The Whippoorwill is a tilt engine VTOL, and has a traditional helicopter style fuselage but instead of an overhead rotor assembly it has two side mounted electric fan systems. These fans are driven by a combined 1,250 Kw set of electric motors each, and can lift the craft vertically, and then can tilt forward and provide forward air speeds up to 300 miles per hour. Being powered by a compact arc reactor, the air range of the craft is only limited by the endurance of the crew. The cockpit seats two pilots side by side, and the bay behind them can be configured for a variety of roles.
The original purpose of the Whippoorwill was to provide air evacuation for injured soldiers, and for providing first response and air lift for emergency services. The MEDEVAC I can carry two stretchers and three medical personnel and is the primary civilian version of the Whippoorwill. The craft can be fitted with an under body sling and can lift up to three tons and move it at 75 mph providing wind conditions are favorable.
The MEDEVAC II is the military version and has an extended fuselage and fewer civilian amenities. As a result it can carry four stretchers and five medical personnel. In the armed service, the MEDEVAC II is nicknamed the Vulture, as it comes hovering in where there are dead bodies and the injured waiting for it.
The C-66 Citizen
The commercial version of the Whippoorwill, the Citizen is a common craft in the air fleets of megacorporations, and a sign of personal wealth, in much the same way the Hummer SUV was several centuries before. The Citizen has a more stylized airframe, and typically has a coating of gloss paint. News outlets and agencies often use stripped down Citizens as air correspondence vehicles when reporting on disasters or police actions.
The UH-57 Super Bird
The Super Bird, officially the Whippoorwill II is the military version of the craft and functions as a fast infantry transport for airborne assault units. The craft can carry 12 regular infantrymen, or six men in powered combat armor. It is slightly slower than the MEDEVAC, but it has larger engines, and is a good deal heavier for having armored panels and a pair of forward firing 20mm cannons in the nose. The sides of the craft can be opened, allowing the infantry inside to use their weapons as well. Considering the firepower that a Federation Combat suit can mount, many can easily outgun the Super Bird. The craft is most often used in this role in the African theatre, Central America, and Australia. It does suffer from a relative lightness of armor, and the electro-Fans are easy targets for optic guided weapons.
The Devil Bird
Officially the UH-58 Super Whippoorwill, the Devil bird is the ground attack variant of the craft. It sacrifices the cargo space inside the fuselage to have a more compact body, larger engines, and heavier armor. While still considered light armor, the craft can stand up to some punishment. It is called the Devil Bird due to the amount of ordnance it can carry, and the absolutely maneuverability it has to deploy it. The craft typically is armed with inexpensive semi-guided rockets, chain guns, and cluster munitions, making it a terror to light and medium armor vehicles. It is also well suited to anti-battle armor roles. It can carry anti-tank and anti-mech missiles, but it rarely engages these targets as most mecha and front line tanks are generally able to engage it in gun combat which the Devil Bird generally loses.
The Devil Bird remains in service as a raider and fast response aircraft, or supports Super Birds and ground infantry in the field until something larger can be brought to bear. Roughly 2/3rds of Devil Birds in service are droid craft, and have LAI systems that communicate verbally with ground controllers or air control craft. These pure machine Devil Birds are fast and deadly accurate with their ordnance, and are fearless as the machine has no concern about being destroyed other than continuing the mission.
The Whippoorwill is a common sight in the Atlantic Federation, and the civilian versions are sold around the world. The military versions are held the the Federation armed forces, and are typically associated with skirmishes and brushfire level military action. Outside of the Federation, the Whippoorwill gunships are seen as a symbol of Federation arrogance and imperialistic ideals.
Famous Whippoorwills and Crews
Lt.Cmdr Vincent St. Jean and 'Lobo'
Lobo is the name assigned to the LAI integrated into airframe 23F-445-SR22-2 and LTC St. Jean is the pilot most associated with Lobo. The Whippoorwill was deployed to deal with insurgents and rebels in the Southern Mexico province and was noted for being one of the first VTOL craft fitted with a laser. The craft also mounted a semi-guided missile pod and a smart round automatic grenade system. St. Jean and Lobo provided air support for Federation troops fighting against USSA soldiers and their Amerikka Command allies in the region. Lobo and St. Jean would later be immortalized in the holoaction drama Skywolf
The 114th MEDEVAC Wing
Deployed to the Zimbabwe theatre, the 114th proved that an old fashioned concept of MEDEVAC was viable, but also a boon for morale of deployed troops. The 114th, under the Command of Colonel Gelbart, provided air support for the Federation armies in Africa, allowing many injured soldiers to retire as veterans and not statistics. The Wing was also strongly associated with the 4077th Mobile Medical Corps, known for it's lax discipline and constant contraband violations.
The Whippoorwill is strongly influenced by the ORCA craft from Command and Conquer: Tiberium Dawn for a visual aesthetic and fulfills the traditional role of light and medium weight helicopters in the military. Being a massive power, the Federation has done dozens of versions of the craft, so the airframe that is seen as a sign of luxury in the corporate world is seen in the same light as the Cobra gunship, or Soviet Era Hind gunship in other parts of the world.