by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker
edited by Tim Wing
Designation: Rockwell Textron Aerospace FA-101 Vulture Aerospace Fighter
- Total Length: 14.1 meters
- Total Height: 4.2 meters
- Total Wingspan: 10.2 meters
- Total Dry Weight: 16.2 metric tons
- FA-101A, B: One man all weather aerospace fighter.
- FA-101D: Two man combat-capable trainer.
III. Service History:
- FA-101A: Served with the UN Spacy from 2016 to 2018, REF/UEEF from 2019 to 2026, by which time all had been converted to FA-101B standard.
- FA-101B: Served with the REF/UEEF from 2020 to 2035, whereupon it was relegated to reserve squadrons.
- FA-101D: Served with the UN Spacy from 2016 to 2018, and with the REF/UEEF from 2019 to 2035, whereupon it was relegated to reserve squadrons.
- 2 x Nakajima/P&W/Rolls Royce FF-2011-4 fusion turbines, maximum unboosted output 140 kN each (overboost, 275 kN each).
- 2 x Nakajima/P&W/Rolls Royce FF-2011-4S plasma-shock expansion reaction engines, maximum output 121.5 kN each (overboost, 249 kN each).
- 11 x P&W HMM-1A high-maneuverability vernier thrusters, four in two banks of two on either side of the cockpit, two mounted on the ventral side of the fuselage, and five on the rear dorsal area.
- 16 x P&W LHP04 low-thrust vernier thrusters beneath slats on the rear of the main engine pods.
- 1 x Tirolian 1.3 GGV class Esbeliben proto-generator (known on Earth as the RT/PS-4d), providing electrical power to the mecha; output 325 MW.
- Fuel capacity: 8.1 liter D20 reactant for fusion engines.
- Total delta-v: 7.3 kps on internal fuel. An external tank with fuel for 3.3 kps delta-v can be attached.
- Max level speed at sea level: Mach 1.12
- Max level speed at 10,000 meters: Mach 2.92
- Max level speed at >30,000 meters: Mach 4.86
- Stall speed: 185 kph
- Initial climb rate: over 500 m/s
- Unboosted service ceiling: 29,000 meters
- Generator endurance : 12 years operational use
- G limits : -5.4/+12.0
- Hughes APG-99 X-band pulse-Doppler phased array, providing spherical long-range detection and tracking of targets at all attitudes.
- Phillips AllView multi-band digital camera system, for medium range spherical infra-red imaging, optical and ultra-violet band detection and tracking.
- Thomson LT-5 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator.
Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS):
- Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
- OlDelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR)
- Westinghouse ALQ-250(V) active sensor jammer
- Chaff dispenser
- 1 x EP-100 single-barrel particle cannon mounted in the nose. The cannon is charged from the main protoculture generator and can fire 56 MJ of particle energy twice a second.
- 1 x Hughes GU-11 55mm three barreled smoothbore rotary autocannon; has a 400 round capacity. Cannon fires APFSDS (Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) and HESH-I (High Explosive Squash Head-Incendiary) rounds at 1200 rounds/minute. Mounted on the dorsal centerline, behind the cockpit.
- 2 hardpoints under the wings and 1 on the ventral centerline could each carry:
- 1 x RMS-3 “Angel Of Death III” Nuclear stand-off missile. Reaction warhead (500 kT) mounted on a long range (354 km) Mach 4.0 combined multi-spectrum imager and active radar homing missile. Designed for anti-starship operations. Maximum delta-v in space is 9.8 kps.
- or 1 x CBM-200 Anti-mecha Cluster Missile. Two hundred guided cluster bombs with a range of 500 meters mounted on a long range (80 km) Mach 4.0 combined multi-spectrum imager and active radar homing missile. Meant for anti-mecha operations both in space and on the ground. Maximum delta-v in space is 3.5 kps.
- or 1 x Carapace missile container, carrying 6 medium range (65km) Mach 3.2 combined infra-red imager and active radar homing 260mm Diamondback missiles or 12 190x540mm short range (8.2km) combined active radar + home-on-jam/infra-red imager guided Hammerhead missiles.
- or 1 x RMS-2 “Angel Of Death” Nuclear stand-off missile. Reaction warhead (200 kT) mounted on a long range (293 km) Mach 4.0 combined multi-spectrum imager and active radar homing missile. Customized for anti-starship operations. Maximum delta-v in space is 5 kps.
- or 1 x Firebird missile. A conventional warhead mounted on the frame of a RMS missile with a range of 234 km and a speed of Mach 6.5 guided by a combined IIR and active/passive radar seeker. Maximum delta-v in space is 4 kps.
The most common payloads for this mecha were:
- Anti-spaceship, load 1: 2 RMS-3 missiles and 1 RMS-2 missiles.
- Anti-spaceship, load 2: 2 RMS-3 missiles and an ECM pod.
- Fleet defense: 4 Firebird missiles.
- Aerospace superiority: 2 Carapace (HH) containers and 1 Carapace DB container.
The skin of the FA-101 is composed of an advanced titanium-steel alloy. The armored skin stops all small arms fire, provides good protection against heavier infantry weapons, such as a 12.7mm machinegun round, and fair resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round. The total protection is marginally better than that on the Valkyrie. The internal consumables supplies can provide atmosphere for one day maximum.
The FA-101 Vulture was a non-transformable Fighter designed primarily for use in space, specifically for fleet defense roles. In the mid 2000-teens, the first Lightnings and Alphas were being built, but like the Valkyrie, these Veritechs were three or more times as costly as a standard non-transformable fighter, in money as well as in manufacturing time. Thus, after some parliamentary pressure, study groups were begun to examine the feasibility of a non-transformable plane, continuing the lineage of Hunter and Lancer space fighters.
Later that year these groups reported that, at least in space, the Zentraedi Fighter Pod, a non-transformable design, was nearly as potent as the VF-1 and VF-4. While in near-ground battles the added versatility of the Veritechs would have some added value, in space at least their anti-starship tasks could be done more cheaply by a non-transformable fighter, which could also be built faster and in greater numbers.
In early 2014 the craft that would become the Vulture was designed. As the main purpose of this mecha would be space defense, and because the craft need not carry the extra equipment required of a transforming mecha, the designers found sufficient room and weight to make a truly impressive aircraft. Most notably, the Vulture was literally built around one of the largest single guns ever mounted on an aircraft, the EP-100. This gave the FA-101 Vulture a very heavy forward punch. No missiles were to be mounted internally, but the three hardpoints could mount four nuclear anti-starship missiles, or up to 36 anti-mecha missiles. Typically, however, the Vulture carried a jammer/sensor pod on the lower hull hardpoint, and missiles on the others. The Vulture did have wings, and the two lower engines were full fusion turbines complete with air inlets and all. However, as the mecha was intended primarily for space duties, the two upper engines were converted to a dedicated internal reaction mass mode, forcing them to a plasma-shock expansion engine profile in an atmosphere. Furthermore, as the plane was optimized for space, the small wings and boxy fuselage made the mecha less maneuverable in an atmosphere, while the extensive reaction mass tankage that gave the Vulture an extended range in space limited its abilities as an atmospheric fighter even more ‘down below’. Hence, though the mecha could develop great bursts of speed in an atmosphere, it was never utilized there in combat situations.
Design, testing and production all took place ahead of schedule, with the initial service entry in 2016. In 2019 there were over two thousand Vultures operational with the Tokugawa-class carriers and the other capital ship in the REF fleet. During the early 2020’s, however, four of the five battlecarriers were converted to landing ships, reducing their complement of Vultures to about a hundred each. Though many were reassigned to the Hannibal (whose complement swelled by two hundred planes), 800 Vultures were placed in reserve storage at the Tranquility Sea storage and repair depots, the rest being divided among the SDF-3 and the REF’s Tristar-class light cruisers. Those that remained in service with the REF saw a major upgrade to the avionics and control systems, and were renamed the FA-101B. In November 2029, the Hannibal returned to Earth and was destroyed in an abortive attack on the fleet of the Robotech Masters. Most of her air group went down with her, and in one stroke, the number of operational Vultures was cut by almost two-thirds. After 2033, the Vultures that remained were slowly phased out of service in favor of the Beta Fighter and in 2043 only 100 reserve fighters remained in Planetary Guard squadrons on Tirol.
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (R) is the property of Big West Advertising, Tatsunoko Studio and Ammonite studio. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Tim Wing; Kogawa Tomonori, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Miyo Sonoda, Hiroshi Ogawa, Hirotoshi Ohkura and Takashi Ono.
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 Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker, edited by Tim Wing
Copyright © 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; Tim Wing 2015