|“|| I've seen it all.|
- Overheard from a battle-tested Sky/Sea Wing pilot
The Sea-Wing/Sky-Wing is a unique unit in the Imperial arsenal. First seen in The War of the Three Powers and used later in the Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising, it is a powerful ground attack aircraft equipped with quadruple plasma relays, far more advanced than the crude Soviet or the tested and tried Allied aircraft. It attacks by flying circles around its target, much like dogfighting. The most important aspect of the Sky-Wing is its ability to transform into an anti-aircraft submarine, the Sea-Wing. This makes it nearly invulnerable to most attacks.
|“|| The Sea-Wing is a thing of great beauty. It can swim, it can fly, it kills both ground and sky!|
- Shinzo Nagama
Doubtlessly one of the more impressive feats of Japanese engineering to date, the Sea-Wing is a stealthy submersible whose sealed hull and specially designed locomotors let it rise up and out of the water in the form of an anti-surface strike craft, the Sky-Wing. This makes it perhaps the most maneuverable craft in the Imperial military, which, considering the extreme mobility of many of the Empire's fighting forces, is saying a lot. Furthermore, neither the Soviet nor Allied military possesses a counterpart to this type of never-before-seen dual-role craft. With the discovery of the Sea-Wing, it seems not even the seas are safe from the Empire of the Rising Sun's ambush forces.
While lurking undersea, the Sea-Wing is nearly undetectable to scanners, and could almost be mistaken for a large mechanical devil ray. Once it has detected enemy aircraft, it surfaces to unleash a rapid seeking-rocket barrage against its foes. The rockets are disturbingly accurate even at range, and sea-wings seem to carry no shortage of them either. An entire top-ace squadron of Soviet MiG fighters once was decimated by a Sea-Wing patrol in a matter of minutes.
While the MiG incident left Soviet air command in a state of near-panic, only later was the Sea-Wing connected to the Sky-Wing strike craft, which was previously assumed to be a completely different unit. In Sky-Wing form, the vehicle seems to use the propulsions from its rockets to help keep it aloft, while using a single swivel-mounted energy weapon to attack surface targets. The weapon causes intense burns, and has proven deadly against unarmored targets in particular—especially ones ill-equipped to take on a fast-moving aircraft like the Sky-Wing.
The way in which the Sea-Wing transitions to the Sky-Wing and back is almost bizarre, in that the vehicle simply turns end over end like a coin-flip. How Sea-Wing pilots are able to withstand this, in addition to the G-forces of subsonic rises and submerges, is anyone's guess, though the cockpit of the vehicle is believed to be suspended in a sort of gyroscopic mounting. At any rate, piloting such a craft must take incredible skill, especially since the Sea-Wing's slender form means it is relatively fragile and dependent on its mobility for protection. The Empire of the Rising Sun, having a considerably smaller population than its rival world powers, must be training only the best of the best to commandeer these unusual vessels.
|Submerge||The Sea Wing attacks air units from the sea.|
|Emerge||The Sea Wing changes into the Sky Wing and attacks ground level units from the air.|
|“|| Let's go wake them up!|
The Sea-Wing is an anti-air sub mainly used for air defense for Imperial fleets. While the Sky-Wing it is a close air support plane that is useful for taking out groups of infantry.
In large groups, the Sky-Wing is a dangerous opponent against infantry as well as lightly armored ground units (i.e. Riptide). However, it lacks the firepower to pierce the heavy armor of tanks and ships.
Tactics and Counters
|“|| I survived worse.|
- Sea/Sky Wing pilot, after evading enemy AA fire
The Wings are not without their flaws. Being a ground attack plane, they are not able to hit flying targets unless they submerge. Air superiority fighters like the MiG Fighter and the Apollo Fighter are very effective against the Sky-Wing. Bullfrogs, Hydrofoils, Flak troopers, Multigunner IFVs and anything else able to hit flying targets is an immediate threat to it. To avoid this, the Sea-Wing can dive under water. From there, they are safe from anti-aircraft attacks.
While under water, other naval vessels are a serious threat to the Sea-Wing. The Sea Wing is only vulnerable to enemy units that can assault submerged units, like the Assault Destroyers,and Naginata Cruisers. Due to low armour and high construction prices, Imperial commanders shouldn't be reckless with these units.
Assault destroyers or Riptide ACVs escorted by Hydrofoils spell death for Sea-wings, as Do Akula submarines or Stingrays with Bullfrogs, or over the ground, Multigunner IFVs and again Bullfrogs, and if they go up against rogue imperial forces, other Sea-Wings were a deadly threat to it.
Sea wings must surface to attack thus making it vulnerable to attacks.
- Invisible to radar while submerged
- Can submerge to evade from most enemy fire
- Effective against infantry in Sky-Wing form and aircraft in Sea-Wing form
- Can be upgraded by Fortified Fleet and Advanced Rocket Pods
- Cannot be destroyed by a single type of unit.
- The greatest attack power of all the Anti-air naval units
- Amazingly fast in Sky Form, rivalling even Jet Tengus
- When the Sea-Wing isordered to move, it is treated as submerged, even if it has surfaced to fire. This means that while moving it is virtually invulnerable (Only units that can attack submerged units can damage it)
- Cannot pierce heavy armour or attack aircraft in Sky-Wing form
- Delay between acquiring a target and surfacing to fire
- unavoidably vulnerable to surface attacks when firing in Sea Wing form.
