Advanced support aircraft
|“|| Gunship, all checked out.|
The FTAC-X2 Harbinger gunship was one of FutureTech's additions to the Allied arsenal in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising. It is a massive four-engine gunship, powered by Collider fuel cell and armed with miniaturized Collider Cannons and a heavy machinegun.
|“|| Sweeping the trash!|
- Harbinger, when firing its Collider Cannons
After the War of the Three Powers, the FutureTech Corporation quietly continued work on an aircraft model that promised to usher in a new era of air support. That aircraft is the FTAC-X2, better known as the Harbinger gunship.
The Harbinger is a veritable flying fortress, and is armed to the teeth with nothing less than the power of the Allies' ultimate weapon, the Proton Collider. Although the technology used in the Proton Collider remains a well-kept secret, the Allied top brass (as directed by European Union President Rupert Thornley himself) agreed to disclose that particular secret to FutureTech Corporation in exchange for services tendered, and in order to fulfill the ambitions of the Harbinger international design team.
Before this, the FutureTech team speculatively came up with an aircraft blueprint more massive any known turbofan jet to date, whose ability to fly in fact hinged on the need for an on-board Collider fuel cell -- one that was "small" enough to fit on such a gigantic plane. The story goes, because FutureTech had mostly deduced how the Proton Collider works, Allied brass reluctantly agreed to partner with the corporation in order to complete a prototype of what later became the Harbinger gunship.
Harbinger gunship crews are hand-picked by FutureTech from its private flight schools. Initially, Allied officials were publicly miffed at the idea that their ace airmen might not be qualified to get behind the yoke of a Harbinger, though President Thornley himself quickly smoothed the issue over. Both the Allies and FutureTech Corporation have since denied or dismissed rumors of ongoing tensions between Harbinger crews and the Allies own fighter jocks, even though the latter see the former as "a pack of vultures circling the skies sniffing for blood," according to one Allied pilot who wished to remain anonymous.
At any rate, both camps agree that the Harbinger cannot be successful without Allied fighter escort, and that airmen on both sides must routinely and trustingly put their lives into each other's hands.
Dwarfing even the Allies' own Century Bomber, the Harbinger's advanced sensors and weapon systems allow it to secure and hold large areas, as well as provide heavy fire support to any surface forces in the vicinity.
The production model of the gunship features not one but two starboard-mounted 120mm Collider Cannons, each one packing the explosive punch of a howitzer of roughly the same size. Because the fuel cell provides the Collider Cannons with their ammunition and also runs the Harbinger's four redundant turbofan engines, the thing can get off the ground and remain airborne for days.
The Harbinger needs to continually orbit while trained on a target. Together with the Harbinger's sheer size, also means it is incapable of landing at a standard Allied airbase. To compensate, the Harbinger features FutureTech's proprietary self-diagnostics-and-repair system, which makes up for its inability to touch down for repairs while out in the field. An elaborate array of sensors and communication equipment lets Harbinger crews keep a lock on terrestrial targets during flight.
To make up for the Collider Cannons' inability to strike precisely at a chosen destination, the Harbinger features a nose-mounted 25mm chain gun linked to targeting systems that track the gunner's eye movements. These extremely accurate weapons can shred lightly-armored surface threats without causing significant damage to the environment. All of the Harbinger's weaponry is directed toward the ground, however. Enemy air superiority fighter squadrons could conceivably give it a hard time, but the Harbinger is heavily armored, and has been shown to suffer barely a scratch from a Soviet MiG Fighter's Matryoshka missile.
|Chain Gun||Harbinger switch to it's nose-mounted chain gun to "mop up" a situation, or eliminating high-priority targets on foot|
|Collider Cannon||Harbinger switch to Collider Cannons to decimate enemy armor divisions and facilities.|
Notes from the Field
|“|| Wanna give them the bad news?|
• The Collider Cannons -- Packing the power of the Proton Collider, the Collider Cannon can decimate enemy armor divisions and facilities. The first shot from the Collider Cannon is almost always on target, though subsequent rounds tend to stray slightly due to overheating and recoil. Even still, the ensuing explosive blast makes pinpoint accuracy unimportant (and impossible).
• The nose-mounted chain gun --If and when a Harbinger needs to "mop up" a situation, or is tasked with eliminating high-priority targets on foot, it can switch to the 25mm Eliminator chain gun to get the job done. What the chain gun lacks in overall firepower, it makes up for with deadly precision and an extreme rate of fire.
• Remaining in orbit -- One quirk of the Harbinger gunship is that it must remain perpetually in motion, even while attacking. And since its Collider Cannons are mounted on the starboard side, it specifically tends to fly clockwise during firing runs. Consequently, the Harbinger may expose itself to considerable anti-aircraft fire when used in an assault.
• Worth its weight in ore -- The Harbinger gunship is far and away the most expensive element in the Allied arsenal, with a ticket price greater than even that of an Aircraft Carrier and even the Future Tank X-1. Further, this aircraft is available only to battlefield commanders with the highest clearance levels, and FutureTech Corporation requires performance data to be collected via a Defense Bureau facility in every deployment area.
|“|| Ohhhh maaaaaaaaannnn!|
- Harbinger being shot down
The Harbinger Gunship serves as the Allies' heavy bomber and aerial artillery, similar to the Soviet Kirov and the Imperial Giga Fortress. Its firepower allows it to make short work of anything on the ground. It's extremely durable, more so then the Kirov and less so then the Giga Fortress, and is faster than the other two heavy bombers, though aside from them it is the slowest aircraft.
