by Pieter Thomassen, with
Macross class Border Fleet Battlefortress
Macross class Super Dimensional Fortress
Names and disposition:
|SDF-1||Macross ||Destroyed on Earth, 2014|
|Aippa ||Total loss and scrapped at Tirol, 1993.|
|Ronarak ||Crashed 2022, wrecked.|
|Splaney ||Destroyed by Invid, 2023.|
|Lugmor ||Destroyed by Invid, 1996.|
|Eicass ||Crashed 2020, wrecked.|
|Nasices ||Cannibalized by Tirolian fleet, 2015.|
|Noziroh ||Destroyed by Invid, 2023.|
|Baslits ||Destroyed by Invid, 2023.|
|Raflawem ||Destroyed by Invid, 2022.|
|SDF-2||Odyssey ||Destroyed on Earth, 2014|
The first 12 ships were built at the Tirol Orbital Shipyards and entered service from 1979 through 1983.
One half sister of this class (SDF-2 Odyssey) was built using reverse-engineering from the SDF-1 using many local components by the Terrans in the Luna base shipyards from 2005-2014.
(Sian Macross class, c. 1995):
- Ships' crew (3,250 Tirolians, 50 Zentraedi),
- Air Group (100 Tirolians, 120 Zentraedi),
- Troops (450 Tirolians, 700 Zentraedi),
- Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 100 Zentraedi supernumaries (500,000 Tirolian sized men total).
(SDF-1 Macross, 2011):
- Ships' crew (6,000 men),
- Air Group (1,500 men),
- Troops and additional personnel (12,500 men),
- Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 480,000 supernumaries (500,000 men total).
| Length: ||1210m over all
| Height: || for the main hull,
| 312m over the command tower.
| Width : ||339 m over all for Tirolian ships,
| || 496m withr the added carriers for the Terran refit.
| Mass : ||18,000,000 metric tons, operational (typical)
| Fuel Mass : ||1,980,000 metric tons, maximum (typical)
Note: Due to the many different designations used (Tirolian, Terran-refit and Terran-new construction (SDF-2)) for the same components, only the Terran-new construction names and designations will be used for ease of reading. Where appropriate, the Tirolian designations will be added between brackets.
- Main power system: RRG Mk.1 protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace cluster. The powerplant of a Macross-class vessel can nominally deliver up to 43.2 Petawatts of power, and can operate for seventy-five minutes at maximum power before overheat initiates auto-shutdown.
- Maneuvering Thrusters (14) : Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters clusters with steerable nozzles. Three are located on each side of the ship, two are located on the ventral leg, two on the dorsal leg, two on the dorsal cannon booms and two on the ventral cannon booms.
- Reaction-mass Thrusters (6) : RRG HPC-2 Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters with protoculture energizer mounted in a vertical row of three in each aft leg.
- Secondary thrusters (24) :
- 8 RRG VFR-2 Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters with protoculture energizer mounted in two clusters of four underneath the 'shoulders'.
- 9 RRG VFR-3 Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters with protoculture energizer mounted on the ventral central body in a cluster of 3x3 engines, forward of the VFR-2 thrusters.
- 7 RRG VFR-4 Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters with protoculture energizer mounted on the ventral central body, in a cluster of two side rows of two and one central row of three aft of the VFR-2 thrusters.
- Anti-gravity System: 15 RRG Olympic anti-gravity pods.
- Space Fold (1) : RRG YS-2 spacefold. This system normally generates a hull-conformal fold, but is capable of spherical folds.
NB: A spherical fold was created by the Macross crew due to operator error. It is possible that this, along with the folding so deep in Earth's gravitational well, was a contributing factor to the subsequent disappearance of the fold system.
- Planetary Capabilities: The Macross-class has atmospheric capabilities through its reaction thrusters and anti-gravity system. The hull has sufficient structural strength for the ship to make a cold landing on it. Note that the ground underneath should be as firm as possible. The ship will float in an ocean, and this is the preferred landing in the absence of landing infrastructure.
