Assessing the Phantoms
Posted on Tue Sep 11th, 2012 @ 3:27am by Major Drake Lexon
Flight Commander’s Log:
We’ve completed our first field tests of the Phantom-class fighters. I am pleased to say the performed better than expected, though there are still some areas that could use fine-tuning. Our tests included formation flights while under full stealth, targeting and firing various weapons systems aboard the craft, dogfighting with and without stealth, and executing an information-gathering mission to test the reconnaissance modes of the fighters.
The formation flights were met with only marginal success. While wing pairs and even elements could coordinate their movements, it proved nearly impossible to run formations with an entire squadron. It should be noted that the pilots testing this program are extremely skilled at such basic maneuvers. For most pilots, I recommend only solo or wing pairs for full stealth operations.
The advanced targeting systems on the Phantoms proved as effective as planned. Once the pilots adjusted to the increased range of the convergent points for their phasers, the weapons systems handled quite well. I must, however, recommend that the increased range be limited to those fighters intended for surprise assaults, as the effectiveness is tied to the Phantoms’ ability to attack before being noticed. The standard loadout of microtorpedoes seems to work well with the fighters’ various roles, and the specialized launching system was also effective at hiding the origin of launched torpedoes.
Dogfighting began with stealth tactics and was quite effective in crippling the enemy; in the first engagement, the enemy squadron was “destroyed” with only minimal “damage” to the Phantoms. However, the increase of enemy-to-friendly-craft ratio led to an increase in time spent in battle, which in turn decreased the relative effectiveness of stealth tactics for the Phantoms. My recommendation would be to advise pilots to activate their transponders once a dogfight has progressed past the five-minute mark.
Of all the tests, information-gathering proved most effective. Despite the combat-centered nature of starfighters, I cannot ignore their ability to gather Intelligence. Solo operations proved especially effective, with none of the tested missions becoming compromised; wing pairs increased the probability, but even then only 5% of the missions were compromised.
In conclusion, I believe that the Phantoms have, in fact, met – and in some areas – exceeded their design specifications. Having passed their rigorous tests, I believe they are ready to be fully field-tested.
Flight Commander’s Log, Supplemental:
It seems that Starfleet Command agrees with me; they have already instructed me to divide the squadron into three elements. The missions are already prepared, with the intent to test a wide range of the Phantoms’ abilities; I merely need to assign the pilots to their elements. This, however, is easier said than done.
I have already decided to lead the element assigned to the Yorktown for escort duty. They will be traveling a particularly dangerous route, and I should be there to help maximize the effectiveness of the Phantom element. I will also be bringing Lieutenant Halton; her rank might have earned her the right to lead one of the other elements, but I’ll need her skills more as my wingman. Besides, even though the Phantoms are theoretically Joint Operation, the regular pilots still chafe a bit under a Starfleet commander. That leaves two more spots open, spots that are hard to fill; I need two pilots who excel in combat, but who won’t be too proud to back down from a confrontation if it might jeopardize the Yorktown’s primary mission.
Captains Rais and Marisch will each be leading their own elements, which is just as well; their leadership will be much-needed there. Lieutenant Pent, however, shows great promise. His combat scores for the Phantoms are extremely high, and he demonstrates a clear head under pressure. Unfortunately, his wingman was Captain Rais, which means he’ll need another wingman. Considering the potentially hostile environment we may find ourselves in, I expect to see at least some combat. Normally, it would be almost suicidal to take on a new wingman just before going into such a situation. Luckily, however, I’ve noticed that Lieutenant Pent and Lieutenant Winter have been rather close throughout our testing of the Phantoms; I believe they might be suitable wingmen for each other.
I’m looking forward to testing out the Phantoms. The team I have selected is quite skilled. We will travel alone to the Yorktown, relying on our own mechanical skills and the supplies provided by our transport to maintain our fighters. Whatever might happen on this mission, I’m sure of one thing: I’m glad to be back in the cockpit of a fighter.