and Historical Notes
Few military spacecraft have achieved the sheer fame of the F-44 Rapier
II. The Rapier’s sleek lines and famous silhouette have become synonymous
with the might of the Confederation military - and will remain forever
enshrined in the minds of a generation of young men and women who grew
up dreaming of top gun heroics.
The Rapier II first saw combat onboard the TCS Tiger’s Claw: a pair
of YF-44s were assigned to the carrier for active duty testing during
the invasion of the Gimle System. Major Michael “Iceman” Casey
and Captain Jeanette “Angel” Devereaux of Star Slayer squadron
credited the fighter’s first space to space kills during a three
point patrol mission. The prototypes performed magnificently and the same
carrier soon recieved the first batch of production models, which Black
Lion squadron would fly during the battle for Kurosawa. By the invasion
of Venice, Rapier II squadrons were assigned to both the Tiger’s
Claw and the Kyoto.
Within a year, the F-44A had been replaced on the assembly lines by the
F-44B, which boasted a larger missile loadout and a limited use jump drive.
A combination of cost and technical issues would force the removel of
the jump drive from future iterations - making the F-44B unique among
the Rapier II’s lineage. A and B model Rapier IIs served with distinction
during Operation Thor’s Hammer, the assault on Jakarta and the defense
of Firekka. A pair of F-44A’s even flew off of Col. James Taggart’s
famous intelligence ship, the Bonnie Heather.
In the late fifties the Rapier II went through a significant redesign
of its spaceframe, reducing the overall size and mass. The new design
premiered in the popular F-44C model, which would go on to serve onboard
escort carriers through the late sixties. F-44Cs flew with distinction
off of the TCS Tarawa during Operation Backlash and the Third Enigma Campaign.
Finally, the G and H models served off of fleet carriers through the Battle
of Terra in 2668. The TCS Concordia’s F-44G Rapier II squadron,
with its distinctive lightning bolt tails, was considered to be the single
finest active duty fighter unit in the Space Forces.
Surplus Rapier IIs served with both the Free Republic of the Landreich
and the Union of Border Worlds through the mid 2670s. (Adapted
of the text found in the ship database from Wing
Commander Combat Information Center)