Endurance and mobility limits:
- The dry stores endurance is limited to about 3 years with a full crew complement, assuming no mining and subsequent replenishment, which the ships were capable of doing. The extensive recycling installations ensured that only incidental biomass losses needed to be replenished. Water stores were recycled almost completely. The hydroponics installations on board provided the crew with a steady supply of fresh foods. The SDF-1 Macross, even with the surviving population of Macross Island embarked, could have provided for all on board for 14 to 16 years.
- The mecha consumables supplies (mainly missiles) were very extensive, and could sustain continuous combat operations for over twenty-five days against the Invid by the Naval forces alone, and the entire Air Force and Army forces could be supplied for twenty days of continuous combat operations.
The ship-launched missile magazines sufficed for three large battles or five or more skirmishes.
- At full power, the main propulsion systems can nominally produce up to 493 Giganewtons of thrust at a minimal reaction mass efficiency profile, or as little as 9.54 Giganewtons of thrust at a maximum efficiency setting. At lower power levels, these thrusts are commensurately smaller.
- At full power, the Macross class can nominally achieve a maximum delta-v of 225 kps at the cruising acceleration of 0.1 gees, a maximum delta-v of 44.9 kps at the battle acceleration of 1.0 gees, and a delta-v of at most 12.6 kps at the flank acceleration of 2.5 gees. At lower power levels, these ranges are commensurately smaller.
- The fold systems were not navigationally guaranteed for any single jump beyond 10 kiloparsecs. If longer voyages were required, the ship had to conduct multiple fold jumps.
- The maximum sustained atmospheric speed is limited to Mach 3. A higher speed could be attained while accelerating to orbit, or in emergencies, but this stressed the engines to above their sustainable heat tolerances. The maximum hover time on the anti-gravity systems was limited only by the protoculture supplies and maintenance requirements.
- Mk.1 Reflex cannon (Makral Ever 248) (1) : This weapon forms the forward part of the ship. The two forward booms slide and rotate to the side, and a particle beam generation then takes place between the two booms. This weapon is the most modern, smallest and most powerful of the larger Reflex cannon.
The effects of this weapon against planets are equal to the heat and blast effects of the detonation of a fusion weapon of 65 megatons, if fired at full power.
If utilized against starships, the largest vessels can be destroyed by the leakage of the beam. A direct hit will vaporize the target vessel. The weapon can also be set to a wider dispersal. While not nearly as effective as a tight beam against warships, it is capable of clearing a wide area of fighters and other mecha.
- Mk.1 particle cannon (Makral Deim 773) (8) : As the Reflex cannon cannot be fired fast enough to be effective against multiple heavy opponents, the main anti-ship weapons are 8 heavy particle cannon. They are built as a large turret with two barrels projecting from the front, but as with the Reflex cannon and the smaller Zentraedi cannons, the beam is generated between the barrels. Eight of these weapons are mounted on the ship: one on the side and on the dorsal of each cannon boom, one on the dorsal of each leg, and one on the forward dorsal and ventral side of the main hull. As with many other Tirolian designed ships, the aft ventral segment lacked heavy firepower. The power supply to these cannons is a new design, and incorporates an accumulation system that can store sufficient power for 8 full power salvos. The accumulators can replenish at effectively six full power salvos per minute. The beam has an effective range of 300,000 km and a full power discharge of 2.5 terajoules, equivalent to 500 tons of TNT. Although the cannon could be fired at lower power settings (and commensurate increases in the rate of fire) the highest power setting was typical in combat.
- Mk.2 plasma cannon (Makral Deim 869) (1) : The Macross-class mounted an unique weapon on the extreme forward edge of the center hull. This weapon was a three barreled plasma beam weapon with half the yield of the larger particle beams, but no less than three times the rate-of-fire. This weapon, which Tirolian Scientist Triumvirates hoped would replace the Mk.1 particle cannon one day, was to be field-tested on the Macross class prototypes prior to series production. However, the general stagnation of the Robotech Empire caused the project to be abandoned.
