|Base Hull||Based on the SR-71 Blackbird|
|Drive Type||Reactionless thrusters|
|Drive Rating||Max velocity 0.12c|
|Primary Manufacturer||Hephaestus Mining & Metalworking Ltd. / Gnarlycurl|
|Flag of Record||the Roughriders|
|Purpose||Heavy interceptor and carrier|
|Primary Crew||Pilot, gunners x2, comms officer|
Early on during the refitting of the Magnificent Midnight into a proper space ship, Benjamin and Gina both realized that the sort of force of fighter jocks that Haruhi Suzumiya was talking about simply didn't exist yet. While there was the F-EZigs, they were too small and too lightly armed to pose a real threat to larger enemy forces and assets. And thus Ben hit upon a simple and elegant idea: we need more Blackbirds.
When Benjamin pitched the idea, the SOS-Dan balked. Haruhi was pleased that Ben was taking his role seriously, but Kyon mentioned that acquiring the new Blackbirds would be all but impossible without possibly starting a war with the 'Danes. Haruhi is crazy, but not stupid, and declined the initial pitch. It was Gina, usuing her network, that pointed Ben in the direction of Hephaestus. By negotiating a deal between the Rockhounds (raw supply), Hephaestus (parts manufaturing), Gnarlycurl (assembly), the SOS-Dan (not-so-silent partner), and himself, he arranged for the construction of five all-new wave-tech Blackbirds.
The new Blackbirds do not have the same sort of speed and endurance that the original Midnight does, but they make up for it in combat capability. The most notable difference is in the armory - in addition to what the Midnight has, the production model Blackbirds have a small VLS system. Despite using relatively small missiles, the ability to volley the entire payload of fifty missiles can have devastating effects on enemy assets. Coupled with the ships' speed and stealth, they make for formidable opponents. The ability to carry four F-EZigs per ship just seals the deal.
- Mother Henned: The new Blackbirds all look upon Midnight as a sort of mother figure and she has, in turn, taken to the position of Matriarch quite admirably, showing the new kids what it means to be a Blackbird.
- ADD: Like any child, these younger Blackbirds are insatiably curious about everything around them and need to have watchful eyes on them during missions so they don't get distracted. Hopefully this will change in a few years.
- Blackbirds are available for public purchase by reputable factions. There are different reasons for this move on Benjamin's part. Initially, as part of the deal struck between the other commercial/industrial that manufactured the first Blackbirds, this class is not exclusive to the Roughriders for purchase. Later, though, the Roughriders came into their own as a manufacturer of space planes and began to manufacture and sell Blackbirds to any reputable faction that wanted them.