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Data Evolution:
Gundam Century
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Translator's Note: Gundam Century is a legendary reference book first published in 1981 and finally back in print as of the year 2000. This book is remarkable not only for its pioneering role in establishing the history and technology of the Universal Century world, but also as the debut effort of the famous Studio Nue, and it showcases the earliest work of later celebrities like Shoji Kawamori and Kazuya Miyatake. Much of the material in Gundam Century has since been refined or replaced by later writers, so think of this not as gospel truth, but as a fascinating historical artifact.

It's hard to overstate the importance of Gundam Century in shaping the Universal Century world as we now know it. Ken'ichi Matsuzaki, the author of the historical Zeon War Chronicles section, was one of the principal scriptwriters of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series. Given that TV series chief writer Hiroyuki Hoshiyama was one of the supervisors of the Gundam Century project as a whole, this section is essentially the One Year War background as envisioned by the people who together wrote roughly 60% of the original TV series.

Gundam Century was first published in September 1981, two months after the premiere of the Gundam II movie, making it one of the very first sources of detailed background information on the Universal Century world. Aside from the novels written by director Yoshiyuki Tomino and the original series proposal published in Sunrise's Record Collection books, there was virtually no information on the back story of Mobile Suit Gundam at this point, and the explanations in Gundam Century—coming as they did from members of the staff who created the show itself—became the foundation for the Universal Century world we know today.

Before we begin, here are brief profiles of some of Gundam Century's principal contributors, many of whom also worked on the pioneering dojinshi (fanzine) Gun Sight which served as a predecessor to Gundam Century.

Hiroyuki Hoshiyama: The chief writer for Mobile Suit Gundam, who also worked on Zambot 3, Daitarn 3, and Round Vernian Vifam. He scripted eleven episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam (episodes 1, 5, 9, 13, 19, 23, 27, 31, 34, 42, and 43).

Shoji Kawamori: A Studio Nue member who served as a mechanical designer for Macross and played a major creative role in many of its sequels.

Ken'ichi Matsuzaki: As a member of Crystal Art Studio, the predecessor to Studio Nue, he worked on Zerotester and Space Battleship Yamato. After founding Studio Nue with writer Haruka Takachiho, artist Kazutaka Miyatake, et al, he worked on Daitarn 3, Macross, and Space Runaway Ideon, and scripted twelve episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam (episodes 2, 8, 12, 17, 18, 22, 26, 32, 35, 36, 38, and 41). In addition to his work on Gundam Century, he also wrote the Science Establishment columns in the Roman Album Extra books, and recently supervised settei (setting) research for the newly opened Gundam Museum.

Kazutaka Miyatake: A core member of Studio Nue who served as a mechanical designer on series like Space Battleship Yamato and Macross. His detailed illustrations of Starship Troopers powered suits in SF Magazine are said to have been the inspiration for Gundam's mobile suits.

Shigeru Morita: A Studio Nue member who specializes in settei—literally "setting," and generally used to refer to background creation and world-building. He's worked on Macross, Aura Battler Dunbine, Starship Troopers, Turn A Gundam, and Gundam Seed.

Tadashi Nagase: After serving as an editor of Gundam Century he subsequently worked on settei (setting) for Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, and MS Igloo, contributed detailed U.C. Science essays to the Gundam The Movies film comics published by Asahiya Shuppan, and was called on to assess the realism of the Perfect Grade RX-78-2 Gundam model kit for the Japanese Gundam Perfect Web site.

Mitsuki Nakamura: A veteran of Tatsunoko Production who worked on Mach Go Go Go, Science Ninja Gatchaman, and Time Bokan. After founding the Mechaman design studio with Kunio Okawara, he served as art director for Mobile Suit Gundam, Space Runaway Ideon, Crusher Joe, and Nausicaa.

Kunio Okawara: A former Tatsunoko Production employee who made his debut on Science Ninja Gatchaman and then served as mechanical designer for 7, Sun Fang Dougram, Armored Trooper Votoms, and many more.


Planning: Ken'ichi Matsuzaki
Studio Nue (Kazutaka Miyatake, Shoji Kawamori)
Tetsuo Daitoku (Minori Shobo)
Chief Director: Ken'ichi Matsuzaki
Visual Supervisor: Kazutaka Miyatake
Editors: Tadashi Nagase
Tetsuo Daitoku (Minori Shobo)
Setting Analysis: Shoji Kawamori
Production Desk: Shigeru Morita
Cooperation: Gun Sight
Supervisors: Hiroyuki Hoshiyama
Kunio Okawara
Mitsuki Nakamura
Zeon War Chronicles
Mechanical Supervisor: Kunio Okawara
Art Supervisor: Mitsuki Nakamura
Setting Supervisor, Text: Ken'ichi Matsuzaki
Gundam Mechanics
Supervisor: Ken'ichi Matsuzaki
Setting Composition: Shoji Kawamori
Text: Yoshio Kazama
Text Cooperation: Shigeru Morita
Cooperation: Gun Sight


The following text is copyright © 2000 Kisousha.

Translator's Note: The historical section of Gundam Century is made up of a series of illustrated two-page spreads, each accompanied by a text essay and captions for the various illustrations. I've omitted some of the minor image captions, but otherwise I've tried to provide a complete translation of the original text. However, this is probably the most complex Japanese text I've ever tried to translate, so I'll apologize in advance for any errors or confusion that may have crept in despite my best efforts.

Zeon Task Force

Illustration: A Zeon task force consisting of a Gwazine-class battleship, nine Musai-class cruisers, and four Zaku II mobile suits.

The above is a scene from when the Zeon and Earth Federation forces first plunged into all-out war.

We'd like to bring the composition of the Zeon task force to your attention. We can confirm that the Zaku mobile suit has already been integrated into the core of the fleet.

We can also see many Musai cruisers, reflecting the fact that the Musai served as the main vessel of the Zeon forces from the start of hostilities. A Gwazine-class battleship can be seen in the distance.

These same vessels would be used, with improvements applied as needed, until the end of the war. This was because the duration of the war was relatively short in historical terms. For the same reason, it's believed that new types of ships and mobile suits that hadn't appeared at this point already existed in prototype and pre-production form.

Upon the outbreak of war in year 0079 of the Universal Century, the Earth Federation leadership estimated that it would need no more than a month to suppress the Zeon forces. At the time, such a conclusion seemed inescapable, since a simple calculation showed that the Earth Federation Forces had ten times the fighting strength of the Zeon forces.

However, many of the Federation's leaders had failed to recognize the arrival of two major innovations in warfare.

One such innovation was the military application of Minovsky physics. When Minovsky particles were deployed over a wide area, their effects greatly reduced the relative strength of the Federation space fleets, which relied on long-range combat.

The second innovation was the deployment of mobile suits in combat. The Zeon forces had carried out the development of unarmed Zaku mobile suits in peacetime, and as the war broke out they sent large numbers of combat-type Zaku mobile suits into battle.

Even before the fight against the Federation Forces escalated into all-out war, the Zeon forces had deployed Zakus on every front and obtained ample battle results. As a result, the mobile suit's value had been recognized within Zeon. The Federation Forces' mobile suit development, on the other hand, had progressed slowly because they had questioned the effectiveness of the mobile suit itself.

