VF-4 Lightning III

From Macross Compendium

Stonewell Bellcom VF-4 Lightning III


  • Type: UNS/UNS Marines main variable fighter.
  • Equipment Type: Variable Vehicles
  • Government: U.N.
  • Manufactuer: Stonewell Bellcom
  • Customers: UNS, UNS Marines.

The VF-4 Lightning III, developed as a successor craft to the VF-1 Valkyrie, is a variable fighter (VF) where design was emphasized on mobility in outer space. As a result of including existing Overtechnology as well as introducing Zentradi-series technology, it has a characteristic three-hulled-type airframe structure that is remarkably different from the VF-1 when it was designed. Due to increased fuselage volume from its three-hulled style, which increased its propellant capacity, armament load capability, etc., combat ability has improved by 40% over the VF-1. Although, it had a little problem with mobility performance within atmosphere, it was deployed to the Space Air corps of emigrant fleets and served as the main fighter craft of the UN Forces in the 2020s. Its flight performance within atmosphere was not as good as the VF-1. For that reason, the VF-5000 Star Mirage became the main combat craft within atmosphere while the VF-4 operated mainly in outer space.

The VF-4's development began with the prototype VF-X-4 and the VF-X-3. However, when Earth was devastated in Space War I, the VF-X-3 was lost along with the military facilities. The VF-X-4 survived, was developed and completed as the VF-4 (Amongst the airframes under development exist prototype No. 1 craft, VF-X-4V1 and the trial manufactured VF-4A-0).

VF-X-4 underwent testing by various pilots including Hikaru Ichijyo. Mass production of operational VF-4 started 2012 February. Deployment began on SDF-2 Megaroad-01 in VF-1 Skull and SVF-184 Iron Chiefs Squadrons 2012 September. From 2020 on, main variable fighter of UN Forces, replacing VF-1 Valkyrie. Production ceased in 2022 and VF-4 Lightning III replaced as main variable fighter of UN Forces by VF-11 Thunderbolt in 2030.

  • Total number produced: 8,245.


  • VF-X-4: Trial-produced variable fighter built using 35% VF-1 Valkyrie parts (to shorten the development stage), including the nose and forward fuselage section.
  • VF-4A-0: Trial-produced variable fighter built using 25% VF-1 Valkyrie parts.
  • VF-4G: Production version in service in 2047 with engines replaced and upgraded for increased thrust.
  • VF-4S: Atmosphere-specific variant specializing in anti-warship and aircraft interception.

Design Features

Wing-mounted engines, inward-canted vertical stabilizers to deflect radar reflections, canard forward wings, nose-mounted ventral fin, two large beam cannons. Three-hull structure ensures airframe's capacity. The VF-4 adopts a different transformation system compared to the VF-1. Even though the engine nacelle structure becomes the legs like the VF-1, the nacelle's upper block forms the arm. It is possible to exchange nacelle's upper block with a large-scale outer atmosphere booster, but arm blocks would be removed. Cockpit block is stored horizontally, a design which is used in later VFs.

  • Landing Gear: Retractable tricycle undercarriage. Two steerable nose wheels retract inward into nose and twin coupled main wheels inward into fuselage.

Flying Controls

Variable main wings and nacelle ventral fins for high-speed flight. Nose canards and ailerons. Ram-Wing nozzle in the aft section of the fighter fuselage functions as an air brake in fighter mode.


  • Two 14,000 kg [x g] class Shinnakasu/P&W/Roice FF-2011 thermonuclear turbine engines.
    • The VF-4G has 16500 kg [x g] class Shinnakasu/P&W/Roice FF-2011(+) thermonuclear turbine engines.
  • Two-dimensional exhaust nozzles.
  • P&W HMM-1A high-maneuverability vernier thrusters.


Single seat. Pilot suit's backpack rests in a slot in the seat.


Hybrid sensor unit stored in central dorsal section in Fighter and GERWALK modes or mounted in head turret unit in Battroid mode. Control and throttle sticks. Large main display (functions as the HUD) in the front console in the cockpit.


  • Two large beam cannons mounted in arm blocks above engine nacelles in Fighter mode or in lower arms in GERWALK and Battroid modes. It is possible to detach these blocks and operate with removable, lightweight equipment within atmosphere.
  • Twelve long-range missiles semi-recessed on engine nacelles and underfuselage in Fighter Mode or on underfuselage, lower arms, and legs in GERWALK and Battroid modes.
  • Underwing pylons for missiles.

Dimensions, External

Fighter mode:

  • Wing span: 12.65m [14.28m]
  • Length, overall: 16.8m [14.92m]
  • Height, overall: 5.31m [3.72m]

Masses and Loadings

  • Mass, empty: 13,950 kg


Fighter mode:

  • Max level speed,
    • at 10,000m: Mach 3.02
    • at 30,000+m: Mach 5.15
  • VF-4G, at 10,000 m: Mach 3.25
    • at 30,000+ m: Mach 5.33



  • Debut: Macross Flash Back 2012
  • Other appearances: Movie, Plus, 7, Dynamite 7


  • Designer: Shoji Kawamori,
  • The VF-4 Lightning III was named after a proposed name for what would be eventually be deemed the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, the next United States Air Force main fighter. The suggested Lightning 2 name in turn was coined from the Lockheed P-38/F-5 Lightning, a World War II American fighter.
  • Addendum: Since the writing of the above, the previously named X-35 Joint Strike Fighter was named the F-35 Lightning II.

External links