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Okay, if we had Variable Fighters in real life....


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.....how would you organise them militarily ? I can picture while they may be placed into the air forces of a country, I think it may be an incentive to merge the air forces back into the army due to the versatility of the variable fighter allowing for easily accessable organic air cover.

Alternatively, I think that it might cause issues relating to interservice rivalry within the air force and the army as variable fighters can serve as mobile ground assault units in addition to the role of aerospace combat

Edited by cheemingwan1234
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1 hour ago, cheemingwan1234 said:

.....how would you organise them militarily ?

Even in the Macross setting, the organizational model for units of Variable Fighters isn't even the same between the different branches of the armed forces.

In the real world, you'd end up with a hundred subtle variations just based on differences between national navies, air forces, and so on.  Not to mention different organization for the different types and mission profiles different models of VF have.  The US armed forces, for instance, have aviation arms in each of the five main branches of service, though only three of those five (the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force) operate fighter aircraft and have their own respective organizational models.

 

1 hour ago, cheemingwan1234 said:

I can picture while they may be placed into the air forces of a country, I think it may be an incentive to merge the air forces back into the army due to the versatility of the variable fighter allowing for easily accessable organic air cover.

Alternatively, I think that it might cause issues relating to interservice rivalry within the air force and the army as variable fighters can serve as mobile ground assault units in addition to the role of aerospace combat

Realistically, I doubt Valkyries would find much use in any branch of service in the real world.  They're only ubiquitous in the Macross universe because the Zentradi justify having giant robots.  Without the overtechnology materials that makes them possible in the story, they would be a maintenance nightmare fit to make the Harrier seem reliable, so costly that nobody would ever field one, and so complex they'd spent far more time on the ground being repaired than in the air.  If the overtechnology materials and other technological advancements were in play, they'd be better suited to conventional weapons like tanks, helicopters, and conventional aircraft for warfare against other humans.  (That aside, the price tag alone would ensure that Valkyries would never displace conventional tanks.  Given what's said about the flyaway cost of a single VF-1A, the Army could field two whole companies of conventional main battle tanks for the cost of a single VF-1.)

If we were to ignore the practicality aspects, I'd expect to see them simply replace conventional aircraft in existing Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps organizations... but mainly or only in strike fighter or attacker squadrons where their air-to-ground capabilities and high-caliber machine guns could be leveraged to their best advantage.

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On 8/31/2022 at 11:46 AM, Seto Kaiba said:

Even in the Macross setting, the organizational model for units of Variable Fighters isn't even the same between the different branches of the armed forces.

In the real world, you'd end up with a hundred subtle variations just based on differences between national navies, air forces, and so on.  Not to mention different organization for the different types and mission profiles different models of VF have.  The US armed forces, for instance, have aviation arms in each of the five main branches of service, though only three of those five (the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force) operate fighter aircraft and have their own respective organizational models.

 

Realistically, I doubt Valkyries would find much use in any branch of service in the real world.  They're only ubiquitous in the Macross universe because the Zentradi justify having giant robots.  Without the overtechnology materials that makes them possible in the story, they would be a maintenance nightmare fit to make the Harrier seem reliable, so costly that nobody would ever field one, and so complex they'd spent far more time on the ground being repaired than in the air.  If the overtechnology materials and other technological advancements were in play, they'd be better suited to conventional weapons like tanks, helicopters, and conventional aircraft for warfare against other humans.  (That aside, the price tag alone would ensure that Valkyries would never displace conventional tanks.  Given what's said about the flyaway cost of a single VF-1A, the Army could field two whole companies of conventional main battle tanks for the cost of a single VF-1.)

If we were to ignore the practicality aspects, I'd expect to see them simply replace conventional aircraft in existing Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps organizations... but mainly or only in strike fighter or attacker squadrons where their air-to-ground capabilities and high-caliber machine guns could be leveraged to their best advantage.

+1000. One thing never depicted was minor defects (unless the plot required it, examples being when Kakazaki had hull damage and was ordered to RTB or What's his face from Delta going excessive on his maneuvering propellant in Delta), really nothing storywise in dealing with the background maintenance.

The stories also never dove into details like squadrons (names, numbers, airwings, etc), all of that is fandom speculation, save a small number (Pink Peckers, anyone?)

