The VF-1 was initially designed by the legendary Japanese mecha designer
Shoji Kawamori(with contributions by his Studio Nue partner Kazutaka Miyatake) in 1980-1982 to be the centerpiece mechadesign of the animeseries The Super Dimension Fortress Macross(1982-1983).
In Robotech, the VF-1 is most commonly referred to as the "Veritech Fighter", which is short for Variable Engineering and Robotic Integration TECHnology, but its official popular name "Valkyrie" is used in a few infrequent references.
The VF-1 is built in three main variants (along with several less frequently used variants): A standard soldier's fighter is the
VF-1A, a team leader/squadron commander's fighter is the VF-1J, and a squadron commander/Commander Air Group's fighter is the VF-1S. The three models differ slightly in engines, avionics, and armament; notably, the VF-1A has one laser on its head, the VF-1J has two, and the VF-1S has four.
The VF-1 was preceded into production by an aerodynamic proving version of its airframe, the VF-X. Unlike all later VF vehicles, the VF-X was strictly a jet aircraft, built to demonstrate that a jet fighter with the features necessary to convert to Battroid mode was aerodynamically feasible. After the VF-X's testing was finished, an advanced-concept prototype, the
VF-0, was flight-tested from 2005 to 2007 and briefly served as an active-duty fighter from 2007 to the VF-1's rollout in late 2008, while the bugs were being worked out of the full-up VF-1 prototype (VF-X-1). The VF-1's combat debut was 7 February 2009, during the Battle of South Ataria Island, the first battle of Space War I. Introduced in 2008, the VF-1 would be out of frontline service just five years later, replaced by the far more advanced VF-4 Lightning III.
In Robotech, the VF-0 did not exist; the non-transformable VF-X was followed by a version which had only fighter and guardian mode. Not until June 2007 was the final version of the VF-1, which could transform into battloid mode, released. It unofficially saw its first combat in early 2007, when test pilot
Roy Fokker"borrowed" the first production-model aircraft - a VF-1S that would remain his mount for the rest of his life, and become Rick Hunter's aircraft after his death - to thwart an Anti-Unification plot to destroy the three primary symbols of UEG power. Officially, the first combat of the VF-1 was, like Macross, 7 February 2009, during the Battle of Macross Island, the first battle of the First Robotech War.
The VF-1 is different from modern fighter aircraft in that it can transform into three different configurations or modes for different combat environments, and can perform the task of more than one fighting vehicle: In Fighter mode it acts as a jet fighter; in GERWALK (or Guardian in Robotech) mode it acts as a VTOL unit; in Battroid mode (or Battloid in Robotech) it acts as a humanoid mecha.
The VF-1's Fighter mode is its basic mode and is the typical mode employed when the craft is parked at a military base and is the primary mode used in high altitude
In this mode, it features a basic fuselage similar to the real-world
F-14 Tomcatjet fighter, including underslung intakes and variable geometry wing, but with outward-canted vertical stabilizers similar to the F/A-18 Hornet's, swivelling under-wing hardpoints (last seen on the F-111 Aardvark, Su-24 Fencer, and Panavia Tornado), and a total lack of tailplanes. It is armed with 1, 2, or 4 (depending on model) Mauler RÖV-20 laser cannons mounted on a ventral turret, a GU-11 55 mm three-barreled gun pod holding 200 rounds, four underwing hardpoints holding up to twelve medium-range AMM-1 missiles, twelve MK-82 LDGB bombs, six RMS-1 large anti-ship reaction missiles or four UUM-7 micro-missile pods containing up to 15 Bifors HMM-01 "micro-missiles". Like most of the VF-1's nomenclature, the "GU" and "AMM" designations of its weapons are referential to current US military designations (GPU for Gun Pod Unit and AIM for Air Intercept Missile).
The missiles were carried on multiple-ejector racks on the four wing hardpoints. Long-range anti-mecha missiles could be emplaced for fleet-defense roles, but in the target-rich environments the Valkyries faced, this was not typically done. In fact, based on enemy weapons loadouts the optimal solution appeared to be to emplace as many "micro-missiles" (small and short-ranged missiles designed to overwhelm enemy anti-missile systems with sheer numbers) as possible. They could also carry large anti-ship missiles for destroying enemy capital ships.
In fighter mode, the VF-1 can reach a maximum speed of Mach 3.87 at high altitude (above 30,000 metres), and Mach 2.71 at medium altitude (10,000 metres). Its wings, similar to those of the F-14 Tomcat, sweep between 20 degrees back and 72 degrees back. Unlike the F-14, the wings can sweep 90 degrees back for storage, with the tail module folding up over the fighter's back. Although technically the VF-1 has an unlimited service ceiling and atmospheric range (since it can operate in space), the VF-1's internal tanks cannot carry enough propellant to achieve a stable orbit and needs the help of a booster pack to reach
Low Earth Orbit.
