The Macross-class Super Dimension Fortress, most commonly referred to as the SDF-1, was a fold-capable super dimension-class battlefortress that played a crucial role during the First Robotech War. It was a heavily modified version of Zor's Battlefortress, which crashed landed on Earth in 1999. It was capable of transforming into a human-like configuration, and possesses a power Reflex Cannon. The ship later developed various upgrades throughout the war, including a Pin-point Barrier Defense System. It was also the home of 70,000 survivors, who had constructed a city within the ship, naming it Macross City. It was featured in the series Robotech: The Macross Saga.
The Macross-class was originally based on a design by the Robotech Master, Zor, and used as an exploration and assault Carrier. It was extensively modified by humanity after the vessel crash landed on Earth in Macross Island. The Macross-class vessels were of a modular design; the ship was made from ten main sections. The central section, called the main hull, was the main connection point for the rest of the modules. Inside the main hull were the fold drives, as well as a number of main compartments: four human-sized crewdecks, four crewdecks that were originally meant for Zentraedi, and three large holds that contained machinery and cargo space. The two engine sections (aka "legs") naturally contained the reaction engines, the reaction mass supplies, Reflex furnaces and such, all stored in ten large holds, five per leg. It was also here that the manufacturing centers were located, as the ship was originally intended to operate at the end of very long supply lines, and were thus required to be as self-sufficient as possible. The fabrication installations could, given sufficient raw material, construct any spare component as well as expendables and even small numbers of replacement mecha. The Robotech Defense Force especially benefited from this, particularly during the Pluto-Earth voyage of the Macross. However, the production lines on board were not geared for mass production, as some have speculated, and wore out very fast if used for this purpose.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsForward of the engine blocks on either side of the main hull were the main vertical thruster sections, to which the main gun sections and outboard hangar/rail gun sections attached. The main armament was built into the two forward sections of the ship. These two booms would not open up vertically, as had been the case with the original Reflex Cannons, but horizontally. The outer sections of these cannon booms remained upright during the firing maneuver, and it was in the outer hull layers of these sections that the secondary mecha launch bays of the ship were placed. The main landing bays, though, were located in the large sponsons, which also mounted the rail guns. The final section of the vessel was the command citadel, which was located on the rear dorsal of the main hull. The ships sported a command tower on top of the citadel, in which the main bridge and CIC were located; the Terran design for this tower came from the ship's computer, as the original command tower of the SDF-1 had mysteriously been ejected sometime between the death of Zor and its arrival on Earth.
The armament of the Macross-class was the heaviest ever mounted on a ship of its size. The Reflex Cannon was by far the most powerful that ever put to space. The only installation more powerful was the Grand Cannon built in Alaska. In addition, the Macross-class vessels carried eight heavy anti-ship cannons, more than on the larger Queadol Magdomilla. On top of these systems, two experimental weapon systems were built into the design, though more for testing purposes than for operational deployment. Four rail guns were mounted on the shoulder joints, and a medium particle cannon was installed on the most forward part of the main hull. The particle turret systems were improved on the Zentraedi Battlecruisers by mounting three cannons together in a more heavily armored housing. Sixteen of these turrets were mounted, giving the class the firepower of the far larger Thuverl Salan cruiser. The class also carried a standard torpedo and defensive missile fit.
One of the most remarkable features of the Macross class was that they could reconfigure their layout. The engine sections could telescope outward to the rear, the cannon booms could rotate to the sides, and originally the main hull could rotate 90 degrees downward. This was designed so as to make maximum use of the modularity, as it simplified repairs immensely because of the better accessibility of the various sections, and it also made it possible to replace entire sections if needed. However, it soon became clear that the 90 degree main hull rotation would leave the structural strength of the ship suspect. Originally this was acceptable, since the transformation was only meant for spacedock, but later it was decided that field-repairs and refits should be possible, and the hull was refitted to rotate 180 degrees, and reconnect to the engines for increased power and stability in repair configuration. Because of the loss of the fold-system in the Terran refit Macross, and the associated loss of conduit connecting the main guns to the engines, this configuration, redubbed as the 'Attack mode', was maintained for most of her operational life.
Earth was embroiled in Global War throughout the 1990s when Zor's Battlefortress first crashed in Macross Island in 1999. The alien ship would motivate several of the warring factions to put their differences aside to create the "United Earth Defense Council", which serves as the head of a global military government. After the creation of the UEDC, there were a few minor skirmishes with dissenting nations, notably the Anti-Unification League, but it was not on the scale of the "global civil war" that came before it. After dealing with those minor skirmishes, work proceeds to rebuild the crashed vessel, and it was eventually designated the SDF-1.Khyron, attacked New Macross City with the intent of destroying a SDF-1. However, the SDF-1 managed to fire a single shot from its main cannon, using all of its remaining power, and severely damaged Khyron's battlecruiser. Khyron, determined to have his revenge even at the cost of his own life, pilots his ship into a collision course with the SDF-1. The SDF-1, crippled after having drained its power, is damaged beyond repair in the subsequent collision and explosion.
The Super Dimension Fortress-2 Megalord (SDF-2), the SDF-1's sister ship which was under Commander Lisa Hayes's command, was also destroyed. (The SDF-2 did not exist in the original Macross storyline of this episode.) Admiral Henry J. Gloval, Commander Claudia Grant, bridge operators Kim Young, and Sammie Porter and the majority of the SDF-1's other bridge crew were killed in the attack. Commander Hayes was ejected by the Admiral himself in the only operational escape pod. Plans based on Gloval's Initiative were then drawn up to construct the Super Dimension Fortress-3 Pioneer (SDF-3), which would later lead the charge during the Operation Pioneer.
In the meantime, New Macross City was abandoned. The SDF-1's hulk was then buried under three gigantic mounds on the former site of the city, while the wreckage of the SDF-2, and Khyron's battlecruiser were salvaged for material to help build up the fleets of the Pioneer Expedition. Unknown at the time was the Protoculture Matrix that was buried within the wreckage of the SDF-1's burnt out Reflex Furnaces.
Prior to the beginning of the Second Robotech War, the Robotech Masters learned the Zentraedi have failed to retrieve Zor's Battlefortress. Afraid their old enemies, the Disciples of Zor or possibly the Invid are responsible, they make the decision to personally acquire the ship's valuable Protoculture Matrix hidden within the fortress. Unable to fold to Earth directly, they begin a fifteen-year journey in their motherships.
- Designed by Kazutaka Miyatake.
- Macross was a term coined for the series from 'Macro' to imply its massive size, and 'Cross' to imply the long journey home it was to embark on in the series. The original working title was "Megarodo" which in Japanese is a pun on megaload / megaroad, implying size and distance, in a similar sense to Macross and macro / cross, and Megaroad-class colony fleets were the successors to the Macross-class ships (see Macross Flashback 2012). English-speaking fans have extrapolated that the "-ss" suffix stands for space ship, but this is not an official explanation from the Japanese creators. The "-ss" actually originated from "-su" in the Japanese pronunciation ("makurosu"), which in turn was derived from the Japanese pronunciation of Macbeth ("makubesu"), a pre-production name that one of the show's producers, an admirer of Shakespeare, initially suggested. The name "Macross" was settled upon as a compromise.
- The first toy replica of the SDF-1 Macross was made by Takatoku Toys during the original series' run. It completely resembled its anime counterpart, but with the addition of landing gear on the underside of its ship mode. This toy was imported into the U.S. by Matchbox in 1985 as part of the Robotech line. A smaller version of the SDF-1 Macross toy was imported to the Convertors toy line in the 1980s as a Maladroid character.
- In 2007, Wave released a new Macross toy replica under the W.H.A.M.! (Wave High Advanced Model) banner. The 1/5000 scale SDF-1 Macross stood at 9 inches tall in Storm Attacker mode and was designed after its appearance in Macross: Do You Remember Love?. In late-2010, Yamato Toys released a 1/3000 scale replica. Originally, they previewed a larger 1/2000 scale prototype, but due to production costs, the company opted for the smaller size. The 1/3000 toy is the first to feature a miniature replica of Macross City, which is located in the Storm Attacker mode's left leg.