Definitions

FX-550_Skygrasper

FX-550 Skygrasper

This article is about a fictional aircraft from the Cosmic Era timeline of the anime Gundam metaseries.

The FX-550 Skygrasper is designed by Kimitoshi Yamane for the series Mobile Suit Gundam SEED as a new atmospheric support mobile armour of the Earth Alliance for use in conjunction with the GAT-X105 Strike and a possible (failed) candidate for replacing the aging F-7D Spearhead VTOL fighter, however, the said aging fighter has remained in service in the second series, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Artistically, it is possibly modeled after the G-Armour, designed by Kunio Okawara as a support fighter of RX-78 Gundam in the Mobile Suit Gundam series.

In series usage

It is armed with a turret-mounted beam cannon, two heavy machine guns, four light machine guns, and two missile launch bays, making it a very capable air superiority fighter in its own right. Its main role, however, is to deliver new Striker Packs to the GAT-X105 Strike in battle, removing the need to return to the hangar for re-equipping. In addition, the Skygrasper itself can use many of the weapons and equipment on the Striker Packs, such as the Aile Striker's thrusters, the Sword Striker's "Schwert Gewehr" anti-ship sword, and the Launcher Striker's "Agni" beam cannon. The Skygrasper's cockpit has accommodations for a pilot and a navigator.

The Earth Alliance assault ship Archangel, is assigned two Skygraspers when it rendezvoused with the 8th Fleet. After the Archangel descended to Earth, mobile armor ace Mu La Flaga begins piloting Skygrasper Unit 1, as his TS-MA2mod.00 Moebius Zero is incapable of atmospheric flight. Mu favors mounting the Launcher Striker on his Skygrasper, for its superior firepower. Skygrasper Unit 2 is initially piloted by Cagalli Yula Athha, and later by Tolle Koenig. As the Launcher Striker is usually taken by Skygrasper Unit 1 and the Aile Striker by the GAT-X105 Strike, Unit 2 is typically equipped with the Sword Striker by default. Perhaps because of this, Unit 2 earned a reputation as an unlucky aircraft; it is shot down or forced into an emergency landing every time it is deployed but once. While Cagalli came out of these crashes unharmed, Tolle is killed when the GAT-X303 Aegis piloted by Athrun Zala throws his shield into Unit 2's cockpit. It is unknown how many other Skygrasper units were built, but at least one is owned and operated by freelance mercenary Kaite Madigan. While it lacks the white cross emblem used by Madigan on his mobile suits, it is nonetheless easily distinguishable from the standard Skygraspers, since Kaite Madigan's Skygrasper is grey and black instead of the standard white and blue.

The remaining Skygrasper unit on the Archangel is used by Neo Roanoke to defend the Archangel at the Second Battle of Orb.

Influenced design of later series

In the Mobile Suit Variation of Gundam SEED, a space-use FXet-565 Cosmograsper variant is designed by Kunio Okawara, created for use in support of the mass-produced GAT-01A1 105 Dagger which appeared later in the series as the mass production unit of Strike Gundam. It is largely identical to the Skygrasper, aside from using rocket thrusters instead of jet engines, replacing the missile launch bays with Gatling guns, and incorporated a mobile armor-style fully enclosed cockpit. A modified Aile Striker, which lacks beam saber mounts but includes improved thrusters, is designed in conjunction with the Cosmograsper, as the 105 Dagger already has beam sabers as standard equipment. Although the Alliance intended to replace the TS-MA2 Moebius with the Cosmograsper, it ultimately saw only limited production despite the abundance of Striker-compatible mobile suits in the postwar period.

Unit appearances

Other than Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, it also appeared in the anime Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny; the manga Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Astray; the PS2 game Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Never Ending Tomorrow.

Outside Cosmic Era

Outside of the Cosmic Era series, the Skygrasper, like many other units in the Gundam metaseries, appeared in various Gundam and mecha related games, such as the SD Gundam G Generation series and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3. Its general usage is the mainly the same, as a support unit of Strike Gundam, however, it is also featured in the official web site of Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, as a demonstration of the optional parts changing system along with Strike in the intermission screen.

Modeling

The Skygrasper is the only non-Mobile Suit mecha featured in the Bandai Perfect Grade model kit series, at first as a tag item of Strike Rouge, later became a separate model on its own. Although core fighters are present in older models, it is the first to be sold independently. The Skygrasper is also one of the first Mobile Suit Gundam SEED unit that appeared in the Bandai Model kit EX model series along with Moebius Zero. This series of model kits generally targets tanks, fighters, support units and battleships in various Japanese Scifi stories.

