Overview Image Gallery
The airships are first seen in "Welcome to Beacon", where three such aircraft are seen transporting Atlas Soldiers to Beacon Academy. They appear to be under the command of General James Ironwood, who also seems to use them as his command post while in Vale.
They make a major appearance in "Breach", where one arrived along with a fleet of Atlesian dropships to assist in repelling the invading Grimm. Roman Torchwick is later imprisoned in the brig of one of the ships.
At the height of Atlas' strength in Vale, at least eight airships are present, as seen from Ozpin's office in "PvP", at the beginning of the Grimm invasion of Vale.
In "PvP", when the Grimm invade Vale, the airships immediately come under attack from Nevermores, with several sustaining damage. The captain of the airship designated Blue 4 attempts to move his squadron of three ships into defensive positions around Beacon Academy. However, Neopolitan had successfully infiltrated one of the ships, killing or incapacitating the bridge security and command staff. This is presumably Ironwood's flagship, as Roman is on board. After Roman is broken out of the brig by Neo, he proceeds to take control of the ship and turn it on the rest of the squadron, destroying the airships Blue 3 and 4 with ease.
In "Battle of Beacon", Ironwood pilots a dropship in an attempt to board and retake the airship from Roman. However, Roman introduces a Scroll infected with a computer virus that causes all of the Atlesian Knight-200s to go rogue and turn on Ironwood, who is taken off-guard and crashes his aircraft. Witnessing this, Ruby Rose decides to retake Roman's ship instead. She rides on a rocket-propelled locker and lands on the outside of the ship's hull. Roman and Neo head out to intercept her.
The ship was heavily damaged in the ensuing battle and crashes in Vale. After the destruction of the airship, the remaining androids and mechs shut down.
It is unknown how many airships survived the Grimm invasion of Vale and the Battle of Beacon. Aside from the three airships destroyed around Beacon, the other five ships do not make an appearance during the battle. Given that during the Grimm invasion the city of Vale was designated as the primary evacuation point by the Atlas military, and is overwhelmingly larger in population than Beacon Academy, it is likely that the majority of the airfleet was concentrated there. It is likely that at least a few ships were still operational defending the city of Vale, despite the fall of Beacon Academy. However, the airfleet undoubtedly took heavy losses, as at least a third of the fleet was lost through the actions of Roman and Neo.
The Airships are seen again at the end of "Our Way", where the entire airfleet is patrolling the skies above the city of Atlas. After Ruby's Group notices this and are called in by the airfleet to land in Atlas, they instead decide to land in Mantle during "The Greatest Kingdom" due to believing it to be a trap from the Military.
They are later seen in the skies protecting Atlas in "Gravity" and in "Midnight" when a river of Grimm Liquid erupts from Mantle and targets the bottom of Atlas. When it manages to make contact and creates Centinel Grimm, The Airships try to stop them from destroying the city's Hard-Light Dust Shields by shooting at them, but they fail to stop them and the city is breached by Salem and the Monstra as a result.
Later during the Battle of Atlas, the Airfleet is among the Military forces sent to stop the Grimm from invading and destroying the city. Some of the airships are destroyed by Tempest Grimm in "Dark". It is implied that after the battle ended, the majority of the airfleet was destroyed by the invading forces.
The Atlesian airship fulfilled a role similar to that of the Vale Airship used by Beacon and Vale, transporting people across long distances. Like the passenger airship, it was massive and slow-moving. The main difference between the two was that the Atlesian Airship was used exclusively by the military and was also used as a battleship, as its first appearance showed three of them dropping off Ironwood's army and Atlas students at the Beacon sky-dock. The airship was evidently the control center for the Atlesian androids and mechs. Roman was able to control the actions of the androids from the airship by infecting it with a computer virus, and once the airship was destroyed, all remaining units shut down.
The Atlesian airship also differed in appearance from the passenger airship. It had an arrow-shaped hull, with two blocky nacelles coming off its sides, most likely its gravity Dust generators, which were capable of keeping the behemoths afloat. It also had six large spinal fins protruding from the engine supports, mounted on large hinges that allowed the ship to move the fins. Each fin emitted an incredible amount of wind Dust, allowing it to turn and maneuver at an impressive rate given its size and mass. There were also several nozzles in between the spines, as well as on the bottom of the engine supports. The ship also had five main thrusters, two on each side on the ventral sides of the nacelles, and one under the main hull of the airship.
The Atlesian airship was armed with several forward-facing Dust laser batteries that were powerful enough to easily shoot down other airships of its class, as well as capable enough to fire highly accurate precision strikes. They don't seem to be armed with any point defense systems to protect the ship from fast moving targets such as smaller Grimm. However, they are rather durable, unable to withstand heavy firepower from a ship of its weight class, but powerful enough to be able to shrug off attacks from most Grimm.
Interior and Accommodations
The bridge of the airship was seen in "PvP". It had several workstations as well as a large main screen which displays navigational info and ship status. In addition to these command and control facilities, it was also possible to pilot the ship and fire its weapons from the bridge. It's heavily automated, as Roman Torchwick was able to command the ship and its deployed forces all by himself.
The brig was seen in "Breach", where Torchwick was imprisoned after the Grimm attack on Vale. The interior aesthetic of the brig was unusual and does not in any way resemble the interior of an aircraft or secure holding area. It more closely resembled the interior of a cathedral or castle with flying buttresses and arched windows.
The airship is also able to carry dozens of airships inside a large hangar, either dropships or Mantas, providing the ship with a means of long ranged reach and defensive screening, further expanding the vessel's combat profile to include roles of a carrier and an assault ship.
- In "PvP", known designations for the airships include Blue 2 through 4.
- The Atlesian Airships shown near the end of "Our Way" were ported over from Poser Pro and updated for Autodesk Maya.
- The World of RWBY: The Official Companion Page 154
- Volume 6 Directors' Commentary Chapter 13