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Old 06-04-2009, 09:10 PM
Benjamin Benjamin is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: The Burgh, PA
Posts: 112
Default Statting an Interesting Vehicle

I got my birthday present in the mail today. Coming all the way from Hong Kong, costing more than I've ever paid for a collectible before and matching the 1/72 scale of the rest of my in progress Twilight: 2000 meta diorama... I now have a UD-4L Cheyenne dropship. Yes, that wicked cool aircraft from Aliens.

Given that its the same scale of the rest of my vehicles I can't resist incorporating it into my upcoming Twilight campaign.

The back story that I've developed is somewhat similar to the story behind the U.S.S. Constitution in Gateway to the Spanish Main.

In 1991 James Cameron, coming off the success of Terminator 2, decided to support an effort to continue the Alien and Terminator franchises. Teaming up with several actors, notably Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sigorney Weaver, and directors he formed Timestorm Entertainment. After a year of legal battles, Timestorm finally won the full rights to Aliens, Terminator and oddly Predator. Production on Alien: Awakenings began in early 1993 to star Sigorney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Viggo Mortensen (as Hicks' younger brother), Lance Henriksen and Mark Valley (as Hicks' youngest brother). Although Cameron did not direct the film he over saw every detail of the production.

On a whim Cameron and his friend, Richard Branson, decided to fund the building of three full scale mock-ups of the ubiquitous UD-4L Dropship for the film. In order to do so they approached Boeing Aerospace and McDonnell-Douglas, which were just beginning work on their entrance into the Joint Strike Fighter Program. Flyable, but unarmed and lacking high-tech electronics, mock-ups were finished in mid-1994. Several scenes including these aircraft were added during post-production, thus delaying release until the Christmas season. Although rated R and lasting over 2 1/2 hours the movie had the second highest opening of the year just after Forrest Gump.

Interest in the UD-4L didn't end after the completion of the movie. As money was moved away from the JSF Program and towards upgrading the existing F-15 and F-16 designs, Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas looked for a way to profit from the increasing military build-up. Concerns over the viability of the V-22 Osprey worried some executives in Boeing, and they with their MDD partners turned to the ailing Fairchild Aircraft for assistance in building a workable assault aircraft based upon the UD-4L airframe. After obtaining permission from Cameron and Branson work was begun in earnest. Four working prototypes were completed in early 1996 and two were accepted by the Marine Corps for testing. A further six were completed by July and four of them were purchased by the Pennsylvania National Guard, which was in the process of converting its 28th Infantry Division to a mechanized division. The other two went to the Coast Guard and were tested at Cape May.

By August, Fairchild's Hagerstown, Maryland plant was completely re-tooled and full scale production of the dropship commenced by late August. The first large scale order was by the Republic of Singapore Navy for twenty-four Cheyennes. This was soon followed by orders from Australia, Bahrain, and Ireland. Further orders also came from the Pennsylvania National Guard, Delaware Air National Guard, Hawaii Air National Guard and the US Coast Guard. Although, the US Marine Corps liked the Cheyenne it had invested too much in the V-22 program.

Type classified as the UV-40 Cheyenne the aircraft remained in continual production until the plant was abandoned in January 1998. During this time approximately 260 UV-40s were built.

Stating the UV-40
Speed and range: comparable to the A-10 Thunderbolt II

Payload: 16,000 kg

Obviously not able to reach orbit or anything of that sort; the UV-40 is a VTOL assault aircraft also used for SAR and special operations insertion.

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