The R-9A Arrowhead is the main protagonist of the 1987 Shoot 'Em Up arcade game R-Type. It was the first R-Craft created by the Space Corps to combat the evil Bydo Empire. In later years, the craft would be succeeded by stronger more versatile successors such as the R-9C War-Head and the R-90 Ragnarok, but would continue to be used by the Space Corps whenever necessary.
Prototypes for the R-9 were first created in the year MC 0042 (2144 A.D.), in MC 0050 (2152 A.D.), the final prototype was released and was rolled out into service the following year. The R-9 boasted a more powerful wave cannon than previous R-Type designs at the time (roughly 57 times stronger than those of its predecessors), and was the first to be capable of full-manual piloting and make use of the new Bit technology.
Almost immediately, the craft was placed into service to counter the Bydo Empire, and proved itself to be a major success.
In later years, the Arrowhead's design was shown to be inferior against later Bydo forces, thus resulting in the craft being semi-retired in favor of newer R-crafts, however its overall design and technology were used as the primary basis for said crafts, and the R-9A Arrowhead would still be considered a potential candidate for combat whenever necessary.
The R-9A Arrowhead boasts a number of useful weapons to make its combat performance versatile.
- Vulcan Cannon - a standard, rapid-fire capable cannon that can eliminate most small Bydos easily.
- Standard Wave Cannon - a powerful charging cannon that is capable of decimating multiple Bydos in its path, as well as being capable of dealing massive damage to larger bydos and bosses.
- Standard Force - a powerful mechanic consisting of a Bydo embryo restricted within four control rods, the force can be "thrown" by the R-9A Arrowhead, allowing it to deal contact damage. While separated from the craft, the force will fire independently, increasing for every Laser crystal the Arrowhead obtains until it has reached full power. When connected to the Arrowhead, it allows the craft to fire a powerful laser. Depending on the color of the crystal the Arrowhead obtains, the weapon will be one of the following:
- Air-to-Air Laser (Red) - fires a powerful, penetrating laser consisting of one red and blue unit, at full power, the two lasers will begin to intertwined, allowing them to cover a wider area.
- Reflective Laser (Blue) - fires three penetrating beam-type lasers, with the top and bottom lasers traveling in a 45 degree angle. The lasers are noted for their ability to bounce off walls, at full power, the lasers become longer.
- Air-to-Ground Laser (Yellow) - fires two powerful beams that travel upwards and downwards respectively before hitting a surface, which upon contact, will begin to travel across the ground, destroying anything within its path. At full power, the lasers will become longer.
- Homing Missiles - obtained when the Arrowhead collects a crystal with a "M" on it. When used, the Arrowhead will fire two missiles that will track the nearest enemy and damage them. They have high accuracy, but deal low damage.
- Round Bit Devices - the Round Bits act as a small, shield-like device that absorbs weaker enemy fire. They are indestructible so long as the Arrowhead is not destroyed, but do not provide any firepower in most cases save for the Air-to-Air Laser.
- Speed Up - when the Arrowhead obtains a crystal with an "S" on it, it will increase is its overall speed by one unit for a maximum of five. One must be careful not to obtain too many, it will make the Arrowhead harder to control.