ROBOTECH Technical Files
by Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker, with help from Joshua McClellan.


Liberator Class Super Dimensional Battlefortress
(also designated as Shadow Dimensional Battlefortress)

REF Seal
Liberator BattleFortress
Naval Separator

Names and disposition:

Ship's complement:


The Liberator with elements of the REF liberation fleet.

Propulsion systems:

Endurance and mobility limits:

Weapon systems:

Air group and mecha complement:

The Liberator class, like the Macross-class before them, has a large and voluminous cargo capacity and is capable of carrying thousands of additional mecha and troops in its cavernous storage bays. However these forces are basically passengers and will require some preparation before they can be launched from the battlefortress.
In 2044, The Liberators' Alpha and Beta complements were partially equipped with VF-6X Alpha Shadow Fighters, VF-12X Beta Shadow Fighters and VQ-6X ASAVAN Shadow Drones prior to her departure for Earth.
The Cyclone number includes mecha pilot emergency Cyclones, any ground forces aboard and reserves.


Design notes:

The Liberator design is distantly inspired by the philosophy that yielded the Ikazuchi-class large cruisers. The main body of the vessel retains the 'brick on its side' shape for much of its length, though it can be divided into two sub-sections: A narrow, aft central section containing the central engines and anchoring the command tower, and an enlarged and heightened forward cannon section. In addition, three additional modules are attached; two connecting by a long plane to the two sides of the central body, directly to the central engine block, and one to the keel. At the front of the central body the syncro cannon is mounted.
In addition, the forward subsection of the main body shields much of the vessel from return fire, and the side bodies shield the aft main body from flanking maneuvers. At normal battle attitudes (nose on), the Liberator's vital aft central body is usually only exposed on its top and bottom sides, and only in a very limited way forward of the engine blocks. This all combines (because of the ships' attitude) to make the central section the least vulnerable section of the ship.

The lower body contains the hangars, as well as many cargo bays, to facilitate unloading. Any troops being transported are quartered in other sections of the vessel, and the lower section has an independent anti-gravity engine block to enable it to make planetary landings, although to date this has not been used as such.

The command citadel is located on top of a tower that rises above the main hull, above the aft central engines. The Flag Bridge is located in this citadel.

Hangar decks and crew spaces are distributed through the central and side bodies as well, though most fighter mecha are launched from the side bodies. This includes no less than sixteen (in eight double housings) versions of the quick-launch bays first used on the Ikazuchi. There are two large Horizont bays located in the side bodies, just forward of the side aft engine sections. They are closed by large trapezoidal shutter door in the upper deck, and capable of a high turn-around rate on the shuttles.


The origin of the Liberator class Battlefortress lies in 2034, after the Expeditionary Forces had send most of their active combat units first to reinforce Earth against the Robotech Masters, then against the initial Invid attack. During those events, most large capital ships were destroyed or heavily damaged, and a new battlefortress type was authorized, the large SDF-4 Liberator class.

The class was seen as the follow-up to the SDF-3 Pioneer design, which had several known weak points, such as too little generating power for its main armament. Since the new class did not have to conform to a known Tirolian ship class, the designers were given a free hand, and after five years of design work, the final result beared little resemblance to the first three RDF battlefortresses. The Liberator over Earth in the Third Robotech War

Initially the class was to be equipped with a large reflex cannon up front like the SDF-1 and SDF-3 Pioneer, and the first of the class, to be named Izumo, was to be laid down in 2036. However, resource bottlenecks lead to a delay and by the time there was enough room in the construction program for the new class, the Haydonites had made Syncro cannon technology available.

This new main gun technology gave less powerfull individual salvos, but could fire much faster than the large Reflex cannon the REF was used to. This setup was better suited for anti-ship attack as both cannons had sufficient power to destroy any conceivable ship and thus the Syncro cannon's higher firing rate could take out multiple targets where a Reflex cannon could fire only once. An additional advantage was the more compact Syncro cannon installation, which did not require the entire forward hull to open up for firing, simplifying construction.

At the same time as the main armament redesign was taking place, the class was renamed the Liberator class. To save time, the Syncro cannon was fitted in the place where the Reflex cannon would have been, and the freed space was given other uses, but this resulted in a larger ship than would have been strictly necessary for the armament, as the Shimakaze class battlecruisers would later show. In addition, the heavy secondary and missile armament as well as large cargo requirements resulted in the heaviest and largest ship yet built by Earth forces, rivaling the Zentraedi Thuverl Salan cruiser in volume and mass.

The construction of the first of the class, the Liberator, began in late 2041 in the Tirolian shipyards, with the next vessel, the Scorpio, following one year later. The SDF-4 Liberator completed in 2044, too late to join the ill-fated Mars Division attack of 2042. She participated in the final battle of the Third Robotech War. The second ship of the class, the SDF-5 Scorpio, was just over half way complete when construction was suspended following the events after the Invid departure. For the third vessel of the class, as yet unnamed, numerous long lead construction items were ordered, but production had not yet officially begun when it was suspended pending a possible redesign to less compromised technologies.

See additional design notes.

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Content by Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker
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Copyright © 2001, 1999, 1997 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker