ROBOTECH Technical Files
by Rob Morgenstern, with Tim Wing, Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker


MDR-17 Unicorn
Civil Defense Unit Main Defense Robot

Southern Cross Seal
CDU Unicorn
Mecha Separator

**Under Development**

I. Dimensions:

Total Height: 6.2 m
Total Depth: 2.6 m
Total Breadth: 3.0 m
Weight: 13.2 metric tons

II. Type:

III. Service Life:

IV. Propulsion:

V. Performance:

VI. Electronics:

Sensor Systems:
Tactical Electronic Warfare System:

VII. Armament:

  • 1 x General Electric E-18 pulse laser mounted in the forehead. Capable of firing 400 kJ pulses at a rate of 90 per minute, primarily designed to intercept missiles.
  • 2 x Vickers 40mm Grenade launchers mounted on the forearms. The launchers can fire up to 50 grenades each before reloading is necessary. Typical riot duty includes a mixture of tear gas, smoke, and fire suppressant rounds, while combat duty includes HE, HEAT and Anti-Personnel rounds.

GU-13 Gun Pod
Optional hand-held gun pods:
  • 1 x GU-13 three-barreled 35mm gun pod, firing 2000 rounds per minute, 600 round capacity, stored in the pod itself, and in a non-detachable 'magazine'. The Ammunition was a mix of Tungsten-coated depleted Uranium Armor Piercing Spin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APSSDS), High Explosive Armor Piercing (HEAP) and tracer rounds. This weapon was not frequently used.
EU-10 Laser Gun Pod
  • or 1 x Mauser EU-10 Laser Gun Pod. This gun pod fired energy pulses of up to 10 MJ per blast. This gun pod could fire up to 150 times/minute due to the large capacitors mounted on either side of the pod. This was the most common gunpod assigned to these battloids due to its decent penetration capabilities and high rate of fire. The weapon incorporated a carrying handle to assist in transportation and could be attached to an arm in a carrying position.
EU-11 Laser Gun Pod
  • or 1 x Mauser EU-11 28mm Laser Gun Pod. This gun pod fired energy pulses of up to 12.5 MJ per blast. This gun pod could fire up to 110 times/minute. This was the gun pod issued to the VHT-2 Hovertank due to its smaller size and higher penetration capabilities.
EU-22 Gun Pod
  • or 1 x General Electric EU-22 pulse laser pod, firing 12 MJ pulses at 130 pulses per second. Specially developed for the SC ground Battloids, this cannon used pulse technology to offset the beam attenuation caused by the lower layers of the atmosphere in which it was used. This pod was utilized in cases where more impact than penetration was required, and was introduced around 2031, although primarily with the combat battloids first.
  • or 1 x FU-1 water cannon pod, capable of firing a wide spray or a narrow stream of water up to 90 yards to assist in fighting fires and riot suppression. The pump is capable of up to 1000 gallons per minute. The cannon pod contains an integral 110 gallon tank with a detachable hose feed to a backpack-driven reservoir that can contain an additional 1000 gallons of water.

VIII. Armor:

The armor on the Unicorn is a new development in low-mass composite-materials Chobham plating that became the standard for all Terran mecha after its application to the VQ-6A Vandal. Aside from the respectable protection provided against projectiles, missiles, and other kinetic weapons, this armor is also resistant to plasma globes (annihilation discs), lasers, and to a lesser extent, particle guns, owing to the fact that the armor can 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 stops all small arms, heavy infantry weapons fire, and light mecha-mounted weaponry, provides fair to good resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie's 55mm APFSDS round, and provides poor resistance to heavy mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the VHT-2's 120mm shell.

The Unicorn provides full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using a fully-sealed cockpit module activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The cockpit module is also armored and gives the Unicorn the option of operating off-planet on the moon or elsewhere in the system. The internal consumables supplies can provide atmosphere purification for one week maximum on Earth and 48 hours in a hostile environment such as the moon or Mars.

IX. Development:

The Southern Cross Surface Command decided that the large vintage destroids were too conspicuous and vulnerable to standoff missile attacks to be fully effective. Also, in urban combat, the huge robots could easily lose small vehicles in back streets that were too small to accommodate the large destroids. As such, they desired to create a smaller and more agile mecha that could better adapt to a variety of operating environments. From this desire, the battloid concept evolved: a smaller, more agile, multi-purpose robot. To decrease the size and provide operational flexibility, the primary weapons shifted to an assortment of gunpods instead of the slow to reload integral weapons. The Unicorn retained an integral laser weapon so that the power of the mecha's protoculture energizer could be tapped to supply the demand of the anti-missile air defense laser, as well as a pair of grenade launchers for self-defense and secondary missions. It was also beneficial that the smaller battloids were much simpler and cheaper to manufacture allowing the depleted Southern Cross armies to rapidly rebuild a cohesive fighting force after being depleted by the departure of the Pioneer mission and their appropriation of most of Earth's mecha forces.

The Unicorn was developed for multi-purpose urban and base defense. The Unicorn was developed as a low-observability anti-missile defense mecha to fulfill that portion of the mission profile of the ADR-04 Defender destroid, as well as for riot control use to combat fear of mass hysteria with the exodus of the REF Pioneer mission containing a large segment of the Robotech mecha of the time. In peacetime, this mecha was also used in a fire suppression role. It could perform construction and fire suppression duties as well as its primary air defense and riot control roles. While less armed than the Defender, it was hoped that the smaller size and greater agility would offset this provided sufficient numbers of Unicorns were available. Also, due to the short range of the Unicorn's radar systems, it relies on linkage of surveillance data from air defense radars or forward observation mecha to provide comparable range to the Defender.

The Unicorn is equipped with rubber soles and large feet to minimize damage to city streets and sidewalks by spreading the force as much as possible. The Gunpod and grenade launcher ammunition would be changed depending on the unit's mission. For peace-time duties, mostly tear gas and smoke gas were used with some fire abatement loads also, in addition to the FU-1 water cannon. For combat duties, more offensive grenade rounds were loaded.

Most of the Unicorns were destroyed valiantly defending their posts against the initial Invid onslaught.

See additional design notes.

Return to Southern Cross Mecha Index.

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Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Content by Rob Morgenstern, with Pieter Thomassen, Tim Wing and Peter Walker
HTML by Robert Morgenstern (
Copyright © 2000 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker