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Vertibirds are a type of Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft designed for the United States Armed Forces in the years leading up to the Great War of 2077. The most advanced pre-war model was designated the XVB02, though other models of unknown designations were also developed both before and after the war.
The Vertibird, a tiltwing aircraft, was in relatively widespread use by multiple branches of the United States Armed Forces when the Great War struck in 2077, making wrecked examples of the aircraft quite prevalent throughout the wasteland. It is evident that the Commonwealth Coast Guard also operated the Vertibird before the war, as a destroyed example can be found on the helipad of Coast Guard Pier. Additionally, one such aircraft, likely belonging to the National Guard flies over Sanctuary Hills on the day of the Great War, ordering the evacuation to Vault 111 by megaphone. At an unspecified point of time after the bombs fell, a more advanced variant of the Vertibird known as the XVB02, still in prototype stage before the war, was placed in service by the Enclave, making it the first brand-new Vertibird model to be fielded after the bombs fell.
The existence of pre-War military Vertibird units is further supported by the appearance of a prototype Vertibird with winterized camouflage during the Operation Anchorage simulation dropping U.S. troops before taking off again. However, whether any Vertibirds were ever used during the Alaskan reclamation is uncertain as General Constantine Chase was known to implement his own, fictional content within the simulation. On the other hand, the Vertibird exhibit's description in the Museum of Technology directly implies that a more primitive type of Vertibird aircraft existed before the war, making it a reasonable assumption that the simulation was in fact largely accurate in terms of its portrayal of the vehicle.
Following the war, the experimental XVB02 project was continued by Enclave members and loyalists, leading to the aircraft being mass-produced in large quantities and placed in full service as the general-purpose delivery vehicle of the Enclave's military forces. Capable of surgical insertions, extractions and close air support alike, the Vertibird is synonymous with the Enclave in general and representative of their power as a whole.
The Vertibird has a heavily armored fuselage and can be outfitted with a variety of offensive weapons and defensive countermeasures, the most common being Gatling lasers, missile racks, and a mini nuke bay. It is unknown how a Vertibird is powered; however, dialogue with the Enclave remnants indicate a combustible fuel source. It has a winch that can haul several tons of equipment - or a large deathclaw cage.
There are two known versions of the craft used by the Enclave:
- A transport-oriented version with a glass canopy, six legs, a large cargo bay, and seven blades on each rotor to provide extra lift. This was the variant used before the destruction of Control Station ENCLAVE.
- A dedicated gunship version with a more heavily armored hull, four-bladed rotors and four retractable landing struts as well as greater maneuverability. This is the variant in use by the Enclave Remnants and the Enclave operating in the Capital Wasteland. This is the variant seen after the Destruction of Control Station ENCLAVE.
- A bulkier transport model with a glass cockpit, retractable side doors, collapsible wings, and two additional jet engines behind the main cabin.
Based on evidence from the Museum of Freedom, the Vertibird (at least in its early / pre-War versions) lacks shielding and is susceptible to an EMP. Its armarments consist of two frontfacing cannons and dual miniguns. The Vertibird's crew consists of two pilots, but can be piloted just as smoothly with only one.
The Vertibird's VTOL flight mechanics allow it to approach landing zones with the speed of a fixed-wing aircraft and transition into a hovering mode of flight, by tilting its rotors vertically upwards 90 degrees. Given this extreme amount of maneuverability, the Vertibird is regarded as a formidable force in the Fallout universe.
While the design of a Vertibird is convenient, its dual rotor-blades serve as a flight hazard, for if the aircraft were to suffer a single rotary malfunction at a substantial altitude, the Vertibird's airframe and distribution of down-wash would cause the aircraft to fall on its side in a dramatic and likely fatal crash, which can be seen if the player character disables a Vertibird's rotor in Fallout 4. In addition, the Fallout 4 version, due to its narrow landing gear footprint and high center of gravity, would easily topple to the side during landing.
Vertibirds are mostly support craft, but they will attack in a few circumstances. They are a significant threat for a wide array of reasons, but the biggest is that they pack an enormous amount of firepower on an extremely well-armored chassis. Their weapons include a nose-mounted Gatling laser, a minigun on the left side of the Vertibird for passengers, a pair of missile launchers, and a bomb rack for mini nukes. All of these weapons are threatening; the missile launcher deals heavy damage and can knock an opponent back, the Gatling laser can deal a lot of damage from afar, the minigun is used to mow down large amounts of infantry, and the mini nukes, used in airstrikes against heavy targets and placed defenses, can instantly kill a hostile.
