The VEF-08S shares all the capabilities of the more common vase model, however, it is improved in a number of ways. The most dramatic difference is in the engines; using a more advanced model of the same fusion turbines as the VEF-08A, the accelerates and climbs faster, while having a slightly higher service ceiling and maximum speed. While on paper the difference is negligible, combat experience has shown that the small improvement can make a world of difference in a pitched dogfight.
Similarly, the VEF-08S features a more advanced and capable electronics suite then the standard model. Starting with a more powerful radar system, the S model also features better optical and other passive tracing systems. Similarly, its onboard ECM suite is also improved, allowing it to better disrupt enemy systems. Finally, it boasts an improved communications system, allowing a commander better communications and control over their subordinates.
All of these improvements come with a price; while the differences in the engines are minor, those changes to drastically increase the const and manufacture. Similarly, the changes to the electronics make them far more expensive to produce and maintain. As a result, production of the S model is relatively limited, with the Astralan forces issuing them only to squadron leaders and proven ace pilots.
While not a production change, there is one other notable difference from the base VEF-08A. While the S model uses the same AKG-740 gun pod, some pilots choose to carry a second pod, using the extra power of the engines to offset the extra mass. The most skilled pilots will draw and use both weapons at once in Exo-Frame form; controlling them is no mean feat.
In 3175, Torporov-MAPO began licensed production of the VEF-08A Raven, using their production lines to deliver needed planes to the front lines. The designers at Torporov, noted for their innovations and experimentation, however, chose to tinker with the craft to see if it could be improved. Modifying several existing frames with both new engines and electronics originally slated for the cancelled VEF-X-7, they produced a somewhat modified version that offered superior performance, albeit at the cost of being more expensive to produce. Despite this, the Astralan Air Force were impressed with the design, and ordered limited production of the craft to begin.
Starting from 3177, the VEF-08S began to appear in frontline squadrons, supplementing existing VEF-08As. With the start of the Third Brasniyan War a few months later, the aircraft were able to prove their worth; the small changes could make a world of difference in a dogfight, allowing many pilots to score victories over unsuspecting foes. Soon, the Astralan Air Force was handing out the aircraft not only to squadron leaders, but to particularly capable ace pilots, using them as a reward for exemplary conduct. Post war, the VEF-08S remained in service, with limited production contusing.
Ironically, the most famous VEF-08S, Jill Vader's Black Dragon 01, actually started life as a common VEF-08A. Following the Ohkan war, Vader served with an operational testing unit, using her combat experience to suggest improvements to the frame. As such, her fighter was used as a testbed for new systems, eventually being upgraded to full VEF-08S standards.