The F91 Gundam F91 ("F91" standing for "Formula 91") is the titular mobile suit of Mobile Suit Gundam F91. The unit is piloted by Seabook Arno. Another F91, colored dark blue and yellow, is piloted by Harrison Martin.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
Reduced in height compared to its famous predecessor (15.2 meters compared to 18.5) and mass (19.9 tons fully loaded while the RX-78 took off fully loaded at 60.0), the F91 was regardless immensely more powerful. It is armed with a pair of machine cannons in the chest, vulcan guns in the head, a pair of back mounted variable speed beam rifles, beam sabers, newly developed beam shield, which was much more effective then the solid state shields used by past mobile suits, and can be optionally equipped with a beam rifle and a beam launcher. Although the F91 was smaller and lighter than its predecessors, these features served to make it faster, more maneuverable, and all-around more efficient.
The most powerful weapons of this Gundam were its twin Variable Speed Beam Rifles, which (despite the designation "beam rifle") were actually built-in weapons drawing their power from the mobile suit's fusion reactor. They could vary the speed of the beam fired to produce different types of beam and thus the damage dealt. Its other powerful feature is the bio-computer, which instead of reading the pilot's thoughts, feeds battle data directly to the pilot's brain. However, due to the mental stress, it's best utilized by a newtype. These components, however, made it generate excessive heat. Thus, aside from numerous cooling ducts and heat sinks on its shoulders, its mouth can be opened as a vent; the F91 can also dissipate excess heat by shedding the outer layers of its armor. This process creates afterimages of the mobile suit made up of metallic particles, which can deceive not only the eyes of enemy pilots, but also radar and other sensors. This phenomenon came to be known as the Metal Peel-off Effect, or MEPE for short.
- Vulcan Gun
- The Gundam F91 is equipped with a pair of head mounted Vulcan guns. The purpose of the Vulcan guns is to serve as a mid-close range defensive weapon. While it can normally do little damage against the armor of a mobile suit it serves as a much more efficient and cost-effective means to shoot down incoming missiles, as opposed to using the beam rifle, the power of which would be over kill and is far more limited in ammunition. The Vulcan guns are an offensive weapon designed to be used against small lightly-armored targets such as ground combat vehicles or attack helicopters.
- Mega Machine Cannon
- The F91 is equipped with a pair of fire-linked mega machine cannons in its chest. In the age of miniaturized mobile suits, the emphasis for mobile suit designs is speed, thus armor is sacrificed to reduce mass and weight. This leaves many mobile suits vulnerable to physical round weapons, such as machine guns, that had been discarded for mobile suit combat because of a lack of effectiveness after the One Year War. Though based on the concept of old mobile suit machine guns, the mega machine cannons mounted in the F91's chest have been improved with modern technology, making them more effective.
- Beam Saber
- The beam saber is the standard close-combat melee weapon of mobile suits descended from the RX-78-2 Gundam. The beam sabers are powerful weapons that emit a blade of plasma contained by an I-field that can cut through any physical armor. The only way to fully defend against a beam saber is to block it with another beam saber or a beam shield. Because of the I-field a beam saber can be used to block an attack from a beam rifle, but this is a technique that requires considerable skill, and can only block an attack of so much power. The F91 is equipped with two beam sabers stored in a recharge rack in the left hip armor. The hands of the F91 are capable of rotating 360 degrees continuously, and when it holds the beam sabers this effectively creates a beam buzz saw.
- Beam Rifle
- The beam rifle is the standard ranged weapon of Earth Federation mobile suits. The technology of the beam rifle allows it to fire a compressed mega particle beam which can penetrate any physical armor, leading to the saying that any mobile suit equipped with a beam rifle had the power of a battleship at its disposal. The F91's beam rifle is powered by a replaceable e-pac and can mount on the waist weapons mount. The beams of a beam rifle can be blocked by an I-field or a beam shield.
- Variable Speed Beam Rifle
- The most powerful weapon employed by the Gundam F91 is a new type of beam rifle known as the Variable Speed Beam Rifle, or VSBR for short. Rather than being a hand-carried weapon powered by an energy cap or e-pac, the VSBR is mounted on the mobile suit itself and powered directly by its reactor. The pilot could adjust the speed at which the mega particles used in the beam fire were accelerated. Slower-speed particles produced a wider beam that delivered more raw damage, and higher-speed particles create a more tightly focused, penetrating beam. Thus, the F91's pilot could choose to deliver beam damage on a wider area or focused, high-speed shots to penetrate thick armor or even beam shields. The Gundam F91 is equipped with two Variable Speed Beam Rifles which are mounted on the unit's backpack.
