|Type-97 Fubuki |
|Manufacturer(s)||Fugaku Heavy Industries|
Mitsuhishi Heavy Industries
|Engines||Fugaku Heavy Industries FE108-FHI-220E|
|Armament(s)||Type-87 Assault Cannon|
|Appearance(s)||Unlimited, Alternative, Total Eclipse, Faraway Dawn, TSFiA|
First modified from the sixth prototype used in the development of the Type-94, the Fubuki serves as a training unit for rookie pilots of the IJA/MDF. It uses many technologies and similar parts, both internal and external, from the Type-94, and has been noted to have performance on par with TSFs used for active combat; the Fubuki uses the same Type-91 Jump Units, albeit with different engines that have a lower output, has the sole spikes and blade sheaths of the Shiranui, and is also equipped with combat-grade anti-laser coating. As it is designed to emulate actual TSF performance, the unit is capable of equipping most if not all TSF weaponry in use by Japanese forces. All these factors added together have resulted in much consideration by high command for the Fubuki to replace the F-4J in live combat roles; once retrofitted with stronger engines, the Fubuki would be on par with the requirements of the IJA/MDF and would be capable enough to support their Type-94s.
While lesser in performance than the Shiranui and not as visually prominent, the rugged and hardy unit is capable of handling the inept piloting expected of recruits and is known as a well-constructed piece of machinery. Because of its development being an offshot of the Type-94 Shiranui, some military personnel consider it removed enough from the F-15J to consider it the first actual domestic TSF produced by the Empire of Japan.
The components used in the Fubuki were also part of a technology exchange between the Empire of Japan and the European Union, resulting in a base similarity to later units like the Rafale and EF-2000 Typhoon.
The Fubuki has been in use with the Japanese since 1997, prior to the Yokohama Hive Battle. As the primary training machine of the Japanese forces, the Fubuki has seen little action in active combat. Known pilots of the Fubuki include those of the 207th Training Unit. US Army 2nd Lieutenant Yuuya Bridges, stationed at Yukon Base in 2001, also piloted a Fubuki during the early phases of Project PROMINENCE, and used the training TSF both as a familiarization course and as a test machine to gather data for the XFJ-01 Shiranui Second.
The 207th Training Unit would remain the primary user of the Fubuki at Yokohama Base; however, the second class of the 207th Training Unit would all have their units retrofitted with the XM3 OS, allowing them to perform better in combat maneuvers.
Later, the 207th Training Unit's Type-97s, all equipped with the XM3 OS, were deployed as the 207th Tactical Armored Platoon during the 12/5 Incident; however, their primary role was not combat, but to secure an escape route for the Shogun. When the 207th Tactical Armored Platoon and their reinforcements were engaged by Captain Sagiri's insurgent forces, the Type-97 was easily outmaneuvered in individual combat, although it is worth noting that their pilots were relatively inexperienced compared to their battle-hardened adversaries, all of whom were in the comparatively-superior Type-94 Shiranui.
The same six Fubuki were also deployed by Squad A207 during the XM3 Trials. By then their pilots, who had been newly commisioned, were able to keep up with more experienced pilots in F-4Js with a combination of the Fubuki's technology, the XM3 OS, and their own skills.
The Fubuki also saw action as the rearguard during the Defence of Yokohama Base, where five cadet units of the Imperial Army 332nd Training Squadron, under the temporary field command of Cadet Nanase Rin assisted elements of the IJA/MDF's Steel Lance Armor Wing, Halberd Battalion led by Captain Nanase. Here it proved that even inexperienced cadets could play a meaningful part in delaying or even holding actions against a full BETA onslaught.
- In keeping with the naming theme of most of the IJA/MDF TSFs, fubuki stands for blizzard or snowstorm. Likewise, it shares its name with the Fubuki-class destroyer of the historical Imperial Navy.