"Those would’ve been designated as interceptors in any other star state’s navy, but the forces of the Imperial Japanese Space Navy or IJSN registered them as “quick” SSF’s. They certainly used them as such and all IJSN sentai (squadrons) which flew the Hien in battle were given extended fuel tank modifications, extra munitions and they usually conducted dangerous long-range patrols. In the usual case when the Hien was employed as part of a fleet’s fighter screen, the extra fuel was still kept for this provided extra dogfight time to the well-armed Japanese fighters. Kuma’Re was told that these fightercraft were initially designed to outperform the aging M54A12 “Zero”, the workhorse of all IJSN forces. To achieve this, its designers had to compromise and their first prototype craft sported only light armor-plating, which proved to be a grossly insufficient defense for the otherwise nimble, quick fighter. Later models walked around this design flaw by doubling the amount of reactor power fed to its two shield generators. Installing one extra heatsink, coupled with the craft’s now substantial spare energy reserves, made it quite the opponent in any dogfight. Carrier pilots found the Ki 1006 Hien to be most formidable when used to screen slow transport or capital ships because thanks to its superior maneuverability the Hien could use their hulls as “lurking” spots. Sometimes the pilots acted as well-hidden, mobile turrets for the ships they were assigned to escort and laid a torrent of point defense fire. In essence they lurked inside the big sensor shadows which transports emitted and completely surprised the attacking enemy.
The beautiful jet black starfighter had two golden, stylized lightning bolts on its fuselage which started from its bow and ended at its stern. The more Kuma marveled at this craft’s beautiful design, the more this starfighter truly resembled a swallow, with its wings spread open. Said wings were where its designers decided to place the fighter’s main armament – two linked, forward firing pulse lasers on each side. Hien’s mid wing sections had two universal missile pods, allowing hangar crews to outfit it with lock-on missiles, bombs and even light torps, which in effect turned the ship into a tactical fighter. The single-seater’s main body was of peculiar design as the pilot’s heavily grav-shielded cockpit was situated center fuselage, one engine on the bow another on the spacecraft’s stern. Both engines were equally powerful and the tips of Hien’s wings rotated 360°, making the craft truly interesting to behold during combat, as the pilot could move and fire in almost any direction. The fighter’s excellent grav-shield allowed its pilot to withstand huge G-strains, effectively eliminating the need of costly VI Pilot Assist Software. Instead, said VI was used as target assist and boosted the craft’s sensor acquisition. That made the Hien able to not only track multiple enemy strike craft in its sensor range but also a lot of the munitions they fired."
This is an excerpt from my sixth Starshatter book, titled Secrets Of Lothoria. If you like old school science fiction and space opera, follow the links - I hope you enjoy the series.