- Beam Launcher
- An optional weapon of the Gundam F91 is the beam launcher, which can mount on the waist weapons mount. The beam launcher is in essence a beam bazooka, utilizing the technology of a beam rifle on a slightly larger scale, and is powered by a replaceable e-pac. The beam launcher fires slower moving mega particles, causing its beam to widen and allowing the beam to cause damage over a greater area, ideal for dealing with battleships or catching multiple mobile suits off-guard.
- Beam Shield
- The F91 Gundam is equipped with a pair of beam shield generators. The first beam shield generator is mounted on the left arm. The second is a spare stored in the right hip armor. Unlike an I-field generator, which is effective only against beam attacks, the beam shield blocks both beam and projectile weapons. The beam shield generates a plane of energy similar to the blade of a beam saber. This plane is divided into multiple sections, which can be turned on or off as needed to conserve energy. Individual sections are also automatically deactivated whenever they're in danger of coming into contact with the mobile suit itself. Like beam sabers, the F91's beam shields have an internal battery that can power the shield even when not connected to the mobile suit.
Special Equipment & Features
- Bio-Computer System
- A new kind of man-machine interface that is functionally a reverse psycommu system, the bio-computer places less strain on its human operator. The bio-computer is originally intended to help the disabled, but its development is ultimately funded by the Earth Federation Forces, who hoped to employ it as a mobile suit control system and install it in the Gundam F91 for experimental purposes. As its name implies, the bio-computer is similar in structure to a human brain, and its operating processes resemble human thoughts and feelings. Rather than merely displaying data on a computer monitor, the bio-computer can relay it directly to the pilot in the form of sensory information, so what the machine "feels" can also be experienced by the human operator. However, the full latent potential of this system can only be tapped by a Newtype pilot.
- Heat Radiation Fins
- The weapons and high performance of the Gundam F91 made it a very powerful mobile suit, however that power came at the cost of potentially overheating from the tremendous amount of heat the weapons and systems generated. To offset this problem a set of three radiator fins were installed into each shoulder. During normal operations the radiator fins are hidden within the shoulder armor, but after extended operation as heat builds up the radiator fins would be deployed to help shed the excess heat.
- Weapons Mount
- Although the Gundam F91 has a multitude of built in weapons the designers intended it to operate a number of optional hand held weapons. For the purpose of carrying the additional weapons the designers included a weapons mount to hold either the F91's beam rifle or beam launcher.
The Gundam F91 was completed and deployed some fifty years after the legendary RX-78-2 Gundam, during a period of the Earth Federation's decline. It was developed by the Strategic Naval Research Institute as part of their Formula Project.
The F91 was assigned to the training ship Space Ark, a modified Clop-class light cruiser. This unit would be piloted by Seabook Arno, son of the bio-computer's designer, who completed the unfinished bio-computer. Seabook would show the power of the F91 during first sortie against a scouting party of the Crossbone Vanguard in the Frontier I colony, destroying three enemy machines. Seabook would then take the F91 on a mission to infiltrate the Crossbone Vanguard controlled Frontier IV colony to search for his friend Cecily Fairchild.
The F91's final mission during the war with the Crossbone Vanguard would be to fight against the Vanguard invading Frontier I. This battle would have three distinct stages. The first stage was to fight off enemy mobile suits, including members of the elite Black Vanguard Squadron. The second stage was to destroy all of the Bug automated weapons that Carozzo Ronah released into the colony. The final stage took place out in space where Seabook's F91 and Cecily's XM-07 Vigna Ghina engaged Iron Mask's XMA-01 Rafflesia and destroyed it.
The complete F91 was first deployed in UC 0123 and later became a limited mass-production MS. The Earth Federation sortied a number of these mass-produced F91s against the pirate group Crossbone Vanguard after the Federation were tricked by the Jupiter Empire pilot Zabine Chareux that they were resisting arrest. One notable unit was painted blue and piloted by Harrison Martin who was a close match for Seabook Arno and his more advanced XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1. Even ten years later the F91's VSBR presented a threat against Seabook Arno's F97 Crossbone Gundam as it could penetrate a beam shield or destroy an anti-beam cloth with a single shot. Despite being a 10 year old weapon, the VSBR still managed to pierce two layers of beam shields before being blocked by the Crossbone Gundam's powerful beam zanber.