The SDF-3 Pioneer is the third human Battlefortress to be built and was originally the largest ship to be commissioned by the United Earth Government and the Robotech Expeditionary Force. The SDF-3 Pioneer is the Flagship of the REF and the Pioneer Expedition to the Robotech Masters's homeworld of Tirol in the year 2022.
The Crystal War
Although built for the mission to Tirol, the SDF-3 was used before the said mission, in 2021. In an incomplete fashion, it was a center point in the first battle of the Crystal War, where non-culture-affected Zentradi began attacking the ship. Kyle Bartley and Max Sterling helped fight off the army, although that was only the start of the war. (Crystal Dreams 1: Crystal Dreams)
The War ended a year later in the defeat of the Hostile Zentraedi, the population of Earth became paranoid and the preparations of the Pioneer Expedition were put in motion.
The Pioneer Expedition
The REF Civil War
In 2042, the SDF-3 was heavily damaged during T. R. Edwards' rebellion against the REF. The bridge of the vessel was damaged by Shadow fighters while the ship's reflex cannons were destroyed by the Invid Regent's Carrier. Several of the crew were injured, including the ship's commanding officer, Lisa Hunter.
The refit SDF-3's first action was over the Invid homeworld of Optera where the ship destroyed a Genesis pit mutated Edwards with a bombardment from its synchro cannons. (Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles comic: "The Children of the Shadows")
The SDF-3 and the science vessel Deukalion traveled to the Omicron Sector to test-fire a Neutron-S missile. During the test, the missile created a Black hole, crippling the Deukalion and damaging the SDF-3.
The Fourth Robotech War
Both vessels were aided by the Icarus, which was sent to check on the SDF-3 after contact was lost with the vessel. Due to the loss of the SDF-3's fold drive the Icarus planned to jump to hyperspace close to the SDF-3, engulfing it in its hyperspace bubble. However, the SDF-3 was rammed by an Haydonite warship, preventing it from jumping with the Icarus and sending it back towards the black hole.
The status of the SDF-3 was unknown, though the Haydonites believed that it had managed to escape the black hole and expected it to have retreated back to Space Station Liberty. They were surprised to not find it there when they launched their attack on the station.
Behind the scenes
- The SDF-3 is only portrayed in one scene in the completed Sentinels' animation. In such a scene it is portrayed to be a light shade of red - however, in the Sentinels' comic books and the cover of End of the Circle, the SDF-3 is depicted as green and yellow.
- In the novels, the SDF-3 is rebuilt from Breetai's Flagship.
- Robotech II: The Sentinels
- Crystal Dreams 1
- Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles
- Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles