The Northrop Grumman/Bellcom VF-0 Phoenix variable fighter was an advanced prototype for the VF-1 Valkyrie which served as a flight test unit and later in 2008 as a front-line fighter, before the Valkyrie's mass production in November 2008. According to the fictional Macross continuity, the fighter was developed with overtechnology obtained from the massive alien space ship that crashed on Earth in the year 1999. In most respects, the VF-0 resembled the VF-1, although its legs were longer because the EGF-127 conventional turbofan engines used by the fighter were larger and bulkier than the VF-1's FF-2001 thermonuclear engines/ Numerous fine details also differ, such as head designs. The VF-0D's wings are very different, replacing the variable sweep wings with a canard-delta configuration; although this would perform well, it would ultimately not be adopted for the production series VF-1.
The VF-0's maximum speed is Mach 2.74 at 11,000 m (36,000 ft) above sea level altitude, using variable intake slats to slow the inrushing air to subsonic velocity, rather than a single variable intake ramp. Because it uses conventional turbofan engines and not thermonuclear turbines like the later VF-1, the VF-0 is not a true spacecraft (although it can operate for short periods of time underwater).The VF-0's armament was virtually identical to the VF-1's (although the VF-1S's laser armament was bumped up from two to four barrels), but slightly older in design: A 35mm gun pod (GPU-9) in place of the VF-1's 55mm GU-11, and AIM-200 AMRAAM IIs (a development of the AIM-120 AMRAAM) air to air missiles in place of the VF-1's AMM-1s.
Several VF-0s, under the command of Roy Focker, were deployed from the aircraft carrier Asuka II (CVN-99). Many were destroyed in combat in the South Pacific against Anti-U.N. forces piloting SV-51 variable fighters in early 2008.
The VF-0 was succeeded in service by the VF-1 Valkyrie in late 2008/early 2009. After Space War I, the idea of an atmospheric-use variable fighter would be resurrected years later to provide an inexpensive combat mecha for various planetary defense forces with the VF-3000 "Star Crusader" and the VF-5000 "Star Mirage". [Source: wikia]
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