Stratos 4 (TV)

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Trivia:

Stratos 4's Meteor Sweeper Base is located in an island south of Japan together with the statue of an eagle which was shown in some episodes including episode no. 1.

Wonder why the pilots and the control tower speak English during take off, flight, and landing? In aviation, the international standard language for communicating over the radio is English.

The aircraft used by Meteor Sweeper, TSR-2MS, is a modified version of the famous (for being ill-fated and short-lived) British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) TSR-2. Contrary to its use as a high-altitude interceptor in the anime, it was originally designed as a supersonic bomber (the acronym TSR stands for "Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance"). Its design was beyond the industrial capability in early 1960s, thus the ever-increasing budget and political disputes caused the project to be scrapped on April 6, 1965. Two surviving airframes are now displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum at Cosford and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

Shimojijima (下地島), the island where Meteor Sweeper stationed, has the finest Class 3 airport among Okinawa islands, with its 3,000m runway (on par with Naha Airport, the major airport of Okinawa and the only Class 2) and full arrays of Instrument Landing System (ILS), Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR), and Secondary Survillance Rader (SSR). Due to low demand, the Shimojijima Airport has stopped passenger service since July 22, 1994 and is now dedicated to training purposes. However, recent disputes between US Air Force, JASDF (who want to set up an air force base), local residents (who are against any non-civilian use of the airport), and submarines of Chinese PLA Navy have brought this tiny island up to headline news.

Originally, the operator at Shimojijima airport tower has no name, but her high popularity made the production team to hold a "name raise." After comparing numerous submissions, her name was determined to be Touko MUKAI (向日 塔子), where tou (塔) stands for "tower," reflecting her workplace. Her name is then applied in OVA sequels.

The training aircraft used in Stratos 4, Yak-28 MSTs, are modified versions of the Yak-28A/B/C Russian fighter/bomber from the "brute force" era of the 1950s and early 1960s, much like the TSR-2 and the B-58 itself, when planes were built to go much faster, much higher, without much maneuverability. Nose section is depicted fairly accurately, and it housed navigator-operator. Its 2 podded Tumansky engines gave it speeds of Mach 1.5+. Originally built as a bomber (Yak-28 A/B/C "Brewer"), it was later modified as a fighter (Yak-28P) and an EW/Recon plane (Yak-28E). Yak-28P was designed to intercept SAC's B-58s.

The rocket-assisted catapult system that sends Meteor Sweepers up in the air is called a "zero length launch" (ZLL) system, developed and extensively tested by both sides of Cold War in 1950s in case runways had been destroyed by enemy attacks. The developments of ZLL were later abandoned due to logistical concerns and advancements of ballistic missiles.

Instead of lying against an inclined seat like most modern fighter aircraft, pilots of Meteor Sweepers control the plane in a prone position, much like riding a motorcycle. This layout was invented in order to help pilots sustaining higher g effects, but the difficulties of operating the controls and extremely limited rear view proved to be impractical in combat; today only hang gliders still use the layout. However, Meteor Sweepers is not a combat unit and requires maximum speed and acceleration so prone position is reasonable. Coincidentally, the only jet aircraft modified for prone pilot in real life was a British Gloster Meteor F8.

The prototype interceptor in episode 2, codenamed "Stratos Zero (ストラトス・ゼロ)," is a heavily modified Convair B-58 "Hustler," another famous, expensive (they cost as much as pure gold of the same weight), yet also short-lived supersonic bomber, which was once adapted by Strategic Air Command (SAC) of US Air Force.

Although given different names, the main characters of Stratos 4 appear in episode 4 of Najica Blitz Tactics, as the band 4C'zNs.

Dita and Meia from Vandread made an appearance in episode 8 of Stratos 4.

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