|For other Firehawks, see Firehawk.|
2 (3 when upgrade) bombs
Heavy (100% Cannon, 100% Rocket, 100% Grenade, 100% Gun, 1% Sniper)
1500 (x2) (Grenade)
1000 (x4) (Rocket)
|“|| Firehawk, docked and ready!|
The Firehawk VTOL fighter attack jet is a Global Defense Initiative's weapon system combining AI programming and human piloting skills that appears in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. It takes over the role of the old Orca Bomber that was used during the Second Tiberium War and Firestorm Crisis.
During the last half of the Second Tiberium War and subsequent Firestorm Crisis, GDI's air forces were suffering terrible losses at the fangs of Nod's versatile Apache and Harpy multirole aircraft. Orcas could only engage ground targets and were completely helpless against airborne targets, which Nod took full advantage of.
When it became apparent that the losses to GDI's air forces at the fangs of the Venom were becoming too great, the Board of Directors commissioned the Corps of Engineers to design an aircraft capable of countering Nod's nimble snake. During TW2 and the Firestorm Crisis that followed, several proposals for a new aircraft were drawn up, all of which had their own unique set abilities and weapons. In the end, only one was chosen.
The Orca's unguided munitions were small and dealt only moderate damage, so it often required a dozen or more aircraft to significantly affect Nod's production in the local area of operations. But the Orcas' light armor made them easy prey for the Venom's cannon, even easier prey when it was upgraded with directed energy generators (laser capacitors). The new aircraft was to be supersonic and multirole, capable of engaging both ground and air targets and quickly retreating if the situation became too dangerous. The aircraft was dubbed the Firehawk.
Over the next ten years, the Firehawk underwent rigorous performance tests. It was fitted with dual Dermott-Rhyles JT-750 turbofan scramjets that gmbds'z provided an 8-1 thrust ratio (the engines put out eight times the aircraft's weight in thrust) and were later augmented with Ares hypersonic rocket boosters, a Tyre R13-G7 long-range radar and target acquisition-designation system (TADS), and a frameless bubble canopy set low in the nose of a sleek fuselage to minimize drag and maximize speed.
Two hardpoints were bolted to each wing, to which both bombs and missiles could be attached. When armed with bombs, the Firehawk became an even more effective - if less flexible - anti-surface weapon than the Orca; with missiles on the rails, it became the most deadly human aerial vehicle in service. Despite having slightly less armor, the Firehawk was much faster and capable of escaping situations that had so easily turned the Orca into scrap metal.
|Anti-Air Loadout||Firehawks that are landed can switch over to Rattlesnake Anti-Air missiles. Cannot be used in flight (Ctrl+S).|
|Anti-Ground Loadout||Firehawks that are landed can switch weapons to Groundpounder bombs. Cannot be used in flight (Ctrl+D).|
|Stratofighter Booster||Instantly fly anywhere on the map. This ability has a 20 second cooldown and cannot be used while grounded (Ctrl+A).|
|Return to Base||Orders the Fiehawk to break off and immediately return to its docking station (Ctrl+F).|
|Stratofighter Booster||Allows Firehawks to shoot into the stratosphere and come screaming down at any location almost instantaneously, bypassing any defenses (Ctrl+D).||Purchasable at any Tech center (TW) or Airfield (KW) for $1000 and takes 0:30 to research.|
|Ceramic armour (ZOCOM only)||Orcas, Hammerheads, and Firehawks gain a significant degree of protection when protected by Ceramic armour.||Purchasable at any Airfield for $1000 and takes 0:30 to research (Ctrl+S). (Kane's Wrath only).|
|Hardpoints (GDI/Steel Talons only)||Adds 50% more ordnance to the Firehawk, for a total of either 3 bombs or 6 missiles (Ctrl+S).||Purchasable at any Airfield for $2500 and takes 1:00 to research. (Kane's Wrath only).|
|“|| We're heating up!|
- An Unfortunate Firehawk
While Nod's Vertigo Bombers take advantage of stealth to strike targets, GDI's Firehawks use extreme speed to reach targets quickly, fire their payload, then move back to base. Firehawks have the distinction of being one of the best air-to-air units in the game, since they can often destroy or damage enemy aircraft without giving them a chance to do much damage, if any, in return. In addition, the Stratofighter Boosters upgrade allows them to move anywhere on the field unharmed when activated, allowing them to either bypass enemy defenses and bomb the inside of a base, or to escape pursuing air units and appearing back at base.
