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For All Nails #182:  Arma Superior


First published in 1933 by Group Captain Sir Walter Trent, CNAAF
(ret.), FRNAMHS.

1974 edition

Compiled and edited by Walter Trent, Jr., FRNAMHS, and Rachael Wright,
FRNAMHS.  Copyright (c) 1974, Trent's Publishing, PLC., 33 Centre St.,
Burgoyne, PA 8E3 24C


Emgrasa, or the Empresa Granadina de Aeromobiles, S.A., was founded by
the New Granadan government in 1959.  Aeroméxico Espacial holds a 25
percent share in the company; Freitag/Banner GmbH owns an additional
20 percent.  The company's first product was a small 80-seat regional
jet, which became a minor export success, particularly in Europe.  In
1963 the company opened its military division.  The division's first
product was a small jet-powered trainer.


In 1966, during the waning days of the Hermión regime, Emgrasa
undertook a joint project with Aeroméxico Espacial and Freitag/Banner
to design a surface attack aircraft for battlefield interdiction and
close air support specialized for South American conditions.  That
meant an airmobile capable of operating at high subsonic speed and low
altitude, by day or night, and if necessary, from bases with poorly
equipped or damaged runways.  The Gato relies on a single overpowered
single-exhaust turbofan for thrust.

Production began in 1970, mostly for domestic use, but the airmobile
has been exported to several other Latin American air arms (including
Brazil, Chile, Guatemala and Peru), and representatives of the
Associated Russian Republics joint procurement agency have recently
expressed an interest in the aircraft.  If a contract is signed,
exports to other German clients are expected to follow.

Type:  Single-seat ground attack aircraft
Dimensions:  Wing span:  29 ft
		Length:  46 ft
		Tail height:  15 ft.
Engines:  1 Malverde J-5 turbofan engine
Maximum speed:  0.97 Pings
Cruising speed:  0.8 Pings
Maximum altitude:  42,000 feet 

Over the Caribbean Sea
21 January 1975

Three Gatos take off from the airfield in Barcelona.  Their call sign
is "Tiburón."  Without air-to-air missiles, the three aircraft are on
a very risky mission to destroy as many English ships as possible near
the island of Tobago, which intelligence believes to be the primary
target of the Royal Task Force.  [1]

The pilots know that the limones have identified their attack
corridors, but they have the advantage of operating relatively close
to shore.  Captain Jorge Justo knows that it would have been better
_strategically_ to have hit the limones pre-emptively, when they were
further away, but he understands why that was politically impossible. 
To his surprise, he finds himself thanking God for politicians ---
without them, this mission would be far harder, in terms of his own
ability to survive it, if not for their ability to contribute to the
defense of the fatherland.

With one minute to reach their targets, Justo's number three pilot,
Carlos Hill, radios:  "¡Aeromobile a la derecha!"  Hill is flying to
Justo's left, and Justo feels faint annoyance that Hill --- one of the
graduates of the FANG's auxiliary pilot training program, rather than
an Arma Superior man --- didn't call out a clock time.  The annoyance
is immediately replaced by fear when he glances to his right and sees
a grey-blue silouette looming out of the drizzle.  It's flying in
almost the same direction they are.  For a second he thinks it might
be Neogranadian, but then it begins to bank in what can only be an
attempt to get into position to weld a pipe down his exhaust.  [2]

"¡Vuelo!  Abandone las bombas --- preparense para enfrentar hostiles."
 The other airmobile is clearly a enemy AC-17 Hummingbird, and as
Justo follows through on his own orders he notices that the airmobile
he saw banking to his right is _not_ the one Hill was trying to warn
him about:  there's another Hummingbird a little farther away and
approaching fast.  It's immediately clear to Justo that his wingman is
preparing to engage the second English plane with his 20mm cannons. 
"Puto," thinks Justo.  The the first Hummingbird is going to paste
Hill while Hill wastes rounds on the second.

He knows he can't hit the second Englishman at 700 meters, but he also
knows that lighting up his weapons will give the first limón a target
he can't refuse.  Hoping --- there really isn't time to pray --- that
this tactic will save his wingman, Justo starts blasting.  To his
satisfaction, the gringo he's shooting at overreacts.  [3]  The
Hummingbird rolls and dives towards the sea.  Justo goes into a dive;
almost losing control, but the CAT-1 Gato is nothing if not
responsive.  He's plunging towards the point where he _thinks_ the
second Hummingbird was headed, and hopefully too fast for the first to
get a lock on him.

Now having the split-second he needs to turn a hope into a prayer, he
opens up with the cannons again.  Something flashes.  The enemy
aircraft being hit?  Justo barely notices it, since he's trying not to
crash into the water.  Pulling up and banking to his left, Justo
flashes barely meters past Hill's aircraft.  He can't see what
happened to Gutiérrez, his second pilot, so he activates the radio and
says, "Segu …"

There's a flash and thump and Justo feels his plane change from a
highly responsive piece of aeronautical engineering into a useless
hunk of metal.  Figuring that he's at least 500 meters up, he punches
the eject button and swooshes out into the air.  His fallscreen opens
and he's yanked brusquely up.  By fate, he gets twisted to an angle
where can see the screens of both his wingmen pop open --- the
goddamned limones got all three of 'em.  "¡Puto!" he rails at the
fates as he drifts towards the sea.

[1]  Don't blame me, blame the Neogranadians.  When they're being
polite, your typical FANG fighting man calls their current enemy the
"ingleses," not the "británicos.

[2]  "Weld a pipe" is Mexican vaquero slang for "fire a missile."  No
props for figuring out how Neogranadian pilots picked up this

[3]  When they're not being polite, Neogranadans sometimes call the
British "gringos."  For reasons that I will explain on request, this
is also what North Americans call Mexicans, when they get tired of
saying "Yank" or "greaser."