The San'tok.yāi were believed to be manufactured as early as 2915 by the Aopoa Council to replace the aging medium fighter design used by the Xi'an military. Like other Xi'an military spacecrafts, the ship started mass manufacturing decades ago and replaced the old design all at once to reduce the need to continue providing duplicate service and support processes. Squadrons of Xi'an home guard units with San'tok.yāi were first spotted by the United Empire of Earth (UEE) in the old Perry Line in December 2934, where the ship was designated ARES by the UEE Navy (UEEN). It was believed that the timing of the deployment was in response to a minor trade dispute in the summer of 2933. The intelligence report from the 2930s suggest that the ship was a rough parity with the F7A Hornet and the F7C-M Super Hornet.
On the morning of September 24 2941, a Xi'an packet ship exploded in the orbit of Yām'ping in the Yā'mon system. The four short-range escort San'tok.yāi were forced to crash land on the planet as the onboard oxygen supply diminished. Since the crash site is distant from both Human and Xi'an settlements, no distress call had been received. Meanwhile, a convert UEE reconnaissance outpost picked up the signal of the explosion and performed initial study and analysis of the accident. The base commander made the decision to rescue the stranded pilots at the risk of revealing the location of his outpost. He dispatched all available information to the nearby UEEN destroyer group conducting space trials, prompting them to move into range of the crash sites.
UEES Eagle’s Talon dispatched a pair of MPUVs to the site and found that the ships in question were indeed ARES. Two of the four escorts suffered heavy damage in the initial explosion and had been completely destroyed in the crash. Survey teams transmitted scans of the wreckage and split into two teams to locate the other ships. The first team discovered the third fighter that had skidded to a stop on an icy plain. They began de-icing the wreck site to quickly reach the pilot. The industrial heating units set off the live munition on the ship's wing and destroyed the entire site, killing all members of the first rescue team and the fighter's pilot. The second team discovered that the fourth fighter had not crashed and landed safely on a stable plane. Tracks in the snow confirmed that pilot had survived and was heading to reach his wingman. The surviving pilot was located by air and taken aboard the escort where he was treated for exposure and ultimately repatriated to the Xi’an Empire.
Despite the casualties, the incident was seen as a net positive for Human-Xi’an relations with the safe rescue of the surviving pilot. Military intelligence officers were not as happy about the incident as they gained only a limited amount of usable information from the initial crash site scans of the medium fighter.
Export to Human
On November 28 2948, in the 2948 Intergalactic Aerospace Expo, Aopoa announced that the company was making a civilian-spec medium fighter part of their export lineup. It rendered years of intelligence gathering obsolete for UEE. Aopoa's decision had seemingly been made after almost three decades of increasing Khartu-al sales to Human concerns. The spacecraft, named the San'tok.yāi, was revealed at an opulent invitation-only gala which broadly celebrated Xi'an culture and was centered around an unabridged presentation of āluo'a Thasyu se Xo'ma. What the public saw was an impressive new Xi'an design, the military already knew as a development of the frontline medium fighter they had studied for over ten years. As an export model, the San'tok.yāi is not an exact match for any of the mil-spec spacecraft observed previously, but is similar enough in both design and capabilities that it can be said with certainty to have been derived from them. The overall fuselage and flight configurations closely match recorded encounters with frontline medium fighter models. The dual-vector thrusters and Yeng'tu Laser Repeaters, included with the base civilian model, also conform to what was already known about the ship. Additionally, all footage of the San'tok.yāi maneuvering has been within the limits of previous military observations. Analysts have noted with some concern that the San'tok.yāi's capabilities are so close to what is known about the Xi'an medium fighter that this sudden reveal strongly indicates that the military must have access to a more advanced model that has not yet been seen - a potential roadblock for the recently commissioned F8 Lightning.
The San'tok.yāi's inital look was developed by Gary Sanchez (Freelance Conceptist), who had worked on the final concept of the original Khartu-al. Because Sanchez was not available to fully concept the ship, he helped out with the initial direction, the concept design was later completed by Aleks Akstinas (Conceptist) from Foundry 42 UK. Other key contributions include Paul Jones (Art Director), John Crewe (Vehicle Pipeline Director), and Stephen Hosmer.
It was first revealed on 2018-11-28 in the 2948 Anniversary Special. In May 5, 2021 it was revealed that the San'tok.yāi was in production and to be implemented in game with an allocated work schedule of 10 weeks.
- A step above the Khartu-al, this medium fighter is dedicated to combat.
- Meant to go toe-to-toe with a Super Hornet or Sabre. Along with strong offensive capabilities, also contains advanced shield technology providing it with extra defenses.
- The design will expand and continue to refine the uniquely alien Xi'an spacecraft style initially developed for the Khartu-al.
||2 x Small
||4 x S3 Xi'an Laser Repeater
4x S3 - BEHR MSD-322 Missile Rack
1x S1 CML Flare
1x S1 CML Chaff