The Knight Saviour Gundam is a high-performance variable mobile suit, developed from the ZGMF-X23S Saviour Gundam and used to test a number of experimental technologies that were further refined in the ZGMF-X42R Destiny Gundam. In late CE 75, it is piloted by ZAFT ace and FAITH Special Forces operative Athrun Zala, and once by Stella Loussier.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
As a variant of the Saviour Gundam, the Knight Saviour shares many of its characteristics, including high speed and maneuverability, with a mix of powerful long-range and close-quarters weapons enabling it to operate equally well in all theaters of combat. Using data gleaned from analysis of the captured Gaia Gundam, along with the latest technologies developed by ZAFT, the Knight Saviour's abilities have been significantly improved across the board. The Knight Saviour is the first mobile suit to be equipped with a Hyper-Deuterion Nuclear Reactor, an experimental new powerplant that combines an experimental fusion reactor with a refined form of the deuterion beam technology pioneered with the Impulse and the Saviour. Because this entire system is internalized, it eliminates the need to obtain energy recharges from the Minerva. Additionally, the hyper-deuterion reactor differs from the nuclear reactors of mobile suits like the Freedom in that it does not require an N-Jammer Canceller. This grants the Knight Saviour Gundam an infinite power supply, with a far higher energy output than any normal mobile suit up to that point.
The Knight Saviour is designed for high-speed, high-maneveuverability aerial combat, and to that end its backpack has also been enlarged, drawing on technology and date from the ZGMF-X09A Justice. This new backpack is fitted, in addition to conventional thrusters, with a prototype lightwave-pulse thruster array. A precursor to the much more sophisticated "Voilure Lumière" of the Destiny Gundam, this propulsion system is based on joint research by the PLANTs and the civilian Deep Space Survey and Development Organization(DSSD) into low-cost, high-efficiency photon propulsion systems for interplanetary spacecraft, repurposed by ZAFT for military use and combined with advancements in plasma propulsion. It consists of a set of experimental plasma thrusters, which are coupled together with a small shaped photon field developed based on earlier research into photon sail technology. This relatively small field acts as a narrow, sophisticated exhaust nozzle, which is controlled automatically by the Knight Saviour's computers in order to maximize speed as well as enhance maneuverability. The power requirements for this system are so high, however, that only a mobile suit equipped with a hyper-deuterion nuclear reactor can support it effectively. The end result is that, at the time it is deployed in combat in late CE 75, it is one of the fastest mobile suits in existence, exceeded in this regard only by the Destiny Gundam.
In order to cope with the additional stress of movement at such high speeds, the stiffness of the joints was enhanced by applying Variable Phase-Shift (VPS) armor, increasing their ability to withstand the high G-Forces of high-speed maneuvers. This also has the added effect of improving the Knight Saviour's defenses as well. In addition to VPS Armor, the Knight Saviour is equipped with a pair of forearm-mounted "Solidus Fulgor" beam shields. Conceptually similar to the "Armure Lumière" and "Schneid Schutz" shields used by Alliance mobile weapons, it does not use the same technology. Instead, it is a defensive application of beam saber technology, though it remains equally effective against blocking enemy attacks, both from projectile weapons and beam weapons.
The Knight Saviour's offensive armament is also augmented with larger, more powerful beam sabers, which are longer-bladed and more powerful than traditional beam sabers, and can also be combined into a dual beam saber, as well as a pair of wing beam blades that can be used in mobile armor mode. It retains the head-mounted CIWS and the 76mm machineguns on the main body, usable in mobile suit and flight mode respectively, and enhanced versions of the Saviour's beam rifle and fixed beam cannons. Supplementing its weapons is an MMI-RDX46 Assault Shield that mounts a more powerful "Validus Fulgor" beam shield, an extensional arrestor, and a beam boomerang. A similar, more compact shield is also equipped to the Destiny. This powerful array of weapons, which combined with its high speed, maneuverability, and combat capabilities, make it an exponentially more deadly machine than its predecessor.
- MMI-GAU26 17.5mm CIWS x2
- A pair of rapid-fire, shell-firing guns mounted in the Knight Saviour's head, primarily for use against missiles and light aircraft. Usable only in mobile suit mode
- MMI-GAU2 "Picus" 76mm Machine Gun x2
- The "Picus" machine guns serve the same purpose as the Knight Saviour's head-mounted CIWS, albeit these are larger-caliber and used in flight mode. They are mounted to the Knight Saviour's back, in the cowl that covers the mobile suit's head in flight mode.
- MA-BAR21/KF 60mm high-energy beam rifle
- The Knight Saviour's main handheld weapon, an improved version of the Saviour's beam rifle. It is stored on the Saviour's hip when not in use in mobile suit mode, and mounted to a specialized hardpoint on its shoulder in flight mode, where it serves as an additional fixed beam cannon, just as on its predecessor. Initially equipped only with one rifle, the Knight Saviour eventually launches with two.
- MX112 "Amfortas Kai" High-energy Long-range Plasma Beam Cannon x2
- The Knight Saviour's most powerful weapons, an improved, more powerful version of the Saviour's "Amfortas" cannons. The cannons are attached to the Saviour's backpack and fixed forward in flight mode, whereas in mobile suit mode they are fired below the arm.
