Redwing, the drone companion to Sam Wilson’s flight suit, is a surprisingly versatile piece of tech. Here’s a breakdown of all its abilities.
Warning! The following feature contains SPOILERS for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiere.
The opening action sequence of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier revealed a vast array of new powers for Redwing, the advanced drone that works in conjunction with Sam Wilson’s Falcon suit in the MCU. This raised the question of just what abilities Redwing has and what upgrades it might have received over the years.
In the original Captain America and the Falcon comics, Sam Wilson developed the power to communicate with birds telepathically after being exposed to a reality-altering Cosmic Cube. This allowed Sam to see through their eyes and Sam went on to foster a particularly strong connection to one falcon, whom he named Redwing. His powers also allowed him to read the minds of aliens who had evolved from avian species (like the Shi’ar from X-Men) or Inhumans with bird-like features. However, Sam rarely used his power for this purpose, primarily deploying Redwing and other birds as scouts to help him form a plan before taking the field of battle.
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The MCU simplified this considerably, effectively giving Sam Wilson the same power set through Stark Drone MK82 922 V 80Z V2 Prototype Unit V6, which Sam named Redwing for short. First appearing in the tie-in comic Captain America: Road to War, Redwing was specifically designed to interact with the EXO-7 Falcon jetpack after Sam Wilson joined the Avengers following the Battle of Sokovia. While Redwing was primarily meant to act as a reconnaissance agent, the premiere episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showcased how useful Redwing could be in a fight, having a number of tools that could double as weapons.
Flight is perhaps the most obvious power Redwing possesses, but he does far more than simply keep up with Sam Wilson in the skies. Given its compact size, Redwing is ideal for scouting missions and reconnaissance, as it is mobile enough to move into tight spaces (such as underneath a moving truck) with ease. Capable of true silent-running flight, Redwing is also a surprisingly stealthy drone given its speed, and is capable of cruising around a crowded marketplace without being noticed — a feat it accomplished while defending the IFID Headquarters in Lagos during the events of Captain America: Civil War.
In keeping with its primary function as a reconnaissance drone, Redwing is equipped with a high-definition 360 degree camera and specialized tracking software. This software allows Redwing to scan the area around it through multiple visual spectrums, including X-rays, ultraviolet light and infrared light. Redwing can transmit this data directly to Falcon’s combat goggles and his personal HUD or to other Avengers, essentially acting as a second pair of eyes and giving Falcon unparalleled information regarding what might be within a building or a vehicle and how hostiles in the area are armed. Redwing’s scanners are so powerful they enabled him to keep track of Ant-Man during a running battle, when Sam tried to stop Scott Lang from breaking into Avengers HQ.
While primarily intended to be used for scouting purposes, Redwing does have some offensive capabilities. This proved to be a good thing for Black Widow, when she got into a stand-off with the terrorists led by Crossbones during an operation in Lagos in Captain America: Civil War. The terrorists didn’t notice Redwing fly up behind them and all it took was two quick shots of its machine guns for Black Widow to be given the chance she needed to catch the biological weapon the terrorists had stolen before it could break.
Redwing saved the day when both Falcon and the Winter Soldier were almost taken out of the Clash of the Avengers by Spider-Man, during Captain America: Civil War. As the wall-crawler apologized for being so hard on them, Falcon was able to summon Redwing, who latched onto Spider-Man’s wrist with a tow line and hauled him off into the distance before releasing him. It’s unknown if this cable was originally intended for defensive purposes (like carrying people out of harm’s way) or intended to be a weapon. In either case, Redwing moved fast enough that it grappled Peter Parker before his Spider-Sense could warn him of the attack.
Splitting Into Three Smaller Drones
In Avengers: Infinity War, Redwing showed an interesting new ability to split into three smaller drones, as Falcon flew over the first wave of Thanos’ followers to breach the energy barrier around Wakanda. These drones were fast enough and powerful enough to kill one of Thanos’ shock troops by flying through them. It’s possible that this ability was the product of advanced Wakandan technology and was added to Redwing to increase its combat effectiveness.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 1 revealed that Redwing apparently received some major upgrades in the months following the battle with Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. One of these upgrades is a pulse laser, which is capable of cutting through the sealed hatch of a military aircraft. Beyond being a useful tool, the laser is also a handy weapon, which Redwing was later able to use to cut through the rotor of a military-grade helicopter in two seconds.
Much like the EXO-7 Falcon itself, Redwing is now equipped with compact rockets. These missiles are located in a special compartment directly behind Redwing’s camera. While an exact power level was not given for these rockets when they first appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, two of them were powerful enough to destroy the rotor on a helicopter and send it on a short, uncontrolled flight into a canyon wall, where it exploded.
When Redwing saved Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War and she thanked Sam Wilson, he told his fellow Avenger that she should thank Redwing and pet him. While it seemed like Falcon may have been joking at the time, The Falcon and Winter Soldier confirmed that Redwing does have some degree of artificial intelligence. While not on par with Tony Stark’s JARVIS or FRIDAY digital assistants, Redwing proved to be capable of acting somewhat independently in a fight without Falcon’s direct input or specific commands beyond “get them off our ass!” Redwing also interfaced with the EXO-7 Falcon’s computer systems after Falcon’s jetpack sustained damaged and rerouted its power to compensate for a broken thruster, much like R2-D2 running repairs on Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing in the middle of a firefight.
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