The Mark IX Hawk was a space fighter craft developed to replace the SHADO Interceptor.
The Mark Nine Hawk is a small, medium-to-long range fighter craft developed as a deterrent to possible alien attack. There was need for such a spacecraft during the UFO offensive of the mid 1980's, when Earth's main line of defence consisted of compact one man fighters operated from the lunar base of Supreme Headquarters Alien Defense Organization (SHADO), which is now part of Moonbase Alpha.
It became increasingly apparent that such a short-range craft would be inadequate in the event of a massive concentrated attack, and plans for a larger and more heavily armed fighter were drafted. This new attack craft, the Mark IX Hawk, was tested successfully in 1996, and eight such vessels were commissioned by the Global Defense Command in 1997. To cut launch time to the barest minimum, the eight hawks were maintained aboard the Centuri space dock, which was positioned between the Earth and the Moon.
Shortly after the Hawk support base on the space dock was completed, the UFO attacks mysteriously stopped. After two years of silence, in mid 1999, the plans for a Hawk support base on Moonbase Alpha were scrapped, and the International Lunar Commission began to imply that the Mark IX Hawk, which had never been used against a UFO attack, was a gross waste of limited funds. Plans were made to disassemble at least half of the fleet and utilize their components for other craft. It seemed that the aliens who had been attacking Earth for so long had given up, but, for whatever reason, the remaining Hawks were destroyed on September 13, 1999, when the Centuri Space Dock blew up during the breakaway of the Moon.
According to The Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook, the World Space Commission organised a test lunar "battle" between Eagle Transporters and Mark IX Hawks on 8 September 1996.
The Mark IX Hawk is essentially a two man cockpit and life support system mounted on a single fusion engine and fuel tank. Strap on boosters provide acceleration of up to 20g, and dual weapon pods house computer targeted laser batteries, 16 independently activated missile silos, and two self guiding torpedoes housing fusion warheads. All weapons are operated manually by a gunner, or are programmed to follow a predetermined attack plan. In an emergency, the weapons pods and engine assembly can be jettisoned and the command module used as a lifeboat.[N 1]
In the 2012 second issue of Space: 1999: Aftershock, set in the Mojave Desert Military Recycling Annex (California, USA), when specifications about the spacecraft are asked, a Global Defence Command soldier answers: "Mark IX Hawk space fighter. Crew of 3-- pilot, weapons officer, and tactical commander-- though remote piloting capable as well. Speed 14.2 of light.", "Armaments: two belt fed automatic rail cannons: 500,000 rounds each. One chin mouted recessed gatling gun, 200,000 rounds ammunition. 2 micro missile launchers, full complement of 32 projectiles each, 2 retractable LBS laser cannons.", "Defenses: electrostatic ray defective hull plating, meteor screens." and "Total battalion strength: 8 flights plus the 3 ‘scrapped’ flights already hidden on the Moon makes 11—for a total of 33 armed, loaded, and fueled fightercraft.". Dialogue implies that the Defence Command, shortly before the breakaway with the Moon, was planning to use the Hawks to organise a coup d'état against "the World government".
The Hawk was originally designed being completely white but around the windows, which were surrounded by black panels. To avoid confusion with Eagles, some orange parts were added, the area around the windows was made white and the command module was slightly redimensioned.
The fan film Malice 1999, presented at the Alpha 2012 convention, features three Hawks shooting at drone targets clearly based on the alien craft from UFO and a Hawk docking with the Meta Probe.
- The original article gave special thanks to Michael Taylor for providing the original scans from Century 21 magazine for the blueprints.