VF-0 Phoenix

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Northrop Grumman/Stonewell/Shinsei VF-0 Phoenix

Contents

Program

  • Equipment: Variable vehicles
  • Government: U.N.
  • Manufacturer: Northrop Grumman/Stonewell/Shinsei
  • Customers: U.N.
  • Type: Developmental variable fighter.

The VF-0 is a developmental variable fighter that was pressed into service during the Mayan conflict of 2008. It is a experimental series of VF manufactured after inheriting the F-14 Tomcat experimental system group. It is trial production model and testbed for advanced jet engines and Overtechnology designed for future variable fighters. The project began in February of 2002 after a tentative plan was introduced for an all-regime variable fighter for use against the giants. The first VF-0 variable fighter was completed in 2004. The fighters were deployed for actual combat and functional testing when delivery of VF-1 Valkyrie variable fighter's thermonuclear reaction engines were delayed. Flown over the South Pacific Ocean island of Mayan during a secret program in 2008, one year before Space War I. Although the VF-0 was used for various tests and strategic research, it was not considered for combat until reports that the Anti-UN Alliance organized a VF experiment combat group; equipment for actual combat, that production increased rapidly. Transformation mechanisms, energy conversion armor, and active stealth capabilities, which would have a major impact on later VF development, would be placed into practical use after the VF-1.

The development for the augmentative weapon packs used by the VF-0 series was advanced mainly by Shinnakasu Heavy Industry, but it was not done in time for the Anti-"Bird Human" battle. Therefore, the carrier Asuka's maintenance crew members hurriedly put together the available parts aboard for the VF-0 "Raid," a specification called the "Angel" version afterward, probably due to the final form. One each of the S type and A type were modified to this specification. Even the augmentative weapon packs manufactured by Shinnakasu as well as the later experimental equipment used by the VF-1 had only been trial-produced in a number of sets and a number of patterns. (Except for one conformal missile/fuel tank installed on each engine nacelle, the other parts in the augmentative weapon "Super Pack" were not yet completed.) This special attack/assault specification was used only once in the battle at the island of Mayan.

For the flight characteristics and other such data of the VF-0 plus QF-2200A, they even conducted tentative virtual simulations, produced flight data, and inputted them into the air combat maneuver computer. However, because the air flows of the VF-0's main wing and Ghost's main wing interacted in complex ways at high speed and high angles of attack, there were many unknown segments of data, and the self-learning air combat maneuver computer could only conduct data acquisition, analysis, and correction during actual flight.

The VF-0 special attack/assault specification was equipped with many missile weaponry, but expending them altered the weight balance greatly, not to mention predicting the Battroid mode's motions was difficult. So in actual conditions, the pilot's abilities were relied upon.

The VF series is poor at generating lift with the wing surfaces in Battroid mode, so far greater power compared to conventional fighters was necessary to hover and maneuver on engine thrust alone. The VF-0's weight when using the Ghost as a booster (not including missile launchers and other equipment) increased by approximately 35%, but the total thrust of the engines of the VF-0+Ghost increased less than 20% at normal thrust and increased 90% with afterburners.

Variants

  • VF-0A: UN Spacy general-issue single-seater version. One head-turret-mounted Mauler laser cannon. An estimated 24 single-seater, 4 two-seater (possibly that this was the B-type), and 2 two-seater armed reconnaissance units manufactured.
  • VF-0B: UN Spacy two-seater version of the A type produced under trial basis. One head-turret-mounted Mauler laser cannon.
  • VF-0C: Single-seat D-type requested for testing as VF-0C (C-type) by the Marine Corps who were struggling with aging aircraft.
  • VF-0D: UN Spacy two-seater version designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman/Stonewell/Bellcom for enhanced attack and electronic warfare capabilities. Increased air combat maneuverability and 20% greater payload as well as improved electronic warfare capabilities. Shares largely the same nose block, dorsal block, and Battroid-mode leg section/engine block. High-maneuverability canard and clipped delta wing with dogtooth edge and large wing area. One head-turret-mounted laser cannon. Development of D-type began after A and S-types were completed to pursue further performance. 6 single-seat type and 18 two-seater types produced.
  • VF-0S: UN Spacy commander version. Two head-turret-mounted Mauler laser cannons. The integrated control system's limiters that are installed on the VF-0A are removed by default. An estimated 4 units manufactured.