The Mk.2 particle cannon had an effective range of 300,000 km, a full power discharge of 1.25 terajoules and, while using an accumulation system in its power supply like the Mk.1 cannons, could recharge for 12 full power salvo's per minute due to improvements in beam generation and accumulator efficiency.
The refit SDF-1 never got the chance to field-test the weapon, as the cannon was destroyed during a battle with the Zentraedi near Pluto's orbit. The internals were then replaced with those of a triple-tubed, turreted torpedo launcher.
The SDF-2 mounted a standard Mk.1 particle cannon in this position.
- Mk.1 heavy railgun (Gluph Tacim 56) (4) : Mass driver cannons in single turrets are mounted on the shoulders. The cannons can accelerate a 225 kg projectile to velocities approaching 140 kps. The ammunition supply for each cannon is 3,000 projectiles. The turrets can rotate in the horizontal plane through 200 degrees (140 for a Terran ship with attached carriers), and elevate 15 degrees upward. Combined with the capacity for 360 degree rotation at the shoulder joint, these weapons can be unmasked on all possible target bearings. The impact energy of one projectile is 2.2 TJ (0.44 kT), and the rate of fire is 40 shots per minute.
The available ammunition consists of KCP Kinetic Core Penetrating (hull penetration rounds), KPI Kinetic Penetrating Incendiary (plasma incendiary rounds) and MKEP Multiple Kinetic Energy Penetrator (flechette cluster rounds), the latter as anti-mecha formation weapons.
This cannon was intended to be used as a possible complement to the heavy beam weapons, but the designers turned it into an area-defense weapon against mecha as well, though it is not as effective as a main gun salvo set on wide dispersal. In addition, this accurate weapon can also be used in pin-point attacks against ground targets, though only with KCP rounds as the KPI and MKEP rounds burn up on atmospheric re-entry.
- Mk.3 particle cannon (Makral Mossil 996-3) (16) : Turrets with effectively three Zentraedi standard particle beam cannons each. Two are on each of the ventral hips, one on each of the dorsal legs, dorsal and ventral center body and the upper dorsal shoulders, four are mounted on the shoulders proper and two are mounted forward of the side-mounted large particle beams on the cannon booms. Each barrel can fire 3,000 MJ of particle energy every 5 seconds, or less powerful discharges at a higher rate of fire.
The effective range is 300,000 km.
This was an improvement on the standard Zentraedi particle turret system, which suffered from no armor protection, as well as from unwanted hit dispersal on a target. The new design featured essentially three of the older cannons into one, heavily armored turret. This increased resilience and decreased hit dispersal greatly.
The REF later used an adaptation of this design idea in the turrets for the Izumo and Ikazuchi classes of starship, as well as for the exterior turret on the Garfish class destroyers.
- Mk.1 torpedo tube (12) (Deuawhaug Rasar 89) : A Reloadable Silo Launch System (RSLS), or as it is better known, a torpedo tube, capable of firing large anti-ship and ground bombardment torpedoes. The tubes can reload in five to ten seconds, and have a 40 round magazine close-by. These launchers are located around the command citadel.
The missiles used are the SSA-1 Sniper (Lojredbeth Deuawhaug) and the SSA-2 Scrapper (Letkes Deuawhaug) missiles. The former is a nuclear missile with a 326 kT reaction warhead, the latter is a conventional tipped missile with a warhead of 2.3 metric tons.
Both missiles are optimized for anti-ship strikes in deep space, but can be used in orbital bombardment modes or in an atmosphere.
