The McDonnell S2B Kestrel is the primary service aircraft of the Confederation of Dixie. Working in partnership with the British, the Confederation has closed the technology gap and even overtaken the ISA and the Empire State in many areas. McDonnells Kestrel is a prime example of this Dixie-British partnership.
The Kestrel uses a unique dual hull that allows for enhanced stability in level flight. Equipped with two Rolls-Royce Merlin II engines (each delivering 1,180 horsepower) the Kestrel is a fast aircraft that can carry a substantial load of bombs and rockets. However, the unusual airframe widens the crafts turning radius and makes it very difficult to pilot in a dogfight.
Despite its handling problems, in the right hands the Kestrels centerline-mounted gun pod can prove devastating. Its seven weapons two .30-caliber machine guns, two .40-caliber machine guns, and three .60-caliber cannons are primarily intended to engage slow-moving targets, and are of limited use against agile fighters. Most Kestrel pilots use the gun cluster to attack unarmored ground and air targets. When combined with the bombs and rockets mounted on the eight wing pylons, these armaments make the Kestrel a deadly, if ungainly, aircraft.
The Kestrels heavy payload makes it ideal for anti-zeppelin attack missions, but its limited maneuverability makes it a poor candidate for anti-fighter operations. Most Kestrels serve in state or private militias, where they are used to suppress pirate bases or other ground targets. The crafts excellent range makes it ideal for deep strikes. However, few modern fighters have the range to escort the Kestrel all the way to its target; consequently, the plane is often restricted to lightly defended objectives.