Maxwell Dynamics VA-5 Condor Veritech Attack-Fighter
Maxwell Dynamics’ VA-5 Condor was a heavy fighter-bomber meant to complement the VF/A-6 Alpha series of fighters. Its design was clearly based on the Alpha, with the arms and legs having much the same transformation sequence as on the smaller design. However, the main body and cockpit sections clearly separated the VA-5 Condor from the company’s other designs, and were used as the basis for the VF/B-9 Beta, which later replaced the Condor in the attack role.
One feature was the protruding cockpit section, which, unlike in the later Beta, did not fold down during transformation. The internal weapons bay swiveled forward and formed the connection between the legs and the main body. The Condor was propelled by no less than eight fusion plasma-air/reaction mass intermix engines, two large and six smaller ones. This gave the Condor excellent acceleration, although the maximum sustained atmospheric speed was limited due to aerodynamic constraints. In addition, there were three dedicated VTOL thrusters for use in fighter and GERWALK mode. The proliferation of engines was a bit of a mixed bag. While they allowed for easier engine out maintenance and improved battle damage resiliency, there were nearly twice as many engines to maintain, costing many additional maintenance hours. The successor design, the Beta, reverted to three larger horizontal engines rather than a larger number of smaller ones.
The Condor was tasked in the United Earth Expeditionary Force (UEEF) with close air support and heavy assault on starships in low orbit during opposed reentry operations. As such, the design fulfilled its expectations, being very well armored and packing a large punch. Apart from bomb bay and external stores, the Condor carried thirty-two short range missiles on its legs for self-defense, and on the right arm one of the heaviest beam cannons ever carried by a human airborne mecha, the Hughes Electronics EP-12 particle beam gun pod. This weapon alone could destroy any opposing enemy mecha with its penetrating salvo’s. In addition to the close air support tasking, this tough design also served on the ground in the infantry support role.
VA-5A: The VA-5 Condor was built in four different versions. The VA-5A was a one seat all-weather, aerospace combat mecha; three form Veritech with intermediate VTOL mode. It was built only on Earth and went with the Expeditionary Forces when they folded. The VA-5A served with the UEEF Marine Corps from 2028 until 2037.
VA/T-5A: A two-seat version, the VA/T-5A, was also built in order to facilitate conversion training from other types of Veritechs. The VA/T-5A served with the UEEF Marine Corps from 2028 until 2040.
VA-5B: The VA-5B was also a one seat Veritech. It had the same characteristics as the VA-5A, but incorporated several minor design changes to facilitate production of the mecha at Maxwell Dynamics’s facility on board the Robotech Factory Satellite, Space Station Equality. The VA-5B served with the UEEF Marine Corps from 2031 until 2037.
VA-5C: The VA-5C was a one seat upgrade of the VA-5A and B variants. It had upgraded main engines which improved speed in fighter mode slightly and gave more delta-v in space due to more efficient fuel usage. This final model served until 2040, when it was replaced by the VF/B-9 Beta. The VA-5C served with the UEEF Marine Corps from 2036 until 2040, after which time all remaining mecha were transferred to the Colonial Defense Forces of Liberté and Glorie.
DA-1: The DA-1 Dive Armor Pack was an armor and booster package intended for use on all variants of the VA-5 Condor. The mecha was only transformable after the DA-1 booster package was jettisoned. When equipped with the DA-1 package, the Condor was capable of long-range orbital insertion in support of troops on the ground, or as a first strike mecha. The DA-1 served with the UEEF Marine Corps from 2031 until 2040.
NB-1: The NB-01 Naval Battle Armor Package was the second of two packages applied to the VA-5 Condor. The NB-1 was designed to be used as a point defense system for UEEF capital ships against the Kamikaze style tactics of the Invid. The package included three podded PSE7C reaction engines mounted on the back with additional reaction mass for maneuvering in and around naval assets. One fairing with an EU-35 triple-barreled pulse beam cannon was mounted to each arm, with an additional four protoculture cells each. Additional armor was attached to the legs, knee-joints, and upper fuselage. Unlike the DA-1 package, the NB-1 was simi-permanently attached and could not be jettisoned while in flight.
Engines were two Pratt & Whitney JG-95A fusion plasma-air/reaction mass intermix turbines, one in each leg, with a max thrust of 118kN, and nine Turbo-Union ATF 401 miniaturized fusion plasma-air/reaction mass intermix thrusters. Two of the ATF 401s were mounted on the upper rear (jet mode only), two were flanking the JG95 engine in each leg, and three were mounted as VTOL thrusters on the lower fuselage. Each engine was rated to 46.9 kN standard thrust, max overboost to 91.1 kN for short periods. Two Pratt & Whitney FE-98B first-stage intake fans provided pressurized airflow to main, auxiliary, and VTOL engines, when sufficient atmosphere was present. (It is notable that the FE-98B was considered a separate engine by Pratt & Whitney, unlike the first-stage intake fans on VF-1 Valkyrie which were considered an integrated component of the FF-2001 fusion turbines.) The Condor mounted an assortment of small reaction thrusters and gyroscopes for all-environment maneuvers, attitude adjustment, and stability.
The VA-5C model was upgraded with two Pratt & Whitney JG-95Ms (M for Modernized) which had a max thrust of 137 kN each, replacing the JG-95A version in previous models. All other engines on the C-variant were the same as in VA-5A, -5B and VA/T-5A Models. In the case of the DA1 dive armor package, two external booster engine pods attached to the back of the Condor in Battloid mode only. The two PSE7C reaction engines in each pod were rated to 56 kN each but could only be fired for 4 minutes before reaction mass burnout. Typically, these pods were employed when the mecha was used as a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) insertion, heavy air-to-ground assault Battloid. The NB-1 Naval Battle Armor package mounts three PSE7C reaction engines, with 800 liters of additional reaction mass per engine.