The Federation Forces hadn't failed to obtain intelligence regarding Zeon's Zaku mobile suits. The Federation Forces' superb intelligence division had obtained a fair amount of information via everything from small-scale regional skirmishes, to intelligence from within Zeon itself. In its reports to the Federation Forces commanders the intelligence division concluded, based on its analysis of the applications of the Zaku mobile suit, that it was unusually effective as a weapon. These reports evaluated the mobile suit as highly as within the Zeon homeland.

But these reports of the Zaku mobile suit's combat accomplishments, which came mainly from remote areas, were dismissed by most of the Earth Federation leadership as "merely overestimates stemming from fear of the new and unknown." As a result, the Federation Forces were forced to face the Zeon forces, which had embraced the tactical concept of the mobile suit, with an obsolete fleet structure.

Moreover, although the Federation Forces outnumbered the Zeon forces by a factor of ten at this point, they could only concentrate two to three times as many warships in any given area. The Zeon forces compensated for this numerical disadvantage through the effective use of mobile suits and nuclear weapons, dealing a devastating blow to the Federation Forces fleet.

Background To Guerilla War

A Zaku mobile suit company advancing into a space colony
Illustration: A company of nine Zaku II mobile suits, led by a red commander's machine, flying through the interior of a space colony.

Three mobile suits comprised a team, and three teams a company.

Many scenes like this one were seen around the outbreak of the war. At this point many of the mobile suit's main weapons, such as bazookas and machine guns, used nuclear warheads.

The antenna on the head section of the frontmost Zaku was installed on the mobile suits of company commanders and higher. From its red colors, it can be seen that this machine belonged to Lieutenant Commander Char.

Although the fame of the "Red Comet" led to misconceptions on this point, such color variations weren't limited to Char alone. It's likely that among groups of Zaku mobile suits, which were difficult to distinguish by external appearance or by numbers and symbols, conspicuous paint schemes were very effective when it came to assembling formations.

It's also confirmed that the Zaku mobile suits used as command machines included variants with modified armor and equipment, and greater acceleration than the standard type.

The "suit" in "mobile suit" is an acronym for "Space Utility Instruments Tactical." As this name suggests, the Zaku mobile suit was intended from the development stage to be an all-purpose machine. Its main purpose was attacking space colonies, capturing fortresses, and so forth, but it also had extremely effective applications as a space fighter and a space worker craft.

Zaku mobile suits were carrying out guerilla activities before the outbreak of the war, greatly expanding the territory of the Zeon forces. It should be remembered that the secrecy of these mobile suit operations was definitely a result of the Minovsky particle's electromagnetic wave-blocking effects.

The guerilla operations performed by the Zaku didn't stop with simple destructive operations, but extended into many areas. Examples of these missions included the removal of pro-Federation powers from the vicinity of Side 3, the securing of supply routes, and the capture of factory plants and other production facilities belonging to other Sides.

To the Zeon forces, these guerilla operations were both necessary and urgent. Even though the combat effectiveness of the Zaku mobile suit under Minovsky particle cover had already been established, the Federation Forces still enjoyed an overwhelming advantage in material resources over the single nation of Zeon.

The Zeon forces were fortunate that, around the beginning of the war, the Federation Forces were unusually lacking in unity. The Federation itself was a grouping of nations on a worldwide scale, and the nationalism of its member nations was still strong. In Zeon military circles, it was assumed that the Federation Forces were incapable of realizing their full potential as a single organization, and the Zeon forces thus began preparing for a shift to all-out armed conflict with the Federation Forces.

In fact, even when the Zeon forces attempted to invade the pro-Federation Side 2 with mobile suits, the Federation Forces failed to take action. And it goes without saying that Zeon secretly made overtures to pro-Zeon factions within the Federation itself.

Thus Zeon conducted secret operations to constrain the Federation Forces' material resources, and they continued these after the start of the war to hasten the defeat of the Federation Forces.

Operation British

Illustration: Countless Musais and Zakus escorting a space colony.

A historical scene from the colony drop which was known as the Zeon forces' greatest outrage.

The light in the foreground is emitted by nuclear pulse propulsion. The Musai ships and Zakus floating around the cylinder that was once a space colony are only one part of the escort fleet. This shows us how much of their hopes the Zeon forces had invested in this operation.

Although the Zeon forces attempted to win a victory at the start of the war, the Federation Forces still retained enough power to instantly erase all the hard-won gains that the Zeon forces had gradually achieved with their own accumulated strength.

The Zeon forces anticipated that the Federation Forces would launch a counterattack, and felt that the situation required them to prevent this. It was necessary for them to swiftly conclude the war while they were still winning, before anything could extend the fighting. The preceding events had largely followed their calculated estimates, and now they announced the previously planned "Operation British." The operation was named after the British Empire, which had declined after losing its own colonies.

Operation British involved forcing a large space colony out of its orbit and making it fall on Earth. The Zaku proved its effectiveness in the work of attaching a nuclear pulse propulsion system to a Side 2 colony, and in escorting it afterwards.

The colony's orbital speed was decreased over the course of several hours of nuclear pulse propulsion, and after making a half-circuit of the moon, it fell into an Earth-bound orbit. This course passed over the lunar city of Granada, during which time its defenses were effectively doubled. At the same time, as can be seen from the diagram below, it was in a position where Earth shielded it from the Federation Forces' main space base at Luna II, so it was to some extent protected from Federation Forces interference.

Knowing that this unprecedented situation of a moving space colony was an attack not only on Earth, but in fact on their Jaburo base in South America, the Federation Forces put up a fierce resistance. By now, they had gradually come to realize that the Principality of Zeon's fight against the Federation wasn't simply an attempt to advance its own interests.

Operation British was a huge gamble for the Zeon forces. The casualties sustained by the large fleet it assembled to escort the colony amounted to a far greater quantity of material resources and talented personnel than anticipated. The positioning of the escort fleets didn't allow them to leave the perimeter of the colony, so they became simply targets for a two-front attack from Earth and the Federation fleet. Operation British proved to be a brutal struggle for both sides.


The colony after entering the atmosphere, pictured from below
Illustration: Buildings are destroyed by the shockwaves from the hurtling colony.

There were no examples in history of an object with such huge mass and volume passing at high speed through the upper layers of the atmosphere. Perhaps it can be understood how the immense shockwaves produced by the colony's advance carved a swath of destruction through natural objects and artificial structures alike.

The objective of the reckless Operation British was the destruction of Jaburo, the greatest stronghold of the Federation Forces. This was because the Jaburo base facilities, constructed beneath solid bedrock, couldn't be destroyed even by megaton-class bombs.

The loss of the Federation Forces' final refuge, and the physical and psychological aftereffects, would enable the Zeon forces to quickly bring the war to a victorious conclusion.

As the colony approached Earth, the Federation Forces halted their attacks. At this point, even if they destroyed the colony, fragments would fall across Earth's entire surface and the damage zone would be expanded. Both sides were now convinced that the success of the operation was assured.

