The Full Wiki

More info on VB-02 Vertibird

VB-02 Vertibird: Misc



Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From The Vault

A Vertibird overview
A transport Vertibird in Navarro

The VB-02 VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) craft, codenamed Vertibird, is a pre-War military multipurpose Tiltwing aircraft extensively used by the Enclave in post-war America. It has a heavily armored fuselage and can be outfitted with a variety of offensive weapons and defensive countermeasures, the most common being a Gatling Laser and a missile rack. It is powered by an internal fission reactor, which has been known to detonate under heavy fire. They have a winch that can haul several tons of equipment - or a large cage carrying a Deathclaw.

The Vertibird was still in prototype phase when the Great War struck in 2077, preventing it from entering full military service (scheduled for 2085). However, the trial aircraft that were already produced and in the field were seized by Enclave members and loyalists and either transferred to their bases or secured in shelters. The Enclave began mass-producing the design in secret, and now the Vertibird is the general-purpose delivery vehicle of the Enclave's military forces. Capable of surgical insertions and extractions and close air support alike, the Vertibird is synonymous with the Enclave in general, and a good representative of its power as a whole.

There are two versions of the craft used by the Enclave:

  • A transport-oriented version with a glass canopy, six legs, a large cargo bay, and more rotors to provide extra lift.
  • A dedicated gunship version with a more heavily armored hull, three or four (depending on model) retractable landing struts, and greater maneuverability.


Events related to the Vertibird

  • In 2241, one crashed near the trapper town of Klamath and was the first sign of the Enclave encountered by the Chosen One.
  • The Chosen One stole the Vertibird Plans from the Navarro base, but it is not certain whether he gave them to the Brotherhood of Steel, the Shi, or simply kept them.
  • In 2277, after the destruction of Raven Rock, several Vertibirds evacuated the base, with some destroyed in the confusion. Other Vertibirds were destroyed by Liberty Prime.
  • In the Fallout 3 add-on Broken Steel, you can fly in one for the first time as the last part of the mission. It is also a unique variant as it has a BOS symbol on both sides which means that the BOS have acquired Vertibirds as spoils of war. This is confirmed by Scribe Vallincourt, who claims to have conducted the study and modification of that particular Vertibird.

Combat Statistics

A Winterized Vertibird in Operation Anchorage
Winterized Vertibird, cruise flight

Vertibirds are mostly support craft, but they will attack you in a few circumstances, especially during the mission Take it Back! They are a significant threat for a wide array of reasons, but the biggest is that they pack an enormous amount of firepower on an extremely well-armored chassis. Their weapons include a nose-mounted Gatling Laser, a pair of Missile Launchers, and a bomb rack that can drop Mini Nukes. All of these weapons are threatening; the Missile Launcher deals heavy damage and can hurl you off high objects (such as bridges) to your untimely death. The Gatling Laser can deal a lot of damage from afar, and the Mini Nukes, used in airstrikes against heavy targets and emplaced defenses, can kill a player (or their party) instantaneously.

Fortunately, the Vertibirds you face are usually set for a specific assignment - either dropping Enclave troops off, or flying racetrack circles and providing fire support. Vertibirds on insertion/extraction duty are not capable of attacking, but their dropping off troops can be problematic, as Enclave Soldiers are one of the toughest hostile factions in the Capital Wasteland.

Vertibirds tasked with fire support are the biggest threat, as they eliminate engaging hostile forces to back up Enclave troops on the ground. These Vertibirds often perform bombing runs with small-level nuclear charges, and make several passes to eliminate any resistance in the area. Vertibirds on these support flights may open fire on you with their Missile Launchers or Gatling Lasers, though they do not use them as much as their Mini Nukes.

You can sometimes find parked Vertibirds. One noteworthy one is on the steps of the Capitol Building, and there's another a short distance northward of Vault 101. These can be destroyed too, much to the horror of any Enclave troops stationed nearby. Upon finding one of the parked Vertibirds, there should be a cage containing a Deathclaw inside. With this noted, make sure you take out the Enclave Officer nearest to the cage before taking on the rest, also a soldier may pick the key off their fallen commrade as then the soldier may release it, thus sending it after you.

There is a model in the Museum of Technology on the left after going through the Vault then through the door on the left. It is broken.



A crashed Vertibird
Cockpit of a Gunship variant
Troop section of a Gunship variant

In Fallout 3 Vertibirds can be destroyed with heavy ordnance, though they cannot be targetted in V.A.T.S. Note that the explosion of military-grade fuel powering a Vertibird is significantly larger than the explosion of a car or truck - proximity to an exploding Vertibird guarantees critical injury or death. There is a great deal of scrap thrown into the air when a Vertibird is destroyed. Should you search the area afterward, you may see propellers and whatnot lying on the ground. You can find dead Enclave troops nearby the debris, though they are empty even though the have armor on them.

If the troops have already disembarked and are close enough when the Vertibird is destroyed, the resulting explosion will kill them. If they are still aboard, they will be destroyed along with any possible loot. However - the troops instantaneously appear about 1.5 seconds after the vehicle lands, after it throttles up to take off; if destroyed before this narrow window, the troops may appear on the ground completely unscathed. Wait for the "enemy" tags to appear on your radar to administer the killing blow - the Vertibird by itself will not make one.

The Fat Man, Plasma Rifle, Gatling Laser, and most other heavy weaponry can take down these machines with little difficulty; Nuka Grenades and Plasma Grenades can too, though this can be slightly more tricky. The Tesla Cannon can easily take out a Vertibird in one shot. As a benchmark, on Hard difficulty it takes exactly: 12 shots from A3-21's Plasma Rifle, or 2 Nuka Grenades, or 11 shots with Lincoln's Repeater to bring one down. The Tesla Cannon destroys attacking vertibirds in one shot, but not transport vertibirds [Confirmed PC] Given the very short window of opportunity to target it, a fast-firing weapon is recommended and only while firing at the engine's, firing at the fuselage won't work.

Note: It takes 4-5 hits from the Gauss Rifle from the Operation Anchorage DLC.

In Fallout 3, the largest concentration of Vertibirds the player will have to face is in the quest Take it Back!, and these will be automatically destroyed by Liberty Prime as it advances. This does not prevent the player from destroying them on their own, however, and Vertibirds are easier for the player to destroy during this quest as they tend to hover while engaging Liberty Prime instead of flying at full speed, and can even be dispatched by repeated hits with a laser pistol or rifle. At Adams Air Force Base in the Broken Steel add-on, the player can find a couple of parked Vertibirds in front of the hangars.

West Coast Operations

Vertibird range was at least 175 miles distance between the oil rig and Navarro. Accessible were Klamath[1], Redding, Gecko[2], New Reno and Vault 13. According to the Shi, Vertibirds flew over San Francisco on the way from Navarro to the oil rig.

Design background

A gunship Vertibird outside Arlington Library
The Vertibird is a multipurpose Tiltwing aircraft design. In Fallout 3, minor research has revealed that other rotorcraft similar to the real-world V-22 Osprey, and the Mil Mi-24B, the tail section looks somewhat like a an AV-8B Harrier II. Though the craft does resemble other 1950-60's aircraft in certain aspects.

The name "Vertibird" is the trademark for a toy helicopter playset popular in the 70's. Some design aspects of the unusual aircraft appear to be inspired by that hovering insect, the dragonfly. For example, the six legged landing gear and twin bulges in the forward fuselage.

Vertibird Designation

The designation "VB-02" would, in real-world US military usage, indicate that it is a bomber aircraft. As the Vertibird's primary roles appear to be transport and ground attack, the "VB" prefix seems to be simply intended as an abbreviation of Vertibird. In post-1962 US Department of Defense nomenclature, the transport variation's designation would probably be CV-2, meaning "cargo/transport VTOL, design number 2", with the gunship variant being "A/CV-2", meaning "Attack Purposed, Cargo/Transport VTOL, design number 2".

Vertibird landing encounter

  • In Fallout 3, after escaping from the Jefferson Memorial, the player encounters Vertibird landings when in any exterior location (both in Washington D.C. and the Capital Wastelands). The Vertibird will land near the player, deploying three hostile Enclave Soldiers, two soldiers and a Sentry Bot, or two Tesla armored soldiers. If they do not see the player, they will start patrolling the area and attack anything around.
  • A Vertibird will always land outside of the Arlington Library, right by a semi-collasped building with a raider holed in it. 3 Tesla-armored troopers are dropped off.
  • Possible Glitch: A Vertibird will land in a fenced off portion to the left of Alexandria Arms. After eliminating all Enclave troops, the Vertibird will continue to land and go through it's animation cycle without any hostilities against the player.
  • You may also see one fly overhead when in a building with a collapsed ceiling (Ex.: The National Guard Depot or the office building in Seward Square).
  • There is also another minor encounter at the Seward Metro Station. It drops two Enclave soldiers and a Deathclaw. Be careful though, as there are also Super Mutants around.
  • After "The Waters of Life" a Vertibird will land just North-East of the entrance/exit of Vault 101. It will drop off an Officer and two Soldiers which will respawn a couple of days after being killed.
  • A Vertibird will land and stay put outside Springvale on the cliff to the west, above Silver's House.
  • You are guaranteed a Vertibird encounter at the top of the steps of the Capitol Building.
  • Vertibirds can occur as a random encounter (unconfirmed, PS3).
  • A Vertibird will land outside Dukov's Place, near a Deathclaw cage and other Enclave Soldiers, but only after you've killed the Enclave Soldiers that were already basing there.

In the Operation Anchorage DLC, a winterized prototype appears as support for American troops

Broken Steel

In the Broken Steel add-on, you fly back to the Citadel in a Vertibird captured by the Brotherhood.


  • It is possible to escape the map by leaping onto a vertibird. [1]
  • Sometimes, Vertibirds might land in the designated "landing zones", though they do not deploy any Enclave forces. This might occur when the player already dealt with the dropped troops beforehand, then re-entered the "landing zone".
  • The wreckage from a destroyed vertibird is different than that of the alive ones. tactical and unit markings are visible on some of the larger surfaces, the most notable one is a roundel with a lightning bolt in its center.
  • Vertibirds don't actually fly far off, possibly because Fallout 3 isn't the best at long distance rendering, instead they just move away whilst shrinking at the same time. This can be seen when they fly in front of a building or support pillar.

Appearances in games

Enclave soldiers in front of a Vertibird

Vertibirds appear in Fallout 2 and Fallout 3.


  1. may be one way trip
  2. threat only before Fallout 2 Restoration Project
Vehicles in the Fallout games
Enclave of the United States of America

This article uses material from the "VB-02 Vertibird" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address