Starting in 2000, AC-20 Phoenixes began to be put out of service as several chapters began to upgrade to Citadels. The final death knell for this aircraft class was the introduction of the ACS-2 Aquila-class stealth command jet in 2020, which phased out the last of the AC-20s save for a single one.
The AC-20 was originally envisioned and produced as an armed cargo-carrying aircraft meant for vertical takeoff and landing, but despite its radical design, numerous design challenges rendered it inferior in its cargo carrying role compared to Boeing's more conventional C-17 Globemaster III, which was also in development at the time.
The first AC-20 was introduced in 1994.
Though it did perform as a armored cargo carrier carrying out assault insertions for the United Liberators Coalition initially, the organization found that it was extremely useful when re-purposed as a mobile command ship. The Coalition requested that more AC-20s be made, and modified to act as flying command posts. During this time the Citadel was still a new, radical ship class and was not yet trusted by the ULC to be effective.
Between 1995 and 2004, over 30 AC-20 Phoenixes were manufactured for the Coalition's use. Production stopped in 2004 when the ULC decided that the Citadel had proved itself reliable and ordered production on those vessels, with Liberators chapters upgrading to the aerial battleships and phasing these planes out of service. As ACS-1 Citadels began to be produced regularly and consistently, the AC-20s stopped production.
They found a niche use as planes for smaller chapters that did not require a Citadel, but even this was made obsolete as the ACS-2 Aquila entered the scene and replaced them.
As of 2029, only one AC-20 survives and is in operating condition, though the fuselages and parts of other AC-20s are mothballed in ULC storage.
In early 2030 at Area 51, a second AC-20 was re-assembled from parts previously in storage in order to form a new testbed aircraft to attempt to replicate Liberators-830's aircraft, which was returned to them and stripped of the experimental matter compression system the replica was now attempting to reproduce.
- United States of America
Armament and Technical Specifications Edit
Weapons and Defenses Edit
- For main armament, the Phoenix possess four triple-barreled liquid cooled autocannons, each socketed in a rotating ball turret. One is located underneath the 'chin' of the nose, two are located at the center of the fuselage on its ventral side, and a final one is located between the two main engines on the aft of the aircraft.
- Six additional machine guns are recessed into the forward canards of the aircraft. They cannot swivel to aim.
- Two missile launchers are built into the sides of her nose, and are capable of launching a total payload capacity of 10 air-to-air or air-to-surface missiles.
- The Phoenix has the ability to launch chaff in order to confuse incoming enemy ordinance to defend itself.
Internal layout Edit
- It has a main cargo bay at the center of the ship, accessible by large doors that open on the port and starboard side of the aircraft. It connects the front crew areas of the aircraft to the rear engineering section. Inside the bay is a crane attached to its roof that can extend out, allowing unloading and loading of items from the ground next to the plane.
- Its cockpit is unique for being spherical and mounted on a gimble, able to remain balanced and upright relative to the ground even if the rest of the aircraft is not.
- Its interior possesses bunks for crew, a tactical planning room, an office, and a kitchen.
Flight Systems Edit
- The aircraft is powered by a single large fission reactor that requires fuel cores to be replaced every few months.
- Most notably, it is able to maintain vertical takeoff and landing by using its four drive pods mounted in the middle of its wings to achieve hover mode by swinging them downward into vertical position, and swinging them to horizontal position for normal flight.
Most Phoenixes, while they were in service, had a gray hull. One notable exception is the sole remaining Phoenix used by Liberators-830B, which is painted in a metallic gray. Following its transfer and inheritance by Liberators-830N, the airframe was painted in it original gray hull configuration.