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By AARON SKETCHLEY ( Ver 1.0 2013.03.29

Mechanic FB 02A: VF-4 Lightning III
"Mechanic FB 02A: VF-4 Lightning III." Macross Chronicle. 18 Mar. 2010: 01-04.
"Mechanic FB 02A: VF-4 Lightning III." Macross Chronicle Revised Ed.. 26 Mar. 2013: 01-04

Table of Contents

Front [Pg 01-02]

VF-4 Lightning III
The successor to the VF-1, which is characterized by it's three-hull type structure.

Aircraft Explanation:
The VF-4 Lightning III, whose development advanced as a successor to the VF-1 Valkyrie, is a Variable Fighter (VF) that succeeded in a design that gives priority to mobility in outer space. As a result of the inclusion of existing Over Technology and the introduction of Zentraadi technology when the VF-4 was designed, it has a characteristic three-hull style airframe structure and is quite different from the VF-1. One could say that it's fighting power has improved 40% over that of the VF-1, from the increase in the fuselage volume due to the three-hull style, which increases it's propellant capacity, armament loading ability and so on. Though the VF-4 had a slight problem with in-atmosphere manoeuvrability, it was deployed to the space flying corps of emigrant fleets and so on, and it served as the main fighter of the Unified Forces in the 2020's. The VF-4 is an especially famous airframe as it is the craft that Hikaru Ichijo rode when he was deployed to the First Super Long Range Emigration Fleet.

Main Pilot:
Ichijo Hikaru

Data: *data is when in fighter mode
Length: 16.8 m
Width: 12.65 m
Height: 5.31 m
Empty Weight: 13,950 kg
Engine: Shinnakasu Heavy Industry, P&W and Royce Co. made FF-2011 Thermonuclear Turbine Engine x2 (thrust: 14,000 kg x2)
Vernier: P&W HMM-1A
Maximum Speed: Mach 3.02 (at 10,000 m altitude) / Mach 5.15+ (at or above 30,000 m altitude)
Standard Armament: Large Beam Gun x2, Long-Range Missile x12, Others

Size Comparison:

Development Genealogy Chart:
VF-1 > VF-4 > VF-5000


Reverse Left [Pg 03]

Operation Record
The VF-4's development started in the competing prototype VF-X-4 and VF-X-3. However, when the Earth was devastated in the First Interstellar War, the VF-X-3 disappeared at the same time as the military facilities. The VF-X-4 escaped from disappearance and was expanded into and completed as the VF-4 (the prototype No.1 craft VF-X-4V1, the enhanced prototype VF-4A-0 and so on exist among the aircraft under development). Production of the VF-4 began in February, 2012, and in addition to being deployed to the Megaroad-01 that departed in September that same year, the VF-4 was operated as the main fighting strength of the Unified Forces Space Flying Corps. Also, the G type, with it's improved engine output, was deployed to the "Dancing Skull" Special Forces. 8,245 craft were produced by the end of production in 2022, and the VF-4 shouldered the core of the Unified Forces' space fighting capabilities until the appearance of the VF-11 Thunderbolt after 2030.

Caption: The VF-4 equipped Skull squadron was deployed to the Megaroad-01, and Hikaru Ichijo served as the squadron's commanding officer.

Caption: The VF-4G operated by the Dancing Skull was the craft that Maximilian Jiinasu (Max) piloted.

Standard Armament
The standard equipment of the VF-4 are two large beam guns and 12 semi-conformal long-range missiles, both types are built into the engine nacelles. The characteristic point of the VF-4 is that this fixed equipment is its main armaments, which differs from the VF-1, who's armaments were mostly optional.

A Long-Range Missiles
Long-range missiles are built-into the fuselage in a semi-conformal form. There are several theories concerning the total number of missiles.

B Large Beam Guns
Large beam guns are built into the upper block of the engine nacelles (which correspond to the arms in battroid). It's said that it's possible to detach these blocks and operate the VF-4 with them removed in an atmospheric-use lightweight state.

Although the VF-4 had tried an ambitious airframe design, if you speak about the cockpit specification, than it hasn't greatly changed from that of the existing VF. The cockpit structure is arranged with the control stick on the right of the seat and the throttle on the left, which is the system of the single seater type VF.

Caption: [Other] Max sitting in the cockpit of the VF-4G. The control stick can be seen on the opposite side of the interior of the cockpit. Below the canopy are the notches of craft that Max has shot down.

Caption: [Other] A large main display is laid out in the front console in the cockpit, and various information is displayed on it.*

* Translator's note: in the original, it was: "A large main display is laid out in the front console in the cockpit. This also contains the HUD function."

