Azrael-class Stealth Helicopter
The SH-187 'Azrael' is the latest version of the infamous "black helicopters" mentioned in almost every cattle mutilation or crop circle story to appear in the last 30 years. It has far more firepower than any previous version, as well as an unparalleled EW/ECM suite. Its electrochromatic skin makes it almost invisible to human sight, while composite materials and stealth technology do the same to most forms of radar.
The Azrael's primary weapon system is a hypervelocity gauss cannon which uses depleted-uranium rounds. Each round is capable of blowing through tank armor like tissue paper. The kinetic force is enough to pick up an M-1 Abrams and toss it sideways. People caught in the compression wave of a round are killed instantly, as a wall of air slams into them and smashes their bones to paste.
The Azrael is also equipped with two "cow guns". These lasers can burn through cinderblock walls and still have enough energy to sear a hole through a human body. Hallucinogenic gas sprayers are mounted on each "wing", along with a group of HARM missiles.
The electrochromatic skin uses photoreceptors to 'see' what is on one side of the Azrael, and electrically reactive chemicals reproduce that image on the Azrael's other side, rendering the craft semi-invisible. The pilots refer to the skin as the "Predator field", due to it's similarity to the invisibility screen used in the popular movie series.
The EW/ECM suite allows an Azrael to monitor all forms of electronic communication, including car computers, and is capable of controlling most electronic devices. Flight control is primarily through cybernetic interfaces; the exact details are classified. Azrael pilots are identified by the interface jack in their right temple.
The Secret History of the Black Helicopters
The original "black helicopters" were conventional Army helicopters with low-visability paint jobs and muffled engines. Tactical doctrine demanded an asset that could provide undetected insertion and extraction of nontraditional forces in limited-engagement theaters. In other words, the Pentagon wanted a helicopter that was silent and invisible so it could drop a SEAL team right on a target and get it back out without anyone finding out until it was too late.
A secondary role for the SH-series was fire support. If shooting started, it pretty much meant that something had gone wrong with the operation. In cases like that, the ability to respond with overwhelming force was a necessity. Conventional weapons were fine, but they were not what was called for.
Cattle Mutilation For Fun and Profit
The SH-66a 'Night Flyer' was the first true stealth helicopter to begin operational testing. It was armed with several assorted conventional weapons, as well as a decidedly unconventional one.
A high-intensity chemical laser was mounted in the nose turret. It was not useful as a combat weapon due to its slow cycle time (almost a minute between shots), but it was a wonderful sniper weapon. One pilot decided to test it on a rude and personal fashion on a cow during a test flight one evening, and an entirely new school of conspiracy theory was born. The beam vaporized a two-foot long, four-inch wide cylinder of prime Jersey, looking for all the world like someone took a bovine core sample. The media coverage and official displeasure with the pilot created an instant tradition in the 'Night Flyer' air corps: no new pilot was a member of the group until they had whacked a cow in some bizarre fashion.
The next major innovation in the "black helicopters", the SH-99 'Night Mare', saw limited action in Desert Storm. Holographic projection technology, sonic weapons, and hallucinogenic aerosols were used extensively against both military and civilian targets in Iraq. The results were impressive enough to convince the Pentagon to change the SH-series' intended role from operational support to being a full-fledged tactical asset.
Development on the SH-187 'Azrael' (named after the angel of death) began in 1992. The first operational model was tested at Dugway Proving Grounds in 1999, and it entered limited operation in 2003. The first (and, as it turned out, only) operational group, Blackwolf Squadron, began operation at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The Azrael saw action against several terrorist groups and drug cartels in early 2004, where it was pronounced an overwhelming success. In late 2004, Blackwolf Squadron was dispatched to provide cover for the evacuation of the American and Australian embassies in East Timor. Indonesian forces were attempting to crush the newly independent state and bring it back under Indonesian domination.
Their rules of engagement were clear - they were not to make their presence known unless the embassies were under fire from Indonesian heavy weapons or armor units. They were there for the embassy personnel, not to fight a war. The sight of Timorian children being raped and murdered in the street by Indonesian forces was not supposed to be an acceptable fire condition. Nevertheless, they opened fire.
History does not record who fired first - every member of the squadron that was there claimed that honor - but CNN did capture the results: Indonesian military vehicles torn apart and scattered, troops rushing to assemble and suddenly being blasted into boneless jelly, members of the command staff having their hearts burned out. The Indonesian forces found themselves outnumbered by vengence-crazed mobs and slaughtered in the streets. Only a handful made it home.
In the aftermath, a thirty-foot angel with a flaming sword appeared to the Indonesian President and Parliament and told them, "You have offended the Most High! Repent, and you will be spared!". The angel vanished in a burst of flame, and Indonesia immediately re-recognized East Timor's independence, apologized, and began to make reparations.
Back home, things didn't go so good.
The mission commander was demoted and ordered to stand for a courts-martial. The squadron members that had been on the East Timor mission refused to cooperate with the court; the rest of the squadron who had not been on the mission felt that they were being tried and punished for something they did not do, and blamed the mission commander for tarnishing the squadron's record. Tempers got hot, to the point where members of the two camps would only fly together if directly ordered to. Accusations turned into fistfights. President Bush, on the advisement of Condoleeza Rice, transferred operational command of the Squadron over to the NSA and directed the pilots that had not gone to East Timor to begin preparation for an extended intelligence-gathering mission. The "rogue" pilots were to remain at Holloman under 'no-fly' orders. The reassignment sparked a new level of hostility between the pilots. Each side considered the other to have been treasonously disloyal and the Holloman's base commander had to use MPs to keep the sides in line.
When President Ventura took office, he quietly pardoned the East Timor mission commander. The entire flight crew was invited to the White House for dinner. President Ventura told them they had done the right thing, and he ordered the investigation stopped. The mission commander's record was cleared and the entire group was allowed to return to flight-eligable status.
The rest of the Squadron was incensed. Plans were underway to reunite Blackwolf Squadron when the Change hit. When the NSA ordered the arrest of President Ventura, the Squadron erupted into fratricide.
The Loyalists (the ones that had been to East Timor) and the Patriots (the group assigned to the NSA) turned their full fury on one another. Of the 124 operational flight teams that existed when President Ventura was sworn in, only 51 were still alive four weeks later. The majority were Loyalists; they had spare parts and a trained ground crew to support them. Only 7 were Patriots, and four of those died when President Ventura used a small neutron bomb to take out the NSA headquarters in Maryland.
Today, the President has 39 functioning Azraels and flight crews. They are temperamental, difficult to repair, and fairly fragile. They fly only when absolutely necessary.
Juggernaut-class Urban Assault Vehicle
A spacious interior, ample cargo space, the very latest in ECM/ECW and IFF electronics, and a Kevlar/Lexan shell make this baby Emperor of the Road!
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Motor Design Juggernaut IV
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Juggernaut IV; Class: Ground (Wheeled); Cost: Not for sale
Twin Browning M2 machine guns x3; Fire Arcs: Full, Right,
Twin Grenade Launcher; Fire Arcs: Full (indirect);
Flamethrower x2; Fire Arcs: Right, Left;
Flaming oil jet; Fire Arcs: Back;