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 combat mobile suit. The Sword Silhouette pack adds two anti-ship laser swords, which can be combined into a larger double bladed sword, and a pair of beam boomerangs to the Impulse's standard armaments of two CIWS, two anti-armor knifes, a beam rifle and a shield. Thanks to the presence of the beam rifle, the suit has no problem engaging in range combat if required. The suit's VPS colors are different from that of the normal Impulse, and is now red, black and white.
- MMI-710 "Excalibur" Anti-Ship Laser Sword
- Mounted on the Sword Silhouette pack, the pair of "Excalibur" anti-ship laser swords are the Sword Impulse's main combat weapon. The anti-ship laser swords are large physical swords with a laser blade along their cutting edge, and as their name implies they can be used to destroy ships in space and naval ships on Earth, although they are mostly used against mobile suits during combat. The two swords can be joined at their hilts to form a large dual-bladed ambidextrous form. The swords are also capable of extending the laser blade over the tip of the sword for piercing enemies with Phase-Shift Armor.
- RQM60 "Flash Edge" Beam Boomerang
- The Sword Silhouette also mounts two RQM60 "Flash-Edge" beam boomerangs, which are throwing weapons that emits a short beam blade on one end, and can return to the owner after throwing, often catching enemy units by surprise. These beam boomerangs are improved version of ZGMF-X09A Justice Gundam's beam boomerangs.
- MMI-GAU25A 20mm CIWS
- The Sword Impulse mounts two CIWS guns in its chest to shoot down incoming missiles or enemy units at close range.
- M71-AAK "Folding Razor" Anti-Armor Knife
- Stored in the suit's side armor, these knives do not need power from the suit and while not really effective against weapons like beam sabers, they are nonetheless capable of cutting into the armor of another mobile suit as long as it is not phase-shift armor or its variants.
- MMI-RG59V Mobile Shield
- The Sword Impulse can use a physical anti-beam coated MMI-RG59V mobile shield for defense, it can be mounted on the left forearm or handheld. This shield is expandable, but is normally used in its compact state by the Sword Impulse in order to utilize its other weapons with less hindrance.
- MA-BAR72 High-Energy Beam Rifle
- Stored on the suit's rear skirt armor, this beam rifle is developed based on Freedom and Justice Gundam's beam rifle, and is rarely used by the Sword Impulse.
Special Equipment & Features
- 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 or situation 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.
- The Deuterion beam energy transfer system is a wireless energy transfer system built into the Second Stage Series and their support ship, the LHM-BB01 Minerva. 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 is 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 Gundam as part of the Second Stage Series of new Gundam-type mobile suits. The Impulse is similar to the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam, created by the Earth Alliance during the First Alliance-PLANT War. Like the Strike, the Impulse can be equipped with exchangeable Silhouette packs, an advanced variation of the 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.
The Sword Impulse was used in battle first on October 2, 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 Alliance-PLANT War, the ship was attacked by a task force of Alliance ships. During the battle, the EA first used the prototype mobile armor, YMAF-X6BD Zamza-Zah , 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 Gundam 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.
Notes and Trivia
- Fans have speculated that the Sword Impulse has the strongest variation of the Variable Phase Shift armor due to its status as a close combat MS. So far, only the SD Gundam G Generation series (started with Wars) support the idea with Sword Impulse's VPS has greater damage reduction than Force Impulse (which function like standard PS) but consume more energy. No official source have state the strength level of each of the Impulse Gundam variants' VPS armor.