The Roc is a large helicopter that serves many different roles on the modern battlefield. A variety of modules can be fitted to the primary airframe, allowing the same Roc to be used in missions normally assigned to several types of specialised aircraft.
1 - Standard Pattern: The primary airframe houses two engines which drive a forward and aft rotor. Ramjets may be fitted to the tips of the blades to increase performance, typically at high altitudes or when lifting heavy loads. Rocs normally carry a crew of three – a pilot, co-pilot/forward gunner, and a flight engineer/rear gunner. They are usually armed with a 20mm cannon in a swivelling chin turret and two rear-firing 7.62mm machine guns, though these weapons may be removed for short-haul heavy lifting in secure territory.
Rocs are ruggedly constructed, with more emphasis on reliability than fine engineering, and are easily maintained in the field. They are armoured well enough to withstand light weapons fire, though their low top speed and service ceiling leaves them vulnerable to faster aircraft, especially if attacked from above.
The Roc’s most notable feature is the large hull aperture, which allows rapid loading, lifting and deployment of up to 12 tons of equipment. The spine linking the forward and aft compartments is built around three horizontal pylons with triangular cross-bracing to maximise strength and rigidity. Rocs are used to move anything from light vehicles and shipping containers to portable bridges and building supplies. Their VTOL capabilities let them take these almost anywhere.
2 - Transport: Purpose-built modules protect the Roc’s payload and improve flight handling. This version lets the aircraft carry up to 50 infantry, who access the module through rear and side doors. Troops can jump from the Roc using parachutes or be landed at strategic checkpoints; in the latter case the module may be removed and left behind to serve as a shelter or barricade. Several of these modules can be left around a forward base to aid perimeter defence.
3 - Suppression: These Rocs saturate targets with fire at relatively short ranges. They have heavier cabin armour, cowlings on the air intakes, more solidly built rotor heads and twice the standard armament. The module itself houses four 12.7mm chainguns in armoured sponsons and tubes for launching chaff and flares. These Rocs often work in unison with transports, eliminating ground resistance while others drop or land their troops.
4 - Support: Rocs fitted with these modules are used for long-range attacks. Even at low altitudes, they can locate and strike targets long before ground forces can. A variety of rockets can be launched from the external tubes, which are reloaded from the hull. Four 30mm autocannons deliver more fire at shorter ranges and can be used for strafing runs. While specialised gunships have largely replaced land armour in modern warfare, heavier weapon platforms like this serve as aerial artillery.
5 - Chemical: This module consists of a pressurised hopper with external spraying rods. These Rocs release flame retardants, defoliants, smokescreens or biochemical weapons over large swathes of territory, protecting ground forces from harm or condemning them to a hideous fate. Regardless of their payload, these Rocs are especially hated by the enemies they face, and captured crews can expect harsher treatment than those of other variants.
6 - Extraction: These variants lift casualties from hostile or contested zones. This version is used for marine rescue and carries searchlights, flares and life rafts to aid downed pilots and shipwreck survivors. The long antenna in the nose can pick up faint distress signals, and the external winch and lifebuoy is used to lower and raise personnel. These Rocs always carry medics and their modules can double as field hospitals.
7 - Massive Ordnance: This module has clamshell doors and provision for a 10 ton bomb. This may be filled with high explosives for deep bunker penetration or aerosol agents for surface blasts. In both cases parachutes are used to give the Roc enough time to get clear. While primarily designed as weapons, these bombs can also be used to create large shell craters in thick forests or urban environments, providing instant airfields for other Rocs to operate from.