Northrop Grumman VF/A-8 Logan Veritech Attack Fighter

ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker and Rob Morgenstern

edited by Tim Wing

contribution by Yui Yuasa

Attachments:

Designation: Northrop Grumman / Liège Industries Lourd VF/A-8 Logan Veritech Attack Fighter

I. Dimensions (VFA-8C):

Fighter

  • Total Length: 6.29 meters
  • Total Height: 2.29 meters
  • Total Wingspan: 6.29 meters

Battloid

  • Total Height: 5.35 meters (nose down -1.11 degrees posture)
  • Total Breadth: 3.00 meters

Genereal

  • Empty weight:  6.58 metric tons
  • Combat weight (typical): 7.28 metric tons (2 x Python missiles, 1 x E-20 gun pod)
  • Maximum take-off weight: 8.39 metric tons

II. Type:

  • Single seat, all-weather, aerospace combat mecha; two form Veritech.

III. Service History:

  • VFA-8A: Served with the UEDF’s Tactical Armored Space Corps from 2018 until replaced by the VFA-8C.
  • VFA-8B: Served with the REF from 2018 until transferred to the UEDF. Served with UEDF’s Tactical Armored Space Corps from 2025 until replaced by the VFA-8C.
  • VFA-8C: Served with the UEDF’s Tactical Armored Space Corps from 2026 to 2031.
  • VF-8N Sea Logan: Served with the UEDF’s Navy Corps from 2023 until replaced by the VF-8NB.
  • VF-8NB Sea Logan: Served with the UEDF’s Navy Corps from 2026 to 2031.
  • VT-8A: Served with the UEDF from 2018 to 2031, and with the REF from 2018 until transferred to the UEDF in 2025.

IV. Propulsion (VFA-8C):

  • Main Engines: 2 x Monument Propulsion Labs MPL-3001 fusion intermix turbines in the upper aft fuselage, total thrust 131 kN. Intakes are located on the upper fuselage, to either side of the rear of the canopy.
  • Auxiliary Engines: 2 x General Electric FPB-20 Boosters in the legs. These engines use reaction-mass only, and are rarely used in an atmosphere. Each engine has two exhaust ports: one in each heel, and one at the junction of the leg in the fuselage, pointing downward in fighter mode and forward in Battloid. Max. thrust is 36 kN per engine.
  • Vernier Thrusters: 4 x Nakajima NBS-2 high-thrust chemical reaction thrusters, located in the center of the upper and lower fuselage, and in the Battloid’s shoulders.
  • Assorted small reaction thrusters and gyroscopes for all-environment maneuvers, attitude adjustment, and stability.
  • Powerplant: Monument Propulsion Labs built RRL-2P Miniaturized Protoculture-cell energizer

Fuel Capacity:

  • 16 x protoculture power cell,
  • 3.4 lit. D2O (deuterium oxide) reactant for fusion engines.

V. Performance (VFA-8C):

Fighter Mode:

  • Max level speed (sea level): 700 kph (Mach 0.57)
  • Max level speed (3,000m): 1270 kph (Mach 1.03)
  • Max level speed (10,000m): 1500 kph (Mach 1.21)
  • Stall speed: 350 kph (VTOL rectification possible)
  • Initial climb rate: over 26000 meters per minute
  • Unboosted service ceiling: 10000 meters
  • Maximum roll rate (650 kph at 3000 meters): 300 degrees / sec.
  • Maximum roll rate (1000 kph at 3000 meters): 300 degrees / sec.
  • Maximum turn rate (180 degree turn, 1000 kph at sea level): Up to 10.0 G, 26.5 degrees/sec.
  • Maximum turn rate (360-degree turn, 750 kph at sea level): 9.5 G, 24 degrees/sec.
  • Maximum turn rate (180 degree turn, 750 kph at sea level): Up to 9.0 G, 25.7 degrees/sec.
  • Maximum turn rate (360-degree turn, 1000 kph at 10,000 meters): 8.5 G, 21.6 degrees/sec.
  • Maximum turn rate (180 degree turn, 750 kph at 10,000 meters): Up to 8.0 G, 17.5 degrees/sec.
  • Maximum turn rate (360-degree turn, 750 kph at 10,000 meters): 5.5 G, 10.0 degrees/sec.
  • Maximum steerable, angle of attack: From +25 degrees to -15 degrees

Battloid Mode:

  • Max running speed: 64 kph
  • Max flying speed: 350 kph at sea level
  • Service ceiling: 6000 meters

General:

  • Combat radius (space): Total delta-v 6.1 kps, with internal reaction mass only. An extra tank for 4.1 kps delta-v can be attached externally.
  • Protoculture supply: 168 hours of continuous use.
  • Design G limits: +12.0/-5.5 (Computer overrides at 9.5g)
  • Thrust-to-weight ratio: 2.84:1 (military thrust, typical fighting weight)
  • Aspect ratio: 4.55 L/D (lift-to-drag ratio), 6.5:1 L/D (at Mach 0.80, 1500 meters)

VI. Electronics (VFA-8C):

Radar Tracking:

  • Westinghouse APG-140 X-band pulse-doppler active phased array medium-range radar, with 140 degree field of view and a maximum detection range for a Reguld size target of 240 km.

Optical Tracking:

  • Phillips AllView II multi-band digital spherical camera system, for medium range all attitude infra-red imaging, optical and ultra-violet band detection and tracking
  • Thomson LT-8 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator
  • Infrared illuminator.

Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS):

  • Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) E-20 Laser Gun Pod
  • OlDelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR)
  • Selenia SkyWarrior active/passive sensor jammers.
  • Chaff and flare dispensers

VII. Armament (VFA-8C):

Cannons:

  • 1 x Oerlikon LPW-20 triple-barreled 20mm plasma cannon in the nose, one burst delivers an average of 15 MJ of thermal and kinetic energy; there is sufficient energy in the capacitors for 8 seconds of continuous fire, the generator can create sufficient power for 15 bursts every minute. The maximum effective range is 900 meters.
  • 1 x General Electric E-20 20mm Laser Gun Pod mounted on a swiveling mount in Fighter mode and in the hand in Battloid mode, delivering 8 MJ of laser energy up to 60 times per minute. Maximum range is 1200 meters.

Hardpoints:

2 hardpoints are mounted on the lower hull/forearms. Each hardpoint can typically carry:

  • 1 x Python missile, with a range of 75 km and a speed of Mach 3.0, with active-passive radar/home-on-jam and IIR guidance.
  • or 1 x Carapace missile container, containing three missile tubes, each of which can contain two Diamondback or Lightning missiles, or four Hammerhead missiles.
  • or 1 x 70mm unguided rocket pod.
  • or any other military load, such as ECM pods, cargo pods or recon pods.

VIII. Armor:

The skin of the Logan is composed of an advanced titanium-steel alloy, except that on the wings, which is made from a low-mass Chobham armor like that on the AGACS. The armor 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 armor on the wings is considerably stronger, allowing them to be used as parrying shields in close quarters while in Battloid mode. The Logan’s cockpit is a very exposed structure in all flight and ground profiles. This makes the pilot a very vulnerable target. The Logan provides full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using an overpressure cockpit environment activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The internal consumables supplies can provide atmosphere for one day maximum.

IX. History:

Following the First Robotech War, the UN Spacy decided that its future fighter fleet would consist of a high-low mix of Veritechs. This mix followed conventional pre-war thinking, best exemplified by the US Air Force’s F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon combination, and the Soviet Union’s mix of Su-27 Flankers and MiG-29 Fulcrums. Originally, the intent was for the new VF-4 Lightning III to make up the high end of this equation, with the low end filled by the VF-1 Valkyrie. Eventually, the Valkyrie was to be replaced by a lower cost Veritech fighter. When the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) and Reconnaissance Expeditionary Force (REF, later re-designated the United Earth Expeditionary Force) were formed, both of these branches decided to adopt the same high low mix concept.

The search for a lower cost replacement for the Valkyrie featured two contenders: Northrop Grumman’s XVFA-8 Logan and Maxwell Dynamic’s VFA-X-5 Vector Multi-role Veritech Fighter. Maxwell Dynamics was a relative new comer to the defense industry, having been formed by visionary industrialist Donald Maxwell after the war. The Logan won the competition, due to a combination of lower price and Northrop Grumman’s established track record. The Vector, on the other hand, went on to be developed into the larger VQ-6 Vandal and VFA-6 Thunderbolt III/Alpha series of Veritech fighters.

By the time the UEDF and the REF were organized in 2018, the Lightning III had proven itself to be a dismal failure. The fighter’s overly complicated design had led to reliability problems with the transformation sequence and severe airframe fatigue at earlier than expected flight hours. Because of these issues, the Lightning fleet spent most of its service life restricted to fighter mode. What was worse, the Lightning went way over budget. Fly away cost per unit bloomed by over three hundred percent. Production was cut short, leaving the UEDF and REF in a lurch. This situation caused the VF-1 Valkyrie’s production run to be extended, until a suitable “high-end” replacement could be found. The VFA-6 Alpha/VFB-9 Beta “Legioss” weapons system ended up being designated replacement, though the Beta half of the equation did not go into production until twenty years later.