Design Features

3-mode variable transformation system into Fighter, GERWALK, and Battroid modes. Large clipped delta wing achieves significant improvement in maneuverability in the supersonic-region (VF-0D). Capable of underwater operations in "silent mode" for up to several minutes using the electricity of the capacitors. Large energy capacitor installed in VF-0A for "mighty-wing mode", where energy conversion armor can be used effectively for a short time in fighter mode. This mechanism, exclusive to the VF-0, harnesses the electricity generating abilities of the EGF-127, which is not seen is subsequent VFs. In Battroid mode, 10% of full power is sufficient for land combat while the remaining 90% is used for energy conversion armor. Aerial combat is possible in Battroid mode, but due to the leg turbine, activity is limited to 20 minutes.

Flying Controls

Triple-system digital fly-by-wire Flight control system (FCS) in fighter mode. Swing wing. Air brake. All-motion canard wing located above air intake and mini canard wing located on the bottom of air intake (VF-0D). Leading wing edge flaps and ailerons (VF-0D).

Structure

Space metal materials are used for the composition of the fuselage's frame, but titanium/carbon composite is used for the outer skin. Due to AWAG/RA 105 SWAG energy converting armor which uses Overtechnology, the VF-0 can employ surplus power to triple the Fighter mode's armor strength in Battroid mode. (Future variable fighters will incorporate similar technology.) Majority of engine output is dedicated to flight so energy conversion armor is not functional during Fighter-mode. In GERWALK, energy is diverted to energy conversion armor for a defensive power-equivalent to an attack helicopter. Although the strength in GERWALK-mode is 4~5 times greater than in fighter mode, it is still inferior compared to Battroid mode which is 10 times greater compared fighter mode.

Powerplant

  • Two EGF-127 custom overtuned conventional turbofan jet engines with two-dimensional thrust-vectoring nozzles, each rated at 91.08 kN and 148.9 kN with afterburning. (Future variable fighters will incorporate thermonuclear reaction engines that are under development.) Due to its less efficient engines, the VF-0 has considerably shorter range, more delicate handling, and longer airframe compared to the VF-1. (Engine nacelles are comparatively longer to accommodate the earlier engine design.) Rectangular underfuselage air intake with semi-retractable slit-style shutter in Battroid mode or space use.
  • Three Shinnakasu ARR-2 maneuvering rocket motors in GERWALK and Battroid modes.
  • Standard auxiliary conformal fuel drop tanks on dorsal main body in Fighter mode and on chest and dorsal sections in Battroid mode. Ejectable fuel tanks can serve as armor when fuel is spent.
  • Option of reactive armor parts or one regular external atmospheric combat super parts (micro-missile launcher/conformal fuel tank FAST Pack with twenty-four Raytheon Erlikon GH-30B I/IR-guided micro-missiles each) mounted on both leg/engine nacelle. Reactive armor parts adds jump boosters for additional support.
  • One QF-2200A Ghost unmanned fighter (the focus of a modification known as the special attack/assault specification) acting as a booster on the craft's dorsal surface, rated in combination with VF-0's re-tuned engines for 305.65 kN and 602.55 kN with afterburning (Thrust and other performance data for the VF-0 with the QF-2000A are estimated since formal tests have not been conducted).

Accommodation

Pilot only. VF-0D has two seats (pilot and radar engineer). Canopy with retractable shield for Battroid mode use; side-stick controller and multi-position throttle lever/stick serves as the input device to change modes. Two rear (back) mirrors. Overhead monitors provided for both seats (VF-0D).

Avionics

HUD. One AN/ALE 55 flare and chaff dispenser system. AN/ALQ 220A IDECM. ASS/PS 110 active stealth system. AWAG/RA 105 SWAG energy converting armor system, other equipment. Eye-tracking pointing system. Integrated A.I. control support system. Reactive armor adds rear-mounted sensor.

  • Head is equipped with high-definition TV camera, night-vision, infrared laser pointer, laser-range finder, IFF-I data link, ultra-sonic motion sensor. Compound eye system where 2 are arranged on the top and bottom of the head, unlike the VF-1A. (VF-0A)

Armament

  • One (VF-0A/D) or two (VF-0S) fixed Mauler laser cannons. Live ammunition was waived due to problems with internal space and equipment miniaturization introduced by OT.
  • One standard Howard GPU-9 35 mm gatling gun pod with 550 rounds (AHEAD rounds available). Three adjustable rates-of-fire at 60, 1250, 2500 rounds-per-minute driven by a 90-horsepower electric motor.
  • Maximum of twelve standard Raytheon Bifors AIM-200A AMRAAM 2 I/ALH-guided medium-range air-to-air missiles on three-missile racks, four GH-28A 8-tube general-purpose micro missile (capable of firing 3 volleys) launchers, two HAIM-95A medium-range maneuverability missile launcher pods originally used in attack craft equipment (special attack/assault specification), or a combination of the above mounted on four underwing variable pylon hard points or on two augmentative pylons welded to the conformal fuel tanks of craft's dorsal surface (special attack/assault specification).
  • Option of reactive armor parts or one regular external atmospheric combat super parts (micro-missile launcher/conformal fuel tank FAST Pack with twenty-four Raytheon Erlikon GH-30B I/IR-guided micro-missiles each) mounted on both leg/engine nacelle. The super part is also capable of storing spare magazine for the gun pod.
  • One QF-2200A Ghost unmanned fighter equipped with five micro-missile launchers on the craft's dorsal surface (the focus of a modification known as the special attack/assault specification).
  • Maximum payload of the VF-0D variant is 20% greater than the VF-0A/S variants. Capable of mounting most former United States/NATO standard aviation weaponry.

PWS-0X Reactive armor

  • Micro-missile launchers, located on shoulder armor and chest armor.
  • Reactive armor panels, mounted on arms.
  • Hand grenades, mounted in waist armor.

Dimensions, External

Fighter mode:

  • Length overall:18.69 m

Masses and Loadings

  • Mass empty: 16191 kg
    • VF-0D: 16805 kg

Performance

Fighter mode:

  • Max speed:
    • VF-0A/S: at 11000m, Mach 2.74
    • VF-0D: at 11000 m, Mach 2.62
  • Cruising Range:
    • VF-0A/S (with standard dorsal conformal tanks): 2075 km
    • VF-0D (with standard dorsal conformal tanks): 2400 km
    • VF-0 (with QF-2000A (when used with continuous afterburning for high-speed air combat maneuvers): 1100 km
  • Service Ceiling:
    • VF-0A/S: 25000 m
    • VF-0D: 26500 m
  • Operational underwater depth limit: 20 m

Appendices

Appearances

Background

  • Designer: Shoji Kawamori, Junya Ishigaki (cockpit)
  • Design inspiration: Stonewell Bellcom VF-1 Valkyrie
  • In real life, Rockwell, Bell, Nakajima, Kyuushuu, Mauser, Hughes, Bifors, and Oerlikon are (or were) manufacturers of aerospace craft and aerospace equipment.
  • Macross co-creator and mecha designer Shoji Kawamori said that variable fighters in general employ surplus energy to strengthen armor in Battroid mode. The designation SWAG was specified for Macross Zero's VF-0, although Mr. Kawamori publicly described the general technology of energy converting armor before Macross Zero and actually conceived it longer before.
  • The "Phoenix" was an early pre-production "pet name" (popular name) for the VF-0 that was removed during production, only to be restored later.

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