Specifications

FX-550 Skygrasper

Manufacturer: PMP (Propulsion & Machinery Progress); Morgenroete, Inc
Users: Earth Alliance
Unit type: atmospheric support fighter for use with GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
First deployment: 16 February, Cosmic Era 71
Special equipment: hardpoints for Striker Packs
Armament: beam cannon x1 (mounted on main body), 76 mm machine gun x2 (mounted on wings), 20 mm machine gun x4, missile launch bay x2 (mounted underneath wings)
Optional equipment: AQM/E-X01 Aile Striker, AQM/E-X02 Sword Striker, AQM/E-X03 Launcher Striker, P204QX Lightning Striker, G-Flight Striker
Pilot: Mu La Flaga, Cagalli Yula Athha, Tolle Koenig, Kaite Madigan, Neo Roanoke

FX-550+AQM/E-X01 Aile Grasper

Manufacturer: PMP (Propulsion & Machinery Progress); Morgenroete, Inc
Users: Earth Alliance
Unit type: atmospheric support fighter for use with GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
First deployment: February, Cosmic Era 71
Special equipment: hardpoints for Striker Packs
Armament: beam cannon x1, 76 mm machine gun x2, 20 mm machine gun x4, missile launch bay x2, 57 mm high-energy beam rifle x1 (mounted on right wing), beam saber x2 (stored on Aile Striker pack), shield x1 (mounted on left wing)
Pilot: Mu La Flaga

FX-550+AQM/E-X02 Sword Grasper

Manufacturer: PMP (Propulsion & Machinery Progress); Morgenroete, Inc
Users: Earth Alliance
Unit type: atmospheric support fighter for use with GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
First deployment: February, Cosmic Era 71
Special equipment: hardpoints for Striker Packs
Armament: beam cannon x1, 76 mm machine gun x2, 20 mm machine gun x4, missile launch bay x2, "Schwert Gewehr" 15.78 meter anti-ship sword x1, "Panzer Eisen" rocket anchor x1 (mounted on forward part of left wing), "Midas Messer" beam boomerang x1 (mounted on rear of left wing)
Pilot: Mu La Flaga, Cagalli Yula Athha, Tolle Koenig

FX-550+AQM/E-X03 Launcher Grasper

Manufacturer: PMP (Propulsion & Machinery Progress); Morgenroete, Inc
Users: Earth Alliance
Unit type: atmospheric support fighter for use with GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
First deployment: February, Cosmic Era 71
Special equipment: hardpoints for Striker Packs
Armament: beam cannon x1, 76 mm machine gun x2, 20 mm machine gun x4, missile launch bay x2, "Agni" 320mm hyper impulse cannon x1, combo weapon pod- 120mm anti-ship vulcan gun x1, 350mm gun launcher x2 (mounted on right wing)
Pilot: Mu La Flaga

FX-550+P204QX Lightning Grasper

Manufacturer: PMP (Propulsion & Machinery Progress); Morgenroete, Inc; Orb Union
Unit type: atmospheric support fighter for use with GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
First deployment: late Cosmic Era 71
Special equipment: hardpoints for Striker Packs
Armament: beam cannon x1, 76 mm machine gun x2, 20 mm machine gun x4, missile launch bay x2, Type 70-31 electromagnetic cannon x1

FX-550 Skygrasper G-Flight

Manufacturer: PMP (Propulsion & Machinery Progress); Morgenroete, Inc; Junk Guild
Unit type: atmospheric support fighter
Special equipment: hardpoints for Striker Packs
Armament: beam cannon x1, 76 mm machine gun x2, 20 mm machine gun x4, missile launch bay x2
Pilot: Kaite Madigan

FXet-565 Cosmograsper

Manufacturer: FUJIYAMA industries
Users: Earth Alliance
Unit type: space-use support fighter for use with GAT-01A1 105 Dagger
Special equipment: hardpoints for Striker Packs
Armament: beam cannon x1, 76 mm machine gun x2, 20 mm machine gun x4, Gatling gun x2
Optional equipment: AQM/E-X01 Aile Striker, AQM/E-X02 Sword Striker, AQM/E-X03 Launcher Striker, P204QX Lightning Striker, G-Flight Striker

References

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