|Manufacturer(s)||Fugaku Heavy Industries|
Mitsuhishi Heavy Industries
|Engines||Fugaku Heavy Industries FE108-FHI-220|
|Armament(s)||Type-87 Assault Cannon|
Muv-Luv Unlimited The Day After
Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse
Muv-Luv Alternative: Faraway Dawn
Tactical Surface Fighters In Action (TSFIA)
The Type-94 Shiranui (Japanese name: 94式 不知火) is a Tactical Surface Fighter in use by the Imperial Army/Mainland Defence Force of Japan as their premiere unit. The first domestic-production TSF of the Empire, the Type-94 is a high-performance unit that can fill a wide variety of combat roles.
History[edit | edit source]
The development of the Shiranui first began in 1983, when the Empire of Japan's Ministry of National Defense began looking at several models of TSFs to determine their next-generation main model. This project, termed the second TSF-X Project, sought to deploy the selected TSF type within 5 years, by 1988, and aimed at the acquisition of licenses for the newest US TSFs of that time, namely the F-14 Tomcat, the F-15 Eagle, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
However, the ongoing conflict in Europe against the BETA during that time forced the USA, as the leader of NATO, to place emphasis on the European region; as a result, support for the less-critical situation in the East Asian region was marked as being lower-priority. As a result, those in the Empire of Japan and the Ministry of National Defence that still held resentment for the delay in the delivering of the Type-77 Gekishin, used the second TSF-X as a platform to assert that relying on the US to provide weapons was an unfeasible policy, resulting in the rise of advocates for domestic development of armaments within the Imperial Diet.
To placate the domestic development supporters and avoid slighting the USA, the Imperial government launched the Youkou Plan. Its public front was to facilitate research and development of TSF modification technlogies, but its actual purpose was to facilitate domestic technology development. Unlike the usual format of individual companies competing for the right to sell their products, the Youkou Plan was instead established as a joint-development effort between Mitsuhishi Heavy Industries, Fugaku Heavy Industries, and Kawazaki, due to their prior experience with developing and manufacturing the Type-77 Gekishin.
Problems with domestic development immediately became apparent; the lofty requirements for the TSF-X's new airframe, high performance to maximize the results of a limited pool of pilots and resources, and capacity for upgrades, were far beyond what Japanese technology could deliver. Other requirements, such as laser resistance required to last for 10 seconds under continuous exposure, airframe weight reduction by using new materials for armoring, combat data sharing, improved, hardware, software, and aerial characteristics, only compounded the issue, especially as Japanese manufacturers of that time were inexperienced even in the production and manufacture of 2nd-generation TSFs. Even with the Empire's experience with armor materials due to their participation in the Prometheus Project, simply lightening the airframe without developing a proper OS would have resulted in a highly-unstable, defective product.
From 1983 to 1985, the three companies continued to accumulate development technologies and knowledge for the Youkou Plan; however, frustrated at having only completed basic airframe design after 2 years, those heading research and development proposed to the Ministry of National Defence to acquire a number of F-15C Eagles under the guise of trial introduction to select a new TSF mainline TSF. A total of 4 fully-built F-15Cs were acquired, with 8 more built under trial production, and the knowledge and experience gained from this endeavor would greatly boost Japanese research and development efforts for their own domestic development.
To further research the F-15C, lay the groundwork for domestic production, and give the three companies time to advance their research, the licensed production of the Type-89/F-15J Kagerou was approved. Development of a domestic TSF was further aided by tech-sharing and information exchange with the European nations.
The various measures taken to raise the domestic technology level in TSF development finally bore fruit in 1989, when the first TSF-X prototype was completed. Despite the inability to equip an S-11, several other missing combat functions, and insufficient frame and Jump Unit output to match the levels specified in the TSF-X project plan, the fact that a 2nd generation TSF was reproduced using domestic research and technology was hailed as a feat in and of itself. The second prototype to be produced would lay further groundwork, such as the implementation of Operation By Light and improved communication capabilities. By 1994, at least 6 TSF-X prototypes had been produced for various testing purposes; after the end of the TSF-Xs' testing phases, one of them would eventually be used to develop the Type-97 Fubuki.
In February 1994, the cumulative efforts of the Empire's research and development was unveiled as the Type-94 Shiranui, the world's first production 3rd-generation TSF, and the first production unit was deployed with the Imperial Japanese Army's evaluation unit for further testing. In time, the TSF would be deployed across the entire Japanese military.
The Type-94 Shiranui, as the first domestically-produced TSF of the Empire of Japan, was built with the rigors of Hive combat in mind. As resupplying while inside a Hive is not always possible, the Shiranui's controls are highly sensitive to maximize every action with minimal effort; its forearm-mounted Blade Sheaths and head sensor masts are integrated into the process of controlling the TSF while it is airborne, allowing the unit to make minute course corrections when in the air and prior to landing. Because of that, pilots unfamiliar with the quirks of the Type-94 may find it hard to maintain unit stability in tight quarters; in the hands of the right pilot however, the Shiranui boasts excellent maneuverability that allows its pilots to match more advanced units in combat.