Caption: [Other] Max enduring G forces in the cockpit. The cockpit interior has a simple construction and the pilot's suit's backpack settles into the back of the seat.

Fighter Mode
The VF-4, which was designed stressing operations in outer space, aimed for an improvement in fighter mode mobility, cruising range and so on in a unique three-hull structure that ensured the airframe's internal capacity. On the other hand, compared to the VF-1, the VF-4's atmospheric flight performance wasn't superior. For that reason, the later-starting VF-5000 Star Mirage became the main atmospheric fighter craft, and the VF-4 was operated mainly in outer space. If one limits the VF-4 to space, than its performance far surpasses that of the VF-1, and it exhibits adequate performance to bear the role of the main fighter.

Caption: Even though the VF-4 is equipped with nose canards, ailerons and so on, its atmospheric flight performance can not be said to be enough. The VF-4's speciality was manoeuvrability in outer space.

Caption: [Other] The fighter form of Max's VF-4. Compared to the VF-5000 that flies lined up below it, one can understand that the VF-4's size is somewhat large.

Caption: [Other] The VF-4's main nozzle is a two-dimensional one, and it has a vertical thrust vectoring feature.

Right: The fighter form of the VF-4G (pictured is Ichijo's craft). It has a three-hull structure, with engine nacelles arranged to the right and left of the airframe and the main-wing area is small.

Down: The main wings and the nacelle ventral fins each possess a variable structure [construction] which inclines below for high-speed flight.

Down/Right: The vertical tails in the upper part of the engine nacelles are inclined inwards; a structure designed to avert radar reflections.

Right: Max's VF-4 G
Max's VF-4G, that he operated in Dancing Skull. Similarly to his other personal aircraft, it is coloured blue.*

* Translator's note: in the original, it was: "Even though it is coloured blue, it is different from the aircraft he traditionally boarded."

Right: Miria's VF-4G
This is the VF-4G that Miria operated in the same unit. It is coloured red only, and except for the colouring, it has the same specification as Max's craft and the other normal VF-4G.


Reverse Right [Pg 04]

GERWALK/Battroid Modes
This craft uses a transformation system that differs from the one in the VF-1. Although the structure where the engine nacelle becomes the leg is the same as the VF-1, the composition of each part is unique, such as the arm being composed of the nacelle's upper block, and that unique trend markedly appears especially in Battroid form. In addition, although this craft was considered to be able to exchange the nacelle's upper block with a large extra-atmospheric booster, in that case, the VF-4 became armless.

Up: The GERWALK form of the VF-4 (with the left arm omitted). A large thigh is pulled out of the underside of the inner wing and the leg is unfolded.

Right: The ram-wing nozzle, which corresponds to the rear of the fighter's fuselage, can be seen in the back. It also functions as an air-brake when in fighter.

Up: The Battroid form of the VF-4. The design with the cockpit block stored horizontally in the body and so on is a unique configuration of the parts.*

* Translator's note: in the original, it was: "The design with the cockpit block stored horizontally in the body and so on is something that can be seen extending into VFs from later years."

Right: Max's VF-4G

Right: The battroid form of Max's VF-4G. The large beam guns are located in the forearms and they can guarantee a wide field of fire.

Left: Miria's VF-4G

Left: Here is the battroid form of Miria's VF-4G. The silhouette that leaves the main wings and tails in the shoulders is a unique feature of the VF-4.

Transformation System:

The body's transformation. The nose cone folds down and slides back. The part over the spot where the head expands from slides forward and covers the cockpit. The rear substructure of the body descends and slides forward, becoming the pelvic region.

Half stored in the upper block of the nacelles are the upper arms and hands, which unfold outwards. Cover panels extend from the front and back of the folding shoulder.

Caption: The expanding structure of the leg. The nacelle, which continues with a large thigh on the airframe's underside, descends, and at the same time that the knee-joint slides forward, a shutter closes and forms the leg.

Related Matter: The VF-4 Prototype
The VF-X-4 attempted to shorten the development period in the experimental stage by sharing parts with the VF-1. Although the VF-X-4V1 appropriated a ratio of 35% of it's parts from the VF-1, that ratio was reduced to about 25% with the VF-4A-0. By such great efforts in its development, the VF-4 was deployed in time to depart on the Megaroad-01.

Up: The prototype that communicated the design of the VF-X-4. Even though the three-hull airframe structure is the same as the VF-4, it doesn't have canards and the airframe details are different.

Up: Overall, its form takes on a roundness more than that of the VF-4, and ventral fins haven't been installed onto the engine nacelles.

Caption: [M] Ichijo Hikaru holding the VF-X-4 model. It is said that opinions were taken from the ace pilots at the time of it's test flight, and it is assumed that Ichijo also took part in it.


© Aaron Sketchley