The Sciathán Seachmall Fighter-Bomber was the main fighter-bomber in service of the SDF during the 50s, 60s, 70s and early 80s, until they were replaced by the Gaoth Fighterbomber, starting in 1977. The last Seachmall was phased out on 1990.
During its long career, the Seachmall served as a fighter, bomber, fighter-bomber, SEAD-aircraft, naval strike aircraft, reconnaissance plane and in a multitude of other roles.
The Seachmall was developed and produced by Sciathán Industries Limited, which became a subsidiary of Silverport Dockyards Limited later, now producing their fixed-wing aircraft.
The term Seachmall means Phantom.
The Seachmall was a mid-wing monoplane with a 45° swept wing and tail surfaces, having two air intakes for the single turbojet, a Luas L-11 Mark IV with 64 kilonewtons of dry thrust. Fuel tanks and an internal bomb bay, which could also carry a fuel tank, were in the fuselage. The main bomb payload is to be stored in the bomb bay. The nose houses a multi-purpose radar in a radome and the 30mm autocannon with 500 rounds.
Originally designed for low-level interdiction and intrusion, the Seachmall had a high speed close to the ground. One of the original mission plans for the Seachmall included her to carry a nuclear bomb in case things really went downhill.
The Seachmall was highly manoeuvrable and easy to fly, its electronics easy to operate and the aircraft itself responding to the controls easily. A spacious and well-arranged cockpit with a very good view certainly helped. The aircraft could take off at less then 400 kilometres per hour of speed. Spoilers provided good roll control, even near to maximum speed, and four-petal airbrakes were even at high speed very effective.
Electronics onboard included a solid-state circuitry radar set in the nose, a digital hyperbolic radio navigation system, a navigation radar, an inertial navigation system helping with bombing missions, ECM systems and a radar homing and warning system. The Seachmall Mark III was all-weather capable.
The Seachmall was able to carry conventional bombs, up to four per underwing hardpoint and additional ones in the internal bomb bay, air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, anti-radiation missiles, anti-ship missiles and nuclear bombs.
The Mark III, when compared to Mark I and Mark II, carried improved ejection seats, improved gun sights and electronics and ECM pods in the wings.
In the 40s, the SDF began to take much interest in the development of own jet aircraft, starting with the SDF-Army's Sciathán Réalta Reatha, the Shooting Star, of 1945, the SDF-Navy launching their Sciathán Fabhcún in 1947, both to combat the then new Bucaniere Fighter-Bombers of the Lutetiian Air Force, all to reach not only a comparable fighter, but also to outclass them. Limits and limitations of both designs became apparent very quickly and thus, the development of a replacement for both started quickly, what would later become the Seachmall.
Mark 0 of the Seachmall had its maiden flight in 1953 and in 1957, Mark I began production.
By 1958, the first squadron was equipped, but production was delayed due to technical difficulties and problems, kinks being worked out for Mark II in 1961. Upgrades further continued, until in 1964 Mark III was released – she would become, after working out a few more kinks and problems, the main fighter-bomber of the SDF, well liked by the pilots after a time.
Further adjustments to Mark III made it one of the best fighter-bombers of the time.
Trials by fire included several clashes with the Lutetiian planes it was built to defeat and the Mount Vellenge Conflict in 1975, where a squadron of Seachmalls halted and ultimately repelled a push by the officially stateless invaders, who were thrown back into the sea a week later.
By 1977, the replacement was introduced, the Gaoth Fighter-Bomber. The Seachmall was more and more pushed into the reserve, in specialized roles such as a SEAD-aircraft or outright scrapped.
A last blaze of glory awaited, though: In 1983, during the Second Vellenge War, Seachmalls conducted long-range strikes against positions and installations on Mount Vellenge and on the Lutetiian mainland, as well as ships between both, using their high speeds close to the ground to their advantage in numerous manoeuvres intruding into enemy airspace and delivering their payloads – but, as direct air combat against the more modern Avvoltoio Fighters proved, their days were coming to an end.
With that war won, the Seachmall was slowly and steadily replaced by the Gaoth, by 1990, the last Seachmall was phased out and sold to a civilian collector, a fate, which was common for the aircraft. In their 33 years of service, the 'problem child of the SDF' turned into one of their most valuable assets, a reliable and good aircraft fitting into the needs there were and more – and one of the main reasons, why Vellenge is still part of the Free Lands.
During the phasing out ceremony, the later Brigadier Kiah Eitil of the Tribe of Wicklow, at the time a Lieutenant and trained for the Seachmall as a reconnaissance plane, said, that the Seachmall would be missed dearly – and she was not wrong.