Special Operations Craft
Stealthy, unpowered spacecraft meant to slowly enter the atmosphere of a planet by way of aerobraking and a feathered re-entry while keeping a minimal infrared signature, then glide to the surface. It is one of the few re-entry craft not to carry weapons, though it has a large holding capacity for heavy weapons and ultralight vehicles its passengers may need once landed. It has rudimentary sensors for navigation but a notably advanced passive sensors suite to detect concentrations of enemmies.
Usually assigned to the EPA Commandos and the Red 56, though the civilian infiltration and terrorism tactics of both units mean that it rarely sees use.
Re-entry craft, Infantry:
In contrast with the special operations craft, the RCI is one of the most seen aircraft of E Pluribus Axioma's military. Its purpose is not only to deliver men to the surface but to remain an useful and flexible mobility asset once it has delivered its troops. For this it is equipped with electrogravitic engines, allowing it to take off and land vertically as well as hover to rapidly relocate large forces of infantry. Two laser-fired electromagnetic scramjets allow it to fly horitonzally at speeds exceeding mach 5 at low altitude and reach escape velocity if it carries a full load of fuel, though for strictly intra-atmospheric missions its tanks are usually left mostly empty to make the craft less volatile. It carries 40 troops or 30 stretchers, though is unfit for carrying vehicle.
As its armor is, along the rest of the EPA craft, completely inexistent, the RCI relies on active defense, armament and speed to survive. Protecting it from enemy energy weapons fire is a laminar antenna baked into the skin of certain portions of the craft, allowing it to ionize air around it and create a cocoon of plasma opaque to most laser frequencies, a "laminar plasma shield" or, alternatively, induce plasma channels in the air to dampen incoming shockwaves. This laminar antenna doubles as an all-aspect radar and serves in shielding the aicraft during re-entry, thus it can be found on most other re-entry craft.
Solid projectiles are dealt with using hardkill active countermeasures, while linear shaped charge scales line the vital components.
Re-entry craft, disposable:
A slight misnomer as it is less an aicraft and more a disposable, self-guided heatshield to rapidly drop materiel into a zone and greatly minimize the assembly time once landed. It is meant to compensate for the fact that the RCI lacks vehicle-carrying capabilities without having to employ the larger craft. It can also be used to supply isolated forces or drop escort jammers alongside other re-entry craft. Contrary to the RCI, it cannot carry infantry following the failure of the program to develop an infantry habitacle for it, which was cancelled following an early prototypes' fly by wire failure, making it spiral out of control and crash into a field of children.
Re-entry craft, Infantry, Vehicle:
Similar to the RCI in approximate size, performance and armament, with the added capacity of carrying small vehicles or materiel in bulk thanks to its larger rear door. It also differs from the smaller RCI in that it has a much more complete armaments suite, adding two large metalstorm-like electromagnetic missile launchers with 32 lightweight missiles in total, though only four barrels for cold-launching them. In addition it has two underwing free electron lasers to give it a limited capability for direct fire support and an important asset to defend itself from enemy aircraft, and is otherwise equipped much the same as the LCI. It can carry 35 troops as well as two light armored vehicles.
Specialized and commonly unarmed versions of the RCIV are commonly used to carry out command posts, small field hospitals, power generators, water purification facilities, engineering equipment, ELINT assets and communications relays, making it extremely common.
Re-entry craft, Mechanized:
An even larger re-entry craft capable of transporting two of EPA's common and varied APCs or equivalent loads such as long semi trucks, ballistic missile carriers, heavy radar vehicles or one tank. Its large internal volume makes it somewhat of a workhorse when larger aircraft are not available. It retains the armament of the two RCIs.
Re-entry craft, Utility:
Liquid cargo carriers or bulk transporters of the EPA forces, designed to move platoons of tanks or significantly larger, lighter units with speed and fast reaction times, though comes largely unarmed as a price for its extensive mass production, which has left it serving in many civilian fields outside of the EPA forces. The RCUs double as atmospheric strategic transports, carrying enough fuel and munitions to keep large units operational for extended ammounts of time.
Re-entry craft, CPU:
Commonly found with heavy escort as they carry the self-contained quantum supercomputers that direct EPA's forces with minucious calculation. It is unarmed and generally sluggish when compared to the other aircraft, but a vital asset that is quiuckly camouflaged and hidden away once landed and operative.
The supersentient, mysterious AIs that pulsate inside these aircraft find great reverence in EPA followers, for they are seen as their link to the Axioms.
Re-entry craft, Escort:
Always seen when the rest of the craft are in the middle of their fiery atmospheric descent but absent everywhere else, the RCE fills the niche role of protecting squadrons of aircraft from anti-aircraft fire during their initial assault.
