The ADF-01 FALKEN (sometimes referred to as ADF-01F FALKEN) is a next-generation fighter aircraft. It was the first original aircraft design to be featured in an Ace Combat game, and it was also the first aircraft in Strangereal history to feature COFFIN technology. It was also the first aircraft in the series to be flown in combat by a computer program, namely Zone of Endless.
The ADF-01 FALKEN has been featured in various games since its first appearance in Ace Combat 2, including Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War as its main appearances on consoles. Its appearance in The Unsung War is notable for requiring the destruction of special hangars before it can be unlocked. In January 2015, the ADF-01 FALKEN was added to Ace Combat Infinity, its first console appearance in almost a decade.
The ADF-01 FALKEN represents an improvement in Gründer Industries's advanced fighter program. It acts as the spiritual successor to the ADFX-01 and ADFX-02 Morgan; compared to those units, the FALKEN has improved mobility and stability, albeit at a slight cost of defense. It is still a very powerful aircraft, and features high speed and air-to-air output. The aircraft's distinctive angular body provides limited stealth capabilities as well, something the Morgans did not feature.
A popular aspect of the FALKEN is its implementation of Connection for Flight Interface, also known as COFFIN, the first known aircraft to use the technology. Instead of instruments and controls, the cockpit of an ADF-01 comes with two armrests on either side. These armrests are equipped with Electro-Neuron-Synapse-Interface sensors that allow the pilot to fly the aircraft using only their thoughts. The entire interior of the cockpit is built in such a way to allow the pilot to lay down with their arms and legs extended. The exterior of the FALKEN, unlike most conventional aircraft, does not have a see-through glass canopy. Instead, sixteen miniature cameras and sensors surround the cockpit on the surface of the aircraft. These devices are capable of picking up numerous electromagnetic wavelengths, from infrared to radio waves to visible light. The data is then transferred to inside the cockpit, where the pilot is surrounded by numerous displays in a hexagonal setup that allows them to see everything outside in a 360-degree angle.
Notable of the FALKEN is its Tactical Laser System, which has also been improved upon since the Morgan models. The first-generation model of the FALKEN, utilized by the Usean Rebel Forces in 1998, featured an external pod on the vertical stabilizer below the aircraft. This first-generation model also placed the cockpit close to the aircraft's nose. A second-generation model was created soon afterward to place the TLS within the nose of the aircraft, which splits apart to fire the laser and closes again to obscure it from view or damage. It still features the ability to recharge even while firing. Due to this, the cockpit was placed further behind the aircraft, closer to the middle of the body.
The aircraft's specifications are as follows:
- Length: 24.00m (78.74ft)
- Width: 15.92m (52.23ft)
- Height: 5.64m (18.50ft)
- Weight: 23,300kg (23.3 metric tons)
- Max Speed: Mach 2.2 (2,695 km/h or 1,674 mph)
Following the destruction of the ADFX-02 Morgan by Cipher, Gründer Industries decided to make a new aircraft to improve upon some aspects of the Morgan models. Within two to three years, Gründer had a working prototype of the ADF-01 FALKEN, and concurrent development of the Zone of Endless AI program led to a fully working model of the FALKEN with Z.O.E. as well as jamming and backwards-fire technology. This first-generation model of the FALKEN featured its laser system on the additional vertical stabilizer below the aircraft. This FALKEN, along with other Z.O.E.-equipped aircraft, soon made it into the hands of the Usean Rebel Forces.
On September 18, 1998, the Z.O.E.-equipped FALKEN engaged in battle against Scarface Squadron over Fortress Intolerance; regardless of its technological superiority, Phoenix managed to best it, resulting in the aircraft's destruction. It is unclear if Gründer managed to recover the aircraft's remains from the fortress, or if any other first-generation models were built by the company, but the plans were never scrapped. Instead, Gründer began working on a second version of the aircraft, where the laser pod would be integrated inside the body. This would become the standard design of the aircraft from then on.
