Mecha Profile: Type-97 Fubuki – Muv-Luv Alternative

War isn’t won by bombs and bullets, but soldiers on the field. In the BETA war, TSF pilot is the most valuable resource of humanity, not TSF, not battleships, not missiles, but people. As TSF get more and more advanced towards the 3rd Generation, training pilots to be able to master them is a crucial process. As Japan roll out its first domestic 3rd-Gen TSF Shiranui, they took the opportunity to pile on the snow, and then comes the Type-97 Fubuki – a training craft specifically for 3rd-generation fighters.

I. Development History:
– In the history of TSF development, most training units are the same as the mass-production units that fight on the frontline, except with a multi-seat configuration. Only a few “dedicated” training craft was made, such as the T-38 Talon that later became the F-5 Freedom Fighter. Normal TSF training had rookie pilots using older model such as the F-4 Phantom or F-5, and there has never been a “dedicated” training craft for new recruits.

– However, 3rd-Generation TSF are expensive and much more powerful in output and capabilities than the older models, having pilots that only trained with F-4s will waste the potential of such a good craft. They cannot demonstrate their full potential on the battlefield and will take another period of time – almost equivalent to the initial pilot training – to get used to the new gen machines, hence Japan decided they needed a training unit that allow new pilots to master the current 3rd-gen mainline TSF – The Shiranui – from the start.

– Unfortunately, all manufactured Shiranuis were immediately sent to the front line, so there were no spare units to be used for training. Later, a decision was made that the demonstration trial craft for the Shiranui will be used to manufacture a training unit. All functions not required for training will be removed and there were no need for re-testing as well. Since 60% of its parts are shared with the Shiranui, the manufacturing process can be carried out quickly. And later in 1997, the Type-97 Fubuki was delivered to the Imperial Japanese Army as an exclusive training craft. However, since it shared most of its parts with the Shiranui, it can be fitted with live ammunition and deployed to the frontline in emergencies.

II. Technical Specs & Armaments:

– The Type-97 Fubuki stands at 18.5-meter tall, utilizing 2 FE108-FHI-220E Jump Units manufactured by Fugaku (with reduced output compared to the normal version of the Shiranui). As a training unit for 3rd-gen TSF, the main engine performance have been reduced slightly for safety reasons, but it is still within 3rd-gen parameters, which far exceed other IJA TSF such as the F-4J Gekishin. Its formal classification is a TST – Tactical Surface Trainer.

– The Fubuki retained most of the Shiranui’s feature such as knife storage, except the shoulders, skirt armor and head. It is unclear if the skirt armor are still magazine storage like the Shiranui, but there have been no account of such things. The squarish shoulder blocks also have massive handles presumably for new pilots to grasp the feel of the airframe, since the Shiranui’s shoulder is much more bulkier and longer.

– For Assault Cannon, the Fubuki also uses the Type-87 Assault Cannon with an RG-36 36mm chaingun and a detachable GG-120 120mm cannon, however most are paint bullets for training or blanks. It is unclear if the Fubuki can equip missile containers on its shoulders. For melee training, the Fubuki can wield the Japanese’s Type-74 PB Blade with its sharp edges covered for safety. However, in some training scenarios, the cover is removed. The Fubuki can also use the Supplemental Armor like other TSFs.

– In addition, the Fubuki can be configured to use the 1200mm OTH Over-The-Horizon cannon – an extremely long-range artillery weapon – by removing the shoulder armor. It is also the only unit in the franchise to ever use it.

III. Variation:
So far, we have only seen 2 color variants of the Fubuki. Since it is a Japanese-exclusive training craft.
Type-97 Fubuki UN Color
Type-97 Fubuki IJA Color
– Fubuki UN Color: A very rare color to see on the Fubuki. So far we’ve only seen 6 units with this color, which is when Professor Kouzuki requested new Fubukis delivered to the Yokohama base for Cadet Squad 207th training.

– Fubuki IJA color: Standard IJA dark gray color, used for training IJA Eishis. It is not confirmed if The Royal Guard used them as training crafts, but the high chance is not.

IV. Trivia:
– The Fubuki’s name is from a Japanese destroyer Fubuki-class ship just like the Shiranui.

V. Gallery: