EASA X-02 Wyvern
The EASA X-02 Wyvern is a fifth-generation air superiority fighter developed by Erusea from the 1980s through the 2000s. Intended as a carrierborne fighter for the navy, the air force took interest in the program as well. Its defining feature is its variable geometry “switchblade” wings, which fold out into a forward swept configuration at speeds below 700 kph to reduce its stall speed and improve airflow over control surfaces. Other maneuverable control surfaces include its canards and ruddervators, which combine the function of horizontal and vertical stabilizers into a single control surface. At cruise speeds they fold down to the wings’ plane and only function as elevators while the Wyvern’s two thrust-vectoring engine nozzles control yaw. The extreme variation in wing geometry initially misled ISAF intelligence into believing that there were two different airframes in competition.
Initially conceived in 1987, work on development began in earnest in 1998 in order to counter the perceived threat of FCU air assets. However, the capture of Stonehenge in 2003 and its effective utilization as an anti-air weapon bolstered a faction within the military that opposed the development of a now-superfluous and increasingly costly fighter. Erusea’s Parliament caved to pressure and cut funding, effectively stalling development. Work resumed following the destruction of Stonehenge in April 2005, but the lack of available resources resulting from ISAF’s invasion hindered development. The X-02 was nearly production-ready when the war ended in September. If had been completed, it would have been fielded by both the navy and air force.
Ultimately only a few X-02s saw combat during the Free Erusea uprising. Operated by the insurgents, these airframes had been converted into UCAVs and were all shot down. During the Circum-Pacific War Gründer Industries manufactured X-02s for export to Yuktobania. Whether they possessed a business relationship with EASA or copied the fighter without a license is unknown.
The X-02 was designed for air supremacy, and its armaments reflect its air-to-air focus. It was intended to carry highly maneuverable AIM-9X missiles for WVR engagements and the ‘Darkfire’ BVR missile for targets up to 200 kilometers away. Its air-to-ground suite was much less robust, consisting only of a bomb dispersal pod. Due to delays in developing its guided warhead system, the Wyvern could only drop ‘dumb’ bomblets that proved unsatisfactory to test pilots. All weapons were contained within internal bays to reduce its radar cross section.
Another drawback of the Wyvern was its limited combat radius; its switchblade design prevented the placement of fuel tanks in its wings, reducing the X-02’s effective range to 1050km. The air force proposed a variant lacking variable geometry wings in order to extend its range, but this idea never reached fruition.
Despite these weaknesses, the X-02 was an extremely competent aircraft. Its high-speed configuration’s planform, internal weapons bays, and RAM coating significantly reduced its radar visibility compared to its contemporaries. Its advanced avionics suite, integrated control systems, and gallium nitride AESA radar put its combat capabilities at least on par with other 5th generation fighters. Designed with counter-stealth in mind, its own radar could datalink with friendlies and function as part of a multistatic array to triangulate the position of enemy stealth aircraft. Military analysts have considered it comparable, or even superior, to the F-22 Raptors fielded by ISAF during the war.
Free Erusea (UCAV)
Yuktobania (Gründer variant)
Role: Air Superiority Fighter
Width: 18.3m (when wings are spread), 11.54 (when wings are folded)
Height: 4.36m (when wings are spread), 3.42 (when wings are folded)
Powerplant: 2 × ERG-1000 Afterburning Turbofans
Combat Radius: 1050km
Maximum Speed: Mach 2.5+