Technology & Combat Characteristics
Despite the theft of the GAT-X103 Buster Gundam by ZAFT forces, the Earth Alliance still had plans to create a Striker Pack based upon the Buster's weaponry for use on its mass production GAT-01A1 Dagger. However as a result of seeking higher performance, the plan was changed and a simplified version of the Buster is built using the Dagger as a base, resulting in the Buster Dagger. Thus, it shares many parts with the Dagger and this results in ease of production.
The Buster Dagger features identical weaponry as the original Buster, including the 350mm gun launcher and the 94mm high-energy rifle. The shoulder-mounted missile pods are retained but scaled down to only three missiles each in comparison to the original six. It can also optionally mount a pair of beam sabers on its forearms, granting the suit close combat fighting abilities, which the Buster lacks. Like the Dagger, the Buster Dagger is equipped with laminated armor, granting it superior resistance against beam weaponry.
- 220mm Triple Missile Pod
- Like the Buster Gundam, a pair of missile pods are mounted on the Buster Dagger's shoulders. In an attempt to reduce the suit's weight, the missile pods only have three missiles each instead of the Buster's six.
- 350mm Gun Launcher
- Mounted on the right side of the waist and hand-carried when in use, it is a projectile weapon akin to a railgun or linear gun, which uses electromagnetic forces rather than gunpowder to launch its projectiles. In addition to solid shells, the gun-launcher can also fire specialized munitions such as armor-piercing and high explosive rounds. Like the Buster's, it can be combined with the high-energy rifle.
- 94mm High-energy Rifle
- Mounted on the left side of the waist and hand-carried when in use, it is a rifle that fires charged energy beam that is highly effective against most targets, but is less effective against targets designed to take beam attacks, such as laminated armor or shields treated with an anti-beam coating. Like the Buster's, it can be combined with the gun-launcher.
- ES01 Beam Saber
- A handheld weapon that emits a blade-shaped beam for close combat. A pair can be optionally stored on the forearms' hardpoints. The beam sabers were added as combat records indicated that the original Buster engaged in close combat more often than envisioned.
Special Equipment & Features
- Laminated Armor
- Like the Dagger, Buster Dagger is equipped with a modified laminated armor made of heat-resistant ablative gel DPX-30, which is more commonly used by warships for atmospheric re-entry. While this offered no increased protection against projectile weapons, it provided defense against mobile suit-scale beam weaponry.
An unknown amount of Buster Daggers were built and rolled out late in the First Alliance-PLANT War. One unit was notably piloted by ace pilot, Rena "Sakura Burst" Imelia, who used it in Operation 8.8, a large scale EA attack on ZAFT's Carpentaria Base. Rena's unit, with a few others, eventually took part in the Second Battle of Jachin Due, in which she fought against Shiho Hahnenfuss in her YFX-200 CGUE DEEP Arms. Her unit was however disabled in combat against Kira Yamato's ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam.