Northrop AV-18 Guardian Attack GERWALK Aircraft
by Tim Wing
- Height: 4 meters
- Length: 9.7 meters (with legs extended rearward)
- Wingspan: 5.5 meters
- Dry Weight: 16 metric tons
- Standard Take-off Weight: 21 metric tons
- Max Take-off Weight: 39.5 metric tons
- Role: Attack GERWALK Aircraft
- Design: Northrop Aviation
- Builder: Northrop Aviation
III. Service History: Served with the UN Spacy from 2015 through 2017, and with the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) Tactical Air Force from 2018 through 2026.
- Two Shinnakasu/P&W/Rolls-Royce FF-2001 fusion turbines, engine output 11,500 kg x 2 at max. power; 23,000 kg x 2 available with overboost. Exhaust nozzles allowed for vectored thrust, serving in place of conventional elevators. Exhaust could be diverted through the feet for VTOL lift, through the rear for horizontal propulsion, or through both when flying at low altitude in GERWALK configuration.
- Powerplant: 2 x RRL-1 Miniaturized Protoculture-cell energizer, delivering 650MW total power.
- Fuel Capacity: 20 Standard Canisters of Protoculture
- Maximum level speed at 30,000+ meters: Mach 2
- Minimum speed: VTOL capable
- Maximum running speed: 56 kmph
- Hughes AWG-20 X-band pulse-Doppler radar, providing long-range detection and tracking of targets at all altitudes.
- Thomson LT-3 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator.
- Zeiss TS-2 long range forward-looking telescopic array for IR spectrum (FLIR).
Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS):
- Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
- OlDelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR)
- Westinghouse ALQ-200(V) active radar jammer
- Chaff dispenser
- Active missile jammers
- Multiple L-band VHF and UHF antennas.
- 2 x Colt E-19 4.5 MJ lasers located in the nose of the aircraft. Can fire 60 times per minute.
- 2 x Mauser GU14 55mm single barrel autocannon; cannon fires APFSDS (Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) and HESH-I (High Explosive Squash Head-Incendiary) rounds at 250 rounds/minute. Each cannon has an ammunition supply of 250 rounds. Mounted in the wing-roots.
- 1 x Hughes GU-11 55mm three barreled smoothbore rotary gun pod; has a 200 round capacity. Cannon fires APFSDS (Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) and HESH-I (High Explosive Squash Head-Incendiary) rounds at 1200 rounds/minute. Carried in the Guardian’s right hand.
- or 1 x Rheinmetall GU-12 single smoothbore barrel gun pod. Fires 105mm APFSDS and HEAP (High Explosive Armor Piercing) semi-combustible case munitions at 45 rounds/minute. Ammunition supply is 40 rounds.
Six wing hardpoints (three per wing) can carry:
- 3 x medium range (65 km) Mach 3.0 combined active radar and thermal imager guided AMM-1 Arrow missiles on a specialized MER (Multiple Ejection Rack). Various warhead options.
- or 1 x missile pod with 10 short range (9km) variable warhead, combined infra-red imager and active radar homing guided Brimstone anti-armor missiles.
- or 4 x AGM-114 Hellfire air-surface anti-tank missiles
- or 1 x LAU-61 rocket pod with 19 Hydra 70 70mm unguided rockets.
- or 1 x GU-11S “Slick” 55mm three barreled smoothbore rotary aerodynamic combat aviation gun pod.
- or 1 x UMM-7; Armored container with 15 short range (2.5 kps in space) infra-red imager passive radar homing HMM-01 120mm Starburst missiles (from 2014 onward).
- or 1 x UMM-9; Armored container with 10 short range (8 km) Mach 3.0 combined infra-red imager and active radar homing 190mm Hammerhead missiles, firing from five tubes. Various warhead options (from 2017 onward).
- or 1 x Firebird missiles. A conventional warhead mounted on the frame of an 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.
- or 1 x RMS-1 “Angel Of Death” Nuclear Stand-off missiles. Reaction warhead (200 kT) mounted on a long range (250 km) Mach 4.0 combined multi-spectrum imager and active radar homing Reflex missiles.
- or 1 x Silencer Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM).
- or 3 x Alarm anti-radiation missiles. Mounted to a MER.
- or 3 x Mk-82LDGP 230kg bombs; various fuse options, laser-guided. Mounted to a MER.
- or 3 x AGM-65R Maverick air-to-ground missiles. Mounted to a MER.
The armor of the Guardian was composed of an advanced titanium-steel alloy, commonly referred to as “Space-metal”. The armor stopped all small arms fire, provided excellent protection against heavier infantry weapons, such as a 12.7mm machinegun round, and good resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round. The armor protection on the Guardian was significantly heavier than that of the VF-1 series Valkyrie.
The Guardian provided 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 AV-18 Guardian was developed by Northrop Aviation as a conceptual replacement for the helicopter gunships then in use by the UN Spacy and other member militaries of the Unified Forces. Combining the hovering capabilities and extended loiter time of a helicopter with the speed and range of a high-performance fixed wing aircraft, the AV-18 was in many ways the perfect close air support and armed reconnaissance platform. The design accomplished this by utilizing the GERWALK configuration of the VF-1 Valkyrie Veritech fighter. Though the AV-18 was a fusion turbine powered aircraft like the VF-1, significant cost savings were made by making it non-variable and giving it no space capability. Flyaway price was about one tenth that of a Valkyrie, more in line with the cost of a Destroid or comparable fusion powered fighter aircraft.
The Guardian was based on the general design of the VF-1 Valkyrie, which Northrop also manufactured. The design made use of the Valkyrie’s FF-2001 fusion turbines and RRL-1 Protoculture-cell energizers, as well its avionics suite and weapons systems. The cockpit was nearly identical to later block VF-1 Valkyries, save for the absence of all Battloid mode related control interfaces. The Guardian had significantly heavier armor, as befitted its role as a close air support aircraft. The canopy was remarkable for its thick multi-piece laminated transparent armor.
The Guardian, in YAV-18 form, won in a competitive flyoff with upstart company Maxwell Dynamic’s YAV-17 Aggressor. While the Guardian was based heavily on the already in production VF-1 Valkyrie, the YAV-17 was a more advanced clean-sheet design. Even though the Aggressor was arguably the better aircraft, the Guardian won the competition due to it being a more mature, lower risk design with a significantly lower unit cost. A design difference of note between the YAV-18 and the eventual production AV-18 was the prototype’s single centerline mounted arm. The design was modified to have a more conventional two arm layout in the final production version.
The AV-18 Guardian saw use during the Malcontent Uprisings and was retired shortly before the arrival of the Robotech Masters. No AV-18s accompanied the Pioneer Mission. Some Guardians are thought to have been used by freedom fighters during the Invid occupation.
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Tim Wing
Based on the Guardian from Robotech: RPG Book Eight Strike Force by Wayne Breaux Jr.
Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2018 Tim Wing