There is some use to having a variable fighter on your inventory (how many F-14s can reach lower earth orbit?) but like Seto said, maintaining that asset would be excessive, in terms of parts manufacturing, the materials used in crafting, the training devices*, the GSE involved (which might be specific to the VF only thus a space sink on a carrier)... 

* because the variable nature of the machine, you would need to either build a fake city in order to be able to train Urban Combat as a curriculum or forcibly remove civilians from a city zone (Rhode Island? EVERYBODY needs to move out of state, NOW). 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, TehPW said:

+1000. One thing never depicted was minor defects (unless the plot required it, examples being when Kakazaki had hull damage and was ordered to RTB or What's his face from Delta going excessive on his maneuvering propellant in Delta), really nothing storywise in dealing with the background maintenance.

Not directly in the shows, anyway.  Supplemental material does delve into that topic a bit, but as expected the maintenance issues you'd expect from such a complex mechanism are largely handwaved due to the vastly superior materials and more precise engineering enabled by the alien overtechnology and humanity's growing understanding of it.  Even then, it's still acknowledged that in-universe VFs are still a fair bit more maintenance-intensive and a lot more expensive than conventional aircraft and that the complex moving parts involved in transformation and the complex articulations of the hands can be quite fragile.

Spoiler

The linear actuator tech used on 5th Gen VFs, which replaces a lot of those moving parts with precisely aligned magnetic fields, was said to be an attempt to address that particular problem.

 

10 minutes ago, TehPW said:

The stories also never dove into details like squadrons (names, numbers, airwings, etc), all of that is fandom speculation, save a small number (Pink Peckers, anyone?)

In what's going to be a theme... "Not directly in the shows, anyway".  Stories in other media formats like manga, light novels, and supplemental materials for the animation do get into those details too.  Sometimes in surprising detail.  Some of it has been surprisingly consistent across almost forty years of material.  The UN Forces, and later the New UN Forces, draw pretty heavily on the US armed forces models with a few distinctly Japanese touches here and there.  (Many of the more prominent named squadrons in official materials for the first few titles are just Macross equivalents of famous real world units like the Navy's Black Aces with the same names and unit numbers or mishmashes of famous units like the Spacy's demonstrator squadron being the Angel Birds, a mashup of the Navy's Blue Angels and Air Forces Thunderbirds.)

 

10 minutes ago, TehPW said:

There is some use to having a variable fighter on your inventory (how many F-14s can reach lower earth orbit?) but like Seto said, maintaining that asset would be excessive, in terms of parts manufacturing, the materials used in crafting, the training devices*, the GSE involved (which might be specific to the VF only thus a space sink on a carrier)... 

* because the variable nature of the machine, you would need to either build a fake city in order to be able to train Urban Combat as a curriculum or forcibly remove civilians from a city zone (Rhode Island? EVERYBODY needs to move out of state, NOW). 

Not to mention a fair amount of it would be simply impossible with today's science.

VFs only really work in-setting because overtechnology yielded huge advancements in the material sciences, computing, and various branches of physics.  The flyaway cost alone would be astronomical*, and the maintenance demands and costs would be ruinous even compared to notorious hangar queens like the Harrier

 

Spoiler

Not that it wasn't in-universe too.  The oldest lore puts an actual price tag on the VF-1A.  $125 million.  Not so impressive now, but at the time the original series was made that was five times the cost of a then-current gen fighter aircraft like the F-18 Hornet and more than triple the cost of the lavishly expensive F-14 it was based on.

(It is, however, oddly impressive that at the time the show was made the VF-1A was effectively a 5th Gen fighter jet in-universe... with a price tag identical to what the US CBO says our actual real world 5th Gen fighter jet costs.  Eerily accurate prediction.)

 

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On 9/8/2022 at 12:04 AM, Seto Kaiba said:

 

VFs only really work in-setting because overtechnology yielded huge advancements in the material sciences, computing, and various branches of physics.  

 

True enough - look at those Gundam mockups that use outside power sources and they STILL can't go faster than a sloth on downers.

Edited by Dynaman
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8 hours ago, Dynaman said:

True enough - look at those Gundam mockups that use outside power sources and they STILL can't go faster than a sloth on downers.

Yeah, the torque conventional emotors with a few hundred volts of power behind them can produce is impressive but pretty limited for moving something that big around.

Macross benefits from things like room temperature superconductors and power supplies with output voltages in the gigavolt range.  That's a LOT of get-up-and-go for an emotor.