- Mk.2 missile launcher (48) (Touwhaug Rasar 481) : A missile launcher mounted in a pop-up turret, firing anti-mecha/missile missiles, though the projectiles can guide on point-blank enemy ships. When the missiles are released they are already on their intercept vectors, or very close to them. Each turret has a reload time of 6 seconds and a magazine with a 100 round capacity. They are mounted for spherical coverage.
The missile system used is the SAA-1 Granite (Gliquoun Touwhaug), a weapon with a conventional blast fragmentation warhead of 278 kg and an atmospheric range of 112 km at a speed of Mach 7.5.
- Mk.1 Ballistic missile launcher (12) : The Terran refit replaced the Mk.1 torpedo launcher and its alien missiles with the Terran designed Mk.1 Ballistic missile launcher, effectively the same as the Zentraedi system but wired to accept the Terran Trident F4 rocket.
The F4 was a multi warhead design, carrying 5 warheads of 300 kT yield, and a guidance system suited only for anti-ship engagements.
Mk.88 Defense missile launcher (48) : A retractable 'pepperbox' launcher based on the naval MLB-10 system, but refitted for vacuum launches. The launcher was mainly for defensive purposes.
Each launcher had 10 missiles in the launch box and another 110 rounds in the magazine, for a total of no fewer than 5,760 missiles carried. The most common missile was the Hughes Warhawk missile, later complemented by the General Dynamics/Euromissile/BAe Spacehawk. Both missiles were procured with conventional as well as nuclear warheads.
- RRG-SP missile launcher (1) : A sextuple missile launch box for the same missiles as the Mk.88 fires. This is a field invention and refit using the turret of the destroyed Mk.2 particle cannon turret, each vertical pair of launch boxes firing though one of the gun ports. The turret was retrofitted to store 120 Spacehawk missiles.
- Numerous additional Reflex missile installations were added in something of a slipshod fashion in the days before the attack on Dolza's fleet.
Few details of these installations have survived.
- XS-1 Barrier Defense System: An advanced forcefield system which covers the full four pi steradians around the ship with a yellow-greenish forcefield (or if desired, only part of the ship). This field will stop all solids and directed energy weapons (except lasers through a narrow band). However, excess energy which cannot be shunted from the field into the monopolar heatsinks will be stored in the virtual structure of the field itself. The storage wattage is high but not infinite, and when the barrier overloads the field will discharge the stored energetic particles. This discharge will have the force of a high-yield (>45 MT) fusion bomb. However, as the discharged energetic particles' vectors will be away from the field and its generating vessel, the vessel will survive, though it will suffer severe damage to its electronics and power systems, and will not be battleworthy until repairs are made. After the SDF-1 lost her spacefold, shunting was limited to the secondary heat-sinks, increasing the liklihood of a barrier overload.
NB: The barrier system on board the Macross was heavily damaged during its crash landing on Earth, and full repairs were not completed until after the system had been reverse-engineered in 2010. However, it was partially operational in the months before its full restoration and operated as the "Pinpoint Barrier System", three (later four) movable disks of force field, conformal to the vessel's surface, that were useful in repelling light torpedo attacks, or strengthening hull sections prior to ramming actions such as the Daedalus maneuver.
Air Group and Mecha Complement:
(SDF-1 Macross in 2009)
Around the mid 1970s, the main ships of the Border Fleet, the Sian Dereta class battlefortresses, were requiring increasing amounts of maintenance due to the relative age of their components. Many general fleet designs were even older, but those ships operated in close proximity to repair and refit stations, and the maintenance requirements could be met. The Border Fleet required a new run of ships, preferably from an updated design. The result was the Macross class battlefortress.
The Macross-class was designed by the Tirolian design bureau also responsible for the design of the Tou Salaam exploration cruiser and the Assault Carrier. As such, the design shared several features with the former craft, but it also had a large number of unique features. Among the features the Macross battlefortresses had in common with their older brethren were the reaction engines, which were more angular looking, the micronian-sized command spaces located in a tower-structure above the main part of the vessel, and a
more 'non-organic feel' to the rest of the ship. However, the basic hull morphology and internal arrangement clearly showed its descent from the Sian Dereta class that had come before it.
