The flagship of the REf fleet is the mile long (1.6 km) SDF-3. This third incarnation of Zor's experimental vessel is much more true to the original design, making it very different than its famous predecessor.
The most obvious change is its outward appearance. The vessel is a quarter of a mile larger, red in colour, and bears little resemblance to the famous SDF-1. The original Robotech Masters' design is clearly apparent, as exhibited in its more rounded, organic design. The arms of the SDF-1 & 2, which bore the Daedalus and Prometheus type submersible carriers, are gone. In their place are two oval shaped "laser arms". The flat forward deck and main reflex cannon have been replaced with a tubular dual cannon providing twice as much firepower than the SDF-1's. Small lasers and communications antennas bristle from the outer surface like dozens of hairs.
The most surprising difference is that the SDF-3 can not transform. This is completely intentional and not a design flaw. The modular transformation capabilities of the first two battle fortresses was a human modification. Since Robotechnology seemed to focus on a symbiosis between man and machine and the transformability of machines, the humans assumed the battle cruiser possessed these same features and created the multilevel metamorphosis ability of the SDF-1. However, while the metamorphosis of the SDF-1 was dramatic and did serve to save the mighty vessel on several occasions, it is not an effective combat mode. The humanoid shape slows movement and provides no combat advantage.
The non-transformable SDF-3 is faster, more mobile, covered in a variety of deadly weapons (designed for close range and long range battle), and better designed for space travel. In addition to its space fold system, the spacecraft utilizes antigravity, sublight, and conventional means of propulsion.
The purpose of the SDF-3 is to provide heavy support for its fleet/troops and to function as a mobile base of operations or space station. It is not just a giant space gun. Inside its belly is a massive manufacturing facility that builds and repairs mecha, missiles, weapons, vehicles, and additional equipment. Other facilities manufacture clothing, electronics, and process food. An intergalactic campaign requires a foundation, a haven that offers shelter, food and comfort. Without it, the fleet could never sustain a military or exploratory campaign for more than a few months. Without a doubt, the SDF-3 is the heart of the REF fleet. The roots that holds and sustains the entire fleet.
NOTE: The SDF-3 is fully functional, unlike the SDF-1. It includes such advanced technology as a Full Barrier System, a Pin-Point Barrier system with 4 mobile shields, anti-gravity control systems, and a Fold Drive.
Mecha / Vehicles:
Full Size Zentraedi Mecha