The Federation Forces began their evacuation of Jaburo six hours before the colony's predicted time of impact. It's said that the skies over Jaburo were filled with aircraft taking off and landing to collect personnel. According to the analyses of some historians, if the Zeon forces had only had enough strength remaining to take advantage of the chaos at Jaburo and send forces to the scene, they could probably have won the war at this point.

However, an unexpected event occurred. Although the colony had been reinforced for the operation, it had been weakened by the fighting during its four-day journey to Earth. After entering the atmosphere at a speed of about 11 kilometers per second, the nearly ten-billion-ton colony collapsed over Arabia.

The colony's front section, which retained its original shape, impacted directly on Sydney, Australia and pierced the ten-kilometer-thick crust. As a result, it triggered the activity of the Pacific Rim volcanic belt and completely reshaped the eastern Australian continent.

The remaining fragments crossed the Pacific Ocean and fell across the northern hemisphere, chiefly on North America, and inflicted widespread casualties on civilians and Federation Forces soldiers alike.

Moreover, the shockwaves produced during the colony's passage through the atmosphere and at the moment of impact led to storms and tsunamis which raged across the whole world. These continued for more than a week, and resulted in the destruction of the Federation Forces' naval fleets. The decline of the Federation Forces' naval power was a major reason why the Zeon forces formed Jukon-class submarine fleets when they later expanded their zone of control to the surface of the Earth.

These were the modest results of the Zeon forces' greatest gamble, in which they ended up squandering so much of their extensive fighting strength. What remained after the completion of the operation were the climate disruptions and meteor showers that continued for several years afterward, as well as the vast quantities of fine particles scattered in the upper atmosphere which produced beautiful sunsets.

Note: As a result of the colony impact, the Earth's rotation was accelerated by 1.2 seconds for every hour.

Damage conditions in Australia
Illustration: A diagram showing the descent path of the colony's front section toward Sydney. A "zone of large-scale terrain changes due to volcanic activity" extends along Australia's eastern coast, and in the wake of the colony we see concentric zones labeled as "zone completely destroyed by falling fragments," "zone where houses collapsed due to shockwaves," and "zone where window glass was shattered by shockwaves."

The kinetic energy of the colony that fell on Sydney triggered volcanic activity. Due to the resulting outflow of lava and crustal movements, the shape of Australia's eastern coast was dramatically altered. The earthquakes produced at this time were on a scale far surpassing that of the earthquakes caused by normal crustal energy, and had a magnitude of 9.5.

The area around Sydney was utterly destroyed by the falling fragments that accompanied the colony. As the colony fell, the land it passed over was also buffeted fiercely by powerful shockwaves. These combined with the shockwaves produced at the descent point to form compound waves, destroying houses across a third of Australia's land, and window glass was shattered throughout half of Australia.

The colony's descent path
Illustration: A diagram showing the colony's entry into the atmosphere, its projected course, and the actual path of its major fragments. The three land panels of the rear section fall into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, into Canada's Hudson Bay, and in the Great Lakes region around Michigan.

The colony entered the atmosphere at a shallow angle, at an altitude of more than a hundred kilometers over Africa. It continued its flight while undergoing about three gees of deceleration due to the atmosphere, and was scheduled to fall on Jaburo about 40 minutes later. However, its flight went smoothly only for the first few minutes after atmospheric entry.

As it passed over Arabia, the colony collapsed. The front section veered south and fell onto Sydney, Australia. All three of the rear section's land panels veered north, with two falling onto North America and one in the Pacific Ocean. The remaining mirror fragments fell across the surface of the Earth.

List of damage due to the colony drop
The total energy released due to the colony drop was equal to 60,000 megatons of TNT (3 million times that of the Hiroshima explosion).

About one third of the Australian continent and one quarter of the North American continent were annihilated.

More than 320 million people were killed, injured, or missing as a result of the first wave of damage.

Climate changes and other secondary damage led to more than 2 billion killed, injured, and missing (estimated).

Earth's rotation speed was accelerated by 1.2 seconds for every hour.

The Gundam Rises

Activation of the Gundam
Illustration: The Gundam rising from its trailer.

This was the first appearance of Federation Forces mobile suits in true combat.

With the failure of the attack on Jaburo, the Zeon forces had deviated greatly from the victory plans they'd had at the start of the war. Ordering their forces back into orbit, the Zeon forces leadership decided to try this gamble a second time with another colony drop plan. The Zeon forces gathered their main fleet at Side 5.

This time, of course, the Federation Forces reacted swiftly. Before the attachment of the nuclear pulse propulsion system had been completed, they succeeded in directing almost all their working warships toward Side 5.

A decisive battle between the largest mobile forces in history began in Side 5 airspace. The Federation Forces's fighting strength exceeded that of the Zeon forces by a factor of three or four. However, the Zeon forces were able to barely overcome a fleet which far outnumbered their own.

Historians have embraced many explanations for the Federation Forces' defeat.

The first was that they had no mobile suit forces, while the Zeon forces had an advantage in fleet combat due to their own mobile suits.

The second was that the Federation Forces fleet was hastily assembled. Its control structure was useless for systematic activity, and its mixed groups of new and old warship types were all but incapable of high-level mobile combat.

The third was the great disparity in crew training. Whereas the Zeon forces had trained intensively from the very start for this objective, the Federation Forces, with a few exceptions, were made up largely of soldiers who were facing real combat for the first time.

This battle would later be known as the "Battle of Loum." The Federation Forces withdrew, sacrificing many warships and their crews, and losing most of their space territory.

However, the injuries of the Zeon forces were also severe. The colony drop had already consumed many veteran pilots who had experienced real combat, and the Battle of Loum proved to be a bitter victory for Zeon, which was short of human resources. This information was widely disseminated in the speech "No Soldiers in Zeon" given by the Federation Forces' General Revil, who had been taken prisoner in the Battle of Loum. Along with the failure to destroy the Jaburo base, this speech played a major role in prolonging the war.

Having exhausted their fighting strength, the two sides began negotiations using Side 6 as an intermediary. The result was the "Antarctic Treaty."

The main point of this treaty was to prohibit the use of weapons of mass destruction, specifically colony drops and strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. Where colony drops were concerned, this was fairly meaningless, since the Zeon forces no longer had the fighting strength necessary to execute one. But the situation with nuclear weapons was a different story. The leaders of both sides had concluded that further use of nuclear weapons would lead to mutual destruction, and they had thus reached the end of their power.

Nuclear-powered weapons weren't covered by this prohibition, since the majority of both sides' weapons were nuclear-powered. Had they been unable to use nuclear power, the Zeon forces would have been unable to use their mobile suits, which would have been utterly unacceptable. Even the Federation Forces, who were already carrying out their own "Operation V" program to produce mobile suits for their counteroffensive, had objections to this idea.

White Base docking at Side 7
The first ship of the Pegasus class, constructed by gathering the cream of the Federation's space engineering and Minovsky physics talent. As a new ship, it's still in pristine condition.