ZOCOM has access to the Ceramic Armor upgrade, which improves the health of firehawks. The standard GDI faction instead has addition to the Hardpoints upgrade, allowing Firehawks to carry 50% more ammunition.
When landed, Firehawks can be configured to either carry bombs or missiles, but not both. In this way, they can serve as agile strike bombers or as interceptor craft, depending on the current needs of their commander.
While Firehawks may initially seem totally superior to Orcas, they aren't always. Orcas are cheaper, more durable, and have less prerequisite structures required to be built. Orcas also can carry several missiles which they fire at a manageable rate, making them better suited to engaging multiple targets at a time, while the Firehawk usually drops all its bombs at once on a target. Orcas are also generally more effective at dealing with heavily armored vehicles like tanks, which is something that Firehawk bombs aren't as good at. Firehawks are still generally superior at surviving attacks by anti-air units and are more efficient at leveling buildings due to their very high speed, however. A pair of Firehawks can destroy an anti-air turret in a single bombing run, and can expect to survive if they do not take AA fire from anything else along the way. They are good at harassment and wearing down opponents that have a deficiency in anti-air, due to their good survivability.
- It is GDI's only air-to-air unit, and can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time to enemy aircraft. Four unupgraded firehawks together can usually take out any Scrin warship in a single run, a single Firehawk can destroy most other aircraft in a single run.
- Bombs are devastating against structures and slow-moving targets, including Epic Units. Bombs also have a wide area-of-effect that makes them deadly against idle infantry squads.
- Even garrisoned infantry are not safe from bombs, which can kill them after destroying the structure.
- Stratofighter boosters allow it to penetrate heavily defended areas or make a quick escape if needed.
- Extreme speed allows them to always have the first strike.
- Can carry up to 3 bombs or 6 missiles after Hardpoints upgrade, meaning it can engage more targets or do more damage at a time.
- Useful for destroying exposed enemy Superweapons and other structures. Can be used to follow up an Ion Cannon (or other superweapon) strike to finish off damaged Construction Yards and Superweapons.
- Needs to reload at an Airfield
- Vulnerable to anti-surface units while docked.
- Only available at Tier 3.
- One of GDI's more costly units at 1500 per unit.
- Has low armor unless upgraded.
- Bombs only explode if they directly hit a target; a near miss will cause the bomb to harmlessly bury itself in the ground.
- Bombs do poor damage to heavy units, especially fairly fast-moving ones like tanks which can avoid bombs a lot of the time.
- Notoriously inaccurate against moving ground units.
- Vulnerable to advanced AA units, such as Nod units with Tiberium core missiles.
- Firehawks tend to bunch together in an air-to-air fight - which is suicide, since the Firehawk missiles tend to fire at the enemy when the clumped Firehawks are right beside it.
- Can be overestimated - Up to four Vertigo Bombers are capable of destroying a single Firehawk.
- Crashes if it cannot find a friendly Airbase when out of ammunition.
- May drop off more bombs than it needs. Firehawks can drop its entire load on an entire squad of infantry whereas in fact it only needs one.
- Firehawk, docked and ready!
- Firehawk, standing by.
- Firehawk here!
- We're clear!
- Looking good.
- Ready for coordinates!
- Bomber standing by!
- All set!
- Firehawk on its way!
- New course received!
- Roger that, command!
- We'll take that area!
- Copy that.
Using stratofighter boosters
- Going up!
- Let's take her up!
- Up and over!
Attacking with Missile
- Target confirmed!
- This one's mine!
- I'll take this!
- Approaching target!
- No problem!
- We'll going in!
- I'll see 'em!
- It's a go!
- We have a lock!
Attacking with bombs
- Ready to fire bomb!
- Target for fire bomb!
- This should clear it out!
- Bombing sequence confirm!
Returning to base
- Got it, returning to base!
- That is an RTB!
- Prepare to land!
- Abort mission!
- We've been hit, return to base!
- Hold on!
- We're heating up!
- The Firehawk uses an M-shaped wing with canards (forward stabilisers). While the particular wing shaped was never put to pracical use, the simpler forward-swept wing was used on Grumman X-29 and Sukhoi S-37 prototypes.