Technology & Combat Characteristics
Unlike many mobile suits developed by the SNRI, which were designed for use around the Earth orbit, the F-97 is specifically designed to be used around Jupiter, whose strong gravity field would generate serious propulsion problems. For units operating on Earth and around Earth orbit, the problem of high mobility was solved putting numerous thrusters all over the mobile suit's body. However, under Jupiter's gravitational influence, this would require enlargement of the thrusters, leading to an increase of the mobile suit's size and mass. Moreover, in order to use the larger thrusters a larger and more powerful generator would be needed, adding to the general mass.
To solve this matter, Crossbone Gundam is equipped with long variable X-shaped thrusters, composed of four thrusters can be pointed at any direction: with the addition of AMBAC, the main thrusters allow high mobility around Jupiter's orbit, while combined into one huge rocket column they largely increased the unit's top speed, without increasing the size and mass of the mobile suit. Due to the fact that it was created to be used in Jupiter's orbit, when the F-97 is used on Earth it's more difficult for the pilot to control.
Though technically the Crossbone Gundams are general purpose mobile suits, they were designed with extra emphasis on their close range combat abilities. With their high mobility, the Crossbone Gundams easily outmaneuver most enemy mobile suits, allowing them to slip into close range and past the beam shield. Additionally, Crossbone Vanguard leader, Berah Ronah, sought to fight the war against the Jupiter Empire with as little loss of life as possible. With blades it is easier to take out a mobile suit without destroying the cockpit than it is with a beam rifle.
Another new feature utilized by the F-97 is the Anti-Beam Coating cloak, which can be stored in the back and unfolded when needed. When unfolded, it covered the entire body of the mobile suit, and dispersed beam energy over the cloak. It could usually withstand five standard beam shots without spending any energy, with the additional advantage of stealth. Other armaments included the standard beam sabers, daggers (underneath the feet), scissor anchors (mounted on front skirts, as hidden weapons) and two brand markers, which could either act as beam shields or a shorter beam saber. Like its predecessor F91 Gundam F91, its "mouth" could be opened as a vent.
Three units in total were made, and all of them were given by SNRI to the Crossbone Vanguard. In order to cover this secret dealing, they were assigned the codes XM-X1, XM-X2, and XM-X3.
- Vulcan Gun
- These head mounted shell firing weapons have a high-rate of fire, but have little power and are generally ineffective against mobile suits; however, the vulcan gun can damage lightly armored areas such as the sensors. These weapons are ideal for shooting down small, fast moving, lightly armored targets such as missiles or small vehicles.
- Beam Saber
- The beam saber is the standard close-combat melee weapon of mobile suits descended from the RX-78-2 Gundam, and many other machines developed in the years after the One Year War. 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 Crossbone Gundam is equipped with two beam sabers stored in shoulder racks when not in use. They also serve as the beam guns for the core fighter.
- Heat Dagger
- An alternative close combat weapon, the heat dagger is unlike most heat weapons as its blade is heated using leftover heat from the leg's thrusters. The heated blade can melt the enemies armor on contact, which when combined with the force applied to the attack, can inflict significant damage. The heat daggers are stored in the legs, one in each calf. Normally, it is handheld when in use, but it can also slide out of the sole as a surprise attack.
- Scissor Anchor
- Each Crossbone Gundam is equipped with a pair of scissor anchors stored on the front skirt armor. These anchors are attached to the Gundam by long chains and use scissor claws to grip objects. While these are not offense weapons per-say, they provide several uses in combat. They can be used to grip the limb and an enemy machine to ensnare it or to reel it in closer to the Crossbone Gundam where it is within melee combat range. They can also be used to turn ensnared mobile suits into bludgeoning weapons by pulling on the chain. The scissor anchors can also be used to stabilize the Gundam's footing in case of emergencies, such as when fighting the wind force of an explosion.
- Beam Shield/Brand Marker
- A new protective device used by the mobile suits of the U.C. 0120 era. Thanks to their increased generator output, the scaled-down mobile suits of this era are able to use beam technology for defensive purposes. 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. Beam shield generators can be built into the arm of the mobile suit or they can be optional equipment, a unit that mounts on the mobile suit's arm and draws power directly from the fusion reactor.
- The beam shield generators of the Crossbone Gundams can further take advantage of how malleable the energy is to form four short beam blades at the corners of the beam shield generator that meet at the center, giving the brand marker as a whole a pyramidal shape. The brand marker slides over the fist of the mobile suit and is used as a punching weapon. When used the the brand marker leaves an X-shaped hole, if the target area isn't completely destroyed.