The introduction of improved Anti-Laser Coating and composite materials for its frame allowed the Type-94 to perform far better than other units of its time, with an engine installed into its Type-91 Jump Units that allow the Shiranui to exceed 700km/h during flight. On its feet are fold-able spikes that allow it to gain better traction when walking or bracing against a surface.
As with previous TSFs like the Type-77 Gekishin or Type-82 Zuikaku, the Type-94 Shiranui also boasts exemplary main arm and hand manipulator strength to enable it to use close-combat weapons, as the specifications the Shiranui was designed to fulfill were made with the intent of exclusive-use by Japanese forces in mind.
However, in fulfilling TSF-X requirements for high performance, consideration for the Shiranui's capacity for upgrades was axed during the design phase, resulting in future problems with upgrading the Shiranui's hardware; the upgrades to come would be made to its software. Despite this flaw, the Shiranui was well-regarded on the frontlines for its efficiency and high serviceability, and would go on to participate as a key unit in many upgrading projects, such as the joint USA-Japan XFJ Project.
Deployment[edit | edit source]
The Type-94 Shiranui has been in use with the Imperial Army since 1994. As the primary TSF of the Japanese forces, the Shiranui has seen widespread deployment both with domestic forces, and units assigned to service with the United Nations as part of the Far East Defense Line.
Furthermore, when Japan won the right to host Alternative IV in 1995, then-Prime Minister of Japan, Sakaki Kurechika, arranged for equipment and facilities to be provided to the UN troops that would be stationed in Japanese territory, as part of the requirements for a host nation. However, those in the Ministry of National Defence and the cabinet ministers linked to them, already leery of the pro-UN stance of the government, feared that if the Type-94 were to be included as part of the provided equipment, the data and knowledge that was used to produce the Shiranui would be leaked through the chaos of the UN Forces. They therefore furiously opposed this move, even though they also acknowledged that trouble with Alternative IV would only create more issues for the Empire. A compromise was eventually made; the Shiranui would only be deployed with UN special forces, and their assigned pilots would have to be Japanese, thus paving the way for the Shiranui to be deployed with the UN's Special Task Force A-01; a total of 108 units would eventually be provided.
The Shiranui also saw heavy combat action during Operation Lucifer in 1999, by both Imperial Japanese Army forces and Special Task Force A-01. Notable pilots of this operation include Sagiri Naoya, Komaki Sayoko, Narumi Takayuki, and Taira Shinji.
The year 2001 saw heavy deployment of the Shiranui on the Japanese mainland. Both the Imperial Army/Mainland Defence Force and the UN Special Task Force A-01 deployed their Type-94s during the operation to repel the BETA Invasion of Niigata. On the 5th of December 2001, the 1st Tactical Armor Regiment, Fuji Tactical Fighter Training Group, and other military units assaulted Japanese, UN, and US Army forces stationed in Japan during the 12/5 Incident. Due to this, Special Task Force A-01 also deployed with their Type-94s and took part in the battle against the insurgents. During this battle, Captain Sagiri Naoya, leading the coup d'état forces, defeated Major Alfred Walken in high-maneuverability close-range battle, thus making the Shiranui the first TSF to unofficially hold the record of besting the F-22A Raptor in live combat. Even with the high-performance US TSF constrained to escort duties around a small zone instead of its envisioned roles, and defeated outside its area of specialization, this occurrence was used to hold that, with the Shiranui's high maneuverability and a skilled pilot, surpassing the F-22A Raptor was not impossible. Elsewhere during the 12/5 Incident, the Shiranui was able to close the technological and skill gap against the F-22A Raptor with numbers, leading to a 7:1 rate of engagement. Later in December, the Shiranui of A-01 were again deployed to combat BETA during the XM3 trials, and both IJA/MDF and A-01 Shiranui played pivotal roles in the Operation 21st. In particular, the Shiranui of A-01 were instrumental in clearing the way for the XG-70b Susanoo Unit Two to make contact with the Sadogashima Hive. The Shiranui of A-01 would last see action during the defense of Yokohama Base, where they were deployed as a final line of defence to protect the XG-70d Susanoo Unit 4, as well as destroy the Yokohama Hive Reactor. All remaining Shiranui were rendered inoperable in the battle.
While the Type-94 remains the primary TSF of the Empire of Japan in Unlimited, it does not make an appearance during the main story.
The Shiranui would be featured more heavily in The Day After, where it is both the flagship machine of Wardog Squadron and the 1st Tactical Armor Regiment in their missions. The Shiranui of both units were involved in a skirmish at the Seattle Defence Line and later at the Defence of Seattle against a BETA attack, and would later go on to participate in combat against insurgent A-6Js during the Seattle Food Plant Hijack, with Lieutenant Tatsunami Hibiki demonstrating that the Shiranui was not to be underestimated both above and underwater. The 1st Tactical Armor Regiment and Wardog Squadron also participated in the 8th Border Skirmish between US/Japan alliance forces and the French/Canadian alliance.