Its armor and firepower allow a Harbinger to even defeat a Giga Fortress in a one-on-one face off. Large groups of them are nearly unstoppable; only considerable anti-air defenses can stop them. However, it does have its drawbacks, chief among them being that it is the the 2nd most expensive piece of military hardware in the game, it's asking price only surpassed by MCVs and Giga Fortresses (The Ultimate weapons were more expensive as well but a recent patch cut their prices in half). Also, its collider cannons have difficulty hitting fast moving targets and infantry, and while it doesn't need to reload, it does have a fairly long cooldown period in between salvos.
It somewhat compensates for this vulnerability against the latter by switching to its chaingun, which is very effective against infantry, and in addition, most anti air vehicles are lightly armored, allowing the chaingun to pick them off with ease. However, the chaingun is useless against heavily armored vehicles. Being that it is a specialized support bomber it can't attack other air units, making it extremely vulnerable to enemy air superiority fighters and should always be escorted by fellow Apollo Fighters. But overall, its ability to annihilate infantry, vehicles, and structures in short order as well as simply negating the effectiveness of most ground based air defences due to its sheer armor and firepower make the Harbinger Gunship an extremely useful and debatably overpowered fixture of the Allied Air Force.
- Devastating against everything on the ground and sea
- Good escort for Navy warships and other slow vulnerable units
- As durable as a Kirov and less vulnerable with its higher speed
- Secondary weapons are effective against infantry
- Able to stay in the frontline due to the fact that it is not required for the gunship to land to rearm or refuel
- Not limited to the number of empty slots on an airfield and therefore can be somewhat massed produced
- Self-repairing. Repairs can be speed up when near the vicinity of an Airfield
- Can be upgraded with advanced Aeronautics and High-technology upgrades to make it even more effective than it already is
- Formidable both as solo or in large numbers
- Collider cannons are particularly good against slow moving targets like Apocalypse tank or King Oni
- Much cheaper than the Giga-Fortress and can go solo against one in Sea Mode
- Cost effective and versatile despite it being the most expensive unit of the Allies
- The Allies' most expensive unit
- Somewhat average speed compared to other aircraft, cannot outfly enemy fighters
- Very long build time (0:40)
- Lacks anti-air weapons, requires fighter or anti-air escort to maintain its staying power
- Circling around instead of being static, prone to get lost or (unintentionally) fly into hostile fires
- Collider cannons have a hard time targeting fast moving targets with their lack of accuracy
- Secondary weapons are useless against heavier vehicles
- Collider cannons have a slow rate of fire
- Could cause friendly fire incidents when not managed properly
- Can be instantly destroyed by Yuriko Omega
- Harbinger, all set!
- Gunship, all checked out!
- Got something fun for me?
- Spill it!
- What's that command?
- Yeah, right here!
- Got anything good?
- You're all ready back there?
- Wanna give them the bad news?
- Yep, we're headin' over!
- I hear ya!
- Punching it in!
- Let's cool!
- Fine by me!
- Yeah, anywhere is good!
- Whatever you like!
- Might as well!
- Copy that!
Attacking with cannon
- Well, lookie here!
- Take that skinner!
- Watch 'em scatter!
- Sweep'in the trash!
- Let her loose!
Attacking with chain gun
- Hehehe, look at that one!
- Little more pepper on that?
- Shake 'em down!
- That one still moving!
- Finish 'em off!
- Mulch 'em!
- Open up on them!
Move to Attack
- Here we go!
- Now we're talking!
- Well lets, check it out then!
- Hehe, spill on aisle twelve!
- Green light, fellas!
- I'll take that one!
- Ooh yeah! you see that?!
- Gotta love the sound of that!
- Punch & pie!
- Little something for everyone!
- Ever wonder what they're thinking down there?
- Keep it circlin'!
- Almost finished!
- Who's left?
- We gotta move!
- Coming back hot!
- Before they take us!
- We're gonna make it!?
- Hey! They're shooting at us!
- Watch it there!
- We're out to close!
- Hey! Hey!
- Gunship's taking heat!
- Their getting gutsy!
- Woah, we're hit!?
- A Harbinger Gunship tends to use bullets for tanks and base defences and Collider cannons at buildings when used by an enemy AI.
- The Harbinger Gunship made an appearance in Mental Omega 3.3 mod for the Wings of Coronia subfaction of the Foehn Revolt with similar design although only capable of using its collider cannons and are called through a support power instead.
Behind the Scenes
|“|| Punch & pie!|
- Harbinger, enjoying his attacks
- The Harbinger is loosely based on real-world USAF Lockheed AC-130 "Spectre" gunship , due to both it's visual, and weapon designs, but at first glance it might look like A C-5A Galaxy transport plane.
- The Harbinger is voiced by Steve Blum .