Guncannon in parts form, shown on Zaku's display
Note the targeting sight and data indicators. The relative complexity of the data relay method has a dramatic effect on the overall utility of the machine. This often became a particular problem in situations where the pilots were inexperienced.

Re-Entry Battle

Combat in the 3,500 degree heat of atmospheric re-entry
Illustration: The Gundam exchanging fire with a Zaku in Earth orbit.

The only recorded instance of this during the war was in the pursuit of the White Base.

The Federation Forces' Operation V was made up of several plans carried out in parallel. Its greatest result was the mass production of the mobile suit RGM-79 GM.

The Federation Forces had been conducting their own mobile suit development since before the outbreak of war, but they were far from matching Zeon's level. However, the situation changed with the lessons of the early days of the war and the capture of some of the Zeon forces' Zaku mobile suits.

Their mobile suit development was further advanced by combining areas in which the Federation Forces surpassed the Zeon forces, such as learning computers and composite armor, with Zeon know-how.

The full potential of these mobile suits was expressed through the appearance of the all-purpose warship known as the Pegasus class, which was intended from the design stage to carry mobile suits.

White Base docking at Luna II
After losing most of its regular crewmembers, this warship began an eventful career as a Newtype Corps.

Gundam and Zaku enduring high heat
Because the Gundam was a prototype, it was saved by the atmospheric entry capabilities which were missing in later mass-production models.

Zeon Aircraft Development

Basic formation of representative Zeon aircraft
Illustration: A formation of eight Dopp fighters, two Luggun reconnaissance planes, and one Gaw attack carrier.

The Gaw attack carrier, Dopp, and Luggun were distinguished by their unusual appearance. This was a consequence of the peculiar circumstances of their development inside space colonies.

In a space colony, there is almost no need for aircraft. Moreover, the interior of a colony which is at most 6.5 kilometers wide and 30 kilometers long and has roughly uniform air density isn't an environment one would choose for testing prototype machines. As a result, the Zeon forces had no choice but to combine existing aircraft technologies on a theoretical basis.

For example, in the case of the Dopp, a short fuselage was used to increase its maneuverability and a protruding domed canopy provided a wide field of vision, giving birth to its unorthodox design. In order to eliminate the instability produced by these measures, it goes without saying that it used advanced CCV (Control Configured Vehicle) technology.

After the conclusion of the Antarctic Treaty, the Zeon forces began an Earth invasion. Their initial intention of bringing the war to a quick end with a large offensive, starting with the originally planned Operation British, had gone completely awry. Thus the Zeon forces were left with no means of achieving victory other than conquering the entire Earth.

The Zeon forces launched a two-front blitzkrieg land offensive against the Federation Forces, who were still in a state of chaos due to the colony drop. One part of this offensive was a direct invasion of North America, where the Federation Forces had sustained a devastating blow, and the other was the kind of technological guerilla warfare of which only the Zeon forces were capable. Using underground mass drivers which had been converted for military use, they carried out wide-area carpet bombing from the lunar surface onto China and the former Soviet Union.

These underground mass drivers were better protected than exposed types. Since the Federation Forces could no longer use nuclear weapons, the ground bombing continued for a long period before the mass drivers were destroyed by Federation Forces counterattacks.

In the meantime, the Federation Forces' strongest concentration of ground forces sustained a severe blow, and they had no choice but to withdraw to Europe and the South Asia region. The Zeon forces thus succeeded in landing ground forces in the void that extended from the former Soviet Union to China's Tien Shan mountains.

Big Tray
This is a converted variant of what was originally a large land ship.

Comparison of Zeon and Federation Forces uniforms
While the Zeon forces followed the Prussian tradition, the Federation Forces' designs fell somewhere between contemporary (20th-century) Western and Eastern militaries. This is an interesting reflection of the political conditions within both militaries.

Flares Rising From Jaburo

Federation Forces space fleet launching into space from Jaburo
Illustration: The smoke trails of roughly ten Federation Forces warships rising into the sky over Jaburo.

The Federation Forces counteroffensive is announced by flares rising up into the skies like countless smoke trails. At this time many of the large warships were equipped with giant two-stage chemical-fueled boosters, designed to launch massive vessels. The Zeon forces' Zanzibar, meanwhile, used a single-stage booster since it could perform its initial acceleration using a catapult.

Their failure to destroy Jaburo would be a source of bitter misfortune for the Zeon forces until the very end. While the Federation Forces used the remnants of their existing fighting strength to resist the Zeon forces' offensives, behind the scenes they steadily built up strength for their own counteroffensive, producing new warships and Operation V mobile suits at Jaburo and the rest of their scattered bases. Once their space fleet, centered around the "Tianem fleet," had launched without incident into space, the course of the war was essentially determined.

Jaburo itself was located inside the Sarisarinama plateau in southern Venezuela, 1500 meters above sea level. The natural vertical caverns known as the Sarisarinama sinkholes were artificially expanded, and their surface parts cleverly camouflaged. With a network of vast natural and artificial caverns running underground, the total area of this underground base was said to exceed that of Tokyo.

Each block of the base could be transferred in a short period to another block, and the position of the headquarters itself wasn't fixed. The entire base was encased in solid bedrock which could withstand even a nuclear attack, which is why the Zeon forces attempted to attack it by using a colony as a weapon.

View of an entrance to the Jaburo base, from which veil of camouflage has been lifted
Its huge size can be seen by comparison to the Pegasus-class warship which is docking here. Given the time, there's a high probability that this ship was the White Base.

Neutral Zone Side 6

Image of a space industrial complex floating at Side 6
Illustration: A cluster of factory blocks and satellites, with a space colony visible in the background.

In space, where there's no basis for comparison, it's hard to estimate its scale, but each one of the cluster of factories that can be seen in the distance is of a scale that would be unthinkable on Earth.

Side 6 played an important public and private role in the Zeon-Federation war. It certainly couldn't boast great military might, and its declaration of neutrality clearly showed its lack of power. It was chiefly because of its industrial power and political influence that it was able to maintain its neutrality between two great powers.

Major figures in the military, political, and financial worlds, from the Federation and Sides alike, lived at or visited Side 6 with their families. To direct military power here would surely have brought about the collapse of both sides from within.

Side 6 originally made its livelihood from commerce and industry, with a background of powerful political influence. It also revived as an industrial power after the outbreak of the war, continuing to export weapons to both sides in the form of parts and semiprocessed goods. After Operation British it even found itself exporting farm produce to the Federation, which had lost much of its arable land.

One of the reflecting mirrors of the Solar System used in the Battle of Solomon
It's impossible to see the entire thing from end to end within an ordinary field of vision.

The Solar System was introduced as the decisive weapon of the Federation Forces after they gave up nuclear weapons. It was based on the same principle used by the ancient inventor Archimedes, who used reflective mirrors to burn the enemy's wooden boats, but expanded to a scale of millions of mirrors. This array was able to heat the rocky surface of Solomon to the temperature of the surface of the sun.

The production of the Solar System was also a great feat of space engineering. The mirrors that were its basic structural unit were designed to resist distortion and to be as thin as possible, and each panel weighed no more than two kilograms.

