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Despite the Au-400 being mostly replaced in 2073, and the official retirement of these aircraft in 2088, not everyone was so willing to simply surrender their beloved Au-400s.
This resulted in two squadrons, the 233rd Highlands Fighter Wing and the legendary 7th Support Wing working together to keep supplies available for their outdated aircraft.
This, of course, would go over like a lead balloon.
Attempting to modernize the Au-400 isn’t as much of a dream as some would assume. Despite being more than 30 years old by the mid 2090s, the Au-400 was still one of the fastest fighters fielded by any air force, with a top speed of over 1200 m/s. There were of course, multiple main concerns to address for the two squadrons refusing to fly the 164 and 780/800 series. The Au-400 still had a cockpit with limited visibility, engine problems due to the dorsal intakes, it lacked in range, payload, maneuverability, couldn’t refuel in-flight AND needed a new modernized avionics package.
Along with the upgraded range and engines, the cockpit was finally given a bubble canopy, deployable shields were added for the dorsal intakes to prolong engine life and stop particles/dust/objects from being sucked into the bottom intakes, an airbrake was added, and the reverse thrusters were removed (as the squadrons in question never operated from carriers).
The Au-400 Fighter/Alternate was also provided with the same radar package as the new R-800, and new hardpoints for either long range drop tanks or missiles.
In response to the pilots’ demands, the Au-400 F/A and F/A (H) were born. The H designation (for Heavy) was given to any F/A model when equipped with extreme range drop tanks. At full tilt, an F/A is capable of cruising at over 1100 m/s at 20km, and able to fly around the entire globe once. To achieve this, the plane was given far more powerful engines. These engines could be switched between 5 different engine modes to gain maximum efficiency at any time. The new drop tanks and engines gave the now re-made Au-400 the single longest range of any interceptor fielded until 2150.
The Au-400 F/A (H) would continue to serve long after the intended lifetime of the original Au-400, acting as a long range support aircraft and response interceptor. Only the 7th and the 233rd ever used the aircraft, due to the squadron’s importance the aircraft were kept in top condition yet never mass produced. Canadian ace James Mallard recorded a total of 62 air to air kills during the NATO involvement in the second Korean war in the Au-400.
Au-400 F/A (H)
CC : 270
RC : Structural Fuselage MKI
Produced by Aier Unlimited (CA)
Serial Production Date : N/A