ZGMF-X56S/β Sword Impulse Gundam
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The ZGMF-X56S/β Sword Impulse is the ZGMF-X56S Impulse equipped with the β Sword Silhouette pack and is designed to serve as a close quarters mobile suit. As with most of the Impulse's technology the system was derived from the Earth Alliance's GAT-X105 Strike, specifically the GAT-X105+AQM/E-X02 Sword Strike. The primary difference is that the Sword Impulse is equipped two anti-ship swords, two beam boomerangs, and the grappling claw was removed. Additionally because of the Impulse's design whenever the chest flyer is launched it is equipped with the Impulse's shield and beam rifle. Though the shield remains in its folded state and the beam rifle is usually stored on the back of the waist in favor of the close quarters weapon, both items are easy to use, giving the Sword Impulse greater attack and defense capabilities when compared to the Sword Strike. Because of the dangers and weapons involved in close combat the VPS armor value is set for high defensive capabilities, signified by its light red color scheme.
- "Excalibur" Anti-ship swords
- The Sword Silhouette mounts two large MMI-710 "Excalibur" anti-ship swords, which are similar to the sword used on the GAT-X133 Sword Calamity. As the name implies, these swords are mainly used to attack ships in space and naval ships on Earth, although they can also be used against mobile suits and even used as a throwing weapon as seen when Shin battles the 3 Extendeds in Armory One. The swords can also combine to create a large dual-bladed ambidextrous form.
- "Flash Edge" Beam boomerangs
- Similar to the old ZGMF-X09A Justice, the Sword Silhouette also mounts two RQM60 "Flash-Edge" beam boomerangs for added ranged combat.
- MMI-GAU25A 20mm CIWS
- Like most other mobile suits, the Impulse also mounts two MMI-GAU25A 20mm CIWS guns to shoot down incoming missiles or enemy units at close range. While most other suits have these CIWS guns installed in their heads, the Impulse instead mounts these guns in its chest.
- M71-AAK "Folding Razor" anti-armor knife
- For close combat, the Impulse is equipped with two M71-AAK "Folding Razor" anti-armor knifes, which are stored in the hip armor of the suit when not in use. While not really effective against weapons like beam sabers, it is nonetheless capable of cutting into the armor of another mobile suit.
- MMI-RG59V mobile shield
- For defense, the Impulse mounts a single physical MMI-RG59V mobile shield on its left arm, a feature which is similar to most other suits. The Impulse's shield however is far more advanced than that on most other suits. It usually is rather small, but it can expand and be reinforced by a beam-deflecting energy barrier, which grants the shield enhanced defense, even against strong beam attacks.
- MA-BAR72 High-energy Beam Rifle
- The Impulse usually uses a single MA-BAR72 high-energy beam rifle for ranged combat, a feature similar to most other advanced mobile suits. When not in use, this rifle is stored on the back of the suit, underneath the Silhouette pack.
- Variable Phase Shift allows the MS to automatically alter the strength and by extension the power consumption of the PS Armor, depending on what combat configuration that MS is in. As a result, the MS's colors changes. Unlike Strike Rouge's color-shifting PS, VPS is capable of changing its strength in the field, although this must be programmed beforehand. When using the Sword Silhouette pack, the armor automatically takes a red, white, and black color scheme, which is presumably the strongest variation of the Variable Phase Shift armor. This is likely due to the fact that the Sword Impulse mainly uses weapons with low energy requirements, while at the same time fighting enemies at close range.
- The Deuterion beam energy transfer system is a wireless energy transfer system built into the Second Stage Series and their support ship, the Minerva-class battleship. The system allows a mobile suit that is properly lined up with the Minerva to receive a recharge while in the field, meaning that if the mobile suit runs low on power during a battle it can be quickly recharged without coming into the ship's hanger. The transfer system if very efficient requiring only a few seconds before the mobile suit is fully recharged. Still on a battlefield even a few seconds could mean death so it is advisable for a machine to only perform the maneuver when they have covering fire.
- Hardpoints for Silhouette Packs
- While the other suits of the Second Stage series are capable of transforming into a mobile armor mode, the Impulse instead is similar to the Strike in the fact, that it can adapt to different situations by using exchangeable Silhouette packs. In addition to adding weapons and equipment for different mission profiles, these packs also reconfigure the Impulse's Variable Phase Shift armor.
In CE 73, ZAFT created the Impulse as part of the Second Generation of Gundam-type mobile suits. The Impulse is similar to the old GAT-X105 Strike, created by the Earth Alliance during the Bloody Valentine War. Like the Strike, the Impulse can be equipped with exchangeable Silhouette packs, an advanced variation of the old Striker Packs, granting the suit the ability to adapt to different combat situations. One such pack is the β Sword Silhouette, which is analogus to the AQM/E-X02 Sword Striker, although far more advanced.
The Sword Impulse was used in battle first on October 2nd, CE 73, when the ZAFT military colony Armory One was infiltrated by three Extended humans working for the EA Phantom Pain special forces unit. The Extendeds stole three Gundams of the Second Generation series and caused serious damage to the interior of the colony while fighting ZAFT mobile suits. Shinn Asuka eventually launched in the Sword Impulse to fight the three Gundams. He was capable of holding his own against the three suit for awhile, until the three eventually planned to escape outside the colony. Before leaving the colony, the Sword Impulse weaponry was destroyed by the enemy suits, forcing Shinn to switch to the Force Silhouette.
Some times later, when the Minerva left the Orb Union after the declaration of the Second Bloody Valentine War, the ship was attacked by a task force of Alliance ships. During the battle, the EA first used the prototype YMAF-X6BD Zamza-Zah mobile armor, which inflicted damage to the Force Impulse, causing Shinn to enter SEED mode for the first time. After defeating the Zamza-Zah, Shinn switched to the Sword Silhouette to attack the EA fleet, causing massive damage to it and forcing the remaining ships to retreat.
The Sword Impulse configuration is lastly used in the second battle between the Minerva and a joint EA/Orb fleet near Crete. At the end of the battle, Shinn again used the Sword Impulse to attack the Orb fleet, destroying several ships of the fleet until eventually sinking the flagship Takemikazuchi. In the process, Shinn unknowingly killed his former caretaker Captain Todaka.
Although the Sword Impulse configuration isn't used during the remainder of the war, the Sword Silhouette itself is used again sometimes by the Force Impulse. The first use was during Operation Angel Down, a ZAFT operation to the destroy the Archangel. In this operation, Shinn fought against Kira Yamato in his ZGMF-X10A Freedom and eventually defeated him by impaling the suit on one of the anti-ship swords, which he used with the Force Impulse. During the ZAFT attack on the LOGOS-controlled Heaven's Base, Shinn in his new ZGMF-X42S Destiny urged the new Impulse pilot Lunamaria Hawke to use the Sword pack together with Rey Za Burrel to destroy the massive GFAS-X1 Destroy suits used in the battle, which she eventually did.
After the battle of Heaven's Base, the Sword Silhouette was never used again.