The Macross-class vessels were of a modular design; the ship was made from ten main sections. The central section, called the main hull, was the main connection point for the rest of the modules. Inside the main hull were the fold drives, as well as a number of main compartments: four Tirolian-sized crewdecks, four Zentraedi-sized crewdecks, and three large holds that contained machinery and cargo space. The two engine sections (aka "legs") naturally contained the reaction engines, the reaction mass supplies, Reflex furnaces
and such, all stored in ten large holds, five per leg. It was also here that the manufacturing centers were located, as Border Fleet ships operated at the end of very long supply lines, and were thus required to be as self-sufficient as possible. The fabrication installations could, given sufficient raw material, construct any spare component as well as expendables and even small numbers of replacement mecha. The RDF especially benefited from this, particularly during the Pluto-Earth voyage of the Macross. However, the production lines on board were not geared for mass production, as some have speculated, and wore out very fast if used for this purpose.
Forward of the engine blocks on either side of the main hull were the main vertical thruster sections, to which the main gun sections and outboard hangar/rail gun sections attached. The main armament was built into the two forward sections of the ship. These two booms would not open up vertically, as had been the case with the original Reflex Cannons, but horizontally. The outer sections of these cannon booms remained upright during the firing maneuver, and it was in the outer hull layers of these sections that the secondary mecha launch bays of the ship were placed. The main landing bays, though, were located in the large sponsons, which also mounted the rail guns. The final section of the vessel was the command citadel, which was located on the rear dorsal of the main hull. The ships sported a command tower on top of the citadel, in which the main bridge and CIC were located; the Terran design for this tower came from the ship's computer, as the original command tower of the SDF-1 had mysteriously been ejected sometime between the death of Zor and its arrival on Earth.
The armament of the Macross-class was the heaviest ever mounted on a ship of its size. The Reflex Cannon was by far the most powerful that ever put to space. The only installation more powerful was the Terran Grand Cannon built in Alaska in the early 2000s. In addition, the Macross-class vessels carried eight heavy anti-ship cannons, more than on the larger Queadol Magdomilla. On top of these systems, two experimental weapon systems were built into the design, though more for testing purposes than for operational deployment. Four rail guns were mounted on the shoulder joints, and a medium particle cannon was installed on the most forward part of the main hull. The particle turret systems were improved on the Zentraedi Battlecruisers by mounting three cannons together in a more heavily armored housing. Sixteen of these turrets were mounted, giving the class the firepower of the far larger Thuverl Salan
cruiser. The class also carried a standard torpedo and defensive missile fit.
One of the most remarkable features of the Macross class was that they could reconfigure their layout. The engine sections could telescope outward to the rear, the cannon booms could rotate to the sides, and originally the main hull could rotate 90 degrees downward. This was designed so as to make maximum use of the modularity, as it simplified repairs immensely because of the better accessibility of the various sections, and it also made it possible to replace entire sections if needed. However, it soon became clear that the 90 degree main hull rotation would leave the structural strength of the ship suspect. Originally this was acceptable, since the transformation was only meant for spacedock, but later it was decided that field-repairs and refits should be possible, and the hull was refitted to rotate 180 degrees, and reconnect to the engines for increased power and stability in repair configuration. Because of the loss of the fold-system in the Terran refit Macross, and the associated loss of conduit connecting the main guns to the
engines, this configuration, redubbed as the 'Attack mode', was maintained for most of her operational life.
The Sian Macross class was designed as the new backbone ship class of the Border Fleet squadrons, and was the most modern (and also last) design in the Zentraedi and Border Fleet lineages.
