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The Aerialbots are an Autobot subgroup in the Transformers franchise, distinguished from other Autobots by their ability-as indicated by their group name-to fly, most often due to having aircraft alternate forms. In most continuities, the Aerialbots are capable of merging into a larger robot known as Superion.
In The Transformers, the Aerialbots were created in response to Megatron's production of the Stunticons and given life by the ancient computer Vector Sigma. The Aerialbots were created by reconstructing Cybertronian airfact to resemble jets from Earth by Optimus Prime, Alpha Trion, and several of their compatriots. As the Key to Vector Sigma had been stolen by Megatron, Alpha Trion activated Vector Sigma by sacrificing his life force, which then merged with the ancient device. The Aerialbots then traveled with the Autobots to Earth, but initially everyone but their leader Silverbolt was reluctant to aid the Autobots or humanity. However, after witnessing Sparkplug Witwicky continue to work in repairing the damaged Omega Supreme when Ratchet was forced to stop due to lack of energy, they realized that there was more to humanity than they had first thought.
The Aerialbots soon engaged the Stunticons, the beginning of a long rivalry between the two forces, and held the upper hand until the two teams formed the Combiners Superion and Menasor. Superion was outmatched by his foe, but fortunately Omega Supreme arrived to back him up, allowing the Autobots to drive off the Decepticons. Unfortunately, the Aerialbots would continue to prove a less-than-ideal team, admiring the Decepticons and questioning the point of the war. Furious with their interference, Megatron lured them into a trap and sent them back in time, but due to Autobot interference they ended up at the beginning of the Great War. Unbeknownst to Megatron, his plan had backfired in several ways: not only did the Aerialbots witness Megatron's evil beginnings and become fully dedicated to stopping him, but their presence in the past led to the rise of Optimus Prime as Megatron's greatest nemesis.
The Aerialbots were soon returned to their proper time, where they succeeded in defeating a Guardian Robot revived by the Decepticons before revealing to their fellow Autobots what they had endured in the past. The group would continue to fight alongside their fellow Autobots, whether against the Stunticons-sure as a battle on Ellis Island-or against enemies like the Combaticons-whom the Aerialbots faced as Superion only to be defeated by Bruticus. They were also among the Autobots to survive the Battle of Autobot City, and thus fought under the command of Optimus' successor Rodimus Prime against the Decepticons under Galvatron, the Unicron-reformatted Megatron. They would also be called upon to battle the forces of the Quintessons, and had a hand in securing their own future when they protected a past version of Alpha Trion.
"Ask Vector Prime" revealed that the Aerialbots played a part in the rise of another Autobot team, the Protectobots, in a plot not seen in the animated series. The Protectobots were found dormant by Omega Supreme, and the Aerialbots contributed Energon for an infusion needed to revive them. The process was successful, but had the unexpected result of granting the Protectobots the power to combine into Defensor.
In The Transformers comic series, the Aerialbots are an Autobot unit. On one occasion they merge into Superion and fight Devastator and Menasor alongside Defensor, only to be unexpectedly joined by Optimus Maximus, whose help eventually enables them to defeat Devastator. In the "Combiner Wars" line Powerglide, another Autobot with a plane form, is associated with the Aerialbots, something not seen in previous incarnations.
Silverbolt Major is listed as an Autobot officer in command of one of the former Omega Sentinels in ship form; the existence of other Aerialbots is unknown.
In Transformers: Retribution, the Aerialbots are part of the crew of the Ark, and launch an assault on the Nemesis when it intercepts them above Aquatron. They combine into Superion and manage to deal some serious damage, but are then defeated by Megatron. After recovering somewhat, they join in the battle against the Sharkticons on the planet below prior to the Transformers' departure from Aquatron.
In Transformers: War for Cybertron, Silverbolt appears alongside Jetfire as part of the Autobot air force defending against Megatron's air strikes; it is possible the other Aerialbots fight alongside them.