The imposing Arsenal Bird is one of the most iconic superweapons in Ace Combat 7. With its massive array of laser weaponry and nearly impenetrable defenses, this flying fortress strikes fear into the hearts of enemy pilots.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Arsenal Bird is a massive flying wing aircraft armed with powerful laser weapons, drone manufacturing capabilities, and energy shields.
It serves as a mobile airborne aircraft carrier and is a key strategic asset for the Erusean military in Ace Combat 7.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the Arsenal Bird’s capabilities, weaknesses, and role in the story of Ace Combat 7. We’ll examine how to take down an Arsenal Bird, learn about the real-world inspirations behind its design, and understand why it’s such a formidable adversary.
Design and Capabilities of the Arsenal Bird
Physical Characteristics and Layout
The Arsenal Bird is an immense flying wing aircraft developed by the Erusean military. With a wingspan of over 600 meters, it is one of the largest aircraft ever constructed. The Arsenal Bird features a wide, flat body with no distinct fuselage or tail sections.
It has multiple large jet engines mounted internally to provide thrust.
The aircraft’s upper surface is covered with a array of electromagnetic railguns for defense. The lower wing surface houses bays for launching and controlling drones. At the front is a powerful high-energy laser system used as the Arsenal Bird’s primary offensive weapon.
Offensive Laser Weaponry
The defining armament of the Arsenal Birds are their powerful forward-firing laser cannons. These direct energy weapons can deliver searing megawatt-class beams capable of slicing through most aerial targets with ease.
The lasers recharge rapidly, allowing the Arsenal Bird to engage multiple targets in succession.
To utilize these lasers to their full potential, the Arsenal Bird employs advanced tracking, targeting, and predictive algorithms to precisely aim its destructive beams. With such capabilities, the lasers act as mid-to-long range standoff weapons, able to rapidly destroy threats before they can get within missile range.
Drone Manufacturing and Control
A key aspect of the Arsenal Bird is its ability to deploy and coordinate large numbers of semi-autonomous MQ-101 drones. It houses multiple internal factories that can quickly manufacture replacements if any drones are shot down.
These agile drones act as a swarm that extends the sensor coverage and firepower of the Arsenal Bird. They are directly linked to the mothership, which can assume control and coordinate drone attacks for maximum effectiveness.
Defensive Energy Shield
For defense, the Arsenal Bird generates a wide-area electromagnetic shield projected from emitters across its upper surface. This shield is capable of deflecting even heavy long-range missiles with ease.
To penetrate this formidable defense, aircraft must close to very short engagement ranges. However, attempting to get this close exposes them to brutal attack from the Arsenal Bird’s laser cannons and swarming drones.
The powerful shield allows the Arsenal Bird to provide nearly impenetrable aerial defense over a large area. Enemy forces are forced to either avoid the shielded zone entirely or else undertake very risky attacks at point blank range.
The Arsenal Bird’s Role in Ace Combat 7
Protecting the Space Elevator
The imposing Arsenal Bird was first introduced in Ace Combat 7 as a massive aerial warship developed to protect the Space Elevator and Erusea’s interests. With its powerful shielding and almost impenetrable armor, the Arsenal Bird was Erusea’s trump card in maintaining control of the Space Elevator.
It was an intimidating sight to behold and a formidable foe for any who dared challenge it.
The Arsenal Bird’s primary purpose was to safeguard the perimeter around the Space Elevator launch site. Using its advanced drone control systems, it could deploy and command scores of MQ-101 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to intercept incoming threats.
This made breaching the Arsenal Bird’s defenses exceptionally difficult. Only the most skilled pilots stood a chance of slipping past its swarms of drones to take on the Arsenal Bird directly.
Battle Over Yinshi Valley
One of the Arsenal Bird’s most pivotal roles was during the Battle of Yinshi Valley. When Osean forces attempted to press through the valley to strike at the Erusean military, they suddenly found themselves blocked by the Arsenal Bird’s overwhelming presence.
The Oseans were caught completely off guard and unable to respond to the Arsenal Bird’s drone assaults. The valley soon became a graveyard of downed Osean aircraft and dashed hopes.
However, the tide turned when the Osean ace pilot known as Trigger arrived on the scene. Displaying incredible skill, Trigger was able to break through the Arsenal Bird’s defenses by evading its drones.
After a fierce clash, Trigger managed to damage the Arsenal Bird enough that it was forced to retreat. The Oseans had lost a tremendous number of aircraft, but in turning back the Arsenal Bird, they opened a path to advance.
As Osean forces pushed closer to Farbanti, Erusea’s capital, the Arsenal Bird was deployed once more to halt their approach. Stationed near the city, the Arsenal Bird unleashed devastating airburst missile strikes on the Oseans while screening Farbanti with its drones.
Trigger was again instrumental in breaking the stalemate, using long-range missiles to gradually chip away at the Arsenal Bird’s defenses. After a protracted battle, Trigger and his squadron finally disabled one of the Arsenal Bird’s propulsion engines, causing it to crash. With the Arsenal Bird out of action, Osean bombers were free to launch an attack on Farbanti.