The Battle Of A Baoa Qu

Illustration: Nine Musais gathered around the Solar Ray, with A Baoa Qu in the distance.

This picture shows the space fortress A Baoa Qu, which became the final battlefield of the Zeon-Federation war, and the decisive Solar Ray weapon. Of course, they couldn't be seen together like this in reality, and this image is made up of several parts composed into a single picture.

A Baoa Qu, like the Federation Forces' Luna II, was an asteroid that had been moved from its original orbit for colony construction. When Operation British was proposed, the use of this kind of small asteroid rather than a colony was also considered, but it proved unsuitable since the asteroid's characteristic irregular shape would have made it impossible to precisely calculate its course after entering the atmosphere.

As with the use of a colony as a massive bomb, the Solar Ray was an example of the conversion of a colony into an effective weapon. This 6.5-kilometer-wide laser proved to be major surprise to the Federation fleet. However, the critically permeable membranes and polarized mirrors used in the Solar Ray were intended only as prototype items for testing purposes, so it was limited to a single firing. This fact proved to be the salvation of the Federation Forces' fleet.

After the Federation Forces' space armada launched from Earth, the Zeon forces suffered a series of defeats that began with the fall of Solomon.

It's both ironic and appropriate that the phenomena seen at the start of the war now took place in reverse. Perhaps the most important factor was that, while the Federation Forces were now working in unison, the Zeon commanders on each front were losing the ability to cooperate with each other.

When a side with superior fighting strength engages a weaker enemy in battle, a simple comparison of fighting strength suggests that the weaker side will usually suffer heavy casualties. In this situation, the superior side indicates the Federation fleet, and the weaker side means the scattered and separated Zeon forces.

The Zeon forces, who were inferior in terms of overall fighting strength, had to avoid such a situation at all costs. Although the Zeon forces, who had neglected to prepare for this, were able to slaughter a third of the Federation fleet when they activated the Solar Ray, the Federation Forces still retained enough strength to attack A Baoa Qu.

Appearance Of New-Generation Weapons

Psycommu-adapted mobile armors—Braw Bro, Zeong, Elmeth and bits
Illustration: The Braw Bro, Zeong, and Elmeth floating in front of the space fortress A Baoa Qu.

These machines are distinguished from the normal mobile armors represented by the Big Zam introduced in the Side 6 section.

Psycommu weapons are systems that amplify the acute reactive waves of the people known as Newtypes and, via signals translated into computer language, control the weapons attached to the machine itself.

In the cases of the Braw Bro and Zeong, these signals were transmitted by cables. However, the signals sent from the Elmeth to its bits were transmitted via a wireless guidance system that used Minovsky particles as a medium. The short range at which these bits could be controlled was something of a drawback, but this was uniquely valuable for providing the first application of Minovsky communication.

At the behest of senior military authorities, Zeon's researchers exerted themselves in every area of research and development, bringing new-generation weapons like mobile armors and psycommu weapons into the world. With the introduction of psycommu weapons, the study of Newtypes by the Flanagan Agency also advanced a step beyond that of the Federation Forces. However, these new-generation weapons failed to turn the war situation around, and ultimately they came to naught.

Perhaps this could be described as the trend of the times. Certainly, now that the Zeon forces were retreating on every front, the fact that up almost every previous Zeon offensive had ultimately achieved its objectives had undeniably led to excessive overconfidence and carelessness.

When the Zeon space fortress Solomon was attacked by the Federation fleet, it's said that its commander Vice Admiral Dozle Zabi failed to acknowledge the need for reinforcements, saying, "For such a trifle? I'd become a national laughingstock!" No words could serve as a more direct example. However, this event was no more than a fragmentary incident relative to the ongoing trend in the overall situation.

Signing At Granada

Illustration: Approximately twenty ships gathered over a lunar city, including four Magellan battleships, fourteen Salamis cruisers, two unidentified ships, and a green-tinted Pegasus assault carrier.

A Federation Forces space fleet taking up an orbit over the Zeon forces' Granada lunar base. In the middle of the small crater visible below, a new crater is being created by the Federation Forces' bombardment.

Despite the superior power of the Federation Forces, the ending of the Zeon-Federation war left it unclear who was victorious.

The space armada that the Federation Forces had sent into space had been greatly diminished in numbers after attacking the two fortresses of Solomon and A Baoa Qu. Nor were the surviving vessels undamaged, and their personnel were exhausted and their supply lines stretched to their limit.

The Zeon forces, meanwhile, still had some intact fighting strength at the Granada lunar base and the Zeon homeland. However, the Zeon forces didn't engage the surviving fleet of the victorious Federation Forces. At this point, even if they used the last of their fighting strength, they couldn't hope to achieve a flawless victory. Moreover, the Federation Forces still had fleets aside from those they had launched into space, and it's clear that they retained many warships as a defensive force around the Earth.

Having lost the Zabi family line and thus all their supreme leaders, the Zeon forces hoped to avoid an anticipated second offensive by the Federation Forces, who had so quickly achieved a balance of arms and the accompanying fighting strength. Thus they approached the Federation Forces via Side 6 to seek a ceasefire.

Because many of the Federation Forces leaders who remained on Earth considered the fleets they retained there to be a tool for self-preservation, they approved and accepted this proposal with remarkable speed. The Granada lunar base was chosen as the signing place, and they settled on a treaty whose details amounted to concessions by the Zeon side to the Federation. The figures of long-serving generals were absent from the place where the signing was concluded.

The time was year 0080 of the Universal Century.


The following text is copyright © 2000 Kisousha.

Translator's Note: The mechanical section of Gundam Century is broken up into several subsections dealing with Zeon and Federation mobile suits, space warships, ground forces, superweapons, and mobile armors. Keywords are shown in bold text, as in the original, and I've also added a few translator's notes to address technical issues.

Note that while the dates of pre-One Year War events have largely been retained in later accounts, the dates given for the start of the One Year War and the events that follow have long since been overruled. Likewise, the numerical specifications given here for the various mobile suits are no longer considered official.


Mobile Suit Development

In November of Universal Century 0079, the space colonies of Side 3, the furthest from Earth, declared war on the Earth Federation government under the name of the Principality of Zeon. Within one week, the fighting had resulted in the destruction of three Sides and the death of half the human race.

Despite their numerical inferiority, the Zeon forces were able to achieve great results in this opening combat. One reason for this was the existence of the mobile suit. As its name suggests, the mobile SUIT (Space Utility Instruments Tactical) is a weapon designed to carry out a variety of tactical objectives in space.

The development of the mobile suit was a reflection of the dramatic tactical shift brought about by Minovsky particle dispersion technology. This technology, developed by the Principality of Zeon in U.C. 0065, was one of the most significant effects of Minovsky physics upon military strategy.

The Minovsky particle itself is an elementary particle with near-zero rest mass and a positive or negative electrical charge. When arranged in a cubic lattice, these particles form an invisible field which prevents the transmission of electromagnetic waves with greater than microwave wavelengths. This reduces the accuracy of radar and makes long-distance wireless communication impossible. At high densities, Minovsky particles even disrupt the functioning of large-scale integrated circuits. Naturally, protective systems were developed to shield computers from Minovsky particle interference, but their high cost and weight meant that they couldn't be installed in missile-class precision guided weapons.

