Welcome to the underworld.
—The Irkalla before "singing" the deaths of her enemies
The Aerial Fortress Irkalla is the epic unit of Epsilon Headquarters, acting as a "one-man army" capable of single-handedly annihilating ground and air targets alike.
When Yuri was informed about the possibility of his enemies constructing gargantuan weapons in secret, for the first time in his life he felt like his grasp for world domination could be legitimately challenged. An autonomous mechanical monstrosity packed with incredible firepower, as well as potential immunity to mind control could prove to be the Epsilon’s undoing. Therefore, deep within the bowels of the Epsilon Headquarters' hangars, a weapon of unimaginable proportions was being built - capable of not only providing the Headquarters with massive firepower support, but guarding Yuri’s ultimate weapon as well.
Since its devastating sudden first appearance, the flying war machine codenamed 'Irkalla' has become a symbol of Yuri’s utter dominance over his enemies. Practically, the Aerial Fortress Irkalla is the Epsilon’s ace in the hole: capable of engaging multiple targets in the air with its numerous dissolver beams, and lay waste upon ground targets, not just with the beams alone but also with three powerful 'Supernova'-type long range cannons. Since its initial deployment, much to the Allies' and the Soviets' horror, many more of these flying machines have been sighted, resulting in an exhausting battle on every encounter.
The Aerial Fortress Irkalla is the pride and joy of Epsilon Headquarters. This airborne behemoth acts as their ultimate ace in the hole - armed with six Dissolver Beams and a trio of Supernova Cannons, the mere appearance of this flying citadel will absolutely guarantee casualties for hostilities once it is within firing range.
This floating fortress's main purpose is to act as an extremely powerful and heavily-armored unit that can both defend a Headquarters base (with the appropriate support) while performing most of the heavy lifting with its obscenely high levels of firepower or as a supporting unit (albeit an overkill one) for an HQ attack force. It boasts incredible armor that is possibly among one of the best in the game, while its massive array of Dissolver Beams and Supernova Cannons will ensure nothing will survive under its prolonged onslaught. Both of these advantages allow the Irkalla to singlehandedly wipe out entire bases and attack forces on its own if there are not enough anti-air weapons to counter it. Though it is an abysmally slow unit, this isn't exactly a drawback as Epsilon HQ's main strategy mainly involves a slow and steady approach with the majority of their armored vehicles and heavier infantry.
The Irkalla generally makes a Headquarters army and/or base an incredibly difficult feat to destroy once it is deployed, as its weapons are able to eliminate any unit on the battlefield swiftly, whether it be infantry, vehicle, or aircraft. While it is possible to outrun this flying titan with faster units or fool it with infiltrators and rogue stealth units, the Irkalla shares little weaknesses with the other epic units in the game. Due to the range and insane rate of fire for both of its weapons, the ability to engage multiple targets at once, as well as their Supernova projectiles' tendency to pursue enemy forces until they finally hit their targets, makes this epic unit one of the most, if not the most effective one-unit defender that does not have the ridiculous power consumption or the inability to defend against air threats of the Plasmerizer, or the need for auxiliary support and an infantry garrison to make the Centurion Siege Crawler more suitable for base defense work.
The Irkalla is not a guaranteed game over for its opponents however. The high cost and tech requirement meant that HQ's enemies wouldn't have to worry about an oncoming presence of this unit until Epsilon HQ has reached Tier 3. Even if said subfaction is able to construct an Aerial Fortress Irkalla, wary opponents should have already amassed a large amount of forces with heavy anti-air support at the ready by the time the Irkalla reaches the enemy base. Combined with the fortress's slow Supernova projectiles and its own speed, it is possible to overwhelm an Irkalla with sheer force even if mass casualties will be an expected outcome for HQ's opponents. While the Irkalla is dreadfully effective against structures also, it is still not recommended to send it into defense lines with plenty of anti-air defensive structures as the Irkalla's weapons cannot outrage stationary AA defenses, and they can and will shoot one down before the Irkalla can safely eliminate all of them. Considering its slow speed to the point where even infantry can out-walk it, it will not be able to escape from massed anti-air fire if caught up in any of them.
It is also worth noting that the Irkalla is unable to use its Supernova Cannons against air units, which means Thor Gunships, Alanqa Skystations or just plenty of anti-air aerial units are capable of destroying an Irkalla without suffering as much casualties as land troops doing the same.
Though hardly noticeable because of the rapid firing rate, the Irkalla follows a specific pattern when firing. The exact order is the following:
- Dissolver beam
- Supernova (x4)
- Repeat cycle.
As mentioned before, the Irkalla will not fire the Supernova Cannon when attacking air units.
On hard difficulty, the AI occasionally builds Irkalla targeting player's nearest building.
The Irkalla at our HQ are not as refined as the one deployed in London, but still powerful.
—Epsilon intel during Operation: Unthinkable
- The first Irkalla appears in Godsend where it is chronoshifted, carrying a group of elite Initiates , Archers and Epsilon Elites, into the European Alliance's fortress-city of London to cause destruction as it makes its way to the SteinsTech Hangar. It is destroyed when the Paradox Engine makes its escape.
- The first objective of Meltdown involves using Chitzkoi (who has been upgraded with Chinese tech) to capture an inactive Irkalla so the Psychic Dominator in the area could be destroyed. Once Chitzkoi enters the Irkalla, it will be called Chitzkalla and fall under control of the player, using Chitzkoi's voiceset. The Irkalla must not be destroyed until the Psychic Dominator is destroyed.
- In Insomnia, after the Paradox Engine arrives with a wing of Thor Gunships, the enemy Epsilon will send an Irkalla against them, to predictable results.
- In Unthinkable, one Irkalla is initially given to the player, and another one later in the mission.
- In Parasomnia, the second phase of the mission begins with the Epsilon surprising an Allied fleet by submerging an Irkalla underwater, but it is destroyed afterwards. More will spawn from the Dybbuk Hive after Allied forces make landfall.
- In the Ascension Challenge, the Irkalla can turn enemy infantry into Brutes like Rahn does. Immediately after the game begins, an Irkalla will spawn from the top edge and head towards the challengers' starting point. Afterwards, two Irkallas each are a part of the Headquarters' Golden Armada, accompanied by 12 Basilisks and 7 Salamanders, all of them appearing from the central point on the top edge of the map, then proceed towards the south where the players' bases are located. Each of the Radar Spires that can be destroyed in order to delay the Golden Armada is also guarded by an Irkalla.
Behind the scenes
- Prior to version 3.3.5, there were two infamous inconsistencies in Irkalla's introduction. One was that Irkalla's invention was influenced by gathered intel about the Centurion Siege Crawler, which appears later (Thread of Dread) than Irkalla (Godsend); the other one was "Since its deployment, no Allied or Soviet force alone has been able to set foot on Antarctica". This statement was obviously inconsistent with the actual situation (Insomnia).
- In Mesopotamian mythology, Irkalla is a place on Earth from which there is no return, or the underworld where the dead exists after death.
- The Aerial Fortress Irkalla bears close resemblance to the from .
- The Aerial Fortress Irkalla's unit ID in the game files, [GOTTER], is a reference to the giant space battleship Götterdämmerung from the movie Iron Sky, named after the German translation of Ragnarök, "Twilight of the Gods".