To achieve its role it carries a wide array of electronic countermeasures starting with phased array microwave emitters capable of creating dozens regions of ionized plasma that mimmick the signatures of the other RCs, confounding enemy missiles and dissipating the volume of surface-to-air fire, as well as a strenghtened version of the RC's electroplasma wave emitters to protect not only itself but its escortees from damage from shockwaves. Providing increased protection from the RC's EFP hardkill protection systems, the RCE comes fitted with a spheromak launcher, powerful explosive charges that turn a sheet of depleted uranium into a magnetically-contained dense plasma projectile traveling at fractions of the speed of light, a weapon seen only in more combat-oriented aircraft.
A significant ammount of electronic warfare gear gives it electromagnetic and gravitometric meaconinc abilities, muddling the enemy fire control.
Re-entry craft, hypersonic strike:
Significantly faster than other aircraft of its kind, the RCHS is a smart, orbit-to-surface hyperkinetic projectile fitted with advanced countermeasures and a heavy warhead to punch through the hardest targets that the battlefield can offer, such as planetary shielding or superhardened facilities.
This warhead consists of both armor-piercing and explosive elements, the latter of which usually consists of an alpha-cycle thermonuclear rack. The former and more complicated element of its warhead consists of a nose-mounted ring of energy shield generators that, while incapable of protecting the ship, are designed to project against one another at near the speed of light, creating a hyperaccelerated pressure gravity jet analog to the Munroe effect, which puts the shield under the pressure of a gravity spike travelling at the speed of light., capable of penetrating or catastrophically spalling many meters of overdense plating.
In addition to spheromak launchers, decoy projectors and a laminar plasma shield, the RCHS can be fitted with submunitions to blanket a large area in nuclear projectiles.
Unmanned gunship that provides close air support to the forward line of troops as well as carries out strategic maneuver along airmobile forces. Supersonic in atmosphere unless fully loaded.
Posesses 17 hardpoints for weaponry, two of which are usually taken by air-to-air lasers that cover the aircraft's frontal arc. The rest are taken by a variety of weaponry and equipment ranging from beyond-visual-range missiles and high-powered microwave beam emitters to drone canisters or external sensors. Internally it is fitted with a powerful 105mm rarefied wave gun to snipe soft-skinned targets and emplacements from standoff distance.
Sensor-wise it comes with wide-spectrum optics, synthetic aprture radars and a magnetometer that covers the wingspan of the aircraft, allowing it to detect living beings or vehicle through planetary magnetic fields, features that it shares with the equally front-centered Transport gunship.
Troop-carrying complement to the regular gunships, sacrificing some of its armament carrying capability to carry a complement of 30 troops safely at supersonic speeds and augment the firepower of the drone gunships that normally escort it. A common loadout is four tactical lasers, two forwards and two backwards, providing the aircraft with all-around defense against air targets and projectiles. A 35mm gun is fitted on a semi-fixed mount to the right side of the nose to attack soft targets.
Like the gunship it can rapidly land and takeoff vertically to disembark its occupants as quickly as possible, and its folding wings make it easier to hide. Unarmed flights of this aircraft are common logistical workhorses in EPA.
Specialized aircraft for carrying out operational reconaissance while keeping up with the fast-moving airmechanized offensives of EPA. For this, on top of ELINT antennae, photonic pulse detectors and a complement of standoff drones, surveillance gunships use low-frequency synthetic aperture radars to detect enemmies from beyond the horizon by bouncing radar signals off the ionosphere (if present). Quantum computers process the complex feed, making it capable of tracking thousands of air and land targets simultaneously.
Formerly known as a multirole fighter, though changed to distinguish it from the larger suborbital fighter-bombers. Capable of pushing mach 5.2 as sea level if its external stores are removed, AS gunships operate under the cover of fighter-bombers providing direct support against air targets outside of the enveloppe of smaller gunships and anti-aircraft vehicles and land targets in depth, low-level precision strikes done at treetop height, for which it comes equipped with much more precise electrogravitic engines than other aircraft.
Many hardpoints both internal and external carry its highly variable loadouts, making it the most heavily armed of the gunships. Cluster-spheromak launchers coupled with phased array lasers make it capable of engaging entire armored formations and blunt large-scale offensives while remaining at low altitude, using terrain as cover and its weaponry to intercept standoff weaponry, and as such is an important asset in E Pluribus Axioma's offensives.
Air supremacy laser-fired scramjet fighters used for airspace dominance above the enveloppe of most aircraft but below the enveloppe of most orbital assets. The fusion reactor that fuels this aircraft provides energy for an omni-directional bank of 16 lasers and a dorsal free electron laser to strike. A large shroud of plasma resulting from the combination of the craft's own laminar microwave emitters and ram air pressure protects it from most of enemy laser and plasma fire while flying at full speed. Due to its altitude and performance, it is also used as a spyplane to keep land forces up to date with enemy positions by using powerful high-resolution radars and passive sensors.
A small set of foldable wings gives this hypersonic aircraft some low-level maneuvrability, though its design -prioritizing speed and altitude above all else- makes it an extremely sluggish aircraft when it comes to low-speed turning.