Model number: FX-550
Code name: Sky Grasper
Unit type: atmospheric support fighter for use with GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
Manufacturer(s): PMP (Propulsion & Machinery Progress); Morgenroete, Inc
Operator: Earth Alliance
First deployment: 16 February C.E. 71
Accommodation: pilot and navigator, in standard canopy-style cockpit
Equipment and design features: sensors, range unknown; 3 x hardpoints for docking with Striker packs
Fixed armaments: 4 x machine gun, mounted behind nose; 2 x machine cannon, mounted on wings; beam cannon, mounted on main body; 2 x missile launch bay, mounted underneath wings
Optional fixed armaments: see FX-550+AQM/E-X01 Aile Grasper; FX-550+AQM/E-X02 Sword Grasper; FX-550+AQM/E-X03 Launcher Grasper; FX-550 Sky Grasper G-Flight
Although the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam‘s Striker packs allowed it to operate in various mission roles, the switching of the Striker packs was a major problem. Normally, switching a pack during battle required returning to the Archangel for a swap out. To minimize this downtime, the Earth Alliance developed the atmospheric support fighter FX-550 Sky Grasper. The Sky Grasper was an agile fighter on its own, but its main mission was to deliver Striker packs to the Strike Gundam on the battlefield. The Sky Grasper was armed with a beam cannon, two machine cannons, machine guns and missile bays. However, it could also use the Striker pack armaments, allowing it to function as a powerful independent air unit. A space use variant, the FXet-565 Cosmo Grasper, was also produced.
On 13 February C.E. 71, the 8th Fleet transferred two Sky Grasper units to the Archangel. After landing on Earth, ace pilot Mu La Flaga used the Sky Grasper as his main unit to replace the space-only TS-MA2mod.00 Moebius Zero. The second unit was piloted occasionally by Cagalli Yula Athha, and it was destroyed on April 17 when Tolle Koenig attacks Athrun Zala’s GAT-X303 Aegis Gundam. Mu continued to use his Sky Grasper unit until he upgraded to the Strike Gundam. The Sky Grasper remained in the Archangel‘s hangar for more than two years, and Mu once again used it in late C.E. 73 during ZAFT’s invasion of the Orb Union, codenamed Operation Fury.
Pilot(s): Mu La Flaga, Cagalli Yula Athha, Tolle Koenig, Kaite Madigan
First appearance: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Original mechanical designer: Kimitoshi Yamane