Air and Space Photos from Alternate Worlds.

I always considered fighters in Star Trek as something that keeps getting tried on occasion but then usually discarded for the same reason, in that the return of investment isn't there. In the case of Star Trek, I doubt you could put enough oomph into a one-man craft to seriously threaten a good-sized Starship.

In-universe, I could see these things having a niche application as a system patrol craft, customs enforcement and that sort of thing. When the Dominion war broke out, the Federation was insanely desperate and pulled in everything that had a phaser equipped.

From an entirely subjective, personal standpoint, I like Star Trek better without fighters being a thing. It fits better with the format, it fits better with the episodic and large-cast nature of the story-telling in the various shows. Therefore, when I play in the verse, there are not going to be any.
I always considered fighters in Star Trek as something that keeps getting tried on occasion but then usually discarded for the same reason, in that the return of investment isn't there. In the case of Star Trek, I doubt you could put enough oomph into a one-man craft to seriously threaten a good-sized Starship.
You know, a bog-standard Photon Torpedo would have a maximum yield of about 64 Megatons. Quantum Torpedoes and high-yield Photons are even higher...

Even without including non-expendable or exotic weapons, that's quite a bit more than the punch-to-weight ratio of the torpedo bombers than sank Yamato. 'Probably less personnel-wasting to send out a 2-man fighter than an 80-year old exploratory vessel to get a couple of torpedo volleys off before getting cut in half. You could even send fighters out in multiple angles of attack. A...multi-vector assault, if you will.

Of course, ribbing aside, and in all seriousness, making completely rational use of established technology in Star Trek is A) difficult to execute on a (live-action) TV budget and timetable, even if you give Ron Moore extra time to figure out what to write, and B) would likely interfere with the tone and general type of stories the creators want to tell (which happen to be Sgt. Sisko's Amazing War Stories). 😁
I always considered fighters in Star Trek as something that keeps getting tried on occasion but then usually discarded for the same reason, in that the return of investment isn't there. In the case of Star Trek, I doubt you could put enough oomph into a one-man craft to seriously threaten a good-sized Starship.

In-universe, I could see these things having a niche application as a system patrol craft, customs enforcement and that sort of thing. When the Dominion war broke out, the Federation was insanely desperate and pulled in everything that had a phaser equipped.

From an entirely subjective, personal standpoint, I like Star Trek better without fighters being a thing. It fits better with the format, it fits better with the episodic and large-cast nature of the story-telling in the various shows. Therefore, when I play in the verse, there are not going to be any.
I agree with all of the above, and at the same time, I am not surprised fighters would exist in the Trekverse. They would be niche warships/aircraft, specialised for very particular military duties. For most battles, bigger ships are much better and more useful. You'd have lightly armed mostly utilitarian shuttles (the majority of small craft), hybrid solutions between a shuttle and a fighter, and least common of all, dedicated fightercraft.

If plenty of non-Federation factions and powers do have various fightercraft, it would be a bit shortsighted if the Federation never had any at all. Instead, I think it's sensible to say the UFP always has some fighters prepared just in case, but for most common exploratory, military and diplomatic duties, large well-armed ships and more lightly armed or unarmed small craft are the everyday mainstay. Particularly in times of peace, where there isn't much need for greater variety in military spacecraft.

Here's the lads from Trekyards talking about canon and non-canon fiction examples of fighters from Trek. Mostly Federation stuff.

A look at the Cardassian Hideki type of large fighter.

The Lore Reloaded fellow has more to say about this too. As all three of them state clearly, the setting is better off without prominent and common use of fightercraft, as it seems to fit the logic and tone of the setting better.

