|For other Firehawks, see Firehawk.|
|“|| Firehawk, docked and ready!|
The Firehawk VTOL 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.
The Firehawk fast attack jet is a dynamically unstable airframe that requires computer control to stay in flight – but the resulting air combat performance is unparalleled. The onboard AI also helps pilots with targeting, threat assessment and tracking, weapon control, and navigation. Connected through a neural link, the AI and the pilot work together seamlessly, combining the best of computer and human being.
The Firehawk can carry either air-to-ground or air-to-air load-out, which can be switched at an airfield. They can also be equipped with optional rocket boosters that allow the aircraft to punch into the stratosphere and go near-orbital in order to hop over enemy air defences. However, they are vulnerable to AA fire in the actual target zone during the re-entry after the boost phase.
|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 Armor (ZOCOM only)||Orcas, Hammerheads, and Firehawks gain a significant boost to durability when protected by Ceramic Armor.||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, are available earlier and are more suited to taking on vehicles. Orcas can also carry several rockets which they fire at a manageable rate, making them better suited to engaging multiple targets at a time, while the Firehawk usually drops all of its bombs on one target. Orcas are also generally more effective at dealing with heavily armored vehicles like tanks, which is something that Firehawk bombs aren't nearly as good at. Firehawks are still generally superior at surviving attacks against anti-air units and are more efficient at levelling buildings and wiping out infantry clumps due to their very high speed and grenade-type damage, respectively.
A pair of Firehawks can destroy an anti-air turret in a single bombing run, and can expect to survive if they don't take damage from anything along the way. They are good at harassment and wearing down opponents' bases that have a deficiency in anti-air, due to their good survivability.
- As GDI's premier and only air-to-air unit, it can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time to enemy aircraft. Four un-upgraded 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.
- The grenade damage of its bombs are especially effective against structures and infantry, and can even do decent damage to large, slow-moving targets such as Epic Units. Bombs also have a wide area-of-effect that makes them devastating against clumped 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.
- Available to all 3 GDI factions.
- 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.
- The grenade damage of its bombs do poor damage to heavily armored units such as tanks and even harvesters.
- 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.
- Takes continuous damage when out of ammunition and no Airfield slots are available.
- 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/Bomb
- Target confirmed!
- This one's mine!
- I'll take this!
- Approaching target!
- No problem!
- We're going in!
- I see 'em!
- It's a go!
- We have a lock!
Attacking Garrisoned Structure
- 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's 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.
- ↑ Verdu, Michael. 2006-09-29. Technology in 2047. Mirror: Technology in 2047. C&C3 X360 Page. 2010-02-21.
- ↑ Electronic Arts Los Angeles, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. GDI Weapons, Tactics, and Systems, "Firehawk Attack Jets".