Maxwell Dynamics VQ-6 Vandal Veritech Unmanned Fighter

 

Shimada Enterprises VQ-6S Shadow unmanned Veritech fighter 1

ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen with Rob Morgenstern

edited by Tim Wing

Attachments:

  • Vandal/Shadow Drone reference file
  • Vandal/Shadow Drone gallery

Designation: Maxwell Dynamics VQ-6 Vandal Veritech unmanned fighter, Shimada Enterprises VQ-6S Shadow Veritech unmanned stealth fighter ASAVAN (aka ‘Shadowdrone’)

Shimada Enterprises VQ-6S Shadow unmanned Veritech fighter 6I. Dimensions:

Fighter  mode

  • Total Length: 10.25 meters
  • Total Height: 4.60 meters
  • Total Wingspan: 8.20 meters

GERWALK mode

  • Total Length: 8.00 meters
  • Total Height: 5.72 meters
  • Total Breadth: 4.84 meters

Battloid mode

  • Total Depth: 5.25 meters
  • Total Height: 8.75 meters
  • Total Breadth: 4.84 meters

General

  • Total Dry Weight: 16.70 metric tons (VQ-6), 16.95 metric tons (VQ-6S)

II. Type:

  • VQ-6A Vandal: Unmanned, all-weather, aerospace combat mecha; three form Veritech.
  • VQ-6B Vandal: Unmanned, all-weather, aerospace combat mecha; three form Veritech.
  • VQ-6C Vandal: Unmanned, all-weather, atmosphere-optimized aerospace combat mecha; three form Veritech.
  • VQ-6S Shadow: Unmanned, all-weather aerospace combat mecha; three form Advanced Stealth Alpha Veritech AutoNom (ASAVAN).

III. Service History:

  • VQ-6A Vandal: Served with the UEDF Tactical Armored Space Corps from 2019 until 2031 and Tactical Air Force from 2019 until replaced by the VQ-6C.
  • VQ-6B: Served with the REF/UEEF Expeditionary Tactical Naval Corps from 2019 until replaced by the VQ-6S.
  • VQ-6C: Served with the UEDF Tactical Air Force from 2024 until 2031.
  • VQ-6S: Served with the UEEF Expeditionary Tactical Naval Corps from 2043 until 2062.

IV. Propulsion:

Engines:

(all)

  • 2 x Pratt & Whitney FE-97B first-stage intake fans, providing pressurized airflow to main, reserve, and VTOL engines.
  • Assorted small reaction thrusters and gyroscopes for all-environment maneuvers, attitude adjustment, and stability.

(VQ-6 Vandal)

  • 4 x Pratt & Whitney JG95A [Main] fusion plasma-air/reaction mass intermix turbines. Max thrust, 118 kN ea.
  • 4 x Turbo-Union ATF 401 [Auxiliary] miniaturized fusion plasma-air/reaction mass intermix turbines. Two are mounted on the upper rear (jet mode), and two as VTOL thrusters on the lower fuselage. Each engine is rated to 46.9 kN standard thrust, max overboost to 91.1 kN each.

(VQ-6S Shadow)

  • 4 x Pratt & Whitney JG97M [Main] Fusion plasma-air/reaction mass intermix turbines. Max thrust, 137 kN ea.
  • 4 x Turbo-Union ATF 401 [Auxiliary] miniaturized fusion plasma-air/reaction mass intermix turbines. Two are mounted on the upper rear (jet mode), and two as VTOL thrusters on the lower fuselage in place of the traditional head-turret. Each engine is rated to 46.9 kN standard thrust, max overboost to 91.1 kN each.

Powerplant:

  • 2 x RRL-2P Miniaturized Protoculture-cell energizer

Fuel Capacity:

  • 16 standard canisters of Protoculture
  • 1 dedicated canister for main weapon (if applicable)
  • 9.8 lit. D2O reactant for fusion engines.

