GN-007/AL Arios Gundam Ascalon
The GN-007/AL Arios Gundam Ascalon (aka Arios Gundam Ascalon, Arios Ascalon), is the proposed upgrade design for the GN-007 Arios Gundam that was never completed in 2312; its design is featured in Mobile Suit Gundam 00V. The design is later put to use in Mobile Suit Gundam 00I 2314 and the unit is piloted by Leo Sieg on Earth.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
In AD 2312, during Celestial Being's campaign against A-Laws and the Innovators, GN-007 Arios Gundam and the rest of the Gundams began to lack MS combat effectiveness as Innovators actively developed and supplied new MS units that rivaled Celestial Being's mobile suit (MS) technology. To maintain a combative edge against the enemy, Celestial Being engineer Sherilyn Hyde (a student of Ian Vashti, part of the Fereshte shadow team) proposed the GN-007/AL Arios Gundam Ascalon upgrade, an enhancement project to Arios’s combat abilities. Unfortunately, Ascalon (along with other proposed upgrades to the Gundams) couldn't be fully realized due to time, resource constraints, and engineering issues as the conflict progressed. Ascalon had unresolved system-balancing and weight issues in the creation process; after some input from Robert Spacey (a MS historian and friend of Ian Vashti), Celestial Being engineers compromised and partially realized their designs under the GNHW (GN Heavy Weapons) project to reform Arios as GN-007GNHW/M Arios Gundam GNHW/M. By AD 2314, Celestial Being engineers had the opportunity to rebuild Arios into Arios Ascalon, fulfilling their design.
Arios’s flight mode shares characteristics as both a high-speed fighter and mobile armor (MA). The Ascalon equipment set intended to make Arios a more general purpose machine. The refit added three new sets of weapons: a large GN Sword (influenced from Exia), a GN Beam Cannon (influenced from Virtue), and dual missile launcher packs on its sides (influenced from GN Arms Type-D).
After the events of AD 2312, Arios sustained critical damage to its chest and wings (its nose and pincer-claw in fighter/MA mode) from Celestial Being's final battle against the Innovators. With Celestial Being's limited resources and the need for the development of the 5th generation Gundams to maintain their mission, Celestial Being engineers chose to restore Arios and realized Ascalon as it was intended in their original plans. The pre-existing balancing issues that appeared in their data was fixed along with other corrections. Unfortunately, while there were certain improvements (not completely specified), Arios's was so badly damaged that its basic performance had decreased even after it had been repaired by Celestial Being.
For weapons, Ascalon's equipment increased the offensive capabilities of Arios; its additions removed several beneficial aspects of Arios GNHW/M. The original head sensor unit (the false cockpit) had been removed and re-fitted with a longer version (roughly twice the length of the original). While it was never explained why the new head sensor was so long, it suggested that the Ascalon has greater sensory capabilities than Arios. To accommodate for the new sensor(s), the original forward fighter nose, also part of the pincer-claw, was re-fitted with a new adjusted nose (longer and front hollowed) to fit the head sensor; by replacing it, Arios no longer had the GN Beam Shield for defense (albeit it was rarely used) and lost the pincer-claw. However, in its place are the new additions, the GN Beam Cannon and GN Sword.
Installed under Ascalon's head sensor, the GN Beam Cannon is an enhanced and miniaturized version of Virtue's GN Bazooka; its firepower is comparable Virtue's weapon. 
For unknown reasons, Celestial Being engineers had the weapon fixed and encased to the sensor unit; it can't be deployed in MS mode. Compared to the capabilities of Arios's GN Cannon (GNHW/M equipment), the weapon is less versatile and unusable in MS combat situations. Because its blade was also fashioned in a similar manner, the GN Sword shares the same limitations.
Built on top of the head sensor, the GN Sword is used as a ramming/spearing device in combat. In combination with its high-speed thrusters, it can cut and gouge through enemy targets. When not in use, the blade is folded backwards. Just like the cannon, the weapon is fixed and can't be used for melee combat in MS mode. One of Ascalon's most glaring issues is its ability to dock with GN Archer. While the GN Archer could simply connect its to Arios' GN Drive, the length of Ascalon's GN Sword, when folded back, extends beyond the drive; it effectively blocks GN Archer from properly docking. This forces Ascalon to have the GN Sword deployed forward when GN Archer docks with Arios. Aside from the equipment complications, the additions increased Arios's weight and mass; its overall performance can be affected in certain conditions (gravity and atmospheric environments). These were the main reasons why the Ascalon plan was initially dropped in 2312.
Arios Ascalon still retains the GN Twin Beam Rifle as its primary weapon and a pair of GN Beam Sabers for melee combat. Arios's forearms also retains its GN Submachine Guns for rapid fire (spraying a hail of beam fire) against enemy targets. The GN Missile Launchers (one of the weapons capable of being used in both MA and MS mode) was part of the GNHW/M upgrade and remained part of its silhouette as it helped complete Ascalon's original design. Unfortunately, the GN Cannon was destroyed in battle against the Innovators and was never replaced.
