E-frames or Exo-Frames were multi-purpose mecha-like artificial powered exoskeletons featured in the 1993-1995 animated television series Exosquad. Their size and functionality varied greatly - from ultralight infantry body armor to peaceful terraforming machines to monstrous amphibian heavy assault models.
Exo-Frames were created by the humans of the Exosquad Universe in their effort to terraform and colonize Venus and Mars and to protect themselves from any possible aggression from outside of the Solar System. They can be thus divided into two main categories - peaceful and military models, but since the series primarily described the Neosapien War that followed the Second Neosapien Revolt, nearly all E-frames shown in the series were battle machines. Another distinction is that between human (Terran) and Neosapien E-frames.
Originally, all E-frames were humanoid exoskeletons (hence the name) but after several decades of extensive development, non-humanoid "E-frames" vehicles based on the same technologies have been introduced. Basically, by the time of the Second Neosapien Revolt, all machines steered directly by one or two pilots were considered Exo-Frames, regardless of their type, purpose or design: walkers, tanks, space fighters, bulldozers, etc.
A common feature of all E-frames is a sophisticated neural interface that backups "normal", manual steering: each pilot had to undergo surgical implantation of a "cyber socket" to the back of one's neck that allowed direct control over the E-frame via a "cyber jack". Since the brain patterns of humans and Neosapiens are slightly different, E-frame interface has to be reconfigured depending on the race of the pilot. All E-frames are powered by fusion packs. Civilian fusion packs generate much less power than military ones, while the latter are (if intelligently applied) a potentially devastating explosive.
After Professor Algernon joined the Exofleet, some of his inventions were implemented into the Able Squad's E-frames, making them truly unique (so-called Algernon Upgrade).
To this category belong all E-frames used by the Exofleet, as well as their allies - the Pirate Clans (although they only had space fighters before the alliance) and the Homeworlds Resistance. In fact, many of the E-frames used by the Pirate Clans clearly were modified Neosapien E-frames, since the Pirates managed to capture a plenty of them during the battle to free Jonas Simbacca who had been kidnapped by the Neosapien General Typhonus.
- "Falcon" Aerial Attack E-frame #AA-500. Designed specifically for atmospheric combat, "Falcons" were often considered the best E-frames in the entire Exofleet because of their impressive maneuverability and weaponry. Many exosquad leaders including Lt. / Wing Cmdr. J.T. Marsh (as well as Eve Hanley, the second leader of the Earth Resistance Force) made "Falcon" their E-frame of choice. Marsh's personal Algernon Upgrade was a devastating Solar Pulse Cannon, a wide-area energy attack capable of evaporating anything hundreds of meters ahead, including solid rock.
- "Wraith" Spy / Logistics Field Communications E-frame #SLR-345. The most fragile and complex E-frame of the Exofleet, the "Wraith" was an integral element of any exosquad because of its powerful communication and surveillance systems. It requires a lot of skill and training to master #SLR-345, so if it wasn't for Alec DeLeon's abilities, the Able Squad would have been blind and deaf. DeLeon's Algernon Upgrades were an Electronic Disruption Field Generator and an Advanced Flight Recorder, a device capable of blending pilot's mind with the E-frame navigation computer and even storing the pilot's personality.
- Reconnaissance E-frame #TB-024. Less durable and smaller compared with most E-frames, #TB-024 has often been considered an oversized Jumptroop armor suit. Lt. Nara Burns used one of these after her promotion to the leader of the Able Squad.
- Rapid Assault E-frame #RA-678. One of the few two-seat E-frames in the Exofleet, this frame was optimized for ground combat and equipped with an impressive weaponry and battlefield surveillance devices. Lt. Nara Burns and Marsala shared one of these before Burns' promotion. Their Algernon Upgrade was a cloaking device (normally, it is impossible to mount one on an object that small).