V. Performance (all):

Fighter Mode:

  • Max level speed: 2465 kph at 18000m (Mach 2.3)
  • Max speed at sea level: 1100 kph (Mach 1.0)
  • Stall speed: 182 kph (VQ-6S: VTOL rectification possible)
  • Initial climb rate: over 20000m per minute
  • Service ceiling: 26 km (unboosted).

GERWALK Mode:

  • Max level speed: 1200 kph at 12000m
  • Stall speed: None (VTOL).
  • Service ceiling: 15000m

Battloid Mode:

  • Max running speed: 160 kph
  • Max flying speed: 482 kph
  • Service ceiling: 3050m

General:

  • Combat radius (space): total delta-v 1.8 kps, with internal reaction mass only. One extra tank for 4.1 kps delta-v can be attached externally.
  • Protoculture supply: 250 hours operational use.
  • Design G limits: +11.5/-5.0 (Computer overrides at 9.5g with VF-6 versions)

VI. Electronics:

Piloting Control System:

(VQ-6 Vandal)

  • Robotech Research Group mk21 reflex semi-autonomous control system.

(VQ-6S Shadow)

  • Robotech Research Group mk83 Reflex (AI) Learning Neural Net System.

Maxwell Dynamics VQ-6 Shadow unmanned Veritech fighter 2Radar tracking:

(VQ-6 Vandal)

  • Hughes APG-101 X-band spherical pulse-Doppler, providing medium-range detection and tracking of targets at all altitudes.

(VQ-6S Shadow)

  • Hughes APG-115 UWB pulse-Doppler phased array, providing spherical long-range detection and tracking of targets at all altitudes. Equipped with special ‘stealthy’ and passive modes.

Optical tracking (all):

  • Phillips AllView multi-band digital camera system, for medium range spherical infra-red imaging, optical and ultra-violet band detection and tracking

(VQ-6 Vandal)

  • Thomson LT-5 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator.

(VQ-6S Shadow)

  • Thomson LT-6 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator.

Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS) (all):

  • Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
  • OlDelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR)

(VQ-6 Vandal)

  • Westinghouse ALQ-246(V) active sensor jammer

(VQ-6S Shadow)

  • Westinghouse ALQ-250(V) active sensor jammer (VQ-6S Only)
  • Chaff and smoke dispensers
  • Flares.

Electronic Masking Systems:

(VQ-6S Shadow)

  • RRG mk2 Shadow: super dimensional/four-dimensional distortion field generator
  • RRG mk3 EM-absorbing skin cover, strongly absorbing EM radiation from radio through ultra-violet wavelengths, and emitting only weakly in these wavebands.

VII. Armament:

(VQ-6 Vandal)

Cannon:

  • 2 x LWS-12 1asers located along the side the Vandal’s nose in fighter mode.
  • 1 x GU-13 three-barreled 35mm gun pod, firing 2000 rounds per minute, 600 round capacity, stored in the pod itself, and in a non-detachable ‘magazine’. This weapon is still fairly common, as the EU-13 is still expensive to manufacture. Ammunition is a mix of Tungsten-coated depleted Uranium Armor Piercing Spin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APSSDS), High Explosive Armor Piercing (HEAP) and tracer rounds. The weapon is stored under the wing root in fighter mode, and in the hand in Guardian and Battloid modes.

Missiles:

  • 1 x MM-60 Alpha Integral Multi-missile system. 60 inboard variable warhead, short range (8.2 km) Mach 3.0 combined infra-red imager and active radar homing 190mm x 540mm Hammerhead missiles.

Hardpoints:

  • 1 x Hardpoint located on the left shoulder capable of mounting:
    • an SRL-8 eight-tube Hammerhead launcher available in all modes. Use of this optional launcher prohibits mounting of the EU-13 Destabilizer.
    • or Other mission-related pods could also be mounted on this hardpoint.
  • 2 x conformal Hardpoints located under the intakes, each capable of mounting:
    • a triple MER launcher for 260mm x 1.2m Diamondback MRMs. The MER launchers prevent transformation to battloid and must be ejected before battloid can be achieved.
    • or a single 430mm x 2.05m/2.45m Derringer LRM. The Derringer mounting restricts the Alpha to fighter mode until launched.
    • or Bomb rack
    • or Misc. EW or sensor pods

(VQ-6S Shadow)

Cannons:

  • 2 x LWS-12 1asers located along the side the Vandal’s nose in fighter mode.
  • 1 x EU-13 Destabilizer, sub-nuclear particle beam gun with output of 36 MJ, can fire up to 30 times/minute. Draws power from its own dedicated protoculture canister, but can by fired using the plane’s own power. Particles have specific, disrupting effect on force fields, and will short out a low power field completely, while high power fields may temporarily and locally cease to function.

Shimada Enterprises VQ-6S Shadow unmanned Veritech fighter Battloid 7Missiles:

  • 1 x MM-68 Alpha Drone Integral Multi-Missile System. 68 inboard variable warhead, short range (8.2 km) Mach 3.0 combined infra-red imager and active radar homing 190mm x 540mm Hammerhead missiles.

Hardpoints:

  • 2 x conformal Hardpoints located under the intakes, each capable of mounting:
    • a triple MER launcher for 260mm x 1.2m Diamondback MRMs. The MER launchers prevent transformation to battloid and must be ejected before battloid can be achieved.
    • or a single 430mm x 2.05m/2.45m Derringer LRM. The Derringer mounting restricts the Alpha to fighter mode until launched.
    • or Bomb rack
    • or Misc. EW or sensor pods

VIII. Armor:

The armor on the Vandal series of fighters is a 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 is also resistant to plasma globes (annihilation discs), lasers, and to a lesser extent, particle guns, owing to the fact that the armor can 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 stops all small arms and heavy infantry weapons fire, provides good to excellent resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round, and poor to good resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie’s 55mm APFSDS round.

The armor on the Vandal is marginally inferior to that mounted on the later VF-6 models, like the VQ-6S.

IX. Development:

The VQ-6 Vandal drone was based on the VF/A-6 Thunderbolt III, with the cockpit and head pulled and replaced with a semi-autonomous control system. Though the Vandal was based on the VF/A-6, it managed to precede it into full series production. The VF/A-6 was a private venture by Maxwell Dynamics. Development of this fighter had been ongoing since the introduction of the VFA-X-1 technology demonstrator in 2015. By 2018, Maxwell had yet to receive any actual interest from the United Earth Government (UEG), which was already heavily invested in products from the more established Veritech manufacturers Rockwell Textron and Northrop. Maxwell Dynamics got its big break when it offered the VQ-6 Vandal as an entrant in Project Wraith, the UEDF competition for the replacement of the QF-3000 Ghost. The success of the Vandal (not to mention the complete failure of the VF-4 Lightning III) paved the way for the VF/A-6’s acquisition by the Reconnaissance Expeditionary Force (REF).

Maxwell Dynamics VQ-6 Shadow unmanned Veritech fighter 1The piloting hardware was an improved variant of the Mark 3 Heuristic expert system used on the QF-3000E Ghost, with tactical management of multiple fighters controlled by a ground-based command and control emplacement which communicated with the fighters via Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) radio transmission.

The REF, now re-designated the United Earth Expeditionary Force (UEEF), analysis of battle encounters with the Invid suggested that Invid bases had a unique sensor device that managed to pick up UEEF battle formations at significant distances in situations that would normally inhibit conventional sensors. In other words, the Invid could detect capital ships and even mecha at extreme ranges, and could locate and track the largest of them through small celestial bodies, or at significant distances below the horizon. The combination of this mixed long- and medium-range sensor capability made tactical misdirection and surprise very hard to achieve, and strategic approach extremely difficult.