In GERWALK (Ground Effective Reinforcement of Winged Armament with Locomotive Knee-joint) mode (called "Guardian Mode" in Robotech), the VF-1 looks like the nose and wings of a fighter plane stuck on "
chicken walker" legs with two arms. The legs are formed by the aircraft's engines and intakes, bent down and forward. The arms are stored between the engines in fighter mode and fold out to the sides, reaching around from behind the legs. In GERWALK mode, the gun pod is held by the fighter's manipulator "hands" and acts in all respects as a very large automatic rifle. This mode is the intermediate one which was originally intended to simply allow the craft to land in a combat zone with a maximum of defensive ability. However, pilots soon realized that the mode's considerable maneuverability combined with its speed made it formidable in low level aerial combat as well as flanking maneuvers on the ground and took advantage of these characteristics for such situations. Pilots have the option to deploy the legs alone, leaving the arms in storage.
According to an article in "
Animerica" magazine, the form came about partially by accident. Early in the development cycle for "Macross", the creators planned a main mecha called "GA-WALK", with an ostrich-like leg configuration (similar to the enemy battle pods from the finished series). However, the idea met with resistance from the initial sponsor, which wanted a more conventional robot for the hero to pilot. When creator Shoji Kawamoridesigned the transforming "Breast Fighters" (later redesigned and renamed the "VF-1 Valkyrie" fighters) instead, he had no real thoughts of a third mode. But when the manufacturer Takatoku Toyssent along the prototype of a Valkyrie toy for his input, the prototype's legs were not yet locked into place in Fighter mode, causing the legs to swing down. This was reminiscent to him of the discarded "GA-WALK" mecha idea that had been shot down early in pre-production. He liked the idea, and worked to incorporate the third mode, now renamed "GERWALK," into "Macross".
In GERWALK mode, the VF-1 has a maximum speed of 500km/h flying, 100km/h walking.
In Battroid mode (called "Battloid Mode" in Robotech), the VF-1 looks like a fighter airplane folded up to resemble a 12.7-meter-tall (42-foot-tall) human. The legs are now straight and bend in the normal direction; the sides of the nose now resemble a human chest and shoulders (where the arms attach), and the laser turret is now a head. While the mode has some limited altitude control, its primary purpose is for ground fighting which enabled Earth forces to fight the giant alien invaders on their own scale the military anticipated they would meet.
In Battroid mode, the VF-1 has a maximum airspeed of 220 km/h. Its maximum running speed is 160 km/h.
(* Macross only/** Robotech only)
* VF-X - Fighter mode only, aerodynamic testing craft.
* VF-X-1 - Advanced prototype, similar to production type. Seen in both Macross and Robotech, but named only in Macross.
* VF-1A (one head laser) Single Seat fighter. Used by most, namely beginners, pilots. Produced by Stonewell/Bellcom and under license by several manufacturers including Shinnakasu and Northrom.
* VF-1B* Single Seat fighter. Updated Valkyrie (VF-1A with a VF-1S head and upgraded avionics; also referred as the "half-S" upgrade).
* VF-1D (two head lasers) Double Seat combat-capable trainer.
* VF-1J (two head lasers) Single Seat fighter. Used by team leaders and squadron commanders, namely the aces of the squadrons. Manufactured under license by Shinnakasu.
* VF-1R** Updated Valkyrie (VF-1A with a two head lasers & an auto cannon). Single-place fighter. Appears in as a prototype version, the YF-1R.
* VF-1S (four head lasers) Single Seat fighter. Used by Commanders of Air Groups and squadron commanders. Manufactured under license by Northrom. In Robotech, a unit of this type was the first delivered fully functional Veritech Fighter, later dubbed "Skull One".
* VEFR-1 Double Seat unarmed Electronic Warfare and Reconnaissance variant, includes rotary radome, arm mounted electronic surveillance pod, retractable sensors in place of hands. Seen in both Macross and Robotech, but named only in Macross.
* VT-1 Super Ostrich* Double Seat non-combat-capable trainer, usually carries modified FAST Packs that carry extra propellant and no weapons. VT-1 can carry the GU-11 gun pod but no missiles and has no organic armament. (Seen in .)
* VE-1 Elintseeker* Double Seat unarmed
electronic warfareor "electronic intelligence seeker" variant. Includes rotary radome mounted on FAST Pack boosters, radio antennas on arm pods, and side scan radar on conformal leg pods. (Seen in .)
