Combat Frame Data: AZC-104

AZC-104 Grand Dolph
AZC-104 Grand Dolph

Technical Data

Model number: AZC-104
Code name: Grand Dolph
Nickname: Dolph
Classification: mass production, anti-armor combat frame
Manufacturer: Burnard Industries/Zeklov-Astraea
Operator: Systems Overterrestrial Coalition
First deployment: CY 40
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19.2 meters, 21 meters with antenna
Weight: Dry weight 48 metric tons, full weight 60 metric tons
Armor type: titanium alloy/palladium glass/ceramic composite
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 1866 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 32,000 kg, 4x 21,750 kg; top speed 2728 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 20, 180° turn time 0.88 seconds; legs: top ground speed 200 kph
Sensors: radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted behind visor in head
Fixed armaments: Plasma sword, power rated at 0.47 MW, stored in recharge rack on back, hand-carried in use
Hand armaments: Grand Dolph machine rifle, loads 70mm graphene-coated tungsten rounds, 100 shots per magazine

General Notes

At the outbreak of the HALO Conflict in early CY 40, the Coalition found itself utterly outmatched by the partisan group's four XSeed-class combat frames. Coalition Customs Agent Malov Strauss quickly determined that the SOC's peacetime Guardian CFs were incapable of defeating the XSeeds.

Malov made an end run around his ossified superiors and approached independent CF engineer Brent Burnard about designing an XSeed killer. Burnard combed through all available records--including Seed Corp and CDF databases--for a design meeting Malov's requirements. While he deemed the original combat frame Type 0 capable of going toe-to-toe with a One-Series XSeed, the fact that only one existed made a new run of mass-produced CFs necessary.

Burnard looked back to the underutilized Dolph series of Coalition CFs for inspiration. He immediately began scouring the earth for leftover Dolph units. Burnard's purpose was twofold: supply Malov with stopgap units superior to the woefully outclassed Guardians and mine their engagements against the XSeeds for valuable combat data.

Unknown to Malov, Transportation Minister Sullia Zend noticed Burnard snooping around the old Zeklov Corporation files. Quickly deducing his intentions, she spearheaded her own escalation of the arms race sparked by the XSeeds.

Though Zeklov-Astraea's far larger workforce and budget allowed them to rush three Dolph-based prototypes into production, Burnard worked more meticulously on Earth. When Malov returned from his skirmish against HALO and Wehrbund Bavaria in Southeast Asia, Burnard presented him with the fruit of his labors: the first production run of Grand Dolphs.

Burnard chose the Grand Dolph name not as a boast, but as a statement of fact. He purposefully engineered the new mass production CFs as the final word in the weapon design conversation Tesla Browning had started four decades earlier. After multiple rounds of exhaustive tests, Malov declared he had found his XSeed killer.

The Grand Dolph proved itself far more than a single-use specialty tool. Contrary to the Astraea Heavy Team's "More is more," philosophy, Burnard resolved to boost each and every component of his new CF as close to perfection as possible within a limited budget. The result was a mass production unit that approached custom combat frame performance at a reasonable cost. So impressed was Zend with Malov and Burnard's work that she chose the Grand Dolph as the MoT's standard CF over her own in-house teams' designs.

At first glance, the Grand Dolph seems like a slightly tweaked throwback to Coalition CFs of the Kazou War era. A look under the hood reveals myriad stunning advances that many say make the Grand Dolph the best mass production combat frame ever made.

Burnard returned to the tried-and-true Dolph concept of forgoing all integrated weapons. This design choice gave the Grand Dolph a tremendous savings in energy consumption and weight. He fine-tuned its mechanical actuators, maneuvering thrusters, and sensors, favoring software upgrades over new hardware to save on per-unit costs. The base Grand Dolph also received across-the-board improvements in armor, speed, and maneuverability that added up to a an impressively durable, fast, and responsive CF.

The Grand Dolph's standard armament reflected its intended role as an XSeed killer. The centerpiece of its weapons system was an advanced machine gun purpose-built to fire specially designed graphene-coated caseless slugs with solid tungsten cores. Though smaller than the old Grenzmark rifle's 115mm rounds, the Grand Dolph rifle discharged its ammunition at much higher muzzle velocities and rates of fire, resulting in greater impact force. The tungsten rounds' greater density and graphene coating were specifically designed to penetrate carbyne. Even the XSeeds' laminar armor could be breached with two or three hits to the same location. Unlike more complex and costly energy-based solutions, the Grand Dolph's tungsten-carbyne rounds proved even more effective against conventional armor, with results approaching and sometimes even surpassing the damage wrought by plasma weapons.

For all of its enhanced performance, the Grand Dolph remained just economical enough to warrant deployment as a front line combat frame. Even the CDF buckled after initial resistance and began fielding Grand Dolphs in limited numbers to supplement their obsolete Guardian forces. Since the Grand Dolph operated equally well in space and on land, there was no need to purchase and supply environment-specific variants. The Grand Dolph's limited introduction into the CDF's forces set off a fierce competition among Coalition pilots for assignments to the coveted new CFs.

The Grand Dolph's one drawback was a limitation which plagued its original forebear. Like the CF-014 Ein Dolph's early plasma rifle, the Grand Dolph's machine gun carried limited ammunition. Burnard managed to pack 100 caseless tungsten-carbyne rounds into each relatively compact magazine, but the weapon's high rate of fire meant a careless pilot could quickly exhaust his ammo.

To head off this problem, Burnard added a supplemental sensor pack to the weapon itself. The additional fire control module resembled an old style scope and gave the Grand Dolph rifle unheard-of accuracy for a fully automatic weapon. Besides improving accuracy to reduce wasted shots, Burnard equipped the Grand Dolph with a high-powered plasma sword stored on a charging rack on the unit's back. Because it remained energy weapon compatible, the Grand Dolph could also wield the standard plasma rifle developed for the military Guardian, giving it a second weapon option and the ability to procure additional firepower on-site from fallen comrades.

The Grand Dolph made its mark as a force to be reckoned with on its first official deployment. A number of Grand Dolph teams set an ambush for HALO aboard the Browning Corp satellite. The XSeeds Eisenpferd and Eschaton took the bait, and were set to rout, barely escaping after taking heavy damage. Even devil-may-care pilot Faust Hayden warned his HALO comrades to respect the Grand Dolphs' abilities.

surpasses Galaxy's Edge for visceral milsf action

Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40 - Brian Niemeier


  1. Chilling and grim. Designed and built to snuff out the faint hopes kindled by those small portions of humanity free of the cruel and tyrannical Systems Overterrestrial Coalition. What new disaster will further crush Earth? I must know. I MUST KNOW!! For only then can we start to pick up the pieces and work towards freedom.

    For the rest, I hold that the Systems Overterrestrial Coalition must be destroyed.

    1. Here's a little hint: The Defender XSeed from "Anacyclosis" is essentially a Grand Dolph with carbyne armor and two eyes.

  2. I love these posts. They really bring the CFs to life.

    1. I'm delighted you enjoy the CF Data posts. Honestly, they're my favorites to write, even though they only appeal to a fraction of my blog readers.

      To all of those readers, I humbly ask that you share these posts