The first vessel of the class, the Macross, was completed on schedule in August 1979. As originally planned, this class would have twelve prototype vessels by 1983, and be in full series production in 1988. An initial run of 25,000 ships was planned. However, as the Robotech Empire became more and more drained of protoculture resources, the plans for series production had to be put off indefinitely. Consequently, the twelve prototypes have remained the only Tirolian ships of this class, and the program never moved out of its experimental phase, with the ships never reaching the intended users.
Some prototype ships were then given to VIPs for use as their personal craft, and also some special forces combat groups made use of one of these rare vessels. In 1982 the class suffered its first loss, when a Tirolian diplomatic flotilla was attacked and destroyed completely by unidentified forces, although the Disciples of Zor were the (usual) suspects. A Tirolian Governor had been traveling in the Lugmor, and the ship was lost in the engagement. The Aippa was lost next, after being hit by a kinetic projectile fired from a mass-driver on the moon of an indentured planet. While the ship did survive, it was considered a constructional total loss. The records do not reveal the fate of the race responsible.
Then came the greatest blow to the Empire. By 1995 the name vessel of the class, the Macross, had been converted into a vessel specially suited for Zor's seeding attempts on other planets, seedings that were the only source of protoculture for the Empire. Consequently, a large Zentraedi force had been assigned to guard Zor and his ship, which carried the last fertile seeds of the Flower of Life in existence. However, Zor had managed to modify his ship, replacing much of the Tirolian crew, apart from a Bioroid and Clone soldier detachment specially assigned to guard him and a skeleton crew, with
Zentraedi. Using their gullibility towards advanced technological items, he had also placed the AI computer Eve (also sometimes rendered as Ih'va) on board, disguised as the ship's main computer. This gave him almost total control over the ship. By means unknown and for reasons unknown he had located the homeworld of the Terragen races (Earth) and instructed the computer to travel there -- without him or his crew.
During an Invid raid in 1999, Zor was killed, taking the secrets of protoculture replenishment with him to the grave. The Macross, controlled by Eve, mysteriously ejected the command tower and folded for parts unknown to the Masters. A faint fold trace detected by the hyperspace sensors on one of the Motherships could only give the roughest indication of distance and direction, but a huge Zentraedi armada was sent after it, or more precisely, after its seeds and secrets, as soon as possible. As is widely known, the Macross did make it to Earth, where it crash-landed. Because Zor's Tirolian escort died with him, there were no Bioroids or Assault Carriers on board the wreck, and these weapons would therefore give the
Southern Cross a nasty shock 30 years later. The exploits of the SDF-1, as the ship was later named, are well known, as is its destruction on the eighth of January, 2014.
In 2005, The Nezium went missing after a standard fold operation. Nothing has ever been heard of her since. The Nasices was cannibalized for protoculture in 2015 by the fleet of the Masters, prior to their sublight trip to Earth. Efforts to locate the completely undamaged hulk have so far proven fruitless, but it is known that she is somewhere in a radius of 23 lightyears
from Earth. In the early 2020s, the prototypes started running out of protoculture. The Ronarak crashed on a remote planet, and most of her mass was vaporized during atmospheric entry, while the rest fell into an acidic ocean and was soon dissolved. More spectacular was the fall of the Eicass, which crashed on an inhabited alien planet, but unlike the SDF-1 was destroyed. The Badeval went missing under circumstances like the Nezium's, but the educated guess is that her generators failed in mid-fold. The five of the remaining ships, Noziroh, Splaney, Baslits and Raflawem were destroyed during the Invid advances into the Tirolian Empire. They fell to the Invid in systems close to the Empire's core, after their fold engines had become inoperable due to low generator performance.
The Terrans, in an attempt to increase their fleets, designed another Macross-class vessel, based upon their reconstructions of the Macross. Construction started on Earth's moon, and in 2014 the ship was completed and transferred to Earth orbit to take on crew and supplies. However, in Khyron's surprise attack both Terran SDFs were destroyed, the SDF-2 by a surprise attack while in orbit over Macross City.
See additional design notes.
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Content by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker
3D Artwork by Matt Willis
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