- MA-9J "Hyper Fortis" beam cannon x2
- The Knight Saviour's secondary ranged weapon, an enhanced version of the Saviour's "Super Fortis" beam guns. Fixed forward in flight mode, they are fired over the shoulders in mobile suit mode, and can rotate approximately thirty degrees vertically.
- MR-Q15A "Gryphon" Wing Beam Blade x2
- The only close-quarters weapon usable by the Knight Saviour Gundam in flight mode, this consists of a beam blade mounted to the leading edge of each wing - similar to the GAT-X388 Gaia Gundam
- MA-M948S "Vajra Kai" High-output Long Beam Saber x2
- Usable only in mobile suit mode, the Knight Saviour's primary close-quarters weapon consists of a pair of high-output beam sabers. The weapons' hilts are longer than traditional beam sabers, and the blade generated is likewise longer and more powerful, giving it greater reach in mêlée than many other mobile suits. One saber is stored in each leg, and the two can be combined to form a double-bladed beam saber.
- MMI-RDX46 Assault Shield
- The Knight Saviour's primary defensive equipment, a conceptual derivative of the Composite Shield used by the GuAIZ and GuAIZ-R, it is similar to the MMI-RGX47 used by the Destiny Gundam, but closer in size to the Saviour's original shield. Because the Saviour's "Solidus Fulgor" beam shield generators are mounted on its forearms, the Assault Shield blocks one of them when equipped. It combines a physical shield with a more powerful beam shield and additional close-range armament consisting of:
- EEQ8S "Grapple Stinger" extensional arrestor
- An anchor mounted to the shield, which can be fired on a line and retracted, developed based on those of the GuAIZ. It is capable of easily slicing through the armor of most mobile suits.
- RQM-55E "Flash Edge II" Beam Boomerang
- A large beam boomerang developed based on the "Flash Edge" of the Sword Impulse Gundam. Similar in size to the "Flash Edge", it is also capable of functioning as a short-bladed beam saber, and is stored inside the shield. This weapon is later further refined into the RQM-60F "Shining Edge" beam boomerang of the Destiny.
- Variable Phase Shift Armor
- A refined and more energy-efficient version of Phase-Shift Armor, which is also able to automatically adjust its settings for optimum power efficiency.
- MX2200 "Solidus Fulgor" Beam Shield Generator x2
- A defensive system derived from the same underlying technology as beam sabers. A small generator on the back of each of the Knight Saviour's forearms creates a powerful, hexagonal plane of energy capable of deflecting physical aprojectiles and beam weapon attacks. The shield it generates is sufficiently powerful to block the weapons of nearly any mobile suit or mobile armor.
- MX2351 "Validus Fulgor" beam shield generator
- A more powerful beam shield generator, mounted to the Assault Shield. It creates a hexagonal beam shield capable of resisting a barrage from even capital-class beam weapons, up to and including positron cannons.
- Lightwave-Thruster System
- The Knight Saviour's backpack is equipped with an early prototype lightwave thruster system, which pairs experimental high-output plasma thrusters with a shaped photon field acting as an exhaust nozzle, which is continually adjusted by the Saviour's computers to optimize mobility.
- The same technology is further refined and paired with additional technological innovations to create the "Voilure Lumière" of the Destiny Gundam. Due to the high power demands of this system, it can be used only by mobile suits equipped with a hyper-deuterion fusion reactor.
- Ultracompact Hyper-Deuterion Nuclear Fusion Reactor
- A revolutionary type of nuclear powerplant developed using refined version of the deuterion beam technology pioneered with the Second Stage Gundams, combined with advances in nuclear power generation. It grants the Knight Saviour an unlimited power supply without the need for an N-Jammer Canceller.
- YMF-X29C Mobile Escape System
- The Knight Saviour's cockpit block is contained within an escape system similar to the MF-101C mobile escape pod used by the Saviour and other New Millennium series mobile suits
- The Knight Saviour's head crest displays "X29R VENTINOVE" - "ventinove" means "twenty-nine" in Italian, and is a reference to its model number. The "R" in its designation, as opposed to the "S" of Second-Stage mobile suits like the Impulse, designates it as a Third-Stage mobile suit, equipped with new technologies including the experimental hyper-deuterion nuclear reactor.
- The Knight Saviour's color scheme and model number are both references to the YF-29 Durendal, from Macross Frontier: Sayonara no Tsubasa
- The Knight Saviour is the only machine piloted by Athrun not to be destroyed. The Aegis and Justice were both self-detonated, and the Saviour was completely destroyed in combat with the Freedom; The Knight Saviour, however, was still fully operational by the time the war ends.
- As with previous C.E. Gundams, the word "GUNDAM" is an acronym that denotes its operating system. The version used by the Knight Saviour stands for Gunnery United Nuclear- Deuterion Advanced Maneuver
- DESTINED is inspired by the real-life DESTINY(Demonstration and Experiment of Space Technology for INterplanetary voYage) satellite, developed as a technology demonstrator for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA)'s proposed "Hayabusa Mk2" mission.