|VQ-6X Shadow Drone|
|Armaments:|| 1 x 1-barreled Disruptor Cannon, functions as a heavy Beam cannon and also has a disruptive effect against force fields.|
The VQ-6X Shadow Drone was a class of Stealth Veritech Drone fighter developed by the Robotech Expeditionary Force and saw service during the Third Robotech War. They were a further improvement over the concept that developed the Alpha Drone and benefited from two decades of advancement in AI technology which made these craft fully autonomous in combat operations. Their capabilities allowed them to even substitute for junior pilots and were able to serve as fully-capable wingmen of actual Human pilots.
In terms of design, the Shadow Drone was built on the airframe of an Alpha Fighter though it was substantially modified. The original VTOL thrusters were removed with a new one being located where the head would be present in fighter mode. This was because the drone lacked a head in Battloid mode and this was a distinctive feature of these mecha. Furthermore, they lacked the sensor pods seen on the Alpha's right shoulder. In addition, the toes were restyled and the hands were replaced with three fingered claws. The shoulders were also remodeled with the removal of the 2x4 missiles launchers present in Alpha variants and instead were positioned as 2x6 flip-bays on the intake manifolds. Similar to the Alpha Drone, the canopy was missing within the Shadow Drone and was replaced with a bulge in the fuselage in the front which acted as a sensor window. Ultimately, the airframe was still that of an Alpha Fighter despite these small changes and these Drones performance was virtually identical to that of an Alpha.
Shadow Drones were fully capable of space flight but suffered from limited fuel tankage which gave it only a small window of time when operating in space. Furthermore, they were unable to reach suborbital altitudes on their own though this was compensated by their capacity to use a Beta Fighter as a booster which the crafts AI was fully able to control. The true strength of the VQ-6X Shadow Drone was in atmospheric operations where its small size and large thrust to weight ration made it both a nimble and elusive target. This was provided for by two powerful main engines in the legs with secondary powerful engines in the forearms as well as a dedicated VTOL thruster on the underside of the fuselage.
With regards to weapons, the drones were able to be outfitted with extremely powerful armaments for a craft of their size. They were able to carry the equivalent destructive potential of the heaviest fire-generation Destroids where they combined the effectiveness of a powerful beam gun with a large number of short-range missiles. They were also issued larger gun pods compared to an Alpha that were able to engage the force fields utilized by the Invid. In addition, the Drone gained the stealth advancements seen in the Shadow Fighter namely their capacity to combine radar stealth with that of an advanced Protoculture cloaking device which minimized detection cross section.