|Model 40 Striker/Chopper VX / ストライカー/チョッパー VX 40-式|
|The VX in both forms.|
|The VX in both forms|
|Faction||Empire of the Rising Sun|
|Unit Type||Mecha/Attack Helicopter|
|Production Building||Mecha Bay|
|Dev. Status||RA3 Original Unit|
|Country of Origin||Japan|
|Created by||Tenzai Robotics|
|Key Features|| » Tenzai "Airdestroyer" Missile Launcher|
» Hardened Glass Shielding
» Radio-Controlled Targeting System
» Autoreloader System
» Self-cleaning motion sickness bag
- All Terrain: A variable walker-helicopter hybrid, no amount of terrain can stop the Striker/Chopper VX from getting to its destination. Highly effective against armoured targets, the Striker/Chopper complements the capabilities of the Mecha Tengus and Skywings.
- Be it Air or Land: Armed with a Tenzai "Airdestroyer" Missile Launcher, the Striker VX can bring down entire squadrons of enemy fighters with swarms of seeker missiles. In the air, it is equally as devastating against armoured ground targets and buildings.
- Handle with Care: Unfortunately, the VX suffers from a number of associated problems. The mecha is incapable of attacking ground targets when in ground mode, and aerial targets in air mode. In addition, it cannot transform over water, and tends to be rather fragile.
- Refurbished: Following the war, the Imperial military has embarked on a program of upgrading its VXes, fitting them with old cannons taken from the original Striker models for additional firepower.
The Empire of the Rising Sun did not arise in a day. So, too, did its mecha not arise in their present form from the beginning. Though all mecha of the Rising Sun have evolved over time, no mecha has evolved so much, or changed so in role, than the Striker VX.
The beginning origins of the Striker VX lie in the early 1940s, when Shinzo Nagama took over as the head of the Imperial mecha divisions, in the form of the Type 47 Striker Mobile Turret, and originally for a far different purpose than it is now. Developed alongside the Defender VX, it was developed instead as a mobile assault version of the Defender, one that could walk on two thick legs behind the front lines of Tengu and act as mobile fire bases. Like the VX, it was armed with a full pod of Tenzai "Airdestroyer" AI/IR Missiles, but unlike its twin it came equipped with two secondary pods... of Tenzai "Landsmasher" BP/UG Missiles.
Unlike the former, these missiles were unequipped with the traditional heat signature seeking AI, and were thus capable of targeting ground units. The Type 47 was an ungainly beast, and relatively slow, but in the early stages it had an impressive amount of firepower to spare. In addition, unlike the Defender the Striker was developed with room for a pilot, in a cockpit that stuck out the front and offered both an impressive view of the battlefield... and a target for snipers.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at things, during and after World War II the Strikers were deemed inefficient, and in a word failures. They were too big of a target, too slow, and furthermore they were too expensive and heavy a chassis for the amount of weaponry they individually brought to the battle. With that in mind, Tenzai Robotics set about to create a new form of the Striker. In 1958, they revealed the newest version. It was... different.
The Model 21 Striker VX was now entirely smaller, the large bulky frame replaced with a smaller, thinner, lighter version, and the missile pods arranged in a triangular pattern. It's legs were no longer the slightly flexible tree trunks they had been, but were rather birdlike, with double jointed limbs that could carry it across ground quickly if slightly ungainly. The cockpit had been isolated, and sealed off from the main mecha, so that if the mecha was damaged the pilot could snap off the cockpit and fall to the ground unharmed. It was heralded as a success, an improvement over the failure that had been the Type 47.
The young CEO of Tenzai Robotics himself appeared to witness the heavily anticipated opening trials.
From the moment it first fired at the drone Tsunamis, however, the onlookers realized that Tenzai had made a serious mistake. The AI/IR Missiles had worked perfectly, blowing apart swarms of Burst Drones and even a few early Mark 1 Tengus as the crowd cheered and Kenji smiled at the sight. But when it turned on the Tsunami targets, the recoil from the BP/UG Missiles blew the Striker off its feet. Tenzai was made a temporary laughingstock almost overnight, as word spread of the "Model 21 Lemon VX".
Research conducted by internal scientists determined the problem: the very frame that had been the pivotal change to the Striker. The frame was too light to stabilize the unguided missiles, and combined with the weight of everything else made the Striker topple every time it fired them. Reluctantly, and with less fanfare then before, Tenzai scrapped the already hundreds of Model 21 Strikers made and in production, and quietly and meekly put out the Model 23 Striker VX two years later... without the "Landsmasher" Missiles.
