- "That beast rains missiles. That's some serious shit."
- ― Clown
An Arsenal Bird, also known as an Aerial Arsenal Ship (AAS), is a class of unmanned aerial warships that can carry up to 80 MQ-101 UAVs. Two Arsenal Birds were developed by the Osean Federation to defend the International Space Elevator.
The Arsenal Birds are massive, unmanned aerial warships with wingspans of 1,100 meters (3,600 ft). They can carry up to 80 MQ-101s at one time. When these drones are launched, they are dropped from their holds in the aircraft's wings, flipping over and extending their wings to take flight. Arsenal Birds are also equipped with anti-air missile launchers on the dorsal wing surfaces with the production variant "Justice" having additionally been equipped with pulse laser turrets on the ventral wing surfaces and a nose mounted tactical laser beam system. For long range engagements, they can launch a "Helios" missile, which is an airburst type warhead effective against aircraft. Instead of jet engines, Arsenal Birds utilize large counter-rotating electric propellers for thrust, which can provide long endurance.
The Arsenal Birds are each equipped with a Microwave Powered Dome that has a large rectenna to receive microwave energy from the Lighthouse via wireless transmission as their main source of power. The dome also doubles as a central component of a defensive mechanism, called the Active Protection System (APS), that first projects a large halo before generating a force field to destroy missiles and other aircraft that are caught in the field. If the microwave transmission were to cease, the Arsenal Birds would stop activating APS to conserve power.
When exiting combat the Arsenal Bird can recover its launched drones by docking them back into the same bays they launched from. Resupply is via a large vessel which docks between the central propellers; the Arsenal Bird's internal systems become vulnerable when the resupply vessel is undocked. They also appear to have a limited self repair capacity, being shown to be able to restart destroyed engines after a short period of time.
The Arsenal Birds were developed sometime in the 2010s by the Osean Army to defend and support the International Space Elevator. Two units were developed, Liberty and Justice, with the former being a prototype and the latter being a production variant. Both Arsenal Birds are resupplied by supply ships launched from the Tyler Island Mass Driver.
At the start of the Lighthouse War, Erusea captured the space elevator and the Arsenal Birds fell under their control. This gave Erusea air superiority over the entirety of western Usea; if an attack were to occur, Erusea could simply send one Arsenal Bird to deal with the threat, while the other would continue to defend the space elevator. This was first demonstrated on May 30, 2019, when the Arsenal Bird Liberty attacked IUN forces in the Chopinburg Rainforest, forcing them to retreat. On June 6, Liberty was deployed again against the IUN, this time at the space elevator during the IUN's failed rescue of former Osean President Vincent Harling.
On August 19, 2019, the Osean Army secretly reactivated the eighth railgun of Stonehenge. Liberty was deployed to eliminate all forces in the area. With the help of the LRSSG, Liberty was shot down by Stonehenge and crashed in the Hatties Desert. The destruction of Liberty dealt a major blow to Erusea by drastically reducing the effective patrol area around the space elevator; the remaining Arsenal Bird, Justice, could not travel far from the space elevator without risking its safety. This led to Erusea losing most of its air superiority over Usea, allowing Osean forces to free over half of the Usean continent.
- The Arsenal Birds were referred to as "FAS" in 2015 promotions for Ace Combat 7. This name may have been changed to the AAS (Aerial Arsenal Ship) designation in the final game.
- The Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown - Strangereal Edition features a 40 cm:500g diecast model of the Arsenal Bird. Using the official 1,100-meter wingspan, this puts the diecast model at 1:2750 scale.
- Knocker used the nickname "Big Baby Huey" to refer to an Arsenal Bird in Two-pronged Strategy, which is a reference to the cartoon character Baby Huey.
- The Arsenal Birds resemble the Northrop YB-35 with its flying-wing design and rear-facing counter-rotating propellers.
- The Arsenal Bird's also resembles the Arkbird. Both incorporated similar weapons systems, were developed by Osea, and are capable of launching similar UAVs. They also employ identical resupply methods. The SSTOs and their supply compartments used for the resupply of both craft are also of similar design, if not the same.
- In order to have unlimited station keeping time, the Arsenal Bird would require some form of self-repair. Historically all aviation endurance records have been limited mechanical failures.
- The Arsenal Bird's propellers do not feather, and as such would cause significant control problems during an engine shutdown.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - New Years Showcase Trailer.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - E3 2017 Trailer.
- ↑ File:AAS.png
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - E3 2017 Demo Gameplay.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 『エースコンバット7』開発陣インタビュー完全版！ 「3つの軸を追求します」. Famitsu. Published December 17, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Aces At War: A History 2019, page 082.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - PS4 XB1 PC - Arsenal Bird Trailer.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Mission 03: "Two-pronged Strategy", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DflfJWKU8AEjxhi.jpg
- ↑ Mission 17: "Homeward", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Mission 12: "Stonehenge Defensive", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ Mission 04: "Rescue", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ Mission 09: "Faceless Soldier", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ Mission 13: "Bunker Buster", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ Mission 19: "Lighthouse", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ PS4 Exclusive Ace Combat 7 Gets First Awesome 4K Screenshots and Information. DualShockers. Published December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015. The file featuring the FAS has "FAS" in its filename. The "01" is used by other images in the same article, which means there is no secondary "-01" designation.