All variants were powered by two Robotech Research Group RRL-2P Miniaturized Protoculture-cell energizers. Fuel Capacity for all variants was 32 Standard Canisters of Protoculture (excluding dedicated canisters for energy weapons) and 3820 liters of D2O (heavy water) reactant for fusion engines. Two 700 liter drop tanks could be carried on the inboard wing hardpoints and one 2000-liter auxiliary tank could be carried in the weapons bay.
The Condor mounted an avionics suite similar to the early VF/A-6 Alphas. This suite included a Hughes APG-111 X-band spherical pulse-Doppler radar, which provided long-range detection and tracking of targets at all altitudes. Medium range infra-red imaging, optical and ultra-violet band detection and tracking was provided by a Phillips AllView multi-band digital camera system. A Thomson LT-5 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator provided additional range information and target designation. The Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS) included an Elettronica SpA Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), an Oldelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR), a Westinghouse ALQ-250(V) active sensor jammer, as well as a chaff dispensers and flares. This avionics suite remained unchanged throughout the Condor’s service life.
All variants of the Condor typically carried the Hughes EP-12 three-barreled 80mm particle gun pod, which had a maximum rate of fire of 240 discharges per minute. The barrels could be fired in sequence, or in one full power burst, with a rate of fire of 80 salvos per minute. This weapon fired 8.4 MJ pulses per barrel and had its own dedicated protoculture cells and capacitor banks. The weapon was carried in the right arm of the mecha, or between the arms while in fighter mode. All versions of the Condor carried 32 short range ATM-04 Hammerhead missiles. The missiles were mounted in containers on both sides of the lower legs; 8 to each container.
The VA-5 had two hardpoints per wing, with multiple ordnance options, and one hardpoint under each intake. The wing missiles were only available in fighter mode, and the Condor could not transform, nor re-enter a planet’s atmosphere, without first ejecting both payload and racks. Available payloads included, but are not limited to, medium range Diamondback missiles, seven of which could be stored on an AMER (Articulating Multiple Ejection Rack) on each wing hardpoint. The intake hardpoints could mount a five Diamondbacks on a horizontal rack. In total, up to thirty-eight Diamondback missiles could be carried. The Condor could carry one RMS-2 Angel of Death II nuclear stand-off missile per wing hardpoint or one none-nuclear Firebird missile per wing hardpoint. Thirdly, one CBM-200 cluster missile per wing hardpoint could be carried.
The mecha’s internal weapons bay could carry four Derringer A, E or F long range missiles, up to 16 250 kg bombs in both guided and unguided varieties, up to eight 500 kg bombs or four 1000 kg bombs. An additional 2000 liter reaction mass tank, or a high power, long distance, multi-spectral reconnaissance pod could also be carried. The mecha could carry a combination of payloads, and could be overloaded with extra weight, if the needed ordnance could fit through the bomb bay doors. The weapon bay was certified for a total internal load of 4500kg when operating in an Earth-like atmosphere, although heavier loads were possible at the expense of maneuverability and acceleration in space.
The NB-1 Naval Battle Armor package adds a pair of EU-35 triple-barreled pulse beam cannons, as used by the VF/B-9 Beta. These cannons are powered by their own dedicated protoculture cells. These cannons are used in place of the EP-12 gun pod. In addition to the extra cannons, the NB-1 also allows for the addition of three missile pods, each of which contain 10 ATM-04 Hammerhead short range missiles for a total of 62 anti-mecha missiles.
Construction and Armor:
The armor on the Condor was a then new development in low-mass composite-materials Chobham plating that became the standard for all Terran mecha after its application to the VQ-6A Vandal. Aside from the respectable protection provided against projectiles, missiles, and other kinetic weapons, this armor had increased resistant to directed energy weapons such as plasma globes (Invid “annihilation discs”), lasers, and to a lesser extent, particle guns, owing to the fact that the armor could flake off and evaporate in layers under fire from such high-energy weapons, taking much of the weapon’s energy and converting it into the latent heat of sublimation in the armor. The armor stopped all small arms, heavy infantry weapons fire, and light mecha-mounted weaponry, and provided fair to good resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie’s 55mm APFSDS round. Naturally, the Condor provided full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using a sealed cockpit environment activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The internal consumables supplies could provide atmosphere for three days maximum.
- VA-1A Condor Attack Fighter
- VA/T-5A Condor Two-Seat Trainer
- VA-5B Condor Attack Fighter
- VA-5C Condor Attack Fighter
- DA-1 Dive-Armor Package
- NB-1 Naval Battle Armor Package
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (R) is the property of Fuji Television, Artmic Studio and Tatsunoko Production. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Tim Wing (Fighter Mode) and Yoshitaka Amano, Shinji Aramaki and Hideki Kakinuma. (Battloid Mode)
Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized on Robotech Illustrated.
Content by: Tim Wing, with Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker and Rob Morgenstern
Thomassen, Pieter; Walker, Peter; Morgenstern, Rob. “VF-5 (A, B, C, T) Condor Veritech Fighter-Bomber” Last modified January 19, 2012. http://www.robotech-reference-guide.org/Veritech/Condor.html
Yuasa, Yui. “Condor” Last modified July 17, 2019. https://seesaawiki.jp/harmony-gold_japan/d/%a5%b3%a5%f3%a5%c9%a5%eb
Jackson, Irvin. Robotech the Expeditionary Force Marines Source Book. Chicago: Palladium Books, 2015.
Copyright © 2021 Tim Wing