The VF-20 Virago is a Generation 4.5 Variable Fighter that had been developed to be the primary fighter of the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet's New United Nations Spacy Defensive Garrison Forces and other small colony fleets of the New United Nations Government. This made it one of the few if not the only entirely Colonial Developed Fighter with no assistance from any Earth-based company like General Galaxy or Shinsei Industries. It was developed and produced by the Zodiac Design Works, a notable local company of the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet that had in the past modified and maintained the Seventh's older Variable Fighters.
- 1 General Overview
- 2 Weapons Overview
- 3 Equipment Overview
- 3.1 Fixed Equipment
- 3.2 Optional Equipment Pods
- 4 Variants and Sub-Types
- 5 Notes & Trivia
As the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet started to reach the end of its third decade in space the colony's government and its military started to look into developing a replacement for their own aging VF-11C/MR7 Variant Variable Fighter. While a few in the military were interested in General Galaxy's VF-171 Nightmare Plus fighter introduced throughout the rest of the New United Nations claimed space and colony fleets others in the fleet were a bit leery of the design. Mostly due to it being a sort of step-down from its VF-17 Nightmare Purcurser Design in some minds. Therefore, due to this a request was made by the Colony Fleet's Government and Military Leaders to that of Zodiac Design Works a local company for a new variable fighter design for the use of their defense forces. Zodiac while officially a company reasonable for modification of already existing variable fighter units for the use of non-combat roles or for Vanquish Racing it still sported a local contract to maintain some of the Defense Forces older Valkyries. They also custom-built one-of-kind models mainly used for Vanquish Racing or for other reasons. While a bit overwhelmed with the request and the trust that the Colony's Government had in them the company still went ahead with a development program for a whole new Variable Fighter, a first for the company.
However, originally Zodiac had wanted to look into developing a lightweight Variable Fighter design due to how much several of the older Defense Force personnel in the Seventh's NUNS Forces had liked the old VF-9 Cutlass Variant used by the Fleet's Defense Forces when they first launched from Earth. Sadly, a few problems emerged from the design program as prototype-after-prototype failed in some way or another during flight tests. Mainly, this was thanks in part to power generation leaving the fighter with hardly any needed heavy weapons or much endurance due to the small amount of space needed for reaction mass storage in such a small fighter-frame. There was even a prototype that replaced the usual thermonuclear reaction engines of a variable fighter with a pair of locally developed Rocket Engines with an attached external fuel tank. However, while such a design had the needed range and endurance it fell short on firepower due to no real power required for lasers or other beam weapons. Another prototype tried to use the slightly smaller FF-2038A Reaction Engines from the QF-4000 Ghost. However, that design still didn't have the needed endurance for such a variable fighter. Finally, the focus would turn towards a normal-sized variable fighter design after some pointed questions from the Colony's Government on the failed development program. Even then Zodiac only really could put forth a design that was really only a slightly improved version of a basic VF-11 Thunderbolt. Things were looking quite bleak for the development program and Zodiac was looking to begging for help from the local branches of General Galaxy or Shinsei Industries when two things happened that changed everything.
The first was the arrival of the Fifth Generation YF-24 Evolution Schematics from Earth which included some brand new things to variable fighter design like the new EX-Gear Cockpit System, new improved Linear Accelerators, Stage-II Thermonuclear Reaction Engines, and the crown jewel of the Fifth Generation Variable Fighter Design the Inertia Store Converter. The second, more major factor that saved the new Variable Fighter Design Program for the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet was an innocent question from a thirteen-year-old Valkyrie Otaku who happened to be a relative of one of the program's test pilots. This question simply asked why didn't they use the old VF-1 Valkyrie design as a basis for a new fighter. One of the team's designers replied off-hand to the young teenager that the Valkyrie was far too old of a design to be used as a basis for a brand-new fighter design. The teenager then replied that didn't they throw together a reproduction of a Valkyrie a few years ago that used modern parts and such which saw the entire team stare at the young otaku in outright shock. For their team had indeed designed and built a modern replica of a VF-1 Valkyrie with all-new modern parts including the engines from a VF-17D Nightmare a few years before just for the fun of it. While that replica had indeed managed to keep up with several VF-11 Variants during a local Vanquish Race it did fall a bit short in other matters. However, it did prove that a modernized version of an old VF-1 Valkyrie could be made to be on par with modern fighters if given the chance.
