In regards to the Skyranger ->
Good lord. Someone who's got more experience with planes than I do. Thank GOD.
Okay. Looks like people are really set on the Skyranger being an airborne bus... but...
Let me defend the portions that I feel need defending, and ask questions to resolving the bits that probably need resolution.
A - I did, in fact, ignore the game's stats for the ranger in this instance, going for a more instinctive, 'What's needed?'
What is needed, is a transport with enough speed to convincingly play an 'emergency response' role. I'm not 100% clear on the systems in use on the Harrier, but AFAIK it makes use of rotating exhaust vents. Not the situation with this version of the Skyranger, in my mind allowing for a sleeker craft body.
So, maximum speed isn't the maximum efficient speed, in any case.
Basically, I don't think we should be looking at the harrier for comparable 'VTOL aircraft' data.
B - Disposable tanks and refueling probes, alright. That is valid. The ranger probably does have some kind of inflight refueling equipment, and, I should really put something in about that. But... X-Com is slated to be a covert organization with little to no local support from airforces. The ranger's design story had similar problems, needing to perform for long periods of time in American airspace - Not exactly the kind of situation one can bring over a fuel tanker for. Disposable tanks... yes, well... I have no real argument against them, but the airframe is cluttered enough. Especially with the relatively tiny wingspan. EG - It doesn't make a 'pretty picture' in my head, aesthetically.
Now onto the other stuff...
... I never, to be honest, understood what the heck's going on with fuel ratios. All I've really managed to make out is that:
A - Going further than a 'Hop' for small craft seems all but impossible without devoting inordinate amounts of the craft for fuel.
B - The ranger is a big and heavy beastie at best, and as such will need a hell of a lot of fuel.
As for sizings, well. Shrink it more? (Says he who seriously goes for this heavy monster of an aircraft.)
I can't justify it in my head just yet. If you can provide some kind of argument to sway me, please do. (I also, somehow, can't justify crunching the cargo area enough to be a believable 'Fourteen men but spacious', which would be more like 8/2ish/2ish. However. If I do that then HWPs end out being these tiny little things. Wheras with the current model they're three meters to a side. ... Ick. The problems... Hell. Maybe I should just bump up occupancy. =P)
On the Geoscape bit.
Well. It is just a piece of software - Display on any computer terminal you like. And only display the portions currently relevant, yeah?
As for who MADE it...
I'm not 100% boned up on US intelligence groups. GEOSCAPE seems like a project more suited to covert actions and the intelligence community, and interfacing with those assets. So, maybe NSA, maybe some other group. I think NSA has a public image for being dark and shady enough to provide this sort of software, even if that's not fact.
The 'War room' mention is after the war, but, lemme quote the handy interceptor book here...
Although it is not dismantled, the X-COM War Room, a sophisticated monitoring center at the pentagon used for coordinating worldwide X-COM operations during the war, is placed on automatic.
Speaks for itself, really. Although I personally agree - I think the War Room was probably the only non X-Com command and control center. In my mind, it's really just an excuse for the player's imagined location, y'know?
(Edit for note) Er - I meant that the HWPs are three meters long, and two wide. Of course. Silly me. ... Yes. *Ahem.*