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On 9/11/2022 at 6:13 PM, Seto Kaiba said:

Yeah, the torque conventional emotors with a few hundred volts of power behind them can produce is impressive but pretty limited for moving something that big around.

Macross benefits from things like room temperature superconductors and power supplies with output voltages in the gigavolt range.  That's a LOT of get-up-and-go for an emotor.

Torque requirements get larger with the length of the moved object, not to mention going too fast and you run into issues with rotational inertia effects. You're not just torquing whatever's moving, but also everything holding the rest of the assembly still.

I've used some pretty high-torque motors before to shift unbalanced loads in rotation, and it's really tricky to get everything dialed in to where it doesn't shake itself to pieces in the process.

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On 9/15/2022 at 11:48 PM, Sanity is Optional said:

Torque requirements get larger with the length of the moved object, not to mention going too fast and you run into issues with rotational inertia effects. You're not just torquing whatever's moving, but also everything holding the rest of the assembly still.

I've used some pretty high-torque motors before to shift unbalanced loads in rotation, and it's really tricky to get everything dialed in to where it doesn't shake itself to pieces in the process.

Yeah; add in that the arms and legs all have to move at varying speeds at different points, and that's a lot of torque.

It can severely punish whatever material you've built the components out of, like Torquemada torturing heretics in the Inquisition.

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1 hour ago, Thom said:

It's a good thing variable fighters are made out of animanium.;)

No kidding... I've seen e-motors do terrible things to steel and aluminum.

Science, however, marches on and there are few carbon allotropes that've been created in laboratories that are approaching the properties of the "hypercarbon" used as structural materials and armor in Macross's VFs and warships.  NCSU researchers reported creating a metallic carbon allotrope that responds to magnetic fields while also being harder than diamond back in 2015.  It's called Q-carbon, though their experimental results haven't been replicated yet.

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If technology wasn’t the issue or cost and going back to the basics of how they’d be used, if it were based on U.S. branches, I think they’d find a place in everything. Some Valkyrie designs and load outs are versatile enough to fit any situation. They could easily fit rescue operations in the coast guard to outer space for the Space Force.

The gerwalk and fighter would definitely be more useful than the battroid mode. I love giant robots and real robots, but they’re more suited for science fiction due to the complexity and height making them much bigger targets than something low to the ground like a tank.

Macross and Gundam might have cool looking robots, but in a real world a smaller mecha like in Votoms or Obsolete would make more sense. If somehow the technology got to science fiction levels and you still need a transforming robot, then I could see something that is smaller flying in to a combat zone and hiding around in the terrain as an interesting fun idea, but then again modern drones and helicopters probably do that better in a real world situation 

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Really, the thing that'd find the most use wouldn't be the Valkyries... it'd be the Ghosts.

What government wouldn't want a semi-autonomous or autonomous unmanned aircraft able to loiter over an area for weeks at a time without needing to be refueled?  Not just for its military potential, but for what it could do for the sciences.  An unarmed Ghost would be an invaluable asset for an organization like the US NOAA for collecting data on tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  Conservationists would jump at the chance to have aircraft that could remotely monitor the populations and migrations patterns of the various endangered species (esp. ocean-dwelling ones like whales and sharks), or as an armed anti-poaching measure.  Emergency services would probably love having them for search-and-rescue operations, especially maritime ones.

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If you just look at Gerwalk and Fighter mode, it's actually pretty close to VTOL aircraft we have now. Or the theoretical helicopters with fixed-rotor high-speed modes.

A valkyrie, aside from the robot form, is just a vehicle that can swap between high-speed fighter and a helicopter with a turreted gun.

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10 hours ago, Seto Kaiba said:

Really, the thing that'd find the most use wouldn't be the Valkyries... it'd be the Ghosts.

What government wouldn't want a semi-autonomous or autonomous unmanned aircraft able to loiter over an area for weeks at a time without needing to be refueled?  Not just for its military potential, but for what it could do for the sciences.  An unarmed Ghost would be an invaluable asset for an organization like the US NOAA for collecting data on tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  Conservationists would jump at the chance to have aircraft that could remotely monitor the populations and migrations patterns of the various endangered species (esp. ocean-dwelling ones like whales and sharks), or as an armed anti-poaching measure.  Emergency services would probably love having them for search-and-rescue operations, especially maritime ones.

Not to mention what they could do for space exploration and aeronautic research.

 

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