- Dependent on having a body of water under it in Sky-wing form to be able to counter airborne threats, unlike the Striker-VX and Mecha/Jet Tengu
- When in AA mode, air units must be near or over to water to be able to hit.
- Terror drone infection will prevent the sea wing from transforming into sky wing.
Notes from the field
|“|| They'll be dropping soon.|
Battlefield reconnaissance has revealed at least these facts about the Sea-Wing:
• Air emerge -- In its base form, the Sea-Wing is a relatively quick-moving submarine armed with an anti-air rocket system specially designed to track and destroy flying targets. While it has no way of attacking other surface craft, it can burst from the waves into the flight-capable Sky-Wing form seemingly any time.
• Sea submerge -- While in Sky-Wing form, this vehicle's kinetic pulse-shot weapon can rapidly overwhelm unarmored targets, with results arguably superior even to the machine guns of the Soviet Twinblade gunships. Unlike a helicopter, however, the Sky-Wing must remain constantly in flight, and unlike any known vehicle, it may simply dive back into the water to avoid harm.
• Nearly undetectable underwater -- While underwater, the Sea-Wing is undetectable to most radar scans, and cannot be attacked directly by common weapons. It does become vulnerable when surfacing to fire, though having first-attack advantage has proven to be essential to Imperial battle tactics.
• Target spotting -- While the Sea-Wing is extremely capable on its own, it seems designed to work even better in concert with other Imperial forces, including naval forces such as the feared Shogun-class battleships. In Sky-Wing form, these craft can help the Shoguns' main battery guns track inland targets.
The Sky-Wing/Sea-Wing requires a combination of units for the Allies and Soviets to effectively deal with. Using only fighter aircraft could lead to disaster, as an unfortunate ace-squadron of MiGs found out when they encountered a Sea-Wing patrol. Using only Assault Destroyers without Hydrofoil support would only lead to slow destruction at the hands of the Sky-Wing.
- Sea-Wing, checking in!
- I've seen it all!
Select in Submerge mode
- Submerged and scanning!
- Nice and cool!
- Anything on sonar?
- Don't worry about me!
- How's it going up there?
Select in Emerge mode
- In the sky!
- What do you have for me?
- Ready for anything!
- Altitude all good!
- Nice and quiet up here!
- I've got it covered!
Moving in Submerge mode
- Skating over!
- Nothing to see here!
- Propulsion's on!
- Staying low!
- Looking around!
- Let's see!
- Go with the flow!
Moving in Emerge mode
- I'm good with that!
- It's all good from here!
- Keeping it high!
- Let's go there!
- Now this is more like it!
Attacking in Submerge mode
- Got 'em!
- He's gonna drop!
- Bring 'em down!
- No problem!
- I got their number!
Attacking in Emerge mode
- He's right below us!
- Tank 'em!
- Drop in some rounds!
- Payload on it's way!
Move to Attack
- Thought you'd never ask!
- They'll never even see me!
- Consider 'em gone!
- Let's go wake them up!
- Let's create a little turbulence!
- They're as good as dead!
- They won't stand much more of this!
- Just got this mess to clean up!
- We got 'em right here!
- They'll be dropping soon!
- We'll come back when we're ready!
- Give ourselves a little room!
- They won't catch us!
- We better clear out!
- I've survived worse!
- How's the hull looking?
- I don't like this!
- We better get moving!
- What? We're taking hits!
- The Sea-Wing only spins when transforming which means that all of its weapon systems are only located on one side of the sub.
- When flying, the Sky-Wing's rocket pods are beneath it but it cannot fire them. The same happens to Sea-Wings seemingly unable to fire its kinetic pulse-shot weapon.
- In Uprising, the Sky-Wing can land on bridges, provided that there is a body of water at the other side. Upon landing, the Sea-Wing is considered as an air unit. If the Sea-Wing is ordered to stop, it will fall through the bridge and will gain mobility again. The Sky-Wing can go to the bridge during its transforming animation. The Sea Wing, in order to land, must have a "blocker" or a Giga-Fortress on a bridge.
- Sea-Wings are immune to all attacks by simply moving them or ordering the stop command before the projectile hits them, the submarines are immune to damage even if they are still surfaced. Works best in hold fire mode, if not, the Sea Wings will still attack the target and will be damaged. This method must be repeated in every attack. The Sea Wings are immune to damage because once you hit the stop command, they are immediately treated as submerged. Only units that can attack submerged units can attack them.
- The unit's design was inspired by diving gannets.
- The design is a reference to the proposed flying submarines. There are numerous fictional aircraft capable of aerial and underwater travel.
Behind the scenes
The circling method of attack is similar to the tactics of real-life modern gunships, such as the Lockheed Martin/Rockwell AC-130 Spectre.
This vehicle does not actually transform, but only spins and dives or flies out of the water when transforming.
In flight mode, the Sky-Wing is very similar to the Scrin Stormrider from the Third Tiberium War, sharing the shape and similar weaponry. However, it is anti-infantry, while the Stormrider is anti-air and anti-vehicle.
- Hydrofoil - Allied anti-air vessel counterpart.
- Bullfrog transport - Soviet anti-air vessel counterpart.
- ↑ Did you know Empire of the Rising Sun's Sea Wing was inspired by the diving Gannets in Planet Earth?. Greg Black's Twitter account, 28 June 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.