The AFV-01 Thunderbolt was a mass produced transformable veritech fighter primarily used by the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) during the aftermath of the Second Robotech War. This design, along with the AFQ-01 Vandal Drone were the precursors to the standard Alpha Fighter, the most widely used, and successful advanced veritech units ever fielded by the REF.
The Thunderbolt was developed specifically by the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) to replace the VF line of veritech fighters that were still operating heavily in the military. The Thunderbolt was created under the belief of "spacers for spacers", a philosophy that became increasingly popular among citizens that had lived all their lives in deep space. Until that point, most if not all hardware and technology were holdovers from Earth.
The Thunderbolt's frame was inspired by the AFQ-01 Vandal Drone prototype, first conceived by Maxwell Dynamics. Part of the fighter's success was its smaller size and manueverability, which made it deadly against the many enemies encountered by the Robotech Expeditionary Force.
The Thunderbolt was composed of an advanced titanium-steel alloy, except that on the wings, which was made from a low-mass Chobham armor. The armor stopped all small arms fire, provides good protection against heavier infantry weapons, such as a 12.7mm machinegun round, and fair resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round. The armor on the wings was considerably stronger, allowing them to be used as parrying shields in close quarters while in Battloid mode.
The Thunderbolt provided full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using an overpressure cockpit environment activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The internal consumables supplies could provide atmosphere upwards to at least a week maximum.
The Thunderbolt saw extensive action in multiple operations of the Expeditionary forces. It was deployed on Earth during the last few month of the Second Robotech War, including the aftermath prior to the Invid Invasion. The Thunderbolt would later be phased out with the development of the Alpha Fighter.
- The design was based on the fighter that was briefly seen in Scott Bernard's flashback, while talking about Jonathan Wolfe during Episode 68: Eulogy of Robotech: The New Generation. It's transformation and battloid design was based off concept art from Genesis Climber MOSPEADA