Vertibirds tasked with fire support are the biggest threat, as they eliminate engaging hostile forces to back up Enclave troops on the ground. These Vertibirds often perform bombing runs, and make several passes to eliminate any resistance in the area. Vertibirds on these support flights may open fire with their missile launchers or Gatling lasers, though they do not use them as much as their mini nukes.
Vertibirds can sometimes be encountered on the ground. One noteworthy instance is on the steps of the Capitol Building in the Capital Wasteland. In these cases, upon finding one of the parked Vertibirds, there should be a cage containing a deathclaw inside. When engaged in combat, the Enclave officer nearest to the cage will often let the deathclaw loose.
In Fallout 4 Vertibirds lack the large armament package seen in Fallout 3 and are only armed with two fixed forward firing machine guns and a crew operated minigun mounted on the left hand side. When dropping the Sole Survivor off in an area inhabited with hostiles, the Vertibird will sometimes support the player by firing on the hostiles with its machine guns.
On the West Coast, Vertibirds were used by the Enclave to transport personnel and materials between the mainland and the Enclave Oil Rig. Vertibird range was at least 175 miles distance between the Enclave Oil Rig and California. Their known reach includes locations such as Klamath, New Reno and Vault 13. According to the Shi, Vertibirds flew over San Francisco on the way from Navarro to the Enclave Oil Rig.
Vertibirds are known to have appeared on the East Coast in 2277, when the Enclave came out of hiding to secure Project Purity. It is unknown if the Vertibirds were brought over by the Autumn Senior, when he led the Enclave forces east, or had been sequestered there by the Enclave before the War.
After the defeat of the Enclave on the west coast and sacking of Navarro, the NCR captured several Vertibirds and started to operate them in a cargo transport role, as seen at the Long 15. One is known to have been converted to a presidential transport, labeled Bear Force One. It is unknown if the West Coast Brotherhood of Steel also recovered Vertibirds from Navarro.
Between the events of Broken Steel and entering the Commonwealth in 2287, the Brotherhood has established a vast arsenal of Vertibirds. The Vertibirds have been modified so that they can be docked on the Brotherhood airship, The Prydwen.
Although the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave are the 2 factions known to have fleets of Vertibirds, the Gunners and NCR are also confirmed to own at least one. The Minutemen and the Railroad, may also come into possession of a single Vertibird.
In the Commonwealth the Vertibirds seen are significantly different compared to those seen in New California and the Capital Wasteland. It is larger in appearance and has a transparent cockpit, sliding doors on the cabin, a pintle mounted minigun on the left hand side and folding wings and rotors. The Vertibird also has a docking hook along the top near the tail, that links with the docking hook/arm on the flight deck of the Prydwen. Different from previous models are the model's retractable landing gear, in a different configuration with one along the center line at the front of the aircraft and the other three in a tricycle layout at the rear of the fuselage.
Vertibirds in Appalachia closely resemble those seen in the Commonwealth. Crashed Vertibirds can be found across the wasteland and automated Vertibirds, known as Vertibots, can be seen patrolling the skies above certain military installations.
Behind the scenesEdit
- The name "Vertibird" is the trademark for a toy helicopter playset popular in the 70s.
- Both the design and designation VB-02 are inspired by the tilt-rotor Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, as well as the tilt-wing LTV XC-142.
- Timothy Donley was the artist who designed the Vertibird model for Fallout 2
- The Fallout 4 version's design was described as the "result of a goldfish meeting a Hind helicopter."
|The following is based on unverified behind the scenes information and has not been confirmed by canon sources.|
- Many design aspects of this aircraft in Fallout 2 appear to be inspired by the Dragonfly. For example, the six legged landing gear and twin bulges in the forward fuselage.
|End of information based on unverified behind the scenes information.|
Concept art and rendersEdit
- ↑ Museum of Technology
- ↑ Outcast outpost terminal entries
- ↑ Daisy Whitman's dialogue - line 21: I never was happier than when I was in the cockpit. I was able to go just about anywhere and everywhere, limited only by the fuel I could carry.
- ↑ Fallout Official Survival Guide, p. 338: Additional Art; Tim Donley, TheVerti-Bird 3D model
- ↑ The Art of Fallout 4