- Field Repair E-frame #PO-024. This E-frame wasn't primarily designed for combat and was therefore less maneuverable and sturdy than others. However, for an expert technician and pilot like Lt. Maggie Weston this frame was an optimal choice, allowing her to fix her allies' damaged E-frames in combat. Weston's Algernon Upgrade was a Chain Lightning Cannon firing a beam of electrical energy that ricocheted from target to target and even bent around obstacles. Many fans have noted that the configuration and coloration of this frame is reminiscent of the Power Loader from Aliens.
- Field Sergeant E-frame #LD-029. A perfect E-frame for a perfect soldier like Rita Torres, #LD-029 possessed an extensive amount of firepower as well as a lightsaber-like Laser Strike Blade capable of cutting through any material. Torres' personal Algernon Upgrade was an Armor Piercing Charge Emitter, which turned the large hand of her E-frame into a powerful battering ram.
- Ground Assault E-frame #BD-100. Specialized for ground combat, this E-frame had an enormous raw firepower but was very difficult to navigate in the atmosphere and space. Also, because of its high fire rate, a #BD-100 pilot has always had to consider the possibility of running out of ammo in the middle of a fight. For these reasons only the pilots with the most experience and the steadiest nerves dared to use it. Wolf Bronsky's personal Algernon Upgrade was a Multiple Warhead Plasma Grenade Launcher.
- Exofighter Space E-frame #CR-001. One of the few "flight-only" E-frames in the Exofleet, #CR-001 was incapable of ground combat, so its functions were primarily space and atmospheric reconnaissance and battle. Kaz Takagi was the only member of the Able Squad to use one of these and his #CR-001 was upgraded with a Holographic Decoy System that confused the enemies and left them open to an attack.
Ultralight E-frames were the most exoskeleton-like ones in the entire variety of Exo-Frames. Much more like reinforced full body armor, this type was used exclusively by human jumptroops. Unlike bigger ones, the ultralight E-frames were incapable of space combat (although they could "jump" in the atmosphere) and were used only on planet surfaces to match Neosapien superior physical strength and shooting precision. Because of their small size and mass, only a limited number of upgrades were available for them.
- Ultralight Command E-frame #AD-014. This E-frame has been designed for guerrilla warfare in the caves of the ice moons orbiting Jupiter and was therefore equipped with Jovian Ice Moon Camouflage. Capt. Avery F. Butler used one of these.
- Ultralight Rapid Recon E-frame #LS-042. An incredibly light even for an ultralight E-frame, this one has sacrificed nearly all of its firepower for agility, a unique Neosapien radar and computer hijacking tools. It was equipped with Venusian Defense Camouflage and has been especially preferred by Lt. Colleen O'Reilly.
- Ultralight Fireboss E-frame #JR-100. The ultralight serial production analog of #AM-1194, #JR-100 was equipped with a portable flamethrower and Martian Desert Camouflage. Lance Corporal Vince Pellegrino had shown a special interest in this model.
- Ultralight Heavy Gravity E-frame #LL-828. This frame is equipped with Earth Airborne Camouflage and unusually high (for an ultralight frame) amount of weaponry including deadly plasma mines. This E-frame was used, for example, by Ramon Longfeather.
Early on in the war, the Terran Resistance used a wide variety of E-frames, including captured Neosapien E-frames and severely battered Exofleet E-frames. Several of their E-frames did not appear to have once belonged to the Exofleet or the Neosapiens; indeed, many appeared to be modified police, construction, or other peaceful purpose E-frames. Logically, the Terran Resistance would always be in need of any equipment and supplies that could be of use, and would have to scavenge, modify and steal anything (particularly, E-frames) that could be of use to them.
As the Neosapien War progressed, however, the Resistance was seen to rely more and more on "orthodox" military machinery, that is, captured Neosapien frames and the ones the Exofleet presumably supplied to them with through cloaked supply runs.
- Police Enforcer E-frame #DW-240. The #DW-240 was originally Neosapien Security E-frame, but it lacked firepower and agility, so Sean Napier has modified it to match military standards. He knew what he was doing - after all, he has obtained his own #DW-240 by bare-handedly charging on a Neo frame and successfully Hijacking it! Since then, he didn't exchange it for another one even after he became the leader of the entire Homeworlds Resistance Force.