Sometime after the Second Usean Continental War, Yuktobania and Erusea established a three-way trade with Gründer Industries as a middleman, in which Erusea would provide plans for their X-02 Wyvern to Gründer, who would apply their cost-cutting techniques to Erusea's blueprints and produce some models to be delivered to Yuktobania. Following the success of this sale, Gründer offered to sell the ADF-01 FALKEN's blueprints to Yuktobania, who would be able to develop their own FALKEN models (likely as part of the Gray Men's plan to arm both countries with weapons for their staging of the Circum-Pacific War). Yuktobania accepted, and split the development among multiple facilities in their country - two in the Jilachi Desert, one in Sonza, and one in a secret facility north of Lake Dama.
Yuktobania became very close to manufacturing their first FALKEN model by early November of 2010. However, due to the development taking place during the Circum-Pacific War, in which Osea quickly invaded the country, Yuktobania could not complete a model by the time Osea raided all of their facilities. No FALKENs were produced by Osea during the rest of the war, likely due to Gründer still holding a part of the blueprints in their facility in Sudentor. Following the Battle of Sudentor, during which the loyalist Oseans invaded the last FALKEN facility, Osea became the only country to possess all of the FALKEN blueprints. The country would later go on to develop their own FALKENs for use among the Osean Air Defense Force. One such FALKEN was featured during an airshow at November City alongside a Morgan as well as an X-02 Wyvern.
- The word "falken" is German for "falcon". At a certain angle, the FALKEN's design features similarities to that of a falcon.
- In March 2006, Bandai released a 1/100 scale model of the ADF-01 as part of the "EX-Model" series.
- In both Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, the ENSI armrests feature the acronym "Z.O.E".
- The FALKEN's take-off speed is approximately 420km/h (260mph), higher than the 300km/h (190mph) required by most aircraft, likely due to its weight.
- If the player fires the TLS in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War immediately before a landing sequence begins, the TLS will be larger in size and tinted yellow.
- In Ace Combat 5, if one equips the Razgriz Squadron with the FALKEN, Nagase's FALKEN will have the vertical stabilizer deployed, albeit inside the ground.
- ↑ Fighter's Honor, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 EX MODEL 1/100 ADF-01F FALKEN. Bandai. March 2006. Click here for scan.
- ↑ Model Graphix magazine. Volume 259. June 2006. "Character Customization" column. Click here for scan.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Aces At War: A History. Page 57.
- ↑ Hangar statistics of the ADFX-01 Morgan and ADF-01 FALKEN. Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Cockpit of an ADF-01 FALKEN in any featured game.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Aces At War: A History. Page 66.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy gameplay. Note that, when the player equips the TLS, the body does not open. Additionally, the TLS fires from below the aircraft. This is easiest to see during Extra Mission 04 against the ZOE FALKENs, and when using the New 3DS's C stick in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy +.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 ADF-01 -Z.O.E.- model and description.
- ↑ Confirmed during TLS gameplay with the ADF-01 FALKEN in any featured game.
- ↑ Given that the rebels were fighting against Osean control of some countries on Usea, and were planning to attack Yuktobania from Fortress Intolerance and escape in the resulting conflict, it is very likely that the rebel forces were equipped by the Gray Men, including the delivery of Z.O.E. aircraft as well as the FALKEN to the rebels. However, this is never confirmed.
- ↑ Fighter's Honor. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
- ↑ Cutscene 17. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 FALKEN hangar located in Desert Arrow. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 FALKEN hangar located in Desert Lightning. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 FALKEN hangar and dialogue in Four Horsemen. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 FALKEN hangar located in Powder Keg. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 FALKEN hangar located in ACES. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Aces At War: A History. Page 9.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 Aces At War: A History. Page 69.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Aces At War: A History. Page 68.
- ↑ Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War Perfect Guide, page 174.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Take-off gameplay in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.