For years, the Striker VX went unnoticed. Minor changes were made; tune ups and gradual replacement of the parts, but nothing major ever came of it. The Striker series was put on the back burner, as more and more public notice shifted to the changes sweeping the "Tengu" and "Oni" series of mecha. This might have gone on indefinitely, with the Striker's being remembered only as a failed experiment in the Empire, were it not for a personal call from Emperor Yoshiro in the early 1960s.
He remembered the great impact that the Type 47s had in battle, striding forwards and laying waste to the enemy barbarians as the Tengu dealt with infantry, and he knew that the new barbarians would have better armour, and better weapons, than last time... and that the Tengu, as graceful and deadly as they were, could not be tied up trying to deal with bombers and zeppelins from bombing their bases when they were much more suited for fighter duty. To that end, Tenzai Robotics was ordered to revitalize the Striker series, make it viable for use as a modern military machine, and bring the Empire honour by showing even failures could become successes in the hands of the Rising Sun.
Kenji, though reluctant, could not refuse, and Tenzai immediately set about refitting the Striker. The Model 34 Striker VX emerged in 1966, and when the Empire declared war on both the Allies and the Soviets, they saw battle, and they met it with glee. The pilots were an odd mix, and indeed many of them were the same pilots who as young men piloted old Type 47s across the battlefield. The mecha was a success... but its role was still not complete. And, though the Strikers were no longer met with laughs or shameful embarrassment by Tenzai, they were still not complete successes.
The Empire was situated on a series of islands, after all, and every Striker that took up a transport ship or plane to the front meant there was one less tank, one less squad of men that could be sent. And they weren't even useful as guards on the transports... a Seawing group was just as effective, and didn't need their own transports, either. To that end, the Model 34s were kept mainly on the mainland, in defence roles. Many pilots quietly stewed, and especially new recruits kept back from any real fighting, unable to bring the fight to the enemy.
In the early days of 1967, Kenji himself decided that something needed to be done. The brave and heroic Mecha Tengu were being blasted out of the sky by flak troopers and javelins on the air and assaulted by Vindicator runs and Twinblades on the ground. The Seawings were limited to bodies of water, and the Skywings were only useful for anti-infantry work. The Striker VX almost seemed to fill a gap somewhere... but where? Frustrated, Kenji searched for days for something he could use to bring the Striker to the front in mass... and then he found the Chopper Tengu designs.
A never released prototype, the Chopper Tengu was supposed to act as a support firing platform for use alongside the faster Jet Tengus, but the versatility of the transforming vehicle had rendered it obsolete before it began. Kenji knew, however, it had the answer to his problems. A few weeks later, the Model 40 Striker VXs emerged at numerous Imperial docks.
Transport captains looked on and smirked as they lined up, having filled up already for the ride to the barbarian homelands. The new Strikers had strange red crests on their backs, and in between the cockpit and main body the "Airdestroyer" missile pods was now attached a circular collar of some sort. As they came closer, onlookers stared in shock as the Strikers simply seemed to leap up... and then transformed into the newly revealed Model 40 Chopper VXs.
The new Chopper VXs were armed with a sort of "kill switch" for their missiles, one that allowed their missiles to be switched to BP/UG versions for ground attack. With the new Chopper system, the BP/UG missiles could finally be fired at ground targets again, although the recoil was still too dangerous to be used on the ground. Furthermore, the pod was swiveled downwards while in the process making it unable to attack other aircraft, in part because (private) testing revealed the normal position had a nasty tendency to blow up the rotors keeping the chopper upright when it fired.
Nonetheless, the new Model 40 Striker/Chopper VXs were, without a doubt, successes. They could travel across long distances, attacking and destroying tank divisions and buildings at will, and when attacked switch to Striker forms to blast apart enemy aircraft. Though they came in rather late to World War III, the Striker/Chopper series nonetheless made their mark, and continue to be successes today.
The Striker series stands as a monument to change, and improvement. It is living proof that even the most laughable failures can turn around and become successful, and in the Empire of the Rising Sun the Striker today stands as a symbol of what the Japanese people need most: Hope....and second chances.
Just the Stats
|Armour Type||Light Armour|
|Missile Pod (AA)|
|Missile Pod (ATG)|