This beauty is the (in)famous Damontian Barrakuda fighter, named for, and easily recognized by its long, sinister looking nose. Much like its nemesis the Peregrine, the Barrakuda was designed using Pre-World documents, blueprints and salvaged remains found in museums, airfields, and ruins from the Last War, but while the Peregrine was designed on Allied fighter aircraft of the ancient conflict known as World War II, the Barrakuda found inspiration in Axis aircraft, namely the famous Bf-109 of German fame, though there seems to be a sprinkling of Mustang in it, don't you think?
Anyways, the Barrakuda's powerful engine, driving the large four-bladed paddle-style prop, gives it the edge in speed over the Peregrine, though the long, slender fuselage, thin wings, and slightly under-sized tail surfaces lead to trouble in getting into and out of turns. The engine, actually considered over-powered for a plane that size, also provides a large amount of torque upon the plane; in addition to going through transmissions like hotcakes, the large engine also guzzles fuel like no tomorrow, even the hyper-efficient Blakfuel that is commonplace among the world of Blakfire's machines, limiting its range severely. Even on the ground the engine causes trouble, having a history of being extremely complicated and, at best, unreliable. Many junior pilots also complain of the plane's extreme instability and almost unmanageable speed, often describing flying at high speeds as "incredibly confusing and distressing. Oftentimes you aren't sure if the plane is flying, or crashing and hasn't found the ground yet." Unfortunately, flying slow is hardly an option, as the low, thin main wing is quick to stall at low speeds, making landings, especially during battle damage, a nightmare in itself.
Fortunately for the Damontians, despite its shortcomings, the Barrakuda has shown to be, in the hands of a trained and capable pilot, an absolute terror to opposing enemies, both in the air and on the ground. Damontian pilots will use the Barrakuda's speed to their advantage, gunning and running to ambush enemy fighters at high speed and then firewalling the engines to outrun any surviving planes that give chase. While the Peregrine has the advantage in manuverability and stability, there is little they can do but helplessly watch as the Barrakuda flies away...until it comes back for another pass. Ground forces also quickly learn to fear the 'kuda, as, while low speed bombing is out of the question, the plane's high speed makes it a tough target to hit with AA guns, and any pilot with good reflexes and a good eye can strafe an enemy position, lob a bomb into a bunker or tank, and then be gone before the AA crews can even bracket them in.
One feature seen in the picture here is the Barrakuda's landing gear. Due to the plane's engine and nose mounted cannon taking up most of the front of the plane, the designers had to settle for a traditional tail-dragger landing gear. Regular side retracting landing gear proved to be problematic; the wing's placement was so far back that it left the Kuda's nose high in the air, and made it prone to nosing over from even the smallest jolt. To remedy this, the landing hear was designed to extend down, and then rotate forwards slightly to better set the balance. While this solved the issue, it also made the extension and retraction time for the landing gear almost twice as long. Combining this with the Kuda's high speed landing characteristics made pilots develop a precise landing routine that was timed almost to the millisecond from receiving landing clearance to touching down and rolling to a stop.
Overall, while the gas-guzzling, enormous engine and unforgiving flight characteristics makes the Barrakuda a difficult plane to master, its speed and power is a deadly weapon in the hands of a well-trained, elite pilot, and Damontia accepts nothing less than elite from its military men and women.
The Barrakuda also comes in a liaison/recon verison, with all armanent removed and an extra seat placed behind the pilot for the passenger/camera operator. While the recon version is highly useful, the liaison version leaves much to be desired, as, in order to have enough room in the wings for the landing gear to lay flush, thin, solid rubber tires were used, which are...less than ideal for landing on improvised or hastily built runways.
Wingspan: 34 ft
Length: 31 ft
Height: 14 ft
Powerplant: 1 x Damonmaschinenfabrik Kaltenstein V-16 Engine
Top Speed: 475 mph
Range: 250 mi
Ceiling: 14,900 ft
Armament: 1 x 20mm Cannon firing through prop spinner, 200 rounds. 6 x 10mm Machine guns mounted on wings, 400 rounds per gun, up to 1000 lbs of external ordinance. (fighter version only)
Crew: 1 (pilot-fighter) 2 (pilot, passenger/camera operator-liason/recon)