Personally, the thing I like about fighers in Trek, whether they are Federation or non-Federation, is that they are at least proportioned reasonably. Most of the fighters, even the smaller ones, are actually pretty big. The Federation's Peregrine (or whatever it's called) is about as big or almost as big as the runabout, and that's a big and hardy multi-purpose shuttle in and of itself. The alien fighters, such as the Hideki discussed above, are similarly big, or even a bit bigger. The Maquis raiders, mostly converted spaceplane freighters and transport ships, are in that ball park too. About the only fairly small fightercraft we see on a regular basis are the Bajoran fighters and raiders, as those really are just up-gunned shuttles or aircraft/scoutship hybrids for planets and local space. I'd say the likes of Voyager's Delta Flyer fit neatly into the hybrid solution category - yes, it's just a medium-sized shuttle, but if you need to use it as an emergency fighter, you can. Neither an entirely defenceless shuttle, nor a dedicated fighter.

In the case of entirely local powers, such as the Bajorans, or regional powers, such as the Cardassians, fightercraft do actually make a lot of economic sense. Particularly for the Bajorans and later for the Maquis, since they had little in the way of larger dedicated ships. When you look at the Bajoran fleet inventory after the occupation ended and they liberated their system from the Cardies, they didn't exactly have that much to work with, so reliance on whatever surviving or converted fighters they had - seemingly the most plentiful military spacecraft left - doesn't suddenly seem so weird. For a few years after the end of the occupation and without Federation help, rebuilding a basic fleet no doubt took time and they also had to deal with reestablishing a civilian merchant marine (astrine ?) during the early rebuilding period. (They have a well-running one in the later seasons of DS9, so civilian and military fleet rebuilding was definitely going on, as much as their situation allowed them at that time.) Finally, there's the fact that a not insubstantial part of the post-occupation Bajoran fleet seem to be freighter ships armed to act as impromptu warships. (Amusingly, a very medieval, as well as WWI and WWII era concept.) From what I remember, some of those converted freighter models looked like Cardassian ships on purpose ! Indicating that these were salvaged and captured Cardassian ships, modified with Bajoran tech and given Bajoran colours, and then sent into service.

I think it's no surprise fighters are seen most often in DS9, as their appearances there make the most astropolitical and military sense. Then you have the occassional cases in Voyager and Enterprise when the main cast runs into some aliens of the week who sometimes have their own types of fighters, often for defensive or even piratical duties. Overall, though, fighters aren't that overexposed in Trek, and that's a good thing in my book ! One of the things I find a little annoying in the Star Wars universe is that the fighters are so small and there's almost an overabundance of specific types. They're cute fighters, but even less realistic than Trek's soft-but-hard-enough fightercraft tech.

I'd say a strange but unique halfway point between fighters and other large ships would be multi-purpose smaller warships designed like large spaceplanes. The Klingon Birds of Prey are an obvious example, but one of the few larger and purpose-built post-occupation Bajoran warships, the winged "assault ship", also shares this design philosophy. You can use it as a planetary transport and very large gunship in an atmosphere, and as a fairly speedy and nimble (though weaker) warship while out in space. A Galaxy class ship could blast them out of the void with relative ease, they'd have to get creative to defeat one, but they are big enough to go toe-to-toe with many medium-sized Federation and other alien ships. I think if the Bajorans in particular had to fight a few Cardassian cruisers (Galor class, etc.) and neither side had fighter support for the big ships, they'd probably use those winged assault ships and a few of the converted, armed freighters they have in their fleet after the occupation. Bajor was only slowly rebuilding their fleet after the occupation and if they lost those BOP-like assault spaceplanes of their's , they'd be down to armed freighters and their various fightercraft and shuttles. (That's one thing I arguably like about Bajor and its ships. They really feel like they have a cobbled-together inventory of whatever still works, and they're at the doorstep of pondering whether to join a major power, the Federation. Me coming from a small country that didn't join NATO that long ago and still has a lot of work left to modernize its inventory, I've always had sympathy for the Bajorans in this area. They're just working with what they've got.) Here's the scene from season 7 where Kira's aboard one of the assault ships, part of a smaller fleet that tries to force the Romulans to stand down.
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Luftwaffe 1946, Volume 2, Issue No.12

HRT-ENN Frisky B

HRT-ENN Frisky B
Red 23, 235 Interceptor Regiment
Vladivostock, USSR
9 May, 1950

Like other German designed jets that entered production in the Socialist Union following the technological windfall of 1945, the HRT was considered an interim type pending the development of superior indeginous aircraft. The idea was to use these types to speed the learning curve on jet production, operation and design. Based on the German Horten IX, the Soviets built only 164 HRTs following further development by a team lead by the Italian born Communist, Roberto Bartini. Equipping two regiments, they were based in defence of Moscow and Vladivostock from 1948 until late 1951.

Red 23 was the first Frisky in combat, when Combat Pilot Gregor Borovik shot down a SAC RB-29A on the 9th of May, 1950 in Soviet airspace near Vladivostock.

F-10 Fancy

When the United Nations decided to roll back communism by invading what it saw as the failed state of Korea, it was asking for more than it bargained. As China and the Socialist Union were having one of their frequent ideological stouches, the UN Security Council thought that it could get away with storming up the Korean peninsula on a "humanitarian mission" whilst the two red giants were locked in a stalemate about who should move first.

They were wrong.

Firstly, the Koreans fought back with WMDs. Secondly, the Chinese and the SU made up and moved together. Thirdly, the Chinese invoked clauses in its mutual defence treaties with other south east Asian nations to destabilize the UN's flanks.

F-10 Fancy , Bien Hoa, Vietnam, 23 June, 2007, unit unidentified

On this date, two of Vietnam's new F-10s (including 1006) flew out over the Spratly Islands and shot down a P-3C of the Philippines Navy. It was the start of the Spratlys War, a campaign of small actions and mutual destabilization that lasted for over three years and also involved China, Taiwan, Malaysia and many remote UN member states. It wasn't until the Korean peninsula was firmly back in the hands of red forces in late 2010 that the fighting in and around the Spratlys subsided.
Now for my entry into this thread....

Here is three aircraft liveries which I had taken inspiration from the anime series called The Magnificent Kotobuki. I had also posted these aircraft in my created thread here:
Merc BF-109G.png

A Bf-109 G-10 that was operated by a Mercenary Organization, note the Red Triangle and White Circle emblem atop the painted over Luftwaffe Roundels and also the painted up Swastika on the tail.

Kampf Korps Fw190D.png

And another ex-Luftwaffe aircraft, this time a Fw-190 D-9 with this wing tips, nose, and tail painted black and it's insignia being a black and white checkerboard one, much like the OTL Polish roundel. In addition, on the tail atop the painted over hakenkreuz, there is the pilot's personal emblem, which I based off the OTL emblem of the Fallschirm-Panzer Division "Hermann Goering."

Kampf Korps BF-109K.png

And a Bf-109 K-4 belonging to the same faction as the above D-9, but this time, there is an absence of painted over Luftwaffe Insignia, which this plane could very well have been constructed by this plane's faction. (Which this faction I have assigned the name of the Kampf Korps.)

Alabama’s Hop

Stacking of SL82A begins at LC-37B in early November 1981, with the mission’s S-IB+ stage being raised to the vertical.

5 years after the recovery of the first S-IB+ stage during SL76B, Chrysler had incorporated lessons learned from successful water landings and recoveries of 15 boosters supporting manned and unmanned flights. Reuse of a full S-IB+ stage was still several years away, but all of the H-1 engines on SL82A had flown before, as had three of the outer tanks (two RP1, one LOX) and the central LOX tank.

The first stage of SL82A would operate as planned, but by the time it was descending beneath its parachutes 500 miles downrange, off the coast of the Carolinas, Alabama, the flight’s Command and Service Module, would be boosting away from an ailing S-IVB stage.

With a faulty electrical connection in the vehicle’s Instrument Unit resulting in a gradual reduction of thrust, astronauts and Mission Control would try and will the vehicle into orbit before admitting defeat, 30 seconds after telemetry first indicated a problem.

Named after the home state of Mission Commander Henry Hartsfield, the CSM separated from the S-IVB to the east of Virginia, with a short Service Propulsion System burn targeting it’s splashdown away from the cold water of the North Atlantic and into a contingency recovery area in the Celtic Sea.

Minutes later, the failed S-IVB tore itself apart, splashing down over the North Atlantic. In 1983, on Jack Grimm’s third unsuccessful expedition to find the Titanic, a remotely operated vehicle identified the powerhead of a J2S engine – strongly suspected to belong to SL82A.

The mission was the first ever in flight abort of an American crewed flight, and the shortest since the Mercury suborbital missions. All three crew would fly again, as would components of the S-IB+. Alabama was stored at Cape Canaveral for several years, but is now at Battleship Memorial Park.

Read more about...

Saturn I+

The SL82A launch

First launch and recovery of a S-IB+ stage

Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 37
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The Nakajima Ki-121, which is a development of the famous Ki-43 Hayabusa fighter. Developed after the Pacific War for the Japanese Army Air Service as an advanced trainer aircraft. The type would enter service with the IJAAS in 1946 and would be used for this role with them until 1978 when they were replaced by newer designs. Japan's client states and allies such as Manchukuo and Peru would use them for longer well into the 1990s with some of them using them for counter-insurgency use. In the present day, these planes are popular with warbird flyers and enthusiasts, owing to it's ease of flight.

Judith Resnik, Mission Commander of Skylab 86B is photographed entering the space station’s science station. A veteran of two flights, Resnik was the first American woman to command a space mission, and the first commander to have not joined the Astronaut Corps as a pilot.

She would leave NASA in 1995, becoming President of the University of Maryland.

Find out more here.
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Today's special: Comrade Harp's Mustangs

Federal A-36B Mustang

Federal A-36B Mustang
1st Expeditionary Squadron, Venezuelan Air Force
San Angelo, Italy
June, 1945

To meet an RCAF requirement for a single-seat, single-engine fighter-bomber, the government owned Federal Aircraft Ltd transitioned form making Avro Anson trainers to a series of modified P-51 Mustangs in late 1943. All production examples were powered by the Packard Merlin 266 (there also being prototypes with Rolls Royce and Packard Griffon engines) and all were armed with four 20mm Hispano cannon. 956 were produced in several versions, including the Mustang XXX and identical A-36B (based on the P-51B) and Mustang XXXI (based on the P-51D). The A-36B were built to U.S. government Lend-Lease contracts and used by Brazil and Venezeuala in Italy.

The Venezuelan Air Force had been building its size and combat power throughout the 1930s with finance from country's oil export revenues. In 1941, it featured two squadrons of Boeing P-34Cs, one with Gloster Gladiators and a Fiat BR.20 bomber unit. Joining the Allies in January, 1942, the Venezuelan government set about building on this and forming expeditionary forces to combat the Axis powers. During 1942-43, P-40Ks were received and many personnel were sent to America and Canada for training. The A-36B was delivered from January, 1944, and the 1st Expeditionary Squadron entered combat in Italy from May, 1944.

One of the features of the Canadian Mustangs is that all were equipped with zero-length rocket launchers. Bypassing the heavy rails of the British 3 inch RP-3 and the bulky triple Bazooka tubes of the USAAF's M10 3.5 inch rocket pack, the Canadian's chose the U.S. Navy's 5 inch FFAR as their standard rocket, later upgrading to the 5 inch HVAR when it became available. The 5 inch FFAR featured a 5 inch anti-aircraft HE warhead, with an alternative 5 inch anti-armour hollow charge warhead becoming available from April, 1944 .

The 1st Expeditionary Squadron mostly conducted interdiction missions, flying strikes against pre-planned targets and conducting armed reconnaissance missions to engage targets of opportunity. They struck at tanks and other road vehicles, trains and ships and hit bridges, fuel and ammunition stores between 3 May, 1944, and the Separate Peace of 21 August.

