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Galactic Security Files - RifterHistory of the Rifter platform
The details about the first Rifter blueprint are lost in the beginnings of the Minmatar rebellion. Both the Thukker Tribe and the Boundless Creations claim it were their predecessors that produced the first prototype. Regardless of who created the ship first, moat historians and military experts credit the Rifter with the success of the Minmatar rebellion.
The first Rifter was a scrapheap frigate assembled from parts used in Amarr mines and factories, where the Minmatar slaves worked. The most brilliant engineering breakthrough occured when the designers discovered a way to make cheap, rugged, and effective engines out of plasma cutters used in industrial metal processing and mineshaft tunnelling. The largest of cutters weighed several tons, and required immense stabilisation to keep steady while mining. It was possible to increase to increase plasma pulse frequency by reducing the particle count, which eventually produced a stable and high-speed thrust system. The thrusters were prone to heating and used a lot of power, which is the main reason why Amarr never used this technology for ship propulsion and limited it to planetary installations.
As the Amarr found many Vanadium and Scandium deposits on moons in the Minmatar space, the abundance of these minerals pushed the Minmatar engineers towards using Fernite alloy materials in most of their ships. A strong, light-weight material, Fernite alloys were rarely used by the Amarr due to their brittleness and tendency to ablate.
The first Rifter featured barely more than a couple of plasma thrusters welded to a Fernite composite frame. It was used to board slave transport ships and deliver a marine detachment. As the transport ships became regularly escorted, some Rifters were modified to fit weapons.
An organised effort was made by the newly-created republic to produce as many uniform ships as possible. The Rifter was easy to make and was proven to be effective, so the design plans were distributed all over the liberated territories while two squadrons of older Rifters were retired to serve as training ships for the Republic fleet's swelling ranks. At this stage, Rifter design was more a guideline than a blueprint, and many variations were produced. They most important features that all had in common have been the plasma thrusters and the manoeuvring thrusters. Most other systems, from weapons to on-board computers came from various sources and were often hand-made.
The today's standard Rifter, the Metropolis Rifter Mark VII is the most advanced and most produced version to date. Thukker Mix "Dragon II" serial production engines are no longer a refitted mining tool, but rather one of the finest small-scale propulsion systems widely available in Concord-sanctioned space. All other shipboard systems feature the most advanced widely available Minmatar technology. As it changed through the years, the Rifter never ceased to be that which made it a success - a dependable, cheap, versatile, and highly mobile weapons platform.
Rifter is today used in a variety of roles, as long-range anti-frigate platform, as short-range warp scrambling ship, as reconnaissance vehicle, and a multitude of other setups. It is by far one of the most popular frigates in Empire space and in the outer regions, competing with Punisher, Kestrel, and Tristan as a leading general-purpose combat frigate.
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