- Classification: Tactical Aerial Superiority Fighter
- Place of Origin: Coalition of Western Republics
- Armor: 1 inch tungsten-titanium
- Empty Weight: 30 tons
- Crew: 1 (Pilot)
- Primary Armament: M18 "Rosecrans" Autocannon
- Secondary Armament: F66 "Screamer" Missile
The Columbian F91 Mallard was a tactical aerial superiority fighter of the Coalition military
With the advent of orbital fire support, the utility of aircraft in the battlefield was reduced significantly. The final death blow to aerial support came in form of precise, powerful EMSEL platforms that were developed prior to the Collapse. During the Collapse itself, downed aircraft rained from the skies and orbital support came to replace them. Like cavalry before them, air forces became obsolete and every modern state absorbed them into their navies or armies. Only primitive states, who need not fear the hard to produce EMSEL platform, used aircraft. This changed in the late 27th century, when the increasing scale of space warfare stole the attention of the superpowers' navies. Starships could no longer rain death down from orbit as they were needed in battles lightyears away. Ground assault craft, in the form of quickly repurposed troop transports, began finding their way back into the battlefields. Equipped with shield generators and bombarding from a planet's thermosphere, they were safer (but not immune) from EMSEL fire than their predecessors. Although 21st century-style bombing was not an option and these new ground attack craft were not as deadly as ground-based artillery, they were still dangerous enough to warrant a counter.
In 2688, the Coalition developed the Columbian F91, nicknamed the Mallard. It was the first tactical air superiority craft the Coalition has designed since its founding and takes a lot of cues from old American aircraft, some dating back to the Great War. It was designed to be cheap, fast and easy to field, lacking a shield generator, EMSEL point defense, vacuum capability or even a separate life support system. This would make the Mallard horrible in dogfights, as its autocannons are too inaccurate and its missiles can be shot down by enemy fighter craft before they reach their target. Its engines are weaker than more advanced fighter craft and its lack of anti-gravity plating means its pilots are handicapped by g forces. However, when attacking undefended ground assault aircraft (as was the case before counters were developed), the Mallard is a capable plane. During the Galactic War, the Coalition prefers to use Mallards to distract and overwhelm enemy fighters. Modern Mallard autocannons have been equipped with high-explosive rounds that fill the skies with flak.