The Ryusei was a twin-engined fighter-bomber developed by Kujira Industries for the Holidian Air Force. The aircraft was the first among the new-generation aircraft. The Ryusei and other aircraft of the new-generation would replace the older 2030s-40s era aircraft which, were long overdue for replacements. With the speed of the previous Albatross III and agility rivaling the Albatross IV, the aircraft was deadly. The aircraft was extremely successful. The Ryusei remained competitive even with newer aircraft entering service.
Design and Development
Intending to replace the Albatross III, the Ryusei promised to be better in almost every single way. Work on the design commenced in 2060. To create the best possible design they could, the Kujira Industries’ design team got feedback and information from pilots flying the Albatross III. It was found that pilots wanted to be able to pull tighter turns and have more safety features to rely on. A forward swept wing was utilized to maximize maneuverability and the engines were spaced farther apart to minimize the risk of one engine failure affecting the other. Another complaint was the Albatross’ cramped cockpit. The Ryusei’s cockpit was enlarged for crew comfort. One strange feature not on most Holidian aircraft was the ability to float for emergency water landings. Upon ditching into a body of water, the automatic flotation system (AFS for short) would seal off the engines and air intakes to make a watertight seal.
Holidian Air Force
Officially entering service in 2070, the Ryusei would suffer multiple reliability issues until the Mk IV variant in 2073. For pilots that originally flew the Albatross III, the Ryusei felt lighter and more responsive despite being significantly larger. The type had superior low speed performance which allowed it to also work in CAS for the Holidian Army. The Ryusei took part in many small conflicts throughout the 2070s and 80s, but was most famous for its role in the Second Korean War of 2097. Despite being much older than its adversaries, it was still extremely competitive:
- “They were almost two decades older than our R-800s so we thought they were easy targets. We couldn’t have been more wrong. They fought like hell and could take on anything we could throw at them! No wonder those crafty Holidian bastards kept it in service for so long! - Wilbur Fallows, R-800 Ace
- The Ryusei would become one of the Holidan Air Force’s most common aircraft and was the only Holdian aircraft to serve before, throughout and after the war. By the end of the Second Korean War, Holidian Ryusei aircraft had shot down 2500 enemy aircraft with a K/D of 5:1.
Russian Air Force
While having aircraft of their own, the Russian Air Force expressed interest in purchasing the Ryusei. 150 Ryusei aircraft were exchanged for 124 Ykil-4 aircraft. The aircraft saw combat during the Second Korean War and like its Holidian counterpart, it was successful in it's role. Despite being successful, the aircraft had mixed opinions with Russian Pilots.
"The aircraft was neither quick or agile. It was mediocre at best. The aircraft had poor acceleration. It was like flying a truck in comparison to our lighter Ykil-4. One good thing I could say about the aircraft is that it was extremely durable with redundant systems everywhere. It was to be expected though as the aircraft didn't fly well" -Victor Slovolsky, Russian Ykil-4 ace
"Flying the Ryusei was like flying a missile. It was fast, certainly faster than our Ykil-4s, and could almost match it in agility. The fighter flew beautifully with controls staying light and snappy even at high speeds. The redundant systems on the aircraft made me feel safe and I especially respected the AFS (Automatic Floatation System) in the event of an emergency; even if I didn't have to use it." - Ivan Volovo, Russian Ryusei Ace
The aircraft was quickly retired, and the remaining 110 aircraft were sent back to the Holiday Empire in 2103.
Crew: 1 (pilot)
Dimensions (m): 14.98 x 4.59 x 16.97
Top Speed: Mach 2.9 (Mach 3.2 in emergency)
Service Ceiling: 25km