The Robotech Research Group (RRG) on Tirol immediately went to work on sorting out this sensor’s operating principles and devise, if possible, a counter to it. The tight link of the Invid with protoculture gave a probable pointer to the nature of the Invid’s device, and quite soon after that the RRG groups discovered that active protoculture-powered devices gave off a specific radiation signature. For nearly two decades, methods to counter or mask this radiation were explored, with much frustration and little success. The first notable approach involved the Wide Dispersal Bio-Emulator, often referred to merely as a ‘protoculture flare’, a mine-sized device that used a single protoculture cell at maximum yield to emulate the characteristic protoculture radiation of a much larger mecha. In large numbers, the protoculture emulators could act as a decoy against the Invid hive sensors. Variants of this device were also occasionally issued to Special Forces units.

Unfortunately for the First and Second Earth Reclamation Fleets, the Invid on Earth had recently developed a vastly more sensitive version of this sensor and began to install smaller versions of this sensor even into their mecha. Now, the combined hive- and mecha-sensors could detect single mecha at long ranges, and localize them – or even detect single Cyclones – at medium ranges. Even protoculture-powered small arms could no longer escape detection. It was these new variants of the sensor that allowed the Invid to completely suppress all early actions of the resistance movements on Earth, as well as insuring the quick and total destruction of both the fleets sent to Earth, and the mop-up of survivors.

Eventually, at about the time plans were being made to dispatch a fleet to Earth to investigate its long silence, the UEEF received a massive, and heretofore unprecedented, technology transfer from the Haydonites. This allowed for the development of the ‘Shadow’ cloaking device. This device worked on a principle similar to a fold drive, in that it directed protoculture radiation into super dimensional space, replacing it with whatever ambient radiation was present on the other side of the super dimensional space/four dimensional space divide. This super dimensional space radiation, of course, became an equally strong signature, but it was beyond the means of the Invid to detect it. The Haydonites on the other hand…

Originally, the Shadow device was only employed on capital ships. By early 2043, the UEEF had miniaturized the device significantly and it was decided to incorporate this stealth feature into latest production blocks of the VF/A-6 Alphas and VQ-6 Vandals. These versions were designated the VF/A-6S Shadow and VQ-6S Shadow.

Shimada Enterprises VQ-6S Shadow unmanned Veritech fighter Battloid 1As these mecha were designed, the opportunity was taken to equip them with an advanced version of an electromagnetic (EM) absorbing covering, which had a ‘stealth’ effect on more conventional sensors. Coolant systems were needed because of the fact that a ‘shadow’ aircraft would, in many space environments, quickly heat up due to the fact that the skin absorbed most incident radiation, and only inefficiently radiated away its heat. Inside an atmosphere, convection with the outside air eliminated this problem, but in space, the aircraft would have simply broiled. Thus a reservoir of coolant, usually liquid nitrogen, was used to cool the fighter, some of it being passed through a network of capillaries in the skin of the plane to absorb heat, before being dumped in the engines intermix chamber. The VQ-6S was also equipped with the force-field disrupting Destabilizer particle beam cannon.

The VQ-6S Shadow was equipped with a vastly improved control system compared to the one installed in the VQ-6A Vandal. This version of the VQ-6 was designated the VQ-6S Shadow ASAVAN (from Advanced Stealth Alpha Veritech AutoNom, but also from an Avestan word that translates roughly as “righteous one” or “upholder of moral order”), though it was more popularly known simply as the “Shadowdrone”. The ‘brain’ of this mecha was the first practical application of the RRG’s AI research team in almost twenty-five years, and in that time, quantum leaps in learning systems technology had been made. The Mk83 Neural Net Learning System CPU was modeled on, and is roughly equivalent in capability to, the central nervous system of a Terran lupine, and like a real brain, the two hemispheres work in tandem. Beginning its existence in a simulator, the final prototype of the CPU was trained in a wide variety of tasks, including flight, movement, combat, and recognition of and obedience to authority. It was also taught rudimentary communication using a mission-specific vocabulary including via both visual and radio cues. After proficiency was achieved, the CPU was mass-produced with the ‘trained’ neural connections already built-in, and the pre-trained CPUs were installed in fighters, and were then subjected to further training in their new bodies. The CPUs continue to learn by experience during their entire lifetimes, eventually developing a simple animal-level personality. Periodically, squadrons of fighters are called back in for retraining, to insure that newly-learned experiences do not cause loss of discipline or of basic skills. This retraining involves more conventional exercises, like those human pilots might be subjected to, as well as reviews in simulators of selected excerpts from manned fighters’ and other ASAVANs’ flight recorders. In combat operations, several ASAVANs are attached as wingmen to a piloted craft, which serves an analogous role to a wolf pack’s alpha male. In case of separation from the leading Alpha, the VQ-6S’s neural net controller can operate the vehicle independently, with an efficiency dependent upon the unit’s level of experience. Field experience shows that under these circumstances, the orphaned Shadowdrones will rally around the nearest piloted craft, or, if one cannot be immediately found, the most experienced of the nearby drones, until a piloted craft can be sent to assume leadership.

The AI autopilot does not eliminate the need for an ACS (Automatic Control System), which handles almost all of the routine functions the corresponding system manages in the piloted Alphas, such as sensors, threat detection and identification, countermeasures, and so forth; making the pilot interface as simple to the CPU as it is to a human pilot – with the exception of motor control of the mecha, which in the case of the ASAVAN, is directly connected to the ‘brain’.

Shimada Enterprises VQ-6S Shadow unmanned Veritech fighter 4At the beginning of each new production run, the most experienced, disciplined, and skilled ASAVANs are recalled. Their CPUs are scanned, and their neural connections – in a sense, their experiences – copied into the new basis for the next generation pre-trained CPUs. These new ASAVANs begin service as a mental ‘clone’ of the parent CPU they were copied from, but diversify as yet more experiences are acquired.
Because of the lack of a pilot, the ASAVAN’s cockpit could be deleted. The canopy was removed in favor of a solid hull with similar contours, with a multi-optics package in the forward quarter of former canopy. The legs are more similar to the old Vandal’s than those of the VF/A-6S Shadow, though the “toe” section was redesigned slightly. The central torso is virtually identical to the Shadow fighter, though the area analogous to the human collarbone now includes dual twelve-tube SRM launchers on flip-up racks above the intakes. The shoulders were redesigned again, with the placement of forward-facing sensors in place of the shoulder missile launchers. Below the shoulders, the arms were identical to those on the Shadow fighter, including the three-fingered claws and the capability to carry the Destabilizer. As on the original Vandal, the head was completely removed from the Battloid, and in its place, a primary sensor array was situated between and above the intakes. Though the groin and chest thrusters of the old Alpha are still missing, the Shadow drone was refit with VTOL capability. Because of the enormous volume freed up in the nose sections by the removal of the pilot and the dual fighter/Battloid mode cockpits, the two VTOL thrusters were placed in the nose section. In fighter mode, they occupy the approximate location of the old Alpha’s head, but in Battloid, they are on the nape of its headless neck. Finally, the leading edge extensions (LEX) that extend from just fore of the canopy to the intakes where they joined with the wings, were completely removed from the ASAVAN.

Both the VF/A-6S Shadow and VQ-6S Shadow were used in the Jupiter and Saturn Group attacks on Reflex Point, with most VQ-6S drones remaining ‘upstairs’ with the fleet. The Shadow Fighters performed very well against the Invid, and only the Invid’s immense numerical advantage caused the near defeat of the UEEF armada.

During the last stages of the Third Robotech War, and afterwards, the Shadow Fighters were the most important Terran mecha, and the later ASAVAN generations also played a distinguished role in Earth’s militaries. Production of the VQ-6S at Tirol already numbered more than fifteen hundred by the departure of Third Earth Reclamation fleets, and later the Terran Union Navy and Tirolian Republican Navy procured thousands more.

 


 

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: Yoshitaka Amano, Shinji Aramaki and Hideki Kakinuma

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 in this publication.

Images From – MOSPEADA Complete Art Works Art Book

Content by Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker, edited by Tim Wing

Copyright © 2001, 1999, 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; 2016 Tim Wing

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *