The XFA-21 Scylla was a prototype evaluation aircraft that was the direct forerunner of the EASA's XFA-24 Apalis experimental fighter. It used a radically new tailess design with bent wingtips in place of a vertical stabilizer, which made the Scylla among the fastest production aircraft ever built with a top speed of Mach 3, but due to its high productions costs, many of its radical features were ommited in the Apalis.
The Mystery Fighter (1984-1996)
First flown in February of 1984, the aircraft's perfromance was promising, and so the Federal Erusian Air Force ordered thirty pre-production aircraft. However, these aircraft mysteriously disappeared one night without any trace of who took them or where they had gone.
As it had turned out, Militants in the Belkan province of Recta had stolen them and intended to use them in their war for independence. The following year, the Rectan War broke out, but the fighters were having some difficulties, and so new engines had to be designed for them by a Rectan firm. However, the Belkans overran the nation before the Scylla could be deployed, but nevertheless the engines were completed and fitted to the fighters, allowing the militants to fly them out of Recta to a hidden base in the Cirrus Islands north of Belka.
The Scylla's first combat was during the Cirrus Island Incident, during which a terrorist squadron of eight XFA-21s as well as sixteen MiG-21s engaged the eight F-4E Phantom IIs of Belka's famous Silber Squadron. As it so happened, the XFA-21s were undetected as the F-4s engaged the MiGs, and so dove on the unsuspecting squadron from behind. Below is a conversation taken from the recorder in the Black Box of the F-4E belonging to Silber 2, the only Belkan pilot killed during the engagement:
Silber 5: Splash Two Fishbeds!
Silber 3: Hold it, bandits diving on us from six o'clock high!
Silber 1: All planes break!
Silber 2: They look like Sukhois; be careful!
Most of the pilots managed to evade the lethal hail of missiles, except for Dietrich "Boss" Kellerman, callsign Silber 1 who was only saved when Joseph Felsen, callsign Silber 2 shielded Kellerman with his own F-4, sacrificing his life to save his flight lead. Silber, shocked at their loss, retreated, and only escaped the pursuing XFA-21s when they crossed the line of the mainland's air defense zone. The final tally was as follows:
Rectan Terrorist Losses
MiG-21bis x 10 shot down
MiG-21bis x 4 damaged
F-4E x 1 shot down
F-4E x 7 damaged
The Belkan Air Force was shocked at the incident and immediately set about with investigations into the unknown enemy aircraft encountered. Due to pilot reports of the aircraft resembling the Sukhoi Su-27 in some respects, the Belkans classified it under the suspected designation of Sukhoi Su-29, which was given the codename "Falchion" three days later.
The XFA-21 all but dissappeared after this until the A World With No Boundries incident in late 1995, when the Belkan Wywyrm Squadron encountered a squadron of twelve of these advanced fighters over Avalon Dam, eventually shooting all of them down shortly before three of them were shot down by an XFA-27 that had joined the battle.
Truth Revealed and Resurgence (1998-2005)
In early 1998, the Osean Air Defense Force had been worried about the supposed Su-29 for quite some time now, as it could, in theory, outperform their most advanced fighter at the time, the F-22A Raptor. However, the Okchabursk Technologies Design Bureau denied having anything to do with the aircraft at all. Then there was a miracle; the Avalon Dam reservoir had been the subject of a salvage effort for a long time to remove any military equipment left behind that many believed could pollute the reservoir, which provided drinking water for the surrounding area as well as generating power. Among the wreckage pulled up, much to everyone's surprise, was an XFA-21; it was one of the twelve shot down by the Wywyrm Squadron, but due to its sturdy airframe, it was still more or less intact save the engines and rear fuselage where a missile impacted it and brought it down.
The Osean Central Intelligence Agency requesitioned the aircraft in secret along with the wreckage of the other eleven, which were for the most part in pieces, and began evaluations. Then, after five years of research in 2003, one of the analysts discovered a very incriminating piece of evidence as to the fighter's true origins: the emblem of the EASA just below the left side of the cockpit. An investigation comitee presented the evidence to a very surprised Erusian Government, who immediately interrogated the EASA's aircraft design team. They openly admitted that they had indeed built a fighter of said specifications, and that the prototypes had dissappeared long ago; however, they were also ecstatic about the performance of the XFA-21 in combat, and so began to redesign it at a production fighter after the remaining eighteen XFA-21s were returned to them.
However, another event would curtail this in the following year: the Usean Continental War. With funds being pushed towards the manufacturing of proven weapons as well as the completion of the Megalith Installation, the XFA-21's development was put on hold. As the Erusians were pushed back, however, it became clear that the redesign work would not be complete for some time, and so the eighteen XFA-21s were upgraded, repaired, and subsequently smuggled off of the Usean Continent mere hours before the Siege of Farbanti, Erusia's capital. However, the Scylla would make one final stand during the assault on Megalith, during which all of them flew head-on into battle piloted by members of the infamous 156th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Aquila", better known as the "Yellow" Squadron. The fighters performed admirably, but when ISAF reinforcements arrived, even they were overwhelmed, and all were destroyed.
With the prototypes all but annihilated, the XFA-21 seemed gone forever, but in truth its legacy would live on in two different forms. The first was the XFA-24 Apalis, which proved to be an excellent multirole aircraft and proved cheaper, enabling it to be put into production. The other was the Su-49 Falchion, which was ironically built by the Okchabursk Technologies Design Bureau, and would be used mostly as an interceptor to supplement the MiG-31M Foxhound, MiG-31R Foxhound-C and the MiG-51S Fullbound.
Missile Count: 80
Special Weapons: QAAM x 16, XLAA x 16, ODMM x 16