The VF-4 Lightning III is the succesor to the VF-1 manned transformable aerospace mecha from The Super Dimension Fortress Macross. It first appeared in the Macross Flashback 2012 OVA from 1987. Early prototypes had the VFX-4 designation.
The Lightning is faster, more maneuverable, can generate more thrust than the standard VF-1 Valkyrie, and is armed with internal missile bays and dual beam cannons in addition to the same traditional GU-11 gunpod found in the VF-1.
More advanced variants included improved thermonuclear engines and an additional head-mounted laser cannon for defense. It was eventually succeeded by the VF-11 Thunderbolt several years later.