"Our mission was to escort the heavy command cruiser that was to act as transportation for our organization."
Marcela Vasquez[2] on the XB-0

The XB-0 Hresvelgr (フレスベルク Furesuberuku) was a prototype heavy command cruiser constructed by the South Belka Munitions Factory[1] before and during the Belkan War. When the war broke out in March 1995, the XB-0 was not yet fully combat-capable, preventing its use in the Belkan military's initial offensive.

Sometime in late 1995, A World With No Boundaries seized the XB-0 from the SBMF and used it to bomb the city of Lumen and Valais Air Base. It was subsequently shot down by Galm Team as it attempted to escape north over the Waldreich Mountains.

History

Development

The XB-0 in its hangar at Mount Schirm

The XB-0 was developed by the South Belka Munitions Factory as a mobile command ship and aerial carrier. One of the project's long-term goals called for the airframe's mass production, which would allow its use over multiple battlefields.[1] It was at least partly constructed at a Belkan Air Force base near Mount Schirm; a massive domed hangar known as the "Bird's Nest"[3] was also erected to house the gunship during construction and testing.[4][5]

Despite its immense size, the XB-0's development remained largely unknown to the Allied Forces' intelligence division, due to the heavy cloud cover around Yering Mine.[3] When the Belkan War erupted in March 1995, the XB-0 had only completed primary testing and was not ready for mass production. As a result, it was unable to bolster the Belkan military's war effort.[1]

Deployment

Sometime around the beginning of their coup d'etat in December 1995,[3] the terrorist organization A World With No Boundaries commandeered the XB-0 for its own use.[6] The gunship's whereabouts remained unknown until December 25, when the terrorists used it to bombard the city of Lumen, where the cessation of hostilities treaty had been signed on June 20.[7] The XB-0 then traveled to eastern Ustio and struck Valais Air Base, before adjusting course and attempting to escape into northern Belka.[8]

Galm 1 attacking the XB-0

Although Valais's runway suffered considerable damage, Galm Team took off after emergency repairs were conducted. They pursued the XB-0, eventually catching up with it over the Waldreich Mountains. Its fighter escorts, which included Espada Team, engaged Galm but were ultimately shot down. Galm 1 then proceeded to disable the XB-0's engines and numerous anti-aircraft weapons, rendering the gunship defenseless. The subsequent destruction of its cockpit caused the XB-0 to lose altitude and crash into the mountains; its wreckage likely still remains scattered across the mountainsides. Larry Foulke, who had joined the rebels following the events of June 6, is the only known survivor of the battle, having escaped the airspace in his F-15C shortly before the XB-0's crash.[9]

Legacy

Despite its destruction, the XB-0 concept inspired the creation of other aerial warships around the world. The XB-0's schematics were directly involved in the development of Estovakia's P-1112 Aigaion heavy command cruiser and its Aerial Fleet.[10] It is also believed that, although unconfirmed, the XB-0 influenced the Usean XB-10 bomber as well as Leasath's Gandr and Gleipnir gunships.

Design

The XB-0 Hresvelgr was an enormous aerial warship classified as a "heavy command cruiser". It featured a bulky fuselage and a wingspan of 503 m (1,650 ft).It was propelled by six high-output engines—three per wing—that provided 1350.2 kilonewtons[1] of thrust each. The gunship's hull plating was fitted with numerous defensive guns and anti-aircraft missile launchers.[11]

Two large, rounded protrusions on either side of the fuselage acted as one of the XB-0's many aerodynamically stabilizing features: large dorsal and ventral rudders near the aircraft's wingtips enhanced stability, while dozens of anti-shock bodies along the wings' leading edges reduced drag on the airframe. The XB-0 featured port and starboard vertical stabilizers that extended several dozen meters past the gunship's stern.[11][12]

The XB-0 owed its immense size to its intended use as an airborne carrier for transporting and deploying aircraft. At maximum capacity, the XB-0 was capable of accommodating 50 fighter aircraft.[13]

Gallery

Trivia

  • The XB-0 Hresvelgr takes its full name from Hræsvelgr, a giant from Norse mythology. The XB-0's name is fitting, as Hræsvelgr assumes the form of a gigantic eagle.
  • While the XB-0 supposedly carries aircraft, its in-game design suggests that it is incapable of doing so: no hangar or runway are visible, and the XB-0's hull appears to be completely enclosed, with no way for aircraft to pass through it.
  • The XB-0's size is wildly inconsistent. Its hangar is depicted as rather small during Lying in Deceit, certainly not capable of housing the gunship. Meanwhile, during The Talon of Ruin, its ingame model is extremely large, with about a 946 m (3,104 ft) wingspan (based on size comparisons with the F-22A Raptor)[14][15]. Aces At War: A History 2019 gives its wingspan as 503 m (1,650 ft).[3]

References

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