Therefore, using this overall basic idea and combining it with a few ideas from the YF-24 Evolution Schematics including the new linear accelerators and EX-Gear Cockpit System along with a pair of slightly modified FF-2110A engines a new prototype was quickly constructed for flight trials. The new YF-20A Flight Prototype performed brilliantly in all tests and flight trials the Development Team could throw at it in the following days. Then following these trails a second prototype was constructed with a complete armament package that the team had quickly thrown together including four ROV-25 Beam Machine Guns built into the nose of the fighter, a pair of internal micromissile bays each with a capacity of twelve missiles, six underwing hardpoints for a variety of different missiles, rockets, bombs or optional equipment pods, a pair of Ka-Bar OTEC AK/VF-M9 Assault Knifes mounted in the battroid's forearms, and a simple GU-14B Gunpod from the Nightmare Plus. This second armed prototype named as the YF-20B Shieldmaiden flew through its combat trails with barely any issues before it was sent against a full squadron of Seventh NUNS VF-11C Fighters in a mock dogfight were it would dominate against the older fighters destroying them all. The Shieldmaiden Prototype then did a second combat test with half a squadron of Seventh NUNS VF-11C Fighters plus support from a squadron of QF-4000 Ghost Fighters. The result of this test while the Shieldmaiden did manage to destroy all of the VF-11C fighters and the majority of the Ghosts it still saw it being destroyed during the test. Still, such a test did indeed show the outright ability of the new fighter. The Colony's Government and the military leaders were quite impressed with the design during these tests before and ordered a full-on production run from Zodiac for the next fiscal year after several further tests and a short five-month field test deployment.
Overall, the resulting VF-20 Virago Variable Fighter ended becoming quite an interesting design that is one of the first independently developed Variable Fighter by a Colony Fleet, and one of the first purpose-designed Generation 4.5 fighters. It also while not as good as later developed Generation 5 fighters still could be a contender due to using some improvements from the YF-24 Design Schematics in its construction. It was also much to the surprise of many it costs about twenty-five percent less than the later developed Generation 5 VF-25 Messiah developed by LAI of the Macross Frontier Colony Fleet with assistance from Shinsei Industries. This saw several small colony fleets and colonies to inquire about purchasing these new fighters which would see the economy of the Seventh Long Distance Colony Fleet to be improved bringing some needed funds to the fleet.
On April 10, 2058AD the first of the new VF-20A Virago Variable Fighters were rolled out on the Zodiac Design Works Factory Unit onboard the Vulcan Class Factory Ship Mason. By June of that year, the first squadrons of the Seventh's NUNS Garrison Fleet were equipped with the new fighters and by the end of the year, the majority of the Fleet's squadrons were equipped with the VF-20 Virago with only a few squadrons equipped with older VA-3 Intruder Variable Attacker retaining their fighters though when the new VA-20C Attacker Variant was introduced the next year these squadrons would also be equipped with their new fighters. Later in 2059, the first production runs marked for sale to other colonies, and colony fleets were started to roll-out. However, with the disappearance of the Seventh Long Distance Colony Fleet on September 25, 2059AD saw none of these fighters sold off and maybe lost with the Colony Fleet itself.
Howard GU-14C 60mm Gunpod
To keep costs down with the Virago Zodiac equipped the fighter with a modified form of the simply GU-14 Gunpod from the VF-171 Nightmare Plus though the fighter could easily support another Gunpod if required like the VF-17S Nightmare's MC-17C Gunpod. It is equipped on the normal centerline dorsal mount while in fighter mode or in the hand while in GERWALK or Battroid Mode. The modification done to this weapon increased the caliber from 40mm to a heavier 52mm round to give the weapon a harder punch.
Ka-Bar OTEC AK/VF-M9 Assault Knife
A weapon carried over from the YF-24 Evolution Schematics giving the Virago notable close-combat capabilities. The Virago sports a pair of these knifes stored in the upper forearm and can be hand-carried while either in Battroid or GERWALK Modes, though the former is more often used. They can be used while focusing Pin-Point energy on their blades giving them an extra punch when required.
Mauler ROV-127A 12.7mm Beam Guns
Another carry-over from the YF-24 Evolution Schematics that replaces the usual Laser anti-aircraft guns equipped on the Battroid head. These guns are quite a bit more powerful than the basic laser guns on older fighters. These guns are fully able to swing forward and backward depending on need.
Mauler ROV-25 25mm Beam Machine Guns
An interesting addition to the Virago's armament is four ROV-25 Beam Machine Guns from the QF-4000 Ghost giving the Virago a decent secondary gun weapon while in Fighter or GERWALK Mode. These guns are mounted on the fighter's nose and can be used in Battroid Mode in limited use.
Bifors BMF-02S Internal Micromissile Launchers
The second weapon carried over from that of the VF-171 Nightmare Plus fighter and can be equipped with either a dozen high maneuverability micro-missiles or six medium-range high maneuverability missiles depending on mission or pilot preference.