- Fire Warrior E-frame #AM-1194. A very heat and fire resistant E-frame, this one was used by firefighters prior to the war. Jinx Madison, a member of the Earth Resistance Force, has modified it to a brutal battle machine armed with flamethrowers and capable of producing more "raw firepower" than most military E-frames.
Unlike humans, Neosapiens used E-frames almost exclusively as battle vehicles, since they could accomplish peaceful tasks without them by using their superior physical abilities. This also means that they did not need ultralight E-frames, and even less so since they began modifying Neosapien genome and produced Neo Warriors and Neo Lords. Needless to say, that the former brood seldom used E-frames (non-winged Neo Lords did use them occasionally), as well as Neo Megas who preferred to stay behind and do the thinking instead of fighting.
- Mobile Land and Air Command E-frame. A standard issue for Neosapien squadron commanders, this E-frame possessed a strong armor capable of taking multiple direct hits and limited, but powerful weaponry. Phaeton's personal Mobile Command frame was uniquely customized to allow him to communicate with the entire Neosapien fleet. Another improvement on his E-frame was probably an even better armor, since in the battle at the Olympus Mons, Phaeton emerged from a lake of lava with his E-frame virtually undamaged.
- Amphibious Assault E-frame #AA-569. One of the biggest (even among "two-seats") E-frame ever produced, this one demanded highest skills from the pilot and was therefore produced in limited numbers. Equipped with crab claws and a considerable amount of amphibious weaponry, #AA-569 (apparently, it has no connection to #AA-500) was primarily used at coastal installations and in city sewers, which was a popular Earth Resisistance hideout. General Shiva was about the only famous pilot of an #AA-569 and he is not known to ever share it with anyone.
- Interrogator E-frame #MM-120. Not much is known about this E-frame except the fact that it has been unusually poor armed and was General Draconis' favorite combat E-frame. Despite that, Draconis preferred a customized Neofighter to move around Venus.
- High Speed Stealth E-frame #RA-643. Most of this E-frame's armor and firepower was sacrificed in order to make it as aerodynamic, light and speedy as possible but despite its obvious atmospheric design, this model has been mostly used in the outer space. Probably because of its low production price, #RA-643 was by far the most common combat E-frame in the Neosapien Fleet. General Typhonus was especially fond of wielding one of these.
- Neofighter Space E-frame #EL-909. A standard issue of space and atmosphere only Neosapien E-frame, #EL-909 was Neosapien counterpart to #CR-001. Garrison Commander Thrax was famous for piloting a Neofighter of bright red color (similar to the "Red Baron" Manfred von Richthofen) that made it an excellent target for Exofleet fighters. However, due to Thrax's exceptional piloting skills, he has never been shot down.
- Troop Transport E-frame #AL-002. A huge battle machine of roughly the same size as #AA-569 and #RA-678, this E-frame was not only capable of transporting a number of ground troops in a special compartment, but also could be converted into a mobile battlefield command post. Livanus, the Chief of Earth Security, and General Draconis' final clone were among the most famous pilots of this frame.
- Neosapien Hovertank. The hovertanks were designed especially for ground combat on Earth immediately after the reconquest of Venus. Armored with up to six inches of Plasteel armor in some places, and with redundant systems, they were hard for anything with less power than an E-Frame to take down. In the counter-invasion of Earth, several tanks were seized by members of the North American Resistance when they attacked their production facility in Detroit, and were used to advance on Phaeton City (formerly, Chicago). They were intercepted by a column of Neosapien tanks at a cloverleaf interchange in Battle Creek, Michigan, where they engaged in a protracted tank battle on and around the freeway until the Exofleet wiped out the Neosapien forces with an orbital bombardment.
- Neosapien Security E-frame. These E-frames were not very often seen in the series, since it primarily focused on the war, while Security E-frames were rather clumsy and too weak for actual combat. They were most likely designed to deal with minor threats and not with other E-frames. Human resistance, however, has managed to make a fully functional battle E-frame out of it, that later became known as #DW-240.