Angel of Death nuclear stand-off missiles in the anti-spaceship role. This weapon had a 200kT reaction warhead mounted on a long range Mach 4 combined multi-spectrum imager and active radar homing missile. It was ideal for anti-starship operations. In space, it had a maximum delta-v of 5 km/s. The Chimera could also carry three Firebird missiles per bay. The Firebird had a conventional warhead mounted on the frame of a RMS missile with a range of 234 km and a speed of Mach 6.5 and was guided by inertial guidance, IIR, and active radar/home-on-jam. Maximum delta-v in space was 4 km/s.

Operational history

The FA-112 Chimera was introduced in 2025, and served the TSC faithfully for a almost a decade, both in space, and to a limited extent, in the atmosphere. The Chimera was the primary fleet defense aerospace fighter. It suffered heavy losses throughout 2nd Robotech War and most destroyed by war’s end. The Chimera was flown from primarily from the TSC’s Tristar-class capital ships. It was never officially withdrawn from service by the Southern Cross, and some remained in hiding during the Invid occupation at the moon bases.

Almost all action seen by this spacecraft was against the Robotech Masters. Especially when armed with reaction missiles, the Chimera often heralded death for their assault carriers and the lighter capital ships. The Chimera saw use once again in the brief war with the Eastern Block Soviet Independent States (EBSIS), following the 2nd Robotech War. During this brief conflict prior to the Invid’s arrival, the Chimera was used to engage the small EBSIS Space Fleet that was providing naval gun-fire support over the European theatre of action.

It is uncertain if any of these craft engaged the Invid, as insufficient records of the Invid’s initial attack survive to describe those fateful hours, though it is reasonably likely if the remaining Southern Cross fleets had any warning of the attack whatsoever.

Variants

YF-112 Corsair III 1YF-112 Corsair III/Chimera: Pre-production prototype. The prototype differed significantly from the final production version, in that it had only three engines. Additionally, the wings were variable droop, moving from zero degrees for landing and take-off, and up to 40 degrees of droop at high altitude. This feature was dropped in the production version, having been shown to be unnecessary. Lastly, the cockpit was set significantly forward in comparison to the FA-112.

FA-112A Chimera: First production variant of the Chimera. As per UEDF designation convention, the original F (for Fighter) designation is changed to FA (for Fighter, Aerospace). This was not to be confused with the F/A (for Fighter/Attack) designation of the F/A-109 Sylphid.

FA-112A+ Chimera: Upgrade of the original FA-112A, with the Pratt & Whitney JG100F fusion turbines. This was by far the most prolific version of the Chimera, with the majority of the planes seeing action against the Robotech Masters being of this type.

FA-112B Chimera: Final version of the Chimera, entering production in 2030. This type incorporated thrust vectoring paddles to improve agility, and boasted improved avionics.

Operators

  • United Earth Government: UEDF Tactical Space Corps

General characteristics (A+)

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 20.1 m
  • Wingspan: 21.5 m
  • Height: 10 m
  • Empty weight: 35,700 kg
  • Max TO weight: 40,000 kg
  • Powerplant: 263 kN (26,818 kg of thrust) each

Performance (A+)

  • Maximum speed at sea level: Mach 1.4 (1,728 km/h)
  • Maximum speed at 25,000 meters: Mach 2.5 (3,100 km/h)
  • Maximum speed at 100,000 meters: Mach 6 (6,400 km/h)
  • Maximum speed at post orbital: Mach 11 (13,600 km/h)
  • Delta-V capacity: 12.5 km/s
  • Generator endurance: 8 years
  • Combat radius: effectively unlimited
  • Service ceiling: trans-atmospheric
  • Rate of climb at 10,000 meters: 359 m/s
  • Rate of climb at 25,000 meters: 516 m/s
  • Thrust to weight ratio: 2.68/1

Armament

  • Guns: Mauser IWS-44 30mm Rapid Fire Ion Cannon
  • Hardpoints: Internal missile bays
  • Missiles: 9x SCAR Cobra long range missiles per bay, 3x RMS-2 Angel of Death nuclear stand-off missiles or 3x Firebird long range missiles per bay.
  • Others: any combination of missile bays can be used to store additional reaction mass for space combat, however external tanks are the norm when this craft needs to extend it’s range.

Avionics

  • Westinghouse APG-145 X-band pulse-Doppler omni-directional phased array radar
  • Phillips AllView II multi-band digital camera system
  • Thomson LT-5 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator (LRD)
  • Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
  • OlDelft Infra-red Warning Warning Receiver (IRWR)
  • Selenia Sky Warrior active/passive sensor jammers
  • Chaff
  • Flares

 


Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (R) is the property of Big West Advertising, Tatsunoko Studio and Ammonite studio. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: Tim Wing, Kogawa Tomonori, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Miyo Sonoda, Hiroshi Ogawa, Hirotoshi Ohkura and Takashi Ono.

Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized on Robotech Illustrated. 

Content by Tim Wing, Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker

Copyright © 2013 Tim Wing

 

 

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