Like any variable fighter, the Virago sports several underwing hardpoints that allow the fighter to carry a variety of different missiles, rockets, bombs, or even optional equipment pods. This allows for numerous types of mission types to be used with the Virago. For a full-on dogfighter compliment, the Virago is able to carry a Hughes HMM Series Micromissile Launcher on each of the hardpoints or a Multiple Ejector Rack each with four larger anti-fighter missiles, while for anti-ship combat missions a Virago would be able to carry a single anti-ship reaction missile on each of the hardpoints or a Multiple Ejector Rack each with three less-powerful anti-ship missiles.
Mod.5A Linear Actuators
The Mod.5A Linear Actuators are from the YF-24 Evolution Schematics which allow for a faster transformation while also putting less punishment on the airframe during transformations.
EX-Gear Cockpit Control System
Another piece of equipment from the YF-24 Evolution Schematics is the EX-Gear Cockpit Control System which allows a pilot an easier time while pulling high-Gs during combat. It also improves the protection of the pilot with the addition of body armor panels across the body and if required to eject from their craft the pilot can still be useable in some capacity due its flight system.
ASS/PS 155 3rd-generation active stealth system
While Zodiac could have equipped the Virago with a superior stealth system it would have run-up the costs on the fighter, therefore, chose to just use the system from that of VF-171 Nightmare Plus to keep the costs down. This system gives the Virago a decent ability to hide while in combat, however, more advanced sensor systems are still able to detect the fighter through the stealth system. However, when combined with dedicated optional ECM/ECCM Pods and Sensor Jammer Pods a Virago could easily end up blinding such sensor systems before it could burn through the Stealth System.
AA/AS/SF-03A Unified Sensor System
Again in an effort to keep the costs down Zodiac used the same sensor system from that of the VF-171 Nightmare Plus with some minor modifications done to the system. This includes the addition of an improved dimensional radar set and the introduction of a low-key ECM system built into the system itself.
Mark III-B fighter-scale pin-point barrier system
Yet something else taken from that of the Nightmare Plus which Zodiac would modify with some slight improvements developed for the YF-24 Evolution giving it the ability to focus the pin-point energy onto the blades of the Virago's Anti-Armor Knives giving them an extra punch when it is required. It also can focus the energy onto the top of the forearms of the Battroid Mode to enhance the added SWAG Armor added to that location.
Type-VI Countermeasure System
For the Virago Zodiac would introduce a whole new Countermeasure System based heavily on the system used by the VF-1 Valkyrie during Space War I which gives the pilot the ability to switch over to anti-missile chaff or flares if required. Before Variable Fighters relyed on external Countermeasure Pods but this system is already integrated into the airframe of the Virago providing a superior ability.
Mark 5 SWAG Energy Conversion Armor
While the YF-24 Evolution Schematics introduced the new Mark 1 ASWAG Advanced Conversion Armor Zodiac believed that trying to equip their new fighter with it would increase the price range of the fighter, therefore, made some slight modifications to the standard Mark 4 SWAG from the VF-171 Nightmare Plus to create the new Mark 5 SWAG Energy Conversion Armor. One major addition was the introduction of a second mode of operation called the Light Energy Conversion Armor that while did not have the protection of the standard SWAG ECA the light version could still be used while in Fighter Mode giving the fighter a slight increase in protection. It also further sported an increase in the armor around the forearms of the Battroid to allow the use of them as a shield against enemy fire.
Optional Equipment Pods
Variants and Sub-Types
The prototype of the Virago which Zodiac produced four of these craft with the A model being the basic unarmed flight demonstration model which would be used for flight tests and demonstrations before being used for some early familiarization training for the Virago, the B model was the fully armed prototype model used for weapon trails it would be damaged in a later weapon demonstration, the C model was a later fully armed dual-cockpit model used for familiarization training and finally, the D model was a later prototype produced by Zodiac to test out the full Fifth Generation Fighter package were it would be used in various tests and such before the roll-out of the limited produced VF-20S Virago variant. A second YF-20A model would be produced for further flight tests and demonstrations after the production contract was signed. Further two extra YF-20B models were produced for further combat trails and later to serve as aggressors during training operations. One of these aircraft the YF-20B-2 would take part in a local Vanquish Race against a team drawn from the Fifteenth Long Distance Colonization Fleet and another team from the Thirty-Ninth Long Distance Colonization Fleet. This aircraft would be the runner-up in the race and would later win a second race done against the winner of the Vanquish Race.
