The X-02S Strike Wyvern is an evolution of the Erusean-made X-02 Wyvern. Just as its predecessor, the X-02S has variable-geometry wings and has extensive stealth capabilities. It also features an experimental Electromagnetic Launcher at a cost to the aircraft's mobility. Its signature variable wings maintain the aircraft's speed and attack power.
At a glance, the Strike Wyvern appears almost identical to the base X-02 Wyvern. What the X-02S lacks in obvious outward differences, it makes up for with numerous internal modifications.
Development on the X-02S began with an overhaul of the air frame and changing manufacturing to metal 3D printers. The new airframe uses redesigned engines with heat-resistant magnesium alloys to enhance thrust and fuel efficiency, compensated by expanded air intakes. The exhaust nozzles were changed to a saw-tooth design to lower the plane's infrared signature and make it quieter. The shapes of the weapon bays were altered and conformal fuel tanks were added to the top of the aircraft.
The X-02S's control programs were updated to allow full use of all of the aircraft's moving parts: the new folding canards, the signature variable forward-swept wings, the V-shaped tail, and the 3D thrust vectoring. The ventral fins were deemed unnecessary and removed. The combination of all of these parts leads to incredible maneuverability.
Other minor improvements include an IRST sensor on top of the nose, an EOTS sensor below the nose, and simplified landing gear. The aforementioned control programs include both fly-by-wire and power-by-wire systems to ensure redundancy.
The X-02S features a single machine gun to the left of the cockpit and two standard missile launchers (AIM-9M Sidewinders) underneath the air intakes. Another weapon bay located between the two intakes supports three types of special weapons: upgraded "Dark Fire" medium-range air-to-air missiles, next-generation "Star Fire" anti-ship missiles (nicknamed "Flipper" due to their shape), and an experimental "Arclight" Electromagnetic Launcher. A weapons officer can be present in the new two-seat cockpit to operate these new weapons.
The X-02S's specifications are as follows:
- Length: 21.84 m (71.65 ft)
- Outer wings deployed: 18.3 m (60.04 ft)
- Outer wings stowed: 11.54 m (37.86 ft)
- Outer wings deployed: 4.36 m (14.30 ft)
- Outer wings stowed: 3.42 m (11.22 ft)
- Weight: 15,200 kg (33,500 pounds)
- Engines: 2× GIG/ERG-2000
- Combat radius: 1,280 km (800 miles)
- Top speed: >Mach 2.5 (3,063+ km/h; 1,903+ mph; 1,654+ kn)
- Aerial refueling: Option between the flying boom system or the probe-and-drogue system
The original X-02 was a pioneer of new stealth technology and long-range air-to-air missiles, but its advantages were trimmed as other countries employed their own stealth squadrons and radar jamming techniques. The original's variable forward-swept wings were useful in close-range dogfights but susceptible to structural fatigue, creating cracks and folds and eventually mechanical failure.
Due to Erusea's reduced military industrial complex post-Continental War, the Erusean Air and Space Administration could not practically improve the X-02. Instead, Erusea tasked Gründer Industries to solve these issues. Development started on April 19, 2010. Gründer overhauled various components and the manufacturing process, resulting in a lighter X-02S that could carry more equipment.
In secret and unbeknownst to other Erusean forces, the Erusean Air and Space Administration continued to research the X-02S's potential by having Sol Squadron test the Arclight EML. The ultimate goal was to create a nearly-invincible, highly agile stealth aircraft that could achieve supercruise speeds and hold a large railgun.
On October 24, 2019, during the Lighthouse War, Strider Squadron initiated Operation Beehive to capture Shilage Castle to resupply their own base. After Trigger shot down half of the Sol Squadron, Mihaly entered the battlefield with an X-02S equipped with an Arclight EML and engaged Trigger in a dogfight. The rest of Strider Squadron couldn't keep up with the fighter, and they left the battle to Trigger while setting up a perimeter to ensure that no one else entered the duel. Eventually, Trigger shot down the X-02S. Mihaly survived the aircraft's destruction.
On June 30, 2020, an X-02S Strike Wyvern painted to look like the original aircraft of Mihaly A. Shilage was showcased alongside other foreign air units at Redmill Air Force Base in Osea during a ceremony commemorating 25 years since the end of the Belkan War.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
- "A fighter used exclusively by the navy[sic]. It is a greatly improved version of the X-02 air superiority fighter developed in Erusea, which was used by both the navy and air force. As a carrier-based fighter[sic], parts such as the landing gear were simplified and the aircraft's internal components were redesigned to improve its stealth and flight capabilities. The addition of a conformal tank to increase flight distance, an Arclight rail gun for additional firepower, and various other add-ons ended up making the craft slightly heavier. Its unique variable wings give it great combat and speed capabilities, which are unaffected by its heavy armament. Overall, it is an excellent fighter; however, its demanding controls mean only the top aces can get the best out of it. Its nickname is "Strike Wyvern"."
- ― Full hangar description
How to Unlock
- The X-02S is available on the Aircraft Tree after completing the campaign. It costs 2,000,000 MRP and requires purchasing one of the following aircraft: the YF-23 Black Widow II, the F-22A Raptor, or the Su-57.
- GUN x3600 (∞ on Easy/Normal)
- MSL x146
- Special Weapon
- FLR x2
- BODY: 28
- ARMS: 28
- MISC: 28
- Osea: Two-tone light grey camouflage
- Erusea: Jagged grey/dark grey (Unlock: Complete a full campaign run in under 4 hours.)
- Special: Mihaly livery; two-tone grey body with orange wingtips (Unlock: Shoot down all named aircraft.)
- Mage: Osean skin with Mage Squadron markings.
- Spare: Osean skin with Spare Squadron markings.
- Strider: Osean skin with Strider Squadron markings.
- Mihaly: Special skin with Sol 1 markings. (DLC: Purchase the ADFX-01 Morgan Set)
- Glowing: Glowing skin with no markings. How it glows is determined by the mission and hangar.
- A strange translation occurred regarding the X-02S being a carrier plane or not. The English translation of the aircraft's description says that it is "a fighter used exclusively by the navy" and "a carrier based fighter". However, in no point during the game is the X-02S treated as a carrier plane, whether it be aerial refueling instead of taking off from a carrier in Two-pronged Strategy or moving to the back of the carrier instead of taking off using the catapult in Dark Blue. The Chinese wording of the description says parts of its landing gear were "removed" rather than "simplified". Additionally, Japanese and Chinese translations refer to it as a fighter used exclusively by the Air Force, not the Navy.
- The glowing skin added in the 2nd Anniversary Update is a reference to an infamous glitch in Ace Combat 7, in which choosing the F/A-18F Super Hornet with the "Red Devils" skin for certain missions (namely Dark Blue and Cape Rainy Assault) would cause it to glow in a similar manner. This has since been patched in Update 1.41.
- This was due to a problem with the aircraft's MREC file, which controls how lighting interacts with the texture. Normally, the MREC controls the formation lights, and restricts them to the spots on the texture where the formation lights are located. However, the Red Devils skin had an error in the MREC which caused the game to interpret the entire texture as a formation light, resulting in the entire aircraft glowing.
- Mission 18: "Lost Kingdom", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Aces At War: A History 2019, pages 118–119.
- Full hangar description of the X-02S Strike Wyvern, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Cutscene 16: "The New System", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.