For systems, Ascalon can't perform as well as it was intended as it no longer contains a GN Drive. In its place, Ascalon was fitted with a large GN Condenser where its drive originally housed. Even though its GN Drive is no longer available, GN Condenser technology had improved and it allows Ascalon to be operated at longer limited-time periods. For emergency situations, it can still activate its Trans-Am System to increase its capabilities three-fold, however, Ascalon's time in Trans-Am is limited (assumed to be less than the 3 minute preset time limit). In order to decrease its chances of being detected, Ascalon uses Optical Camouflage while moving similar to the type used by the Ptolemaios 2 in addition to flying in low attitude. In addition, transformation into MS mode is avoided as much as possible in order to conceal its identity.
- GN Beam Sabers
- A length adjustable close combat weapon. Arios' beam sabers are stored behind its front waist armor when unused.
- GN Cannon
- A new weapon added to the Arios Ascalon. The weapon is fixed on the underside of Ascalon's nosecone and is based off the GN Bazooka from the GN-005 Gundam Virtue. While it is only usable in MA mode, it is arguably the most powerful weapon in the Ascalon's arsenal. The shoulder shields for the Ascalon are used to charge the cannon.
- GN Missile Container
- A new power-up component added onto Arios by Celestial Being engineers, it duals as thrusters and a missile launcher pack. The two missile containers rest at the forward section of Arios in fighter mode and transforms as a missile launcher backpack in MS mode. The booster unit is similar to Kyrios' GN Tail Booster, but can be used in between fighter and MS forms. The component overall adds speed, firepower, and maneuverability for Arios.
- GN Submachine Guns
- Twin-barrelled beam sub-machine guns mounted within the forearms of Arios. The sub-machine guns are usually hidden under the forearm armor of Arios and pops out for rapid firing. While not a powerful weapon, it's capable of causing serious damage when used in conjunction with Trans-Am.
- GN Sword
- A massive blade inspired by GN-001 Gundam Exia's GN Sword. Like the cannon, it is fixed to the top of the nosecone in MA mode. The sword can be swung forwards for the Ascalon to impale its target.
- GN Twin Beam Rifle
- The GN twin beam rifle is the main weapon of Gundam Arios. It is composed of 2 barrels so it can be fired rapidly for a higher hitting rate. One of the barrels is movable, so Arios can attack the ground when in flight mode. Compared to Kyrios' weaker sub-machine rifle, this beam rifle can severely damage, if not destroy a standard mobile suit such as the Ahead.
Special Equipment & Features
Sherilyn Hyde of Gundam 00F. She was the one who continued the upload of the test data of the new arms used in the final battle. And then, when the Ascalon was being tested for data, Robert Spacey greeted her saying, "Could I have a minute with you?" Robert came to Lagrange 3, and seemingly was an acquaintance of Ian's. He came to this absolutely secret establishment with the pretext of assisting in development. He personally tampered with the data for simulation of Ascalon, and removed almost all of the armaments except for the container. Sherilyn was angry, but when she saw the data, Arios showed a high performance in cooperation with GN Archer that was by far the best it ever had. Even Sherilyn said "Isn't this cool..." and acknowledged Robert's suggestion. Finally, the updated machine with this equipment was called "Arios Gundam GNHW/M".
In 2314, the repaired Arios was then refitted with the Ascalon equipment, which only existed in data previously. It was to be used mainly within the atmosphere, while the Cherudim SAGA was to be used in space and the GRM Gundam was to be used within the Orbital Elevators. One of the missions it participated in was the combat intervention in Africa of a facility disguised as an civilian enterprise broadcasting facility. In reality however, it was an energy facility using their own microwave receiver in order to harness solar energy to build up a group's military capabilities. Arios Ascalon destroyed the antenna tower of the facility and the government had an excuse to check out the facility due to the destruction. In order to prevent detection, the Ascalon rarely transformed into its mobile suit mode and used low altitude flying combined with the Optical Camouflage (like the Ptolemaios II) to achieve this.
In Gundam 00I 2314 Chapter 02, Leo Sieg (Leonard Fiennes) used Ascalon to chase down an ELS assimilated airplane and he managed to take it down with Ascalon's GN Sword. Unfortunately, Leo wasn't aware that Arios Gundam Ascalon had been infected by ELS.
In Gundam 00I 2314 Chapter 03, Leo was given a mission by Chall Acustica to destroy an abandoned facility containing ELS debris inside. Leo destroyed the facility with GN missiles, but the explosion caused ELS fragments to scatter toward the Ascalon. The ELS fragments started to assimilate the Ascalon, but Leo managed to escape and allowed the Ascalon to crash into the ground. The ELS Ascalon then rose from the ground and cornered Leo. Lars, in a jeep, fired a grenade launcher at the ELS Arios and rescued Leo. Later on, his sister, Dell (Delphine Bedelia), managed to recover both Lars and Leo. Elsewhere, Hayana recovers the MSJ-06YIII-B Tieren Kyitwo from an abandoned HRL base. Dell and Leo battled the ELS Ascalon with Tieren Kyitwo and managed to destroy the ELS abomination.
Notes & Trivia
- The "AL" of GN-007/AL means Ascalon.
- The name: Ascalon was a lance (or in some versions of the story, a sword) that Saint George used to slay the dragon; it's also named after the city, Ashkelon.
- ↑ Mobile Suit Gundam 00P Chapter 4
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Mobile Suit Gundam 00V Volume 16 "GN-007/AL Arios Gundam Ascalon"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Mobile Suit Gundam 00V Senki Mission 11 "Silent Attacker"