* VT-1C* Unarmed civilian version. (Seen in
Macross Dynamite 7.)
* VF-1X* A major upgrade for the Spacy in the 2020s which included new materials, avionics and powerplants (seen in the VF-X games.)
* The VF-1 can mount one of several different sets of jettisonable combat equipment to improve its combat effectiveness.
**GBP-1S is a heavy armor system development resulting in the "Armored Valkyrie." The Valkyrie is covered with heavy armor modules which also contain numerous short range missile launchers and a pair of assist thrusters. The bulk and weight of the armor modules limits the transformations to Battroid mode only until they are discarded.
** FAST (Fuel And Sensors, Tactical) Packs The most common of these consist of additional "packs" on the arms carrying 3 micro-missiles, conformal propellant tanks around the leg engines, and a pair of heavy rocket boosters on its back mounting 2 micro-missile launchers which added 20 micro-missiles in each to give the fighter more speed and firepower. Under this mode, the aircraft is nicknamed the "Super Valkyrie" ("Super Veritech" in Robotech). The later "Strike Valkyrie" (in Macross only) carries the same features but replaced the right micro-missile launcher with a beam cannon. The first versions are meant for space use only, as they are not aerodynamic and would hinder performance in an atmosphere. Later versions can be used in both space and atmosphere.
** A booster pack is developed to allow a VF-1 to escape atmosphere without expending all of its internal fuel load. Four very large boosters can be mounted and were expended on each use.
* Both series have a major upgrade to the VF-1's systems:
**In Macross, the VF-1A's are retrofitted with VF-1S style heads, upgraded avionics and an improved "glass cockpit" and redesignated VF-1B.
**In Robotech, the VF-1R was the retrofit of the VF-1A's with two standard laser cannon on either side of the head and the central laser cannon was replaced with an automated pulse cannon. The VF-1R Veritech Retrofit program began in 2014.
The VF-1's designation sequence seems to mirror the odd designation sequence of the
F-4 Phantom IIfighter jet in US Navy service: The F-4's major Naval variants were F-4A, B, J, N and S; the F-4B and J served concurrently, while the N and S were their respective upgrades. The Air Force variants of the F-4 followed conventional US practice (F-4C, D, E and G).
* In Macross, the VF-1 was succeeded in service by the
VF-4 Lightning III. The switchover began in 2012, with the famed Skull Squadron which switched in time for the September launch of SDF-2 "Megaroad-01". It ended in 2020, when the VF-4 officially announced as the main variable fighter for the UN Spacy(although VF-1s continued in use through the galaxy as a colony fighter and private fighters). By 2040, the main combat Valkyrie was the VF-11 Thunderbolt, although it was nearing the end of its service in that illustrious position. At that time General Galaxy's YF-21and Shinsei Industry's YF-19were in competition to fill the role.
* In the parallel world of , the VF-1 was succeeded in service by the "VF-X-4 Siren," a redesign (unique to this story world) of the VF-4 Lightning III.
* In Robotech, the VF-1 was succeeded in service by the Sylphide, the
VF-8 Logan, the VFH-10 Veritech AGAC, and later the VFA-6 Alpha. The Ajax saw combat testing in 2029, and replaced the Logan in space as the primary fighter in 2030. The VFA-6 Alpha entered flight testing in 2022, just prior to the departure of the SDF-3 Pioneer, and it entered service with the Expeditionary Forces. The VF-9 Beta, which began flight test with the Alpha in 2022, entered service as a companion to the Alpha later.
*The colors and insignia on the VF-1 Valkyries of Roy Focker's "Skull Squadron" mirror those of the famous
US Navyaviation fighter squadron VF-84 Jolly Rogers.
*The original designation of the fighters that became the VF-1 Valkyrie was "Breast Fighter," so called because they were to launch from bays in the chest (or breast) area of the "Megarodo," later renamed the "Macross".
*Prior to legal struggles, the designs of the VF-1 Valkyrie fighters were also used as for Land-Air Mechs and other 'Mechs in the
* The VF-1 Valkyrie was used as
Autobot Jetfirein The Transformers (toy line)but was renamed Skyfire and had his design changed significantly for The Transformers (TV Series).
*The vehicle mode design of this mecha was based the United States Navy Fighter
F-14Tomcat and shares many features including similar proportions, swept-wing design and similar-shaped twin vertical stabilizer. The Jolly Rogers squadron mentioned above was an F-14 squadron at the time.
* [http://www.anime.net/macross/mecha/united_nations/variable/vf1/index.html VF-1 Entry]
* [http://www.new-un-spacy.com/m3.html Macross Mecha Manual] A website profiling the fictional vehicles of the Macross series
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