Early detection using long-range radar, rapid response based on precise directions from general headquarters equipped with powerful computers, long-range attack using precision guided weapons... All these were now things of the past, replaced by close combat within visual range. The Principality of Zeon's defense ministry ordered its weapons makers to develop new high-performance weapons for use under Minovsky particle conditions. It proved very difficult to meet the requirements, and after four years of basic research, only Zeonic and MIP had produced prototypes that satisfied the performance requirements.

Both companies' systems diverged dramatically from previous weapon concepts. MIP's MIP-X1 resembled a hybrid of a space fighter and the worker pods used for asteroid resource development. Zeonic's ZI-XA3 was even more unusual, with a 14-meter humanoid form, two "magic hands," and a pair of legs for walking. It's said that Gihren Zabi, observing a test of the ZI-XA3, reacted with derisive laughter.

However, the performance of the ZI-XA3 was remarkable. Although its performance in space didn't quite match that of the MIP-X1, it demonstrated high potential for use at asteroid bases, on the lunar surface, and inside colonies, and its overall performance far surpassed that of existing space fighters and ground weapons. The defense ministry decided to adopt Zeonic's proposal, giving it the designation MS-01, and ordered the development of a combat version under the guise of a new type of non-combat space worker machine.

The AMBAC System

Many of the reasons for the high performance exhibited by the MS-01 (formerly the ZI-XA3) were a result of its unique form. Its two magic hands could move more freely than human arms, enabling them to carry various weapons, and they could also be used for various working tasks or to open airlocks while entering colonies. Meanwhile, its two legs could be used to move across various terrains, and enabled it to carry a larger weapons payload and heavier armor than the hovercraft system used by the MIP-X1. For its power source, it used a traditional atomic reactor (a fission type) with an output of 2,200 horsepower.

Its joints were driven by a fluid pulse system, which used a pulse converter to turn the energy produced by the atomic reactor into pulses of pressure within a fluid. Thousands of fluid pipes, finer than human hairs, transmitted these pulses at supersonic speed to the rotary cylinders which drove the joints. This system yielded a higher operating speed than hydraulics, and lower weight and greater structural simplicity than electric motors.

While these arms and legs obviously contributed to the mobile suit's versatility, one might suppose they would become dead weight when it was used in space. However, Zeonic's engineers confounded this expectation by developing the AMBAC system (Active Mass Balance AutoControl system). Unlike previous space fighters, which used vernier rockets to change their attitude, this method allowed the mobile suit to change its attitude by moving its arms and legs.

At first glance, the fact that outer space lacks hindrances such as air resistance might seem like an advantage during combat operations, but this lack of resistance becomes a serious drawback when it comes to changing direction. When an aircraft makes a 180-degree turn in the atmosphere, it transfers its own kinetic energy to the air molecules via its wings and then uses the counter-reaction to change its direction, allowing it to turn with virtually no reduction in speed (1).

A spacecraft, however, must eject propellant and use the counter-reaction to turn itself. The propellant consumption is extremely high, and previous space fighters required 2.5 seconds for a 180-degree attitude change and exhausted their propellant after making 30 turns.

In the AMBAC system, however, the arms and legs are moved rapidly and the counter-reaction is used to change the attitude of the machine itself. Even space worker craft used a similar kind of mass movement for passive functions like balance correction. But the AMBAC system, thanks to the powerful atomic reactor and the fluid pulse system, could move the mobile suit's arms so rapidly that acceleration reached more than 100 G at its fingertips, enabling this huge machine to perform a 180-degree attitude change in less than three seconds.

This technique, which prevented the mobile suit from having to expend any propellant, meant that its arms and legs were not dead weight but rather an effective attitude control system.

Combat Mobile Suits

Having been formally charged with the development of combat mobile suits, Zeonic first created the prototype MS-02 in pursuit of higher mobility. Then, in February of U.C. 0074, it rolled out the first prototype unit of the combat mobile suit MS-03, which added stronger armor and improved anti-G features. But although the MS-03 addressed all the expectations of the Zeon military, the heavier armor increased its dry weight from the 17 tons of the MS-01 to 28 tons, and its mobility was less than 60% that of the MS-02.

Such a machine would never meet the military's requirements, and Zeonic attempted to dramatically reduce the weight of the third prototype unit, which was then under construction. The cockpit escape system was removed, and the body structure was changed to a frameless monocoque type. However, despite Zeonic's desperate efforts, the performance of the MS-03 remained unsatisfactory.

It was at this point that the engine maker ZAS developed the prototype ZAS-X7 ultracompact thermonuclear reactor, a new type based on Minovsky physics. This high-performance reactor had an output of 6,100 horsepower, more than twice that of the MS-03's reactor, but was more than 20% lighter.

Zeonic quickly developed the MS-04, equipped with this new reactor. The reactor's higher output required a more powerful cooling system, increasing the mobile suit's dry weight to 31.2 tons, but its remarkable performance surpassed even that of the MS-02 high mobility test type.

MS-05 Zaku

In August of U.C. 0075, a prototype combat mobile suit was completed, based on the MS-04 with some minor improvements. Known as the MS-05 Zaku, this mobile suit had an overall height of 17.5 meters and a dry weight of 34 tons, and when loaded with rocket fuel, coolant, and a rifle, it had an overall weight of 63.2 tons. It was powered by a ZAS-MI8B thermonuclear reactor with an output of 5,700 horsepower. In space, the mobile suit cooled its reactor with the same liquid hydrogen used in its chemical rockets, and in atmosphere it used an air cooling system.

Thanks to the development of high-performance computers, the Zaku could be operated by a single pilot from a cockpit installed near its center of mass. The cockpit was windowless, relying on TV monitors for visibility. A mono-eye containing a large TV camera, as well as laser and infra-red sensor systems, was installed in the mobile suit's head. By rotating this turret 180 degrees, it could scan a 260-degree area, and twelve supplemental cameras were installed around the mobile suit's body to cover the entire visual field.

Two chemical rocket engines with an output of 105 tons apiece, installed in a pod on the mobile suit's back, were used for space flight and for jumping within colonies. At full throttle, these engines consumed more than ten tons of liquid fuel within about 27 seconds (2), so their use required a great deal of skill.

The Zaku's main weapons were a 105mm rifle, and a 280mm bazooka loaded with nuclear warheads. The 105mm rifle, a product of single-crystal metal technology, was essentially a scaled-up version of the low-recoil machine guns carried by human beings. As a result, the Zaku could dismantle, assemble, and reload its rifle using its own hands. Once loaded with a 100-round drum magazine, this rifle weighed about five tons.

The new engine proved relatively trouble-free, and testing of the prototype version proceeded smoothly. In May of U.C. 0076, 27 units of the first production type were used to form history's first mobile suit corps.

Mobile Suit Pilots

The Zaku required pilots who would be able to operate it under many different conditions—as a space fighter, in ground combat on Earth or within colonies, and in low-gravity regions. As a result, these pilots were very carefully selected. The most outstanding soldiers were gathered from throughout the Zeon forces and subjected to three months of qualifying tests. The elite corps that was organized as a result then conducted large-scale combat exercises, using Federation-style open colonies and large craters near the Granada lunar base as their training grounds.

