Wednesday, October 1, 2014

APS-25A/MF25 Armored Messiah

APS-25A/MF25 Armored Pack
The MF25 Specification APS-25A was the basic Armored Pack deployed by the former Macross Frontier fleet.  As the wing surfaces are almost completely covered with large booster units, these packs were, in principle, equipment used exclusively outside of atmospheric conditions.

APS-25A/MF25 Armored Pack

Variable Fighter additional armor and extended weapons packs are typically known as ‘armored packs’ colloquially, though the official name of these systems is ‘Protect Weapons System.’   As the currently deployed units are referred to almost exclusively by the former name by front-line crews, this publication will refer to this system as ‘Armored Packs’ and the fully equipped VF-25 as the ‘Armored Messiah’.

While the specs of this system have been publicly released, it has become apparent that some of the details and features have been improved upon since the packs issued in the former Macross Frontier Fleet, which are described here.

Additionally, though the APS-25A/MF25 packs deployed in this fleet in 2059 were undergoing final testing, many currently deployed examples units stationed elsewhere have been seen with many minor changes.

Additionally, a specification change has caused one of the unit parts to only exist in the full APS-25A/MF25 loadout.    Specifically, the ASSA-021A composite sensor antenna mounted on the dorsal spine was found to limit the firing arcs of the head mounted lasers, limiting their ability to engage targets effectively, resulting this particular part being discontinued.

Originally, armored packs were born with the goal of expanding the abilities of an individual VF, and the additional defensive and offensive abilities granted by armored packs led to an expanded mission profile with a history of excellent results in both area defense and assault operations.

While the VF-25’s armored pack is not only an increase in capability beyond the previous generation of armored pack, the greatest advantage for the VF-25 packs is that 3-mode transformation is possible while the packs are still equipped.  While there is certainly a definite increase in capability as a general weapons platform due to this aspect, the ability to transform gives greatly expanded capability especially in assault operations.

Though many variations exist, the following is the standard makeup of the APS-25A/MF25 package:

  • HMM-5A movable-type Ramington micro missile CIWS launcher pod (Shoulder/Chest mounted) x2
  • Ramington close range micro missile launcher pod, double loaded type, (Leg Mount) x2
  • ASSA-021A Composite sensor antenna (Back Mounted)
  • RӦV-22 22mm Beam machine gun x4
  • 15-tube Howard 200mm Anti-Armor high initial velocity rocket pods (back mounted) x2
  • Oto/Sentinel 57mm Anti-ship/Anti-air dual use rapid fire beam cannons on swivel turrets (back mount units) x2

Energy capacitors are installed inside of the armor sections to ensure operation of the energy conversion armor in all three modes (within a time limit), which allows the entire airframe to be strengthened, providing increased defensive capability.  This energy conversion armor is a new, advanced type ASWAG system.  

However, the APS-M25A/MF25 units deployed with the Macross Frontier Fleet’s S.M.S. decided not to equip the P-011 units on the nose of the aircraft, opting to preserve visibility for maneuvering in close combat situations, and allowing the nose section to be easily detached in emergencies, ensuring the reliable operation of ejection systems.   Currently many other units are now beginning to deploy the Armored Packs, though as as the units are being deployed according to operational demands, approximately half of the the requesting units have not seen their requests fulfilled.

While capable of transforming into all three modes with the armored packs equipped, in fighter mode, the wing surfaces are almost completely covered by the armor parts resulting in almost no lift being generated by the wings, it is generally assumed that the parts would not be attached in atmospheric operations.  However, colonization ship defense forces operating inside the dome of Island-class ships are generally an exception.   Inside these ships, the gravity is a slightly weaker 0.75G, and it is possible for skilled pilots to land in Gerwalk mode, allowing them to deploy heavy firepower to critical locations according to the tactical situation.

In space deployments, the four Itsubishi Heavy Industries SLE-7A produce combined maximum thrust of 2940 KN, and when combined with the VF-25’s main engines, provide a maximum of 11.5G of acceleration, which provides the 52 ton Armored Messiah comparable acceleration to the unarmored VF-25.   This allows high levels of maneuverability unheard of in previous generation Armored Pack-equipped VFs, with considerable mobility maintained even in Gerwalk mode.  However, the 15 tons of stored propellant will be depleted in approximately 2 minutes of maximum thrust, meaning that pilots must be very cautious with newly-equipped units requiring training before attempting any actual combat operations.

As the cost of these armored packs is far and above the previous generation of armored packs, recklessly jettisoning the packs is not recommended, and in many cases are only deployed with qualified pilots at their commanding officer’s discretion as a result.   Additionally, in an effort to meet the demands of front-line forces, a plan to produce a variant of the VF-25 which removes the limiters on the FF-3001A engines has also emerged, and so a small number of armored packs designed to match the output of this VF-25E have also been sent to some units.
As the Armored Packs are not considered suitable for interception missions, situations appropriate for their use are typically extremely limited, however the former Frontier fleet faced heavy Vajra attacks, which led to their use in combat far more often than expected, allowing extensive system improvement data to be collected in a short amount of time.

Source: Master File: VF-25 Messiah, the New Savior.

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