The Duty model Assault VTOL is, in a word, overkill.
Designed and deployed at the height of the Reformation War, the Duty is the largest VTOL in standard military production. Outweighing and outsizing even the colossal and ill-fated Serican Tornado, the Duty runs quadruple, well, duty as a ground-attack gunship, an air superiority fighter, and anti-ship torpedo bomber, and an airborne infantry transport. Though its lumbering size limits the Duty to a maneuvering airspeed of just 180 knots, its frame is specially designed to be both naturally buoyant and capable of surface transit (like its much lighter predecessors, the Courage and Resolve) but also to take advantage of the ground effect, lending the Duty a more respectable 315 knot low-altitude cruising speed on calm seas.
Typically, the Duty is powered by a single inline reactor system feeding a pair of large two-part nuclear turbofans. In a strange, bold, and ultimately impressive feat of engineering, the Duty actually uses a water-cooled reactor working in tandem with a smaller air-cooled system. The water-cooled reactor skims ambient moisture and seawater from a belly-mounted ramscoop, powering both the craft’s electrical systems and a set of massive intakes that force supercooled air directly into the heart of its air-cooled twin, which can in turn afford to expose its entire fuel bed, feeding the engines a monstrous gale of searing-hot atmosphere and producing the not-insignificant power needed to keep the Duty aloft. This system lends the Duty an almost unlimited range, though also mean it is slow to accelerate, and cannot remain at high altitudes for the entirety of longer operations. Rumor has it, however, that there are doubts regarding the containment and durability of the Duty’s twin reactor system, and longer range variants often see some of their (expansive and ridiculous) ordnance and cargo capacity shed to accommodate banks of Resolve fuel cells and even Courage liquid salt batteries.
Further evidence of possible shortcomings comes in the form of the Duty’s ‘War-era’ variant, which some ESIS critics simply dub the version intended for ‘actual combat’. During the war, nearly every example of the Duty seen in action sported a slimmer fuselage and much larger wings and engines, a necessary by-product of a very different design. These aircraft relied entirely on liquefied hydrocarbon fuels, an abundance of which were liberated in the conquest of Jah earlier in the war. Nuclear-powered models were occasionally seen on rear-echelon patrols or other lower-risk tasks; LHC driven models dominated the front. While almost every Duty seen in the Unity today is the ‘official’ nuclear variant, many suspect that a number of modernized LHC-fueled variants, along with an expanded helping of the Unity’s strategic fuel reserves, are kept in waiting for more dangerous tasks.
Mirroring the Sovereign’s broad-stroke design philosophy of filling a multitude of roles simultaneously, the Duty is capable of bearing a truly extraordinary payload. Most models carry a nose-mounted full-size Cas-Vak UTS with the smaller variant mounted in the rear. Repeating 105mm cannons, light naval torpedoes, and an array of hardpoint bombs and missiles can all be carried into battle…simultaneously. Infantry, of which the Duty often carries more than forty, can exit through a rear drop bay or front breaching unit. Though ammunition for a given weapon system can usually be expanded into stowage for other systems or interior space, the Duty does not use a completely modular armament setup such as that seen on the Vortex. This means that it may not be as adaptable to a specific circumstance, but a given Duty is likely to be carrying an active payload in all major weapon systems, giving its operators an arsenal of options for dealing with a wide range of threats.
While the Unity does sell some Dutys to certain organizations and individuals, it is exceptionally rare to see one serving outside of an official government capacity. Other users are limited to Magnar private security, a few key mercenary organizations, and a handful of insurgent, criminal, and pirate groups using scavenged Reformation War stock.