The basic version of the Virago produced by Zodiac Design Works for the use of the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet New United Nations Spacy Garrison Forces. Nothing much changed between the original Shieldmaiden Prototypes with that production version of the Virago besides some slight modifications done thanks to the further flight trials and testing. Mostly to the AI Software and the fighter's avionics. As of September of 2059 Zodiac would have produced just shy of six hundred of these fighters which have started to replace the aging VF-11C/MR7 Variant Thunderbolt in the Seventh's NUNS Garrison Forces with a further three hundred fifty fighters still being in the process of being produced. Another smaller production run of four hundred fighters for export had been in the process of being produced when the Seventh disappeared.
A slightly improved version of the Virago produced by Zodiac Design Works for Flight Leaders and some Squadron Commanders of the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet New United Nations Spacy Garrison Forces. The improvements introduced with this variant would a slightly superior communication system and a stronger Pin-Point Barrier System along with an ASWAG coated Anti-Ballistic Shield mounted on one of the Battroids forearms. It also sports a third ROV-127 Beam Gun on the top of the head turret which can only fire forward. As of September of 2059 Zodiac would have produced about two hundred fifty of these fighters for both the Seventh's NUNS Garrison Force and further export when the Seventh disappeared.
Before the full-on integration of the VF-20 Virago into the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet New United Nations Spacy Garrison Forces Fighter Squadrons Zodiac would roll-out twenty-four VF-20D Viragos which are a dual-cockpit design for the use of in the field testing and later familiarization training. A dozen of these fighters would later be converted into RVF-20E Recon Viragos. The rest continued to be used in variable fighter training and familiarization training for pilots from other colonies or Fleets who were in the process of purchasing new VF-20 Virago Fighters from Zodiac.
RVF-20E Recon Virago
With the Seventh's aging inventory of VER-3A Growler II Variable Fighters being starting to remove from service Zodiac would introduce the RVF-20E Recon Virago to replace them. At first, a dozen VF-20D Viragos would be converted before a further forty-eight units would be rolled out later on with the twelve former D-Models receiving the RVF-20D Model Number. These dozen two-seater recon fighters would be a bit different in that they sport a more advanced dimensional radar system from that of the RVF-25 Messiah, and having the second pilot able to control up to six individual Ghost fighters.
The VF-20S Virago is a recent variant that Zodiac developed as a true Fifth Generation Variable Fighter complete with Stage-II Thermonuclear Reaction Engines and an Inertia Store Converter. It also sports a pair of Mauler RRG-110 50mm Beam Cannons built-into enlarged forearm mounts and carries a Howard GU-17A Gunpod from the VF-25 Messiah while also sporting two more BMF-02S Launchers due to its slightly wider airframe from the introduction of a single large ISC to the design. Also, two more ROV-25 Beam Machine Guns were added to the design also being placed in the nose of the fighter white two more ROV-127 Beam Guns were added to the head of the fighter giving it a larger firepower advantage over that of the original A-Variant. Thanks to the massive price of this fighter Zodiac only managed to produce four of these fighters for the use of ace-pilots with six more under construction when the Seventh disappeared.
VA-20C Virago Attacker
The Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet launched with a few squadrons of VA-3A Invader Variable Attacker Fighters onboard. Over the years these fighters were constantly retired before being brought back to service for whatever need. While the Seventh's Sister Fleet the Ninth Long Distance Colonization Fleet would locally produce the VA-6 Invader II fighter to replace their own aging Invader Inventory the Seventh would hold onto their Invaders well into the late 2050s before Zodiac would start rolling out a new Variable Attacker variant of the Virago in early 2059 to replace them. These so-called Virago Attackers sported a hefty six-barrel GAU-26A 60mm Gunpod, from the Invader II, a pair of internal bomb bays replacing the Bifors BMF-02S launchers, a pair of heavier ventral BMF-04 launchers with the ability to carry thirty-two micro-missiles, and a pair of smaller Hughes LMM Series Launchers built into the legs of the new Attacker each capable of carrying six micromissiles. Zodiac would manage to produce a hundred and twenty of these fighters with a further two hundred on order for export when the Seventh Long Distance Colonization Fleet disappeared.
Notes & Trivia
- The VF-20 Virago is named after Virago which is described as a woman who demonstrates exemplary and heroic qualities. Figured it would an interesting name to call a sort-of VF-1 Valkyrie Fourth Generation Successor and to keep with the naming scheme with YF-24 Evolution inspired fighters.
- This fanon fighter is heavily visually based on the SW-XAII Schneegans, from The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: VF Experiment book.
- The VF-20 Virago and its Variants will make an appearance in my slightly revamped Journey Along The Stars fanfiction story a Macross and Battlestar Galactica Crossover. It replaces the VF-20 Wasp from the older version of the story which can currently be read at Spacebattles and FFN.