|Boeing B-101 Tropofortress Bomber|
|An early conceptualisation of the Tropofortress|
|Secondary Ability||Return to base|
|Production Time||20 seconds|
|Heroic Upgrade||Homing missile payload (adds air to air missiles to turrets and replaces bombs with guided missiles; greatly extending range)|
- Wham bam, Grand Slam: The premier strategic bomber of the communist international's united armed forces, the Tropofortress is able to devastate whole bases in the blink of an eye with its massive payload of terminally guided smart bombs which can quite literally "drop a bomb into a pickle barrel" due to their drone guidance. The enormous antarctic sea-line fortifications defending Epsilon's home base were first sorely tested by flights of Tropofortresses, which were able to level even the ultra-hardened Omega Cannon batteries which menaced southern ocean shipping and breach meters thick concrete and steel armouring for Geoffrey's submarine pens to alleviate the menace of Epsilon's undersea flotilla to Comintern shipping.
- Historical inevitability: Interceptors have to contend with six rotary 25mm autocannons that can drown incoming attackers in a wall of lead, while heavy countermeasures confound attempts to get a lock on them by surface or air attackers. The ability of these bombers to pierce through interception screens was aptly displayed by the first Doolittle raid on Tokyo, where more than five hundred bombers launched from Alaska slipped past Imperial defensive screens and bombed several important industrial and military centres in the city before slipping off into safety in Siberia. Multiple squadrons of Tengus and Raijins found themselves cut down by the overlapping fields of fire provided by the bombers while their lock on systems were foiled by extensive electronic countermeasures.
- Keep them off me!: Heavy anti-air assets and interceptors are the most dangerous threats to the Tropofortress. Whereas smaller anti-air units and fighters can be largely shrugged off or slipped past, these enemies have the ability to pierce through the defensive capabilities of the tropofortress and bring the giants down to a fiery end. The inability to properly retaliate against long ranged anti-air units is a particular weakness of the vehicle, and fast moving ground targets are also well suited to evade the bombs of the Tropofortress.
- Backblast at ya: Newer marks of Tropofortress have been trialed with a load out of missiles and new defensive turrets fitted with small air to air missiles that allow for Tropofortresses to deal with interceptors at significantly longer range and destroy enemy ground targets from a significant distance with a powerful loadout of long ranged high impact missiles. These missiles also feature sophisticated guidance systems that make dodging the Tropofortress' attacks significantly harder.
As imminent threat of a third World War engulfed the International, military strategists sought to develop preventative measures against Allied attack. Their plan: to maintain squadrons of long-range bombers in contested airspace literally at all times, such that any Allied aggression could promptly be countered by bombing runs against high-value Allied targets.
Theoretically, at least, this would make the Alliance of Free States think twice before overstepping its bounds. Of course, up until the Third World War, the International had no modern fourth generation VTOL jet aircraft fit for the job, for they needed a long-range bomber with maximum fuel efficiency and good-enough amenities to support an in-flight team for weeks at a time. And after numerous design bids from all around the world, the American-made B-101 Tropofortress Bomber emerged as the clear winner, and was put into full production in Comintern airbases worldwide.
This triangle strategic bomber can carry more than enough guided bombs to level an entire city block -- or a heavily fortified enemy compound. The Tropofortress is also sturdy enough to hold its own in enemy airspace, thanks to a heavily armoured exterior and extensive defensive armament. Redundancy, supercruise capability, and fire-proofing in the engine compartments help make the Tropofortress very good at returning to base in one piece. What's more, its low radar observability airframe means that it takes quite a while to spot and lock onto it and increases its evasion capabilities while an electrosphere generator can offer additional defenses.
Another of its many advantages versus older bombers is its VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) engine configuration, which facilitates operations in urban environments and speeds ammunition load-out. Note, however, that it still is intended to fly with escort craft, as dedicated interceptors and heavy duty anti-aircraft assets can overwhelm its defenses and take it down.
The Tropofortress's destructive potential is remarkable, though naturally the craft must return to base to rearm in between bombing runs. It is rumoured that the Comintern have struggled with this inefficiency, and now are working on a solution in the form of a highly-advanced bomb fit only for a Tropofortress-sized aircraft. Such a bomb, it is promised, could cause widespread devastation thousands of times greater than a standard payload, essentially eliminating the need to make multiple bombing runs against a given target.
Allied information ministers note that the Comintern likely leaked this information themselves, in a laughable attempt to instill fear, and recently denounced the Tropofortress Bomber and these rumours as a "pitiable and unimpressive response to our majestic fleets of Louis Airships." In truth, the Tropofortress bears little resemblance to the Louis. It is a faster, more tactical craft more comparable to the Avro Scapa Flow bomber.
To fly a Tropofortress Bomber has quickly become a source of great pride for many International airmen, especially those hailing from airbases in the bomber's home Republic of Texas (where it's affectionately known as the "Flying Bull"). In turn, Tropofortress pilots are some of the best in the world: They're known for being cool under pressure and for bearing the burden of their responsibility with plenty of wry humour. Though the Tropofortress is highly unlikely to explode in midair, this aircraft is fitted with so many sophisticated systems that it is designed to detonate and explode on impact, should it crash. As a result, the International's opponents have yet to recover any data from the few Tropofortress that have gone down.
Wartime Operational history
Post war Operational history
Ordinarily, International Bombers are supposed to always have a complement of MiG Fighters and Raptor Interceptors guarding them while making their runs. However experiences in the third world war and afterwards have shown that escorts cannot always be counted on and many interceptors will outrange or dodge or simply withstand the attempts of the Tropofortress to shoot them down. Additionally, the Tropofortress often proved vulnerable to being shot down by long range surface anti-aircraft weapons that simply did not allow it to get within bomb range. The two had lead to the implementation of missile armament for select Tropofortress Bombers that have demonstrated a need for high risk airspace weapons including cruise missiels and air to air warheads to ensure that the Tropofortress can stay at a safe stand off distance. Though a number were ouftitted in this way during the war, after the war this became standard armament for elite crews.
Though the concept of a supercruising bomber that could drop the VDV's elite paratroopers into the fray immediately after a bombing run was appealing at first, experience also showed that this was more doable in theory than in practise due to numerous factors including turbulence, the difficulty of making accurate landings at high speeds, and the impracticality of asking the bomber to slow down to make a paradrop run. This lead to greater emphasis on the Dynami Cargo Plane as a rapid air transport craft to the point of operating them out of forward air bases instead of purely at the rear.
Post-War, Tropofortress bombers are now frequent sights over China in particular and in areas of continuing conflicts with the World Liberation Army, Confederacy of Nationalists, and other Anti-communist insurgencies or over hot zones like Vietnam and eastern Africa. Supernormal activity involving unknown hostile forces frequently lead to Tropofortress craft being called up to flatten these forces after confirmation of location. In more peaceful encounters, Maritime Tropofortress bombers engage in long patrols over the Communist International's vast coastlines, frequently meeting with Alliance, Axis, or Dominion aircraft sent to shadow them. Bored pilots seeking to entertain themselves will then play a number of games with each other or simply pass the time with taunts. One of the most popular taunts used by Bomber crews is to stand up, stretch, and go to the bathroom while the fighter and interceptor pilots are stuck sitting down.