The DFA-03 Dopp fighter is the Principality of Zeon's only atmospheric fighter aircraft in use during the One Year War. Zeon's Gaw Atmospheric Attack Carrier could carry eight Dopp fighters and was its most common operational platforms.
Technology & Combat CharacteristicsEdit
The Dopp is superior to other aircraft in terms of agility, but suffers badly in terms of cruise airspeed, operational range, and rate of climb due to its poor aerodynamic design — a common symptom of (the traditionally space-bound) Zeon's lack of design knowledge in atmospheric air combat. These shortcomings lead to a significant tactical disadvantage, a fact that the Earth Federation aviators soon took advantage of and came up with tactics negating Dopp's agility advantage. Due to its high fuel consumption rate, the Dopp had to rely heavily on secured ground depots, the vulnerable Gaw carriers, or a Dabude-class] for refueling between operations. As a result, Zeon never gained air supremacy against the Earth Federation Air Forces throughout their time on Earth, a circumstance that allowed the Federation to hold back Zeon advances for over 9 months with obsolete conventional weapons. With the introduction of the Federation's own mobile suits, the Dopp became considered hopelessly obsolete. The twin 20mm Vulcan guns are far too weak to pierce a mobile suit's armor, and only the missiles from the 6-tube missile launchers could pose some threat to a mobile suit.
The Dopp fighter was designed to be fast enough to easily attack and destroy the Earth Federation's naval ships, land battleships, and other fighter aircraft. They were smaller and faster than Zeon's MS-06 Zaku II and were quite difficult to shoot down by ground units due to Minovsky interference. Dopps were more likely to be deployed attacking slow-and-big targets with hit-and-run tactics, such as poorly guarded Federation ground bases, Big Tray-class land battleship, Himalaya-Class aircraft carriers, and the White Base. However, their efficacy throughout the War was very poor due to the Federation's absolute superiority in conventional air-to-air and anti-air warfare.
Since the Dopp relies on its thrusters to fly, it's possible for it to remain airborne even if a wing is severely damaged, as seen when RX-78-2 Gundam cut off a wing from Garma Zabi's Dopp.
- 30mm 6-tube Missile Launcher
- The 30mm missiles is the only viable mean of anti-MS combat of the aircraft (as the 20mm rounds' penetration capability was close to none). 12 missiles are housed equally on two launchers located right next to the fighter's cockpit.
- 20mm Vulcan Gun
- The Dopp Fighter mounts two 20mm Vulcan Gun on the same modules as with the missile launchers. While it can hardly penetrate MS' armor, the weapon is still useful to ward off advancing enemies, shoot down missiles, or hit other light-armored, fast moving targets like helicopters.
The Dopp fighter would be introduced as part of Zeon's Earth invasion force in the early days of the One Year War, serving as the main fighter of Zeon's air force to support and protect their mobile suits from aerial attacks. Overall the Dopp fared poorly so while it continued to see service until Zeon retreated from Earth following Operation Odessa it would be phased out and completely discontinued after the war.