Of these training exercises, the one which required the highest level of technique may have been evading high-velocity rocks launched from mass drivers, and it's said that this resulted in the loss of at least five Zakus and at least ten human casualties. Massive dispersion of Minovsky particles and other defensive measures were used to conceal these exercises from the Federation Forces' orbiting satellites.

MS-06 Zaku II

The first use of Zaku forces in combat was in July of U.C. 0077, when they provided armed support for a revolution at Side 6. Going on to expand Zeon's territory on the lunar surface and capture other Sides' space factories, they continued to produce results far beyond expectations.

The MS-06, equipped with the new ZAS-MI11 thermonuclear reactor, was developed in August of U.C. 0078. The MI11 had an output of 12,300 horsepower, far greater than the 5,700 horsepower of the MI8B, and as a result the mobile suit was equipped with a new kind of space cooling system.

Previously, the engine was cooled by absorbing its heat with the same liquid hydrogen which served as rocket fuel. However, since this liquid hydrogen was expelled from the machine when the rockets were fired, the thermonuclear reactor would overheat within a few minutes unless its output was lowered to match the dwindling supply of rocket fuel. The revolutionary cooling system of the MS-06, on the other hand, used high-performance heat conductors to absorb the waste heat concentrated around the thermonuclear reactor and high-energy weapons, and then distribute it throughout the mobile suit's body structure. When this system was employed, the mobile suit's body could heat up by hundreds of degrees during combat, and upon returning from battle it had to be cooled inside its mothership.

Thanks to its new reactor and cooling system the Zaku's running speed increased to 160 kilometers per hour, versus the older type's 120 kilometers per hour, and in space its attitude change speed was also much faster. External pipes on its waist and legs contained cooling ducts and the fluid tubes used by its drive system, and it was also equipped with a large composite armor shield on its right shoulder, and melee spikes on its left shoulder. The caliber of its rifle was increased from 105mm to 120mm, and a heat hawk was developed which used extreme heat to slice through enemies.

The Zeon War

At 00:00 hours Universal Standard Time on November 1, U.C. 0079, the Zeon War commenced on the orders of Supreme Commander Gihren Zabi. While the Federation Forces enjoyed a numerical advantage in terms of warships, the activities of the mobile suit forces more than made up for this. Thanks to their rigorous training, the Zaku pilots were able to evade the nuclear missile attacks of the Federation Forces' space warships and engage them in close combat. The Federation Forces returned fire with anti-air machine guns, but these were useless against the heavily armored Zaku. Meanwhile, the Zaku could destroy a warship with a single time-delayed shell from its nuclear bazooka, or eliminate its fighting abilities by attacking with its rifle and heat hawk.

At this point, the Zaku's humanoid form proved to be a major advantage for the Zeon forces. In space, where there are no atmospheric effects and few solid objects, it's very hard to judge size and distance. As a result, it was only natural for Federation soldiers to mistakenly assume that attacking Zakus were actually space infantry wearing normal suits. Many a Federation Forces warship was lost during the few vital seconds it took to realize that these mysterious space infantrymen, who could destroy a warship with a single shot and shrug off anti-air gunfire, were in fact the rumored mobile suits.

As the war began, the Zeon forces destroyed many colonies and dealt a severe blow to the Federation space fleet. Then, to secure their victory, they launched the colony drop known as Operation British.

Much of the work involved in reinforcing the space colony and attaching the nuclear pulse propulsion system was performed by Zakus. During this process, the Zakus carried giant tanks of coolant and rocket fuel on their backs to extend their operating time. Their mobility was greatly reduced as a result, and during the second colony drop operation, many excellent pilots were lost as their Zakus were shot down while performing this engineering work.

Zaku Variation Types

Once the use of nuclear weapons had been prohibited by the Antarctic Treaty, there was no large-scale space combat aside from the Battle of Solomon and the Battle of A Baoa Qu.

The Zeon forces launched a series of Earth landing operations centered on North America, which had been devastated by Operation British. In addition to wiping out the forces of the Federation Army, the Zakus which landed on Earth took full advantage of their working capabilities as they rapidly constructed HRSL (Heavy Return Storm Launch) launch sites and assembly plants for Zeon's ground forces. This provided a splendid demonstration of the mobile suit's versatility.

For five years after the completion of the first combat type, the Zaku mobile suit had continued to overwhelm the Federation Forces, and it served as the main weapon of the Zeon forces until the appearance of powerful new Federation Forces mobile suits at the end of the war. More than 8,000 units were produced, including new and old types, and they were modified to create a dozen or more secondary variants. The following are the major variation types.

MS-06C: The first production model of the new combat mobile suit which replaced the old MS-05.

MS-06T: A two-seater mobile suit constructed for training purposes, with two vertically stacked mono-eyes which operated independently.

MS-06F: An improved type with additional weapon attachment systems on its arms, and stronger cockpit shock absorbers for the pilot's comfort. The bestselling model of the Zaku series, with 3,246 units produced.

MS-06J: Intended exclusively for use on Earth, this type was created at the time of the Earth landing operations. Its weight and cost were reduced by removing systems required for operation in space, and its ground fighting ability surpassed that of other Zakus.

MS-06E: A reconnaissance type with a large, high-performance mono-eye and various sensor systems installed throughout its body. Only a few were produced.

MS-06R: A type with a large engine pod on its back, whose two rocket engines produced 220 tons of thrust apiece. Because it carried a large amount of fuel, it looked somewhat bulkier than a standard Zaku. This type was favored by the Black Tri-Stars, an ace pilot team known for their Jetstream Attack tactic.

MS-06S: A high-performance type whose enhanced rocket engines produced 130 tons of thrust apiece, and which was constructed using special materials. It was used mainly by commanders, and the top ace of the Zeon forces, Char the Red Comet, used a red-painted machine of this type to destroy many Federation warships. Terrified Federation Forces soldiers claimed that his operation speed was three times that of a standard Zaku, but the performance of the machine itself was only 20% greater than that of the F type, so its speed was mostly a result of Char's own skill.

MS-06Z: A type created as a testbed for Zeong development, and equipped with a psycommu system. Three prototype units were made, but never used in combat.

MS-07 Gouf

After the start of the Earth landing operations in January of U.C. 0080, the Zeon forces made full use of the Zaku's working abilities to construct advance bases throughout the world. Here they began developing a new mobile suit based on the MS-06J Zaku. A prototype version was completed in only three months, borrowing the model number MS-07 from another machine whose development had been canceled, and it was given the name Gouf.

Like the MS-06J, the MS-07 Gouf had no space cooling systems, and it had an improved radiator for use on Earth. As a result, it was able to carry a thermonuclear reactor with an output of 19,600 horsepower. Its rocket fuel tanks were also reduced in size, and the guidance magnets used for walking in zero-gravity areas were eliminated. Because of the weight and internal space thus saved, it was equipped with a high-voltage heat rod in its right arm, and a five-barreled 75mm machine gun in its left. And, thanks to the Antarctic Treaty, it used armor plating that traded lower radiation resistance for higher strength.

