Official Setting information is in darkgreen
. Extended Universe information is in steelblue
|QVF Drone VF [QVF-11 Thunderbolt]|
Even though the majority of retired aircraft in an armed forces become parts donor aircraft - with many parts being reused in active aircraft or being sold off - some armed forces invest in the conversion of the manned aircraft into an unmanned drone. These converted aircraft are generally used for pilot training or the testing of new armaments (usually missiles with the warhead removed). In addition to the control computer and beefed up radio reception and transmission equipment, additional sensors are added onto the aircraft for the assessment of the dummy weapons used in training or testing. The aircraft usually fly 4 to 5 sorties on average before being lost.
With the acquisition of OTEC due to the arrival of the ASS-1, the pace of autonomous drone development and remote control range significantly increased. Various autonomous combat air vehicles came to be produced in the following decade, such as the QF-2200D and QF-3000E. After the First Interstellar War, a few surplus VFs came to converted into drones for the same reasons as the conventional aircraft were.
Variable Fighters are converted to the unmanned QVF by replacing the cockpit with a Control AI (Artificial Intelligence) covered by an armoured canopy; in addition to increasing the aircraft's communication capabilities and adding a few sensors. If the QVF are used for training and testing, then they are given a high-visibility coating. Otherwise, they are generally left with their last squadron's colours at the time that they were retired.
As the QVFs don't have a flesh and blood pilot, they can usually be operated at the airframe's upper G-limits. However, as the QVF are conversions of aircraft that are at the end of their service life, there is a possibility that the airframe can no longer handle those high level G forces.
Also, until the development of the Neo-Guraaji, the Control AI used in the QVF was based off of the ones in the QF-3000 Ghost - a control system written for a non-transforming aircraft. Due to that, the pre Neo-Guraaji QVF are generally operated only in Fighter and GERWALK forms when operated by the Control AI. After the introduction of the Neo-Guraaji, the QVF could be operated fully in all three modes. However, due to the lack of imagination inherent in the Control AI (due to programming, the AI in Macross are described in ways that imply that they are not fully self-aware AI), the QVF tended to be extremely poor when operated in Battroid form on the ground, as the Control AI is a development of a program designed for aircraft. In those cases, a fully remote controlled QVF is preferable.
Due to the conversion cost, the unavailability of Battroid mode or poor use of ground features, and the possibility of remote control interruption due to ECM, the QVF tend not to be used in combat. However, it is possibile. In the years after the First Interstellar War, QVF operators were usually stationed within large ships or AWACS aircraft, such as the EC-33B Disc Sensor, and generally they could control only a few QVF or QF aircraft ata time. As time and technology progressed, the number of QVF and QF vehicles controlled increased concurrent to a reduction in the size of the equipment needed to control them. By 2059, a single RVF-25 could control up to 6 QF-4000 or QVF-171.
In general, only the most mass produced VFs are used for the QVF drone conversion. In the following stats, only the information that differs from the base VF has been included. Refer to the appropriate VF stats for further details:
Vehicle Type: drone version of the corresponding VF
MDC BY LOCATION:
|Armoured AI Compartment╣
╣ Destroying the Armoured AI Compartment will disable the QVF. If the Control AI wasn't instantly destroyed in a single shot, it will automatically engage the self-destruct feature.
1. Self-Destruct System
The system will generally automatically engage when the Control AI determines that it can no longer operate the aircraft safely in flight due to damage. This safety feature can be overridden by the QVF's remote control operator or overseer (either pre-flight or during the sortie, if ECM hasn't interferred with communications).
QVF drones used in combat are generally restricted from using strategic weapons (E.g. Reaction Weapons). This is due to the risk of the loss of control over the QVF - a fear that the Unified Forces have nursed since the Sharon Apple Insident* (Macross Plus).
* Translator's note: I know it's a spelling error. But due to the hosts TOS...
2. Hand To Hand Combat
- Full Speed Ram: 1D3x100 M.D. to both the target and the drone.
ADDITIONAL STANDARD EQUIPMENT
- AI PILOT: the QVF Drone VF is piloted and controlled by an Artificial Intelligence which controls all of the fighters functions. It can be updated by a controller within communications range either from the ground or a ship, updating it with new target data or mission parameters. If the QVF Drone is outside of communications range it will continue with its present mission. If that mission has been completed the fighter will return immediately within communications range for further orders.
After 2050: the AI Pilot is now a hierarchical programming/Self-learning type. It allows the QVF Drone to be remotely guided from a mother ship or other aerospace craft which has drone guidance abilities. The AI of the drone controls specific things, such as airframe control and attack sequences, while the mother ship gives more simple instructions and the authorization to attack. When guidance from the mothership is severed, it can continue some combat operation, but they must have been programmed prior to loss of contact.
- FCS (FIRE CONTROL SYSTEM): is the control equipment designed for use with a weapon or group of weapons. The QFV Drone VF's FCS is designed for air-to-air (space-to-space) combat, and has only limited air-to-ground capabilities. The FCS automatically takes aim after target acquisition with the radar and calculates the optimal firing solution. It can store and analyze data during combat with hostile forces, and transmit the date to home base for further analysis. In air-to-air combat, the FCS is capable of tracking and identifying specific enemy targets, up to 48 targets in the air and 12 targets on the ground, while simultaneously devising and executing fire control solutions on up to 4 air targets, or 1 ground targets. The FCS has a database of over 1,000 images stored in memory.
After 2050: the database has over 12,500 images stored in memory. The computer can identify and track up to 350 targets simultaneously.
- FOLD COMMUNICATION: added to only some QVF Drone Fighters after 2060, due to the costs involved. Allows real-time communication to the maximum range.
RANGE: approximately 1 light year (9,500,000,000,000 km) when deployed in outer space. Communication can be boosted indefinitely via satellite relay (though there is a delay of 1 second per light-year).
COMBAT BONUSES FOR QVF SERIES DRONE AI TRAINING:
The QVF Drone Fighter can operate semi-autonomously or can be directed via remote control from a mothership. The stats below represent bonuses for operators trained in remote control operation of the QVF Drone Fighter. In order to have QVF Drone combat training, the controller must also have the following skills: Computer Operation, Radio: Scrambler, Read Sensory Instruments, Pilot: Jet Fighter (or Pilot: Variable Fighter), and Weapon Systems. Untrained operators attempting to control a QVF Drone Fighter only get bonuses equivalent to VF-11 Thunderbolt Basic Combat Training
ADVANCED QVF DRONE FIGHTER COMBAT TRAINING
Aside from the operators hand to hand attacks, the AIF-7S Ghost does NOT receive any of the operators hand to hand bonuses.
- 2 attacks per melee (plus those of the pilot). Add one additional action/attack at levels three, six, nine, and twelve.
- +3 initiative when active stealth is activated.
- +3 to strike
- +4 to dodge (optional: +4 at low, +6 at medium, and +8 at high speed differentials)
- Tilt Dodge Modifier (applied to the regular dodge bonus): -5
- +3 to roll with an impact, reducing damage by half
- Critical strike same as pilot's hand-to-hand
If the QVF Drone Fighter is put into semi-autonomous operation mode (flight is fully controlled by the AI computer) then the QVF Drone has the following skills, abilities, and bonuses (treat as a 6th level Variable Fighter pilot):
Q-SERIES DRONE AI COMBAT STATS
Attacks per melee
Tilt dodge modifier
Roll with a punch, fall, or impact
2 (0 ground)
18, 19, 20
2 (5 AS)
5 (3 ground)
18, 19, 20
AI PILOTING SKILLS
Read Sensory Instruments
© Aaron Sketchley