The AFQ-01 Vandal was a mass produced transformable veritech drone used by the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF), and was featured in Robotech: The New Generation. It was originally developed by Maxwell Dynamics, a private research and development firm on Earth. The design sat on shelf for several years before being acquired by the returning forces from deep space shortly after the end of the Second Robotech War. It's airframe would become the basis for the later generation veritech Alpha Fighters.
The Vandal drone was the direct precursor to the AFC-01I Alpha Fighter, though it didn't include a cyclone stowage and its head pulled and replaced with a semi-autonomous control system that required a remote control station.
The piloting hardware was an improved variant of the Mark 3 Heuristic expert system first used on the QF-3000 Ghost Drone Fighter, but tactical management of multiple fighters was controlled by a ground-based emplacement which communicated with the fighters via Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) radio transmission.
The AI autopilot does not eliminate the need for an ACS (Automatic Control System), which handled almost all of the routine functions the corresponding system manages in the Alpha Fighters, such as sensors, threat detection and identification, countermeasures, and so forth; making the pilot interface as simple to the CPU as it is to a human pilot - with the exception of motor control of the mecha was directly connected to the 'brain'.
The armor on the Vandal series fighters was a new development in low-mass composite-materials Chobham plating that became the standard for all Terran mecha. Aside from the respectable protection provided against projectiles, missiles, and other kinetic weapons, this armor was also resistant to plasma globes (annihilation discs), lasers, and to a lesser extent, particle guns, owing to the fact that the armor could flake off and evaporate in layers under fire from such high-energy weapons, taking much of the weapon's energy and converting it into the latent heat of sublimation in the armor. The armor stopped all small arms and heavy infantry weapons fire, provides good to excellent resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round, and poor to good resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie's 55mm APFSDS round.
The armor on the Vandal was marginally inferior to that mounted on the later AFQ models, like the Shadow Drone.