When the Pioneer Mission departed in 2022, both the UEDF and the REF had an eclectic mix of fighter aircraft. The REF launched with a combination of VFA-6 Thunderbolt IIIs, VFA-8 Logans, VF-1 Valkyries, VF-4 Lightning IIIs, FAV-105 Vixens and FA-101 Vultures. The UEDF, for its part, operated a much smaller fleet of the same Veritechs. While the bulk of their forces were made up of conventional fighters such as the AA-1 Tivar II, F-110 Falcon II, FA-109 Sylphid, FA-112 Chimera and FA-115 Pluto.

In 2025, all VFA-8 Logans were laterally transferred from the REF to the UEDF. In exchange, all of the UEDF’s VFA-6 Thunderbolt IIIs were transferred to the Expeditionary Forces. The official reasoning behind this was that the Logan’s factories were Northrop Grumman’s facility on the moon and the Liège Industries Lourd plant in Belgium, whereas the Thunderbolt III’s were all built on the Robotech Factory Satellite, which was with the REF. This made it easier for both parties to be supplied with spares for their respective aircraft. By the late twenties, all VF-4 Lightning IIIs had been completely withdrawn from service. The VF-1 Valkyrie had been withdrawn from UEDF and REF service, but soldiered on in the Colonial Defense Forces. This left only the VFA-6 Thunderbolt III with the REF and the VFA-8 Logan with the UEDF.

In 2026, the Tactical Armored Space Corps (TASC) began to replace thousands of the Tactical Space Corps’ (TSC) FA-115 Plutos with the Logan. When the Masters arrived in Earth space, the Logans were among the first mecha thrown into the fray, especially when one of the TASC’s ground bases was suddenly attacked by Bioroids. Unfortunately, the Masters’ tactics did not agree with the Logan; the Bioroids’ Hovercraft were not really meant to be aircraft, the Masters instead relying on their Assault Carriers to destroy any opposing airborne mecha before releasing the Bioroids. This meant that the Logan had to slug it out with the slow and heavily armored Bioroids on their terms, where the Logan was outmatched, or that they were used against the Assault Carriers, which were so superior that the Logans had neither speed nor firepower advantages. Quite soon in the war, the Logans were supplanted by the far more robust and versatile VFH-10 Auroran.

X. Design:

The VFA-8 Logan was very small, barely 6.3 meters long. The small size meant a small target, but also left very little in the way of armor. This fact and that of the exposed pilot’s compartment made the mecha somewhat unpopular with its pilots. The large, high mounted conventionally constructed transparent canopy provided the pilot with excellent all around visibility, but left him exposed to both enemy fire and cosmic radiation. It was this which, in part, lead the UEDF to institute the practice of having all pilots wear personal flight armor in combat. In the Logan’s defense, it must be added that slugging it out with heavy mecha on the ground was not the tactic the Logan was designed for: the small size, coupled with the remarkably robust engines and power delivery system, made for a very nimble Veritech, and a notoriously difficult target.

In the post war period, the Robotech Research Group developed their smaller protoculture energizers and engines. It now became possible to create a tiny (and hence agile) Veritech with a lethal energy weapons package and excellent engine performance. The Logan was equipped with 16 protoculture cells. Because of this, if all weapons were fired simultaneously, the Logan could deliver 23 MJ of energy on an opponent. This was very lethal indeed and admirably suited for its design philosophy: to outfight mecha in space. Though the Logan was relatively slow in an atmosphere, because of its shape, the engines and boosters on this craft made it capable of tremendous accelerations, a significant advantage in combat, especially in the area of missile avoidance. Its shape and simple transformation sequence allowed a large amount of reaction mass tankage, substantially increasing the delta-v available.

The Logan was a lifting body/winglet design. Most of the lift generated in atmospheric flight was provided by the fuselage. The lifting body help relieve some of the high wing loading on the relatively small winglets. With the combined lift from the wings and fuselage, the Logan had an unboosted service ceiling of around 10,000 meters. The Logan had a very high stall speed of 350 kph. This stall speed was mitigated by the fact that it was VTOL capable, what with the use of GERWALK mode. The high wing loading and resultant lack of air to air combat maneuverability was not considered to be a big issue, since the Logan was never meant to be an air supremacy fighter. Rather, the VFA-8 was designed for space supremacy and close air support (CAS) when operating within a planetary atmosphere. Only the later VFA-8N naval variant was meant for air to air combat, a role at which it did not particularly excel. The small wings incorporated two stage integrated flaperons with spoiler/speed brakes on the trailing edge, leading edge slats and vortex generators, which allowed for high angles of attack (AOA). The Logan made use of a modified Pelican type tail, which provided yaw and pitch control in atmosphere.  Various Vernier thrusters allowed for pitch, roll and rotation control in both space and atmospheric flight. The Logan was the first aircraft to introduce full fiber optic fly-by-light (FBL) controls.

