The 414th "Ghosts" Platoon was a US Army research unit, designated as part of the CTRU Army Command organization. Their primary mission was the research and development of the F-22 Raptor during its initial testing phases, including the EMD Phase 2. They were succeeded in this mission by the 65th Combat Training Battalion, who pushed forward with the Raptor's latest combat trial requirements in late 2001.
Beset early on by technical delays and other setbacks in the program, there were fears that the F-22 would be unable to go forward as America's next TSF without a serious redesign. This pressure translated upon the test pilots' shoulders, and inevitably led to the incident that would see the platoon be unofficially dissolved and its pilots split up.
History EditThrough 2000, the 414th were assigned as test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base during the procurement and test trials of the F-22A Raptor. They were assigned at least two units and were in charge of the flight trials of the TSF, but constant delays due to technical issues and Army infighting caused the project to lag behind its projected goals. Fears were raised that the F-22A may not be approved for full-time production within a reasonable timeframe, and in turn the test pilots experienced high levels of stress as expectations of them increased dramatically.
During one such extended flight trial, Second Lieutenant Yuuya Bridges, piloting one of the Raptors chose to rapidly accelerate as the TSFs were navigating a tight canyon during a time trial-like test. As his chaser, the platoon's commanding officer Captain Rick Sven had to accelerate in turn to keep up with the leading pilot.
Despite objections raised by Second Lieutenant Leon Kuze, Yuuya Bridges argued that if they did not deviate from the test's original goal then the F-22 would no doubt fail to be approved by the Army; this sentiment was something that the Captain agreed with as well, and so he approved the risky maneuver and maintained his escort of Yuuya's machine despite the F-15E's comparitive lack of maneuverability and the ever-dwindling space the canyon offered the TSFs.
Following a sharp turn around an unstable rock formation, Yuuya's F-22A Raptor's movements disturbed the loose canyon wall and caused it to fall. This natural hazard was noticed too late by Captain Sven, who had just come into visual sight of the turn as the rocks began to fall. His F-15E was crushed underneath the rockslide, causing the captain's death and the immediate cessation of the exercise.
Tensions flared after the pilots landed and Leon Kuze aggressively confronted his fellow pilot Yuuya Bridges even as the ground crew, including mechanic and friend of both pilots Vincent Lowell, attempted to break up the fight. Sharon Heim, the fourth pilot of the platoon, was also present and attempted to defuse the argument to no avail. Kuze blamed Yuuya for the death of their captain and believed his reckless behavior was unwarranted and grounds for murder.In the aftermath of a military tribunal, Yuuya Bridges was cleared of any fault. Despite that, he was engaged in at least one more altercation shortly after the meeting by Leon, who said that while he may have been proven innocent, Leon would never accept the verdict as the truth. Shortly after that, Yuuya left the unit and Leon Kuze and Sharon Heim were then transferred to the next unit responsible for the testing of the EMD Phase Raptor, the 65th Training Battalion's "Infinities".
- 2x F-22 Raptor EMD Phase 2
- Desert Scheme
- 2x F-15E Strike Eagle
- Chaser aircraft for extended flight trials
- CTRU appears to be a fictional sub-organization of the United States Army in the Muv-Luv Universe, created most likely because of the existence of TSF "aircraft" in the United States Army rather than the Air Force and the need for a dedicated experimental research and development unit made separate for army aviation.
- In an interesting contrast, the visual novel CGs are in error regarding the design of the platoon's flight suits whereas the anime adaptation had them correct. Yuuya and the others can be seen in the standard US fortified suits that are used when a unit is under loan to the UN, but at the time of the event, they were still members of the US Army and should have wore the green-gray combination seen with pilots like Major Alfred Walken.
- Also, regarding the image with Leon being held back from fighting Yuuya, a visual error can be seen on Yuuya's fortified suit in that the US Army patch erroneously takes the spot of his unit badge, as should be seen on his left pauldron.