Iwo Jima VLR P-51H Mustang

North American P-51H-25NA Mustang
"Jungle Queen" personal mount of Major John Hopkins
462 Fighter squadron, 506 Fighter Group
Airfield No. 2, Iwo Jima, (occupied) Japan
16 February, 1946

The P-51H Mustang began taking over from the P-51D at Iwo Jima with the 462nd Fighter Squadron in January, 1946. The -25 model of the H had been specifically designed for the VLR (Very Long Range) role, with extra internal fuel, VLR avionics and the ability to carry 165 (US) gallon drop tanks from a sub-type-specific underwing pylon (without recourse to the wooden sway braces used on the P-51D - although their size and location meant that the central MG shell ejection chute on each wing had to be routed via the inside of the pylon itself). The type proved to be a worthy successor to the P-51D and by the end of the war against Japan in May, 1946, all of the USAAF's VLR fighter units at Iwo Jima were flying either the P-51H or P-47N.

As the 462 FS didn't have a Mustang with a serial code ending in 462, the squadron's commander chose was his personal mount a plane whose serial ended with the Fighter Group's number of 506. Within the VLR community at Iwo Jima, each aircraft featured a large three-digit code on the fuselage: for the 426nd, this side code began with 500. By convention, the squadron commander should have used the side number 500, but instead Maj Hopkins was permitted to fly with 506. The Group Commander, Lt. Colonel James Patrick, apparently relented to Hopkin's use of this plane as he had chosen as his personal mount a plane whose last four digits matched his birth date and flew this plane with the side number 002 (a reference to his Group's use of Iwo Jima's Airfield No.2). Hopkins would later say that he told Lt. Col. patrick that "6 was is lucky number." The "Jungle Queen" name and nose art applied to to 506 was a continuation of a tradition from when Maj. Hopkins had flown P-40s in the Solomons.

The four kills on this iteration of Jungle Queen are an accumulation of Maj. Hopkin's kills from 1943 through to the February, 1946. During his 15 VLR missions (a standard tour of duty for VLR pilots, which did not include aborted VLR missions or combat sorties of shorter duration, such as patrols around Iwo Jima or strafing runs against targets in the Bonin Island group), the Major scored four aerial victories. On 16 February, 1946, he shot down a Ki-84 near Tokyo, prompting the addition of a fourth kill marking on 506 and the taking of a series of celebratory photographs (from which this model is based). Further kill markings were added in March, when VLR missions supporting the Y-Day invasion of Honshu met with increased Japanese air activity. On Y-Day, 1 March, Major Hopkins shot down a Ki-43 and Ki-100 and two days later added a turbojet-powered Yokosuka Model 43B Otsu "Ohka" kamikaze plane.

Each VLR fighter squadron on Iwo Jima had unit-specific and high-visibility paint work. Within the 506 FG, the 462nd's planes were adorned with black and yellow (and used 500 series numbers), the 457th used dark blue (withe 600 series side numbers) and orange and the 478th green with white (with 700 series numbers). These served to assist with formation flying, visual identification by B-29 navigation lead ship crews and also added to the esprit de core of personnel.

The Y letter on the tail and wings was a reference to Airfield No.2 on Iwo Jima.

Mali Hyena Mustang

North American/Cavalier F-51D Mustang
Hyena Squadron, Mali Air Force
Bamako/Senou, Mali, 1964

Little is known about Mali's Mustangs. 24 were received between 1961 and 1964, all of which were re-manufactured by Cavalier to zero-hour the airframes and engines. They were mostly used for internal counter-insurgency duties, including strikes, convoy protection, armed reconnaissance and close air support. However, it was as an adversary trainer for the many UN air and land forces in Mali that the type is best remembered.

Hyena Squadron was the Mustang's primary operator. Mali's first combat squadron, Hyena was crewed with mostly foreign pilots during the 60s, including seconded pilots from UN air forces and mercenaries. However, it was in the hands of the indigenous Captain Cheick Sy, flying his personal mount, 53, that the Mali Mustangs made a name for themselves. Between 1963 and 1967, Captain Sy made several gun camera kills against UN fast jet aces during dissimilar air combat training.

Mali finally retired their Mustangs in 1972 in favour of the Embraer EMB-326 Xavante.