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The YF-21 is an experimental variable fighter featured in the Macross Plus OVA and its theatrical adaptation, Macross Plus Movie Edition. It was part of U.N. Spacy's Advanced Variable Fighter initiative under Project Super Nova. The prototype was piloted by Guld Goa Bowman.

It ultimately lost to the YF-19, although a handful of its final version were still produced under special circumstances. The YF-21 served as a prototype for the VF-22 Sturmvogel II, which later appeared in Macross 7, often used by ace pilots.

Technology & Combat Characteristics

Hardware Features

The YF-21 was built with several technologies common to itself and the competing YF-19 from Shinsei Industries; notably an active stealth system, an optional fold booster for interstellar travel and arm-mounted anti-projectile shields (doubling as tail stabilizers in fighter mode). Both variable fighters also employed a new fighter-scale pin-point barrier system, which produced movable spheres of super dimension energy upon the exterior hull of the craft for repelling incoming fire. Zentradi technology was also implemented in the YF-21 Battroid mode by adopting an enhanced version of the Quimeliquola Queadluun-Rau special inertia vector control system (the YF-21 shares a similar silhouette to that Zentradi mecha). The offensive weaponry of the YF-21 includes a rearward firing super-miniature anti-aircraft laser turret, two forward/rearward laser beam guns, four internal all-environ rapid-fire micro-missile launchers and lastly two Howard/General GV-17L cartridge-less Gatling gun pods featuring retractable grips and stealth covers.

In test sorties the YF-21 achieved performance results far beyond last generation variable fighters and the BDS/BDI system was clearly a recognizable improvement over conventional control systems. The YF-21 made use of variable wing cant for incredible speed and, like the YF-19, could achieve satellite orbit unassisted. While most VFs have traditionally situated the main engines within the legs of the Battroid, the YF-21 arranged the engine block in the main body with independent legs. By discarding the mostly dead weight of the arms and legs, the limiter-release mode can attain performance reaching the fuselage design limits and attain high manueverability combat performance exceeding other VFs. However, the pilot operating the limit-release mode bears the effect of dangerous G-forces which exceed the limits of the human body. While the YF-21 was a groundbreaking fighter, development of the craft was hindered by several misfortunes and technologies of questionable practical worth that were either unreliable (BDI/BDS) or too expensive for mass production (composite material wing).

Brainwave Control Issues

In January 2040, the problems of the YF-21 began appearing more frequently. Test pilot Guld Goa Bowman suffered temporary loss of control of the YF-21 prototype No. 2 in the first fire control system test, which some attributed to failings inherent in the delicate BDS/BDI systems in which control can be lost when mind feedback fails. An investigation by UNAF Super Nova AVF project director, Colonel Millard Johnson, determined later that month that Bowman may have had a neurochemical imbalance attributed to the pilot's Zentradi-Human genetics. Ultimately Colonel Millard suppressed these findings, choosing to retain Bowman as the YF-21 test pilot. In March 2040, Bowman piloted the YF-21 and was ordered to pursue the YF-19 when it was stolen by Isamu Dyson ; Dyson planned to disrupt the introduction of the X-9 Ghost on Earth in protest over the February halting of Project Super Nova AVF by the UNG. In what became known as the "Sharon Apple Incident ", the YF-21 and X-9 Ghost were both destroyed in a collision following an intense air battle. In 2041, the UNG announced the YF-19 (re-designated VF-19) as the next generation main variable fighter. Though the YF-21 fighter lost Project Super Nova and it production cost was high, the performance of the YF-21 was highly praised and General Galaxy did secure an important contract with the UNS that produced the similar VF-22 Sturmvogel II. In 2042 a small number of VF-22 Sturmvogel II variable fighters were deployed as the special operations units.

Special Equipment & Features

Variable Modes

Three-mode variable transformation; variable camber wing; enhanced version Quimeliquola Queadluun-Rau special inertia vector control system; two flight configuration modes (cruise and high speed) achieved via varying the cant of wing/tail surfaces; vertical take-off and landing (VTOL); supersonic cruise and maneuvering in region of Mach 5.0+ below the stratosphere; three-dimensional thrust vectoring with three exhaust nozzle flaps on each engine (independent pivot); capable of attaining unassisted orbital velocity over an Earth-class planet.

