While the infant Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) Navy chose a refit of the Liberté space fighter as its main heavy strike fighter, Task Force Southern Cross (TFSC) chose a different set of criteria for the fighter that would fill this role on its warships. The Southern Cross did not feel that the fighter's main gun need be as powerful as the Vulture's EP-100, and preferred a somewhat smaller installation. Missiles, on the other hand, were considered more essential to the fleet-defense duties by the ASC-TFSC than the REF Navy, especially because the REF Navy expected to have less access to resupply and manufacturing facilities at this early date in its campaign. Finally, the TSC desired a greater autonomy for their fighter, meaning a greater delta-v capacity.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
Essentially, the craft chosen that met these criteria was a very large, fusion-powered trans-atmospheric flying missile battery. As a strike fighter, the FA-112 Chimera could even surpass the most fleet escort aircraft existing at the time. However, because of its non-transformable nature, its historical importance is often overshadowed by the Veritech. In addition to its load of no less than 27 heavy missiles, the Chimera carried a laser cannon in the nose.
The skin of the Chimera was composed of an advanced titanium-steel alloy. The armored skin stopped all small arms fire, provides good to excellent protection against heavier infantry weapons, such as a 12.7mm machinegun round, and fair to good resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round. The Chimera 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 can provide atmosphere for three days maximum.
The FA-112 Chimera was introduced in 2018, and served the Southern Cross faithfully for a decade and a half, both in space, and to a limited extent, in the atmosphere. It was never officially withdrawn from service, and many remained in hiding. Almost all action seen by this spacecraft was against the Robotech Masters. Especially when armed with reaction missiles, the Chimera often heralded death for their assault carriers and the lighter capital ships.
It is uncertain if any of these craft engaged the Invid, as insufficient records of the Invid's initial attack survive to describe those fateful hours, though it is reasonably likely if the remaining Southern Cross fleets had any warning of the attack whatsoever.