- Buster Gun
- The buster gun is the primary ranged weapon of the Crossbone Gundam. This beam pistol is modeled after a flintlock pistol and is typically used with only one of the mobile suit's hands, leaving the second hand free to use a melee weapon. Stored on the right hip when not in use the buster gun can combine with the beam zanber to form the zanbuster.
- Beam Zanber
- The beam zanber is a high power beam saber and is the primary weapon of the Crossbone Gundam. The hilt of the beam zanber is modeled after that of a traditional pirate cutlass, as does the beam blade when it is formed, and is stored on the left hip when not in use. The power of the beam zanber is significantly higher than that of ordinary beam sabers, such that it is easy for the Crossbone Gundam to overpower an enemy in melee combat or even "cut" through the beam of an ordinary beam saber. Behind the guard of the beam zanber is a gun handle that is used in the zanbuster configuration.
- A beam rifle formed from the combination of the beam zanber and the buster gun, the beam it fires is stronger than those of the buster gun. In this configuration, the butt of the buster gun is connected to the beam emitter of the beam zanber. When a grenade is attached to the Zanbuster's emitter, it can also function as a single shot grenade launcher.
- Buster Launcher
- A long-range beam launcher that was a modified version of the F90II-L Gundam F90II Long Range Type's Long Rifle.
- Shot Lancer
- A distinctive close combat weapon developed by the Crossbone Vanguard, the shot lancer is designed for combat in and around space colonies, where beam weapons would run the risk of triggering catastrophic reactor explosions in enemy mobile suits. Instead, the shot lancer uses electromagnetic acceleration to drive its tip through the enemy's armor, and the spearhead itself can also be launched like a missile. The shot lancer was first equipped on XM-01 Den'an Zon and remained a standard melee weaponry for many Crossbone Vanguard mobile suit models.
- 4-barrel Heavy Machine Gun
- The shot lancer used by the X-2 has a drum fed four-barrel heavy machine gun model such as those used by the XM-05 Berga Giros that Zabine used to pilot.
- Anti-beam Coating Cloak
- As with other Crossbone Vanguard mobile suits used in the year UC 0133, the X-2 could be equipped with a cloth cloak that had been treated with an anti-beam coating. Functioning similar to the old physical shields that had received the same treatment, the cloak was used to protect the mobile suit from beam shots. With its size it could completely cover the mobile suit, with the exception of the head, providing full body protection. However, despite its advantages, one of which is conserving power, the cloak has two disadvantages. First, unlike a beam shield the cloak can only handle about 5 shots before the coating wears off, rendering the cloak to simple cloth. The second disadvantage is that the cloak offers no protection from physical weapons.
- Dummy Launcher
- A deception device that takes advantage of Minovsky particle interference. Thanks to this interference, warfare in the Universal Century era relies heavily on visual sensors, which can be tricked by inflatable decoys. These decoy balloons are designed to mimic mobile suits, asteroids, and even warships. More sophisticated varieties are equipped with small maneuvering verniers, allowing them to move in a realistic manner and register on infra-red sensors.
- The XM-X2 is equipped with a hand mounted dummy launcher that can deploy several dummies in the shape and color of the XM-X2. With these dummies the Gundam can confuse an enemy trying to bombard the Gundam at long range, long enough to get close enough for the Gundam to use its weapons.
- 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 installed it in the F91 Gundam 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 Face Open
- Like its brother units the X-2 can temporarily "Open Face" to release Heat and increase performance. This allows the X-2 to perform otherwise extremely demanding maneuvers or attacks that would normally be considered impossible.
XM-X2, colored primarily in black, was piloted by Zabine Chareux. Both X1 and X2 were originally equipped with a Zanbuster beam rifle, whose barrel and front handle could separate in a "buster gun" beam rifle, while its rear could separate into a cutlass-like "beam zanber" beam saber, which used two angled I-Fields to slice through other sabers and shields. The XM-X2 was also equipped with a shot lancer.
Zabine eventually defected to the Jupiter Empire. While Zabine's loyalty was tested by the Empire's Interogators, the Jupiter Empire held a gladiator fight between XM-X2 and recently captured Tobia. However, Tobia managed to defeat it by getting into the cockpit of the core fighter and used it to escape. To this end, the Jupiter Empire created a cockpit and X-shaped thrusters that were permanently attached to the mobile suit, as well as mounting additional thrusters, leading to the creation of the XM-X2ex Crossbone Gundam X-2 Kai.
Notes and Trivia
- In many games, particularly the SD Gundam G Generation series, The X-2 starts with the buster launcher the X-2 Kai has, often reducing the benefit of the upgrade to such an extent that can be more of a downgrade. In G Generation World, the only noticeable difference between the two is the X-2's ability to equip an ABC cloak.
- In Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, the X-2 can be rescued as a hidden unit in Arado's route.