AC-3 White Heron
The AC-3 White Herons' name is derived from the Japanese word shirasagi (白鷺), a combination of shiro (白), meaning "white," and sagi (鷺), meaning "heron" or "egret." Onscreen text in the international export version of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla translates their name literally as "AC-3 White Heron," and this is reflected in some contemporary sources including Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla Super Complete Works. However, the film's Japanese theater program translates it as simply Shirasagi. In real life, the "A" in a military jet designation stands for "attack aircraft," and the "C" for "close air support."
The AC-3 White Herons were developed alongside Kiryu as a means to both pilot the mech and transport it. Two of the planes transported it to Yokohama to confront Godzilla for the first time. After Godzilla's roar caused the spirit of the first Godzilla within Kiryu's bones to possess the machine and rampage through the city, Second Lieutenant Susumu Hayama attempted to lure Kiryu out to sea with a White Heron but was promptly shot down by its homing missiles. All aboard narrowly escaped as the plane exploded.
The White Herons intervened several times during Kiryu's second battle with Godzilla in Tokyo. As Second Lieutenant Akane Yashiro took manual control of Kiryu, it was recharged by one of the Herons. Later, Hayama opened fire on Godzilla as the monster prepared to fire his atomic breath at a prone Kiryu, crashing the plane into Godzilla's maw. Akane delayed Kiryu's firing of the Absolute Zero to remove the Heron from Godzilla's mouth, allowing Hayama to eject to safety.
As an out-of-control Kiryu carried Godzilla out to sea, Azusa Kisaragi's White Heron pursued them to rescue mechanic Yoshito Chujo, who was trapped inside. Using the Heron's cannons, she destroyed the jammed maintenance hatch, and Kiryu rotated, allowing Chujo to fall out. Kyosuke Akiba, Kiryu's operator, ejected from the White Heron and caught him in midair.
Three White Herons appear in the game's thirteenth stage. Identical to their film appearances, they are first seen carrying Kiryu into battle against Godzilla and afterwards linger briefly before the former goes berserk.
- Flight at 930 kilometers per hour, or 750 kilometers per hour when lifting Kiryu
- Functions as the control station for Kiryu
- Capable of carrying and transporting extremely heavy objects with help of a wire.
- Able to transmit energy to Kiryu
- Can fire dual pulsating cannons
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #15, 17 (2014)
The Counter-Kaiju Reaction Forces utilized a pair of AC-3 White Herons to remotely pilot Mechagodzilla as he was transporting Anguirus to a new facility in Russia. They were destroyed shortly thereafter by a pair of Mechagodzilla units sent by the Cryog aliens. Two more White Herons were subsequently dispatched as part of the recovery team sent to rescue the survivors of the attack.
- While Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla Super Complete Works (p. 18) indicates the pronunciation of the "3" in AC-3 White Heron as surī (スリー), the publication Godzilla Dictionary [New Edition] (p. 46) instead writes it as san (さん).
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