Despite its age and status as the world's oldest production 3rd generation TSF at this point of time, its flexibility and mobility are well-demonstrated during the battles fought by Wardog Squadron and the 1st Tactical Armor Regiment.In addition to Imperial forces, some UN colored Type-94s still remain and are seen in service during the JFK Hive Operation.
Type-94-1C Shiranui Type-1C[edit | edit source]
|TSF-Type-94-1C Shiranui Type-1C|
94式 不知火 壱型丙
A Type-94-1C in its distinctive dazzle camouflage.
|Manufacturer(s)||Fugaku Heavy Industries|
Mitsuhishi Heavy Industries
|Role||Enhanced Capabilities/General Combat Fighter|
|Engines||Fugaku Heavy Industries FE108-FHI-225|
|Armament(s)||Type-87 Assault Cannon|
|Appearance(s)||Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse|
The Shiranui's limitation was not only evident in combat, but was also demonstrated by the Type-94-1C Shiranui Type-1C, where several were produced in 1998 as an attempt at upgrading Japan's fleet of Shiranui. With a strengthened frame and joint actuators in anticipation of additional capabilities for deploying heavy weapons, its drive system performance was increased by 15%. Its frame also featured an experimental camouflage scheme known as "Ferris" camouflage; the patterns and color selection are designed to play havoc with the BETA's sensory organs when the Shiranui Type-1C is in high-speed maneuvers during combat. However, the addition of the Ferris camouflage has not shown any positive results thus far.
The Shiranui Type-1C is equipped with an enlarged power generator and uses the Type-00F/-00A's FE108-FHI-225 engines in its Jump Units instead of the Shiranui's original FE108-FHI-220 engines, giving it greater thruster power. However, the enlarged generator and the increase in power demand from the engines caused poorer fuel efficiency, limiting its operational time. A proprietary OS was developed to attempt to compensate for its limited operating time, but this had the side effect of making the TSF difficult to pilot due to development cutting corners, as well as the incomplete integration of the Shiranui Type-1C's mishmash upgrade of different TSF parts.
This sudden change in development direction from a heavy-firepower unit to include capabilities of a high-mobility unit resulted in the eventual axing of the upgrade plan due to poor-balanced performance. Despite its flaws, however, the lessons learned from Japan's domestic development with the Shiranui and Kagerou were well-applied in the Shiranui Type-1C, with mobility, fire control, and combat abilities well ahead of required operation parameters; it merely lacked combat redundancy due to the high specifications of its required parts, making the unit costly to be deployed en masse and further pushing the unit into the dead-end zone of being unfit for upgrade and refitting capability due to the parts' required precision.
Deployment[edit | edit source]
In light of heavy losses suffered by the Imperial Army following Operation Lucifer, the Shiranui Type-1C entered a limited production run. With slightly less than 100 units produced in addition to the handful manufactured before the BETA Invasion of Japan, most found use as elite units, assigned to pilots who could control the finicky TSF even in the heat of combat. They also acted as data-gathering testbeds, or as field-testing machines for weapons projects such as the EML-99X railgun.
A full squadron of Shiranui Type-1Cs were piloted by Captain Sanada Kozou and his men of the Imperial Army during the Battle of Kyoto in 1998. They were engaged in a delaying action to buy time for Takamura Yui and the remains of her squadron to retreat from the battlefield.
Another unit was deployed to the UN's Yukon Base in Alaska in 2001 as a Project PROMINENCE test machine; piloted by US Army Second Lieutenant Yuuya Bridges, it gradually received Boening-manufactured upgrades and refinements into the XFJ-01a Shiranui Second Phase 1.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- In production, the Shiranui is the world's first 3rd generation TSF. In terms of rollout dates, the YF-22 and YF-23 predate the Shiranui.
- The Type 94's name was inspired by a World War II Kagerō-class destroyer, the Shiranui. Its Japanese name, 不知火 (meaning unknown fire), is also the name of an optical illusion often appearing on the horizon of the Ariake Sea and the Yatsushiro Sea.
- In the Total Eclipse anime, Sanada Kozou was alone and wounded in his damaged Shiranui Type-94-1C when Takamura Yui encountered him. In the visual novel, he was the leader of a squadron of the TSFs, and had not been harmed despite the heavy combat they had seen.
Image Gallery[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Integral Works, pg. 57, 純日本国産戦術機への道
- Integral Works, pg. 61, 第3世代戦術機のための専用訓練機
- Integral Works, pg. 58, 94式戦術歩行戦闘機 不知火
- Integral Works, pg. 57, A-01部隊への配備
- Integral Works, pg. 59, 94式戦術歩行戦闘機 不知火 帝国本土防衛軍帝都守備連隊仕様