Though the Logan wasn’t a true “Dive Fighter” in the same sense as the VFA-6 Alpha, it was designed to enter a planetary atmosphere at high speeds. As on the Alpha, the Logan was not equipped with a miniaturized pin-point barrier (PPB) reentry system like that on the later aircraft like the VF-14 Omega. Rather, it made use of heat-resistant ceramic armor tiles in addition to the general heat resistance of the aircraft’s “space metal” skin. In addition to being highly heat, and thus projected energy weapon, resistant, this tile and skin combination provided resistance to up to 22.3mm Zentraedi armor piercing rounds. An interesting feature of the Logan was the “Smart Filler” system, which consisted of a polymer filler sandwiched between the tiles and skin. This filler would flow into and fill any breaches in the aircraft’s skin. This filler was highly heat resistant, and allowed for atmospheric reentry after sustaining heavy damage in combat.

The Logan did not have the ability to attain low Earth orbit on its own. In order to be inserted into orbit, the Logan had the option of being attached to an SM-11B Skögul Atmospheric-Escape Booster (a development of the Valkyries booster) or it could be carried on a combat shuttle such as the AS-14 Pegasus cargo assault aerospace craft. Though it was of no help in regards to atmospheric escape, the Logan was designed to use the version one and version two FAST Pack booster units, as utilized on the VF-1 Super Valkyrie.

XI. Variants:

XVFA-8: Test and evaluation prototype.

VFA-8A: The A model was the first production type. The Southern Cross purchased 382 aircraft, starting in 2018. The Reconnaissance Expeditionary Force (REF) fleet received 32 aircraft for preceding evaluation.

VFA-8B: Expeditionary fleet variant. The VFA-8B introduced improved leg joints so that it could be launched and recovered from ships in GERWALK mode and improved engine durability. The B model also carried ten Hammerhead missiles internally. 728 aircraft were delivered before the Pioneer mission departed for Tirol. In 2025, all remaining VFA-8Bs were laterally transferred to the United Earth Defense Forces (UEDF).

VT-8A: Two seat (side by side) non-combat capable Veritech trainer. The side by side configuration was chosen so as to avoid the change in the plane’s center of gravity that a more conventional tandem configuration would have caused. The UEDF acquired only 16 aircraft, while the Expeditionary fleet took delivery of 128 aircraft, which were later transferred to the UEDF in 2025.

VF-8N Sea Logan: Single seat naval variant. The VF-8N Sea Logan (or Slogan, as it was commonly referred to by its crews) was designed to replace the aging VF-1 Valkyrie in Navy Corps service. The design changes included a longer, aerodynamic nose cone mounting a more powerful variant of the Lightning III’s Hughes APG-113 X-band pulse-Doppler phased array radar and a fixed Oerlikon LPW-20 triple-barreled 20mm plasma cannon. The air inlets were moved to the sides of the fuselage, allowing for improved engine performance in atmosphere. The tricycle undercarriage was strengthened for carrier operations, and incorporated a dual nose wheel with catapult launch capability.

VFA-8C: The C variant introduced the Westinghouse APG-140 X-band pulse-doppler active phased array medium-range radar, improved Monument Propulsion Labs MPL-3001 fusion intermix turbines (replacing the MP-3000 engines) and a widened cockpit to accommodate a pilot wearing personal flight armor or hostile environment armor. By the outbreak of the Second Robotech War, all VFA-8A and B Logans had been upgraded to C standard.

VF-8D: The VF-8C was a proposed variant of the VF-8N intended for use by the Tactical Air Force (TAC). The specifications were essentially the same as the Sea Logan, save for the landing gear which was the same as on all other Logans.

VF-8NB Sea Logan: The NB Sea Logan incorporated the same upgrades as the VFA-8C, with the exception of the radar system.

 


 

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: 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 in this publication. 

Acknowledgement is extended to Yui Yuasa and her excellent Japanese language Robotech fan page. Yui Yuasa is given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of her site that has been utilized in this publication. 

Images from – Unspecified Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross OSM, Robotech RPG (1st Edition) Southern Cross Sourcebook and Robotech RPG (2nd Edition) Southern Cross Sourcebook.

Content by Tim Wing, Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen, with Rob Morgenstern; based extensively on the writings of Yui Yuasa

Copyright © 2002, 1999, 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; 2015 Tim Wing

 

 

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