Here are a few of the Royal Navy aerial flyers currently active in 1889…

Aphid-Class Aerial Gunboat

Aphid

The Aphid-class was the first aerial gunboat designed by the Royal Navy, and one of the most successful. While small at 130′ in length, and 50′ in beam, and hastily constructed in 1881, they are well armed and have some thin metal-clading to protect the crew in combat.

In 1886, these vessels underwent refit to use forced draught boilers that kept the same horsepower, but lowered the total mass of the vehicle, allowing for the use of a long-four gun, rather than the original short-four without loss of performance.

Currently, there are four of these gunboats in operation: Aphid constructed in 1881 is stationed at Parhoon, Ladybug (built 1881, lost 1887), Sandflea (built 1882) at Meepsoor, Firefly (built 1882, lost 1889), Wasp (built 1888) stationed at Syrtis Major, Hornet (1888) at Parhoon. Two are under construction — Honey Bee and Bumble Bee and both are expected to launch in weeks.

SIZE: 8   DEF: 4   STR: 14   SPD: 30   CEIL: VH   HAN: -2   CREW: 15   COST: £23,330; WEAPONRY: 4′ short cannon (fore*) — Dmg: 10L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2; 2 1 lb. Hotchkiss Rotary Cannons (side mount) — Dmg: 8L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S Size: 2; 2 Nordenfeldt machineguns (broadside) — Dmg: 5L   Rng: 250′   Cap: 40 (m) Tate: A   Spd: S.

*The upgraded Aphid has a 4″ long gun on the fore — Dam: 10L   Rng: 750′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2.

Locust-class Aerial Gunboat

The first ship designed and built for the Royal Navy on Earth, these are essentially Aphid-class gunboats reworked for Earth’s gravity. For that reason, these boats have less armor and smaller guns to compensate for the needs of terrestrial flight.

The original chief of construction wanted to forgo the minimal armor for more firepower and has been critical of the performance of the vessels, but the Admiralty currently anticipates no changes to the design.

There are five Locust-class gunboats in service on Earth: Locust, built in 1886, and Dragonfly (1887) serve with the Channel Fleet; Tse Tse (1887) with the Pacific Fleet; Yellowjacket  (1887) with the Mediterranean Fleet, and Grasshopper (1888) with the Atlantic Fleet.

SIZE: 8   DEF: 4   STR: 13   SPD: 25   CEIL: VH   HAN: -2   CREW: 15   COST: £24,500; WEAPONRY: 4′ short cannon (fore an stern tower) — Dmg: 10L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2; 2 1 lb. Hotchkiss Rotary Cannons (side mount) — Dmg: 8L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S Size: 2; 2 Nordenfeldt machineguns (broadside) — Dmg: 5L   Rng: 250′   Cap: 40 (m) Tate: A   Spd: S; 2 rocket batteries (one upward, one downward firing) — Dam: 6L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2.

Dauntless-Class Aerial Gunboat

The sleek Dauntless looks lovely, and performs poorly. Much of the problem stems from the slight transit the turreted forward 4″ long gun has, providing only a limited angle of fire to the front. The armor makes the ship heavy and slow to turn. Conventional boilers were replaced with forced draught boilers for HMS Danger and after.

courtesy of Mateen Greenway

courtesy of Mateen Greenway

There are only two of these aerial flyers in service: Dauntless built in 1884 patrols Syrtis Major, Daring was launched in 1886 and lost within weeks, and Danger, launched in 1887 and on station at Parhoon.

SIZE: 8   DEF: 4   STR: 14   CEIL: VH   HAN: -2   CREW: 15   COST: £23,330; WEAPONRY: two 4′ short cannon (forward turret and stern tower) — Dmg: 10L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2; 2 3 lb. Hotchkiss Rotary Cannons (wing mount) — Dmg: 9L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S Size: 2; 2 Nordenfeldt machineguns (broadside) — Dmg: 5L   Rng: 250′   Cap: 40 (m) Tate: A   Spd: S.

 

Advertisements