Marquette PR1 Defender
Marquette PR1 Defender

The Marquette PR-1 Defender was developed to defend the People’s Collective from Federal troops and raids by the Industrial States of America in the wake of the United States’ collapse. Since the Collective had no native aircraft industries, its governing body fearing attacks from all sides launched an ambitious program to remedy the problem. The PR-1 Defender is the first fruit of that effort.

Early design efforts were reportedly less than successful. (Not surprising given the lack of qualified aircraft engineers and designers in the Collective.) Through a process of trial and error, the first Defender prototype was ready to fly by early 1932.

The results were unspectacular; the PR-1 is small weighing in at just under 6,000 lbs. making it one of the lightest combat aircraft in service today. The designers—inexperienced and attempting to meet government specifications for a fighter to meet an over-ambitious range of mission demands—hoped that the agility of the small plane would offset the clear payload disadvantage. The result? A mediocre aircraft.

The Defender can reach 250 m.p.h. in level flight. The Juarez 720-horsepower engine (based on a Mexican design from the 1920s) is quite small, even for the diminutive Defender, and efforts to make up for the power shortfall by supercharging the engine have resulted in poor fuel efficiency and a tendency for the engine to cut out when subject to high G-forces.

Despite these grave shortcomings, the designers clearly did their work surprisingly well. Though current designs have since matched or surpassed the Defender, its turning ability was unmatched when it was introduced. The rear-lifting canopy limits rearward visibility, however.

The small aircraft packs a serious punch; a pair of Czech-made .50-caliber cannons and a single .30-caliber machine gun form the Defender’s principal armament.

The Defender is clearly a limited-role fighter. It is a failure at ground-attack or anti-airship missions, though it has proven surprisingly effective in air-to-air engagements with enemy fighters—a testament to the skill and daring of People's Collective fighter pilots.