ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The ZGMF-X56S Impulse is a prototype general purpose combat mobile developed by ZAFT as part of their Second Stage Series. Though with its base armaments the unit serves as a general purpose machine its true power is based on the Earth Alliance's GAT-X105 Strike. Using optional equipment packs known as Silhouette packs, that mount on a hardpoint on the machine's back, the Impulse can take on specialized combat roles, such as long range heavy assault or close quarters combat, or receive equipment that boosts its base capabilities.
The weaponry of the Impulse is largely identical to its Earth Alliance counterpart the GAT-X105 Strike, although far more advanced. Its armaments include chest-mounted CIWS guns, anti-armor knives, a beam rifle and a shield for defense. Additional armaments are granted through the use of Silhouette packs.
Technologically the Impulse features two new systems that make it stand out against its design ancestor, its modular design and the Deuterion Beam Energy Transfer System.
The Impulse is unique in the fact, that its mobile suit mode is made up of three different modules. The main module is the transformable YFX-M56S Core Splendor, which is similar to an old jet. The Core Splendor contains not only the cockpit of the suit, but can also fly and fight on its own. The other modules are the Leg Flyer and Chest Flyer. If one of the later two modules is damaged or destroyed, they can be easily replaced. Additionally, the Silhouette packs can be changed in mid-battle, since these packs are all equipped on a remotely controlled Silhouette Flyer.
When the Impulse is on standby or undergoing maintenance it is kept in three separate modules, the fighter jet like core splendor that holds the cockpit, the chest flyer, and the leg flyer. Because of this unique feature the Impulse can only be stored and launched from the battleship Minerva which has a specialized hanger and catapult designed for the Impulse. When launched the core splendor goes first, using its missile launchers to cover the launch of the two flyers. The three pieces are assembled min-air, a period where the Impulse is vulnerable to attack. The Silhouette packs are delivered using a similar system.
The idea behind Impulse was based on how many battles in the first war were weight greatly by skill of single ace pilot. By building a MS that can perform various roles, it's possible to let single ace pilots to operate in many different situations.
ZAFT also tested but never fielded a "DRAGOON Flyer" system for Impulse. The intention was to replace Silhouette Flyers with combat-capable DRAGOON versions, which would accompany it in battle. These DRAGOONs would be armed with four small beam guns each, but their primary purpose would be to allow Impulse to switch Silhouette packs without waiting for them to be launched from Minerva.
- 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 realy 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.
- 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.
- There also three additional Silhouettes, the δ Chaos Silhouette, ε Abyss Silhouette, and ζ Gaia Silhouette, which are designed for use with their own alternate Leg Flyer units. Unlike the basic Silhouettes, these packs allow Impulse to transform into MA-like mode. However, the developers figure out that these Silhouettes aren't very effective for their purpose. Thus the plans was scraped and redesign into separate MS, the ZGMF-X24S Chaos, the ZGMF-X31S Abyss, and the ZGMF-X88S Gaia. Chaos Impulse is green and white, Abyss Impulse is solid blue and Gaia Impulse is black and white.
- After the Impulse is completed, additional Silhouettes are designed - the θ Destiny Silhouette, which is a ZAFT counterpart to the EA P202QX IWSP. An additional Silhouette, with the designation of η, predates the Destiny Silhouette but has not yet been revealed. Its quite possible that this Silhouette copies the ZGMF-X23S Saviour. Since the other packs copy the other three units (Abyss, Chaos, and Gaia), it is possible that this pack could allow the Impulse to use a Savior-like MA form.
In late CE 73, ZAFT created a new series of advanced mobile suits to succeed their previous generation of Gundams, which were all lost in the previous war. Since the Treaty of Junius banned the military use of the Neutron Jammer Canceller, these new Gundams use conventional battery power instead. However, technological improvements over the last two years mean that battery efficiency is improved. One of these new suits was the Impulse, a multi-role unit similar in concept to the Earth Alliance's old Strike. The Impulse was designed simultaneously with ZAFT's new battleship Minerva, which includes a catapult exclusive to its use. Using this smaller catapult, the Impulse launches with its modules divided, while combining in flight.
The Impulse was initially piloted by Shinn Asuka, who was selected personally by PLANT Supreme Council Chairman Gilbert Durandal. Shinn performed very well with Impulse, destroying over a dozen enemy warships, numerous mobile suits, and the stolen ZGMF-X31S Abyss. He even managed to defeat the ZGMF-X10A Freedom. After he received the new ZGMF-X42S Destiny, Impulse was reassigned to Lunamaria Hawke. Lunamaria first piloted the Impulse during Operation Ragnarök, the invasion of Heaven's Base in Iceland, where it assists Shinn's Destiny and Rey's ZGMF-X666S Legend in defeating the base's GFAS-X1 Destroy squad. Impulse was heavily damaged at the end of the Second Bloody Valentine War in the battle near Mobile Space Fortress Messiah by Athrun Zala's ZGMF-X19A ∞ Justice, however it's ability to regenerate proves it's survival.
An additional three units of the Impulse were built during the course of the war. These three units were all equipped with a θ Destiny Silhouette, with two suits being piloted by Mare Strode and Courtney Heironimus.
- Impulse's head crest displays the text "X-56S SEI", which means "Six" in Italian and is a reference to Impulse's series number.
- Impulse has a similar concept to the RX-78-2 Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam it has a red shield with a gold cross as well as the core splendor being similar to the core fighter
- Impulse's role in Gundam SEED Destiny is highly reminiscent of the Gundam Mk-II in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Like the Gundam MK II, Impulse is heavily based on the primary mobile suit of the series, and each is eventually transferred from the protagonist to a female pilot in his squad.
- Impulse is the only mobile suit of the Second Stage Series that does not use a mobile armor mode.
- Instead of Shinn, Lunamaria is the default pilot for Impulse in Super Robot Wars K as the ZAFT members recently joined Mist and Angelica (the game's protagonists) after The Battle of Messiah.
- In Super Robot Wars K and Super Robot Wars L, Force Silhouette is the only available equipment for Impulse as a unit. The Sword and Blast Silhouette will only be used when Impulse performed two of its strongest attacks. After that, the Force Silhouette will be equiped again automatically.
- Impulse has no deuterion beam in Super Robot Wars K and Super Robot Wars L, while the technology was available in the older Super Robot Wars Z.
- A side of Sword Impulse's "Excalibur" anti ship sword is provided in the Master Grade model kit of Force Impulse.
- Blast Impulse is the only silhouette in the TV series that has not been available in High Grade, No Grade 1/100 & Master Grade lines so far.
- The role of the Impulse is similar to the GAT-X105 Strike. After being heavily damaged and repaired, the suits were given to a supporting character.