Despite its eventual downfall, the Arsenal Bird lived up to its reputation as Erusea’s stalwart guardian. For a time, it seemed unstoppable, cutting a swath through Osean forces and turning the tide of entire battles. Only through great struggle and sacrifice was its reign brought to an end.
Destroying an Arsenal Bird
Penetrating the Energy Shield
The Arsenal Bird’s most formidable defense is its massive energy shield that can deflect even the most powerful missile attacks. To penetrate this shield, it’s essential to use high-powered laser weaponry to temporarily disable small sections and create brief vulnerabilities.
The latest advanced laser cannons can project intensive beams able to burn through the energy barrier, but they require extremely precise targeting and timing. Pilots may only get a split-second window to fire missiles through the gap before it re-seals itself.
An alternative strategy is to use swarm missile attacks to overwhelm the shield generators around the periphery of the Arsenal Bird. Although most of the missiles will be blocked, a few may get past and damage the emitters.
This can weaken the shield’s intensity and create instability holes for larger ordnance to pass through. The challenge is delivering a large enough saturation assault before the Arsenal Bird’s defensive countermeasures have time to react.
Targeting Propulsion Systems
The Arsenal Bird uses massive ducted fans embedded within the wings to generate lift and thrust. Destroying these fans can cripple the aircraft’s mobility and render it vulnerable. However, the armored engine housings make a direct missile strike difficult.
The best tactic is to use precision-guided bombs that can penetrate the hull and detonate internally, disabling the fan mechanisms.
An alternative is targeting the Arsenal Bird’s thrust vectoring nozzles. These exposed exhaust ports on the trailing edges of the wings provide steering control. A few well-placed shots to damage the nozzle actuators can throw the aircraft into an uncontrolled spiral.
Causing an internal engine fire or inducing stall conditions in the ducted fans can also produce catastrophic failures. The goal is to cripple the propulsion systems through indirect methods since a head-on assault is extremely challenging.
Exploiting Design Weaknesses
The Arsenal Bird’s massive size and armor make it nearly impervious to conventional damage. But certain design flaws can still be exploited:
- The sensor arrays on top are vulnerable if missiles penetrate the shield.
- The rear propeller systems are exposed and can be disabled to affect steering.
- Jamming the control signal link affects coordination between its two halves.
- The lower hull area lacks thick armor plating present on the topside.
An ingenious pilot that recognizes and targets these weak points gives themselves a greater chance. For example, a creative tactic might involve using terrain masking to approach from below and deliver a heavy payload to the thinner belly armor.
Finding ways to cripple rather than directly destroy offers higher likelihood of success.
Of course, attacking an Arsenal Bird should always be carefully considered in context of the overall mission objectives. Simply eliminating one of these assets could easily escalate the conflict in unpredictable ways.
But understanding these machines’ weaknesses is still invaluable knowledge for any pilot facing the daunting challenge of surviving an engagement. The Arsenal Bird’s imposing size can seem overwhelming, but it can be overcome through smart thinking, precise execution, and a bit of luck.
Real-World Inspirations and Origins
Connections to the Boeing YAL-1
The Arsenal Bird’s design takes inspiration from real-world directed energy weapons like the Boeing YAL-1. This was an experimental airborne laser system designed to shoot down missiles with a megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL).
While the YAL-1 never entered full production, its massive turret design and laser beam weapon clearly influenced the Arsenal Bird’s appearance and capabilities.
Sci-Fi and Anime Influences
Beyond real-world prototypes, the Arsenal Bird also draws from science fiction and anime. Its sheer scale and robotic bird shape are reminiscent of angelic Evangelions from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The defensive laser system is also not unlike the phalanx beam cannons on spaceships from science fiction.
These pop culture influences help make the Arsenal Bird seem both futuristic yet familiar.
Evolution from the Aigaion
While the Arsenal Bird debuted in Ace Combat 7, its origins can be traced back to the Aigaion heavy command cruiser from Ace Combat 6. The Aigaion was a massive flying wing aircraft used to direct drone fighter squadrons.
The Arsenal Bird takes this concept further with its fully robotic bird shape and directed energy weapons. It represents an evolution of the same unmanned aerial warfare concept pioneered by the Aigaion years earlier in Strangereal’s fictional timeline.
With its imposing size, devastating firepower, and strong defenses, the Arsenal Bird establishes itself as one of the most intimidating superweapons in Ace Combat lore. Taking one down requires extensive planning, quick reflexes, and exploiting any design weakness you can find.
But with determination and skill, players can overcome the Arsenal Bird’s technological superiority. The satisfication of finally watching one of these aerial fortresses burst into flames is one of the highlights of Ace Combat 7’s campaign.
The Arsenal Bird captures players’ imaginations with its sheer spectacle and presence. It pushes pilots to their limits and redefines the scale of aerial warfare. Whether you love or hate facing off against it, there’s no denying the Arsenal Bird leaves an impact.