Control System

Brainwave Control System (BDS); brain direct image system (BDI); 2 x arm shields/trapezoidal combined variable-cant tail stabilizing surfaces; internal launchers for micro-missile weaponry (central dorsal section); fighter-scale pin-point barrier system (PPB); active stealth system; transformation mechanism factors into high performance as shown in simulated combat against the YF-19; soles of the feet contain nozzles for VTOL for Battroid and GERWALK modes; 6 x multi-mode sensors (one on the top, one on the bottom and four on the sides of the nose)

Optional Hard Points

OTEC FBF-1000A External Prototype Fighter Fold Booster; Shinnakasu Industry produced for special equipment hard point station (not certified for performing folds beyond a one-way limit of 20 light years); optional 4 x all-environment FAST Pack weapon packs with micro-missiles (two mounted ventral fuselage in fighter mode, on leg storage bay cover panels in GERWALK/Battroid modes; two mounted on rear stabilizers in fighter mode, on lower arms in GERWALK/Battroid mode).


Project Super Nova

The General Galaxy YF-21 was built for the Project Super Nova Advanced Variable Fighter (AVF), a competition for a contract with the United Nations Air Force (UNAF) and United Nations Spacy (UNS) to replace the older VF-11 Thunderbolt main variable fighter. When the UNAF announced General Galaxy as one of two final demonstration/validation phase contractors, the company produced two prototypes and a ground based avionics test bed. Development on the YF-21 began in 2034 and produced prototype No. 1 for first flight in 2039. However, it was the first flight of the YF-21 prototype No. 2 at New Edwards Test Flight Center on Planet Eden in January 2040 that General Galaxy revealed the true nature of their next generation fighter.

The second prototype eschewed the conventional control cockpit of protoype No. 1 and was integrated with two experimental systems designated brain direct interface system (BDS) and brain direct image system (BDI) in an attempt to achieve unification of pilot and airframe. The BDS allowed the pilot of the YF-21 to operate every control at will and BDI offered an unprecedented view around the craft. Equipping the YF-21 with this unique control system that improved pilot response time and situational awareness, as well as an airframe of advanced composite material that could alter wing shape/size, it was clear General Galaxy was determined to win the competition with a technologically superior craft with a key characteristic being an emphasis on high mobility performance.


Notes & Trivia

  • The YF-21's fighter mode heavily resembles the real-life YF-23 Black Widow in both its appearance and status as a prototype fighter. However, it differs from the Black Widow in two ways, with aero-elastic wings instead of flat, triangular wings and its numbering being YF-21 rather than YF-23.
  • The fact that the YF-21 is controllable with mental thought is apparently based off the fictional MiG-31 Firefox from the novel and film of the same name. But, quite unlike the Firefox, the YF-21's mental control system controls the entirety of the fighter, whereas the Firefox's similar features are limited to its weapons systems.

External links

Macross M3 Mechanics
U.N. Spacy
Variable Fighter
Variable Glaug | Variable Glaug UNS | VF-1J Valkyrie | VF-4G Lightning III | VF-9A Cutlass | VF-14 Vampire | VF-3000 Crusader | VF-5000B Star Mirage | VFX-11 | YF-19 | YF-21
Vehicles and Support Units
Algenix | Megaroad-class | SB-10/10 Starwing
ADR-04-Mk.X Destroid Defender | Glaug | HWR-00-Mk II Monster | MBR-04-Mk.VI Destroid Tomahawk | MBR-07-Mk.II Destroid Spartan | Regult | SDR-04-Mk.XII Destroid Phalanx | Variable Glaug | VF-1A Valkyrie
Vehicles and Support Units

Macross Plus Mechanics
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Variable Fighter
VF-1J Valkyrie | VF-11B Thunderbolt | VF-11B Super Thunderbolt | VF-14 Vampire | YF-19 | YF-21
Vehicles and Support Units
Drone Fighter | X-9 Ghost
Cruiser / Mother Ship
Guantanamo-class | SDF-1 Macross | Northampton-class | SB-10/10 Starwing | Uraga-class