Deployment of the MS-07 Gouf began at North America's California Base in late June of U.C. 0080, and it demonstrated high melee capabilities during combat testing. It was then introduced in Southeast Asia in July, and on the European frontlines in August, becoming the backbone of Zeon's ground forces.

MS-09 Dom

The Zeon military, holding a high opinion of the mobile suit's abilities, was eager for mobile suits suitable for use in the Earth landing operations. The 160 kilometers per hour running speed of Zeonic's new MS-06 Zaku, while almost 50% higher than that of contemporary tanks, was certainly inadequate to control the entire surface of the Earth.

Naturally, the idea of increasing the Zaku's power was considered. But because the ground surface would absorb the majority of the energy, it was concluded that its speed would be limited to about 200 kilometers per hour as long as it was using its legs.

Therefore, at the beginning of U.C. 0078, Zeonic's rival Zimmad began the development of mobile suits based on hovercraft technology. Since hovercraft systems had severe weight restrictions, they needed to develop an engine more powerful than the standard fan-jet type. Their solution was a smaller, jet-style version of the nuclear thermal rocket engines used in space warships.

Technically, the nuclear thermal jet engine developed for the MS-09 Dom was a hybrid jet/rocket type using liquid hydrogen as its propellant. It was originally thought that a pure jet engine using only air for propellant would be more efficient, but since the thermonuclear reactor had a core temperature of almost 100,000 degrees C, it was estimated that the engine would be unable to draw in enough air to adequately absorb all this energy and would thus melt down. So instead, large quantities of liquid hydrogen propellant were circulated through the thermonuclear reactor, and converted into plasma with a temperature of about 10,000 degrees C. The air then absorbed kinetic energy from this medium and was emitted as a powerful jet.

With a maximum thrust of 95 tons, the Dom's nuclear thermal jet engine (or hybrid jet/rocket engine) had a propellant consumption rate just one-quarter that of a chemical jet engine with similar thrust. One of these jet engines was installed in each leg, and the mobile suit was loaded with about 100 tons of liquid hydrogen propellant (3), giving it a relatively squat external appearance and an overall weight of 184 tons. Nonetheless, thanks to the nuclear thermal jet engines in its legs the Dom could hover for about five hours at speeds of up to 380 kilometers per hour.

The Dom's main weapon was a 360mm rocket launcher known as the Giant Bazooka, whose magazine held ten shells. Liquid fuel was delivered through pipes from the Dom's hand and ignited to launch the shells, which then accelerated further by activating their own rocket motors. Another of its weapons was a heat saber with electrical discharge capabilities. This saber used an electrical storage system similar to a capacitor, which was created using Minovsky physics.

The development of a compact nuclear thermal jet engine proved to be extremely difficult, and a prototype version of the MS-09 Dom wasn't completed until the middle of April, U.C. 0080, more than half a year after the outbreak of the war (4). The deployment of the Dom, which was well suited for use in open plains, began at North America's California Base in July of U.C. 0080 and then continued on the African front where there were many desert regions.

The Dom, equipped with a total of three thermonuclear reactors (two for its jets and one as a power source), was considered a "heavy mobile suit" which could produce several times the combat results of a Zaku.

Amphibious Mobile Suits

Given the output of the thermonuclear reactor which served as the power source of the MS-09 Dom, it was impossible for it to use mega particle cannons. In order to raise the reactor's output, its cooling capabilities would have to be increased, and the simplest way to do this was to use large quantities of water. In November of U.C. 0079, Zimmad and MIP were ordered to develop amphibious mobile suits which could use seawater as coolant.

These amphibious mobile suits had another advantage in addition to the use of mega particle cannons. Because the HRSLs used in the Earth landing operations landed in seas and lakes, amphibious mobile suits would be able to travel independently through the water to the target area and engage in combat even without the support of an advance base. To reduce water resistance, all amphibious types used a distinctive streamlined design with a rounded head, and all their weapons were carried internally.

The development of prototype amphibious mobile suits proceeded relatively smoothly, and Zimmad completed its first prototype unit in January of U.C. 0080, two months after the outbreak of the war. This machine was named the MSM-03 Gogg, and after it was tested in the "sea" of one of the Principality of Zeon's resort colonies, it was sent to Earth in February for continued secret testing.

The Gogg was armed with deflection type mega particle cannons which weighed almost 40 tons (5) and were powered by a water-cooled thermonuclear reactor with an output of 114,000 horsepower, almost ten times that of the Zaku's reactor. However, their destructive power was merely twice that of the Zaku's 120mm rifle.

The Gogg's underwater cruising time was extremely long, and it was propelled mainly by hydrojet engines. These engines drew in water through openings in the Gogg's waist, evaporated it with the heat from the thermonuclear reactor, and expelled it through nozzles in the mobile suit's back, enabling it to move through the water at a speed of 70 knots. While operating on land, it used more than 100 tons of internally stored water as coolant, enabling it to operate at full throttle for about an hour and a half.

Mass production of the Gogg started in March, and deployment began around the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico at the end of May. In July it was also stationed with submarine forces like the Mad Angler squadron, and used in coastal regions throughout the world. Although the Gogg's operations were limited to areas near seas and rivers, its speed and power far surpassed those of the Zaku, and it proved highly successful at destroying Federation Forces bases.

In addition to the Gogg, the following amphibious mobile suits were also introduced into combat.

MSM-07 Z'Gok: A heavy mobile suit developed by MIP in competition with Zimmad. Although its completion was delayed, it was produced in parallel with the Gogg due to its good test results. Its arms housed mega particle cannons, and six 24-centimeter rocket launchers with a total of 30 rounds were installed in a circle on top of its head. Although it had no neck rotation mechanisms, its mono-eye was installed in a distinctive all-round turret.

MSM-04 Acguy: A two-seater trainer mobile suit, equipped with a Zaku thermonuclear reactor which had been converted to open-cycle water cooling. Although its output was low, it also emitted less waste heat, and a lightly-armed MS-04F reconnaissance type was developed to take advantage of this stealth feature. Roughly 60 units of this type were produced.

MSM-10 Zock: A superheavy mobile suit equipped with a large thermonuclear reactor with an output of 375,000 horsepower, and armed with nine mega particle cannons. It was designed with front-to-back symmetry to help it deal with attacks from surrounding enemies, but this was really just an attempt to compensate for the lower mobility caused by its weight. Of the three prototype units, only the second entered combat, and it's recorded that it was tested in battle during the Jaburo attack and destroyed while invading the spacecraft docks.

MS-R09 Rick Dom

After losing countless Zakus in the One Week Battle and the Battle of Loum, along with many skilled pilots, the Zeon forces then dropped large numbers of Zakus as part of the Earth landing operations. The fighting strength of their space forces was greatly decreased as a result. In particular, their pilots were now of far lower quality, and often ended up rapidly expending the Zaku's rocket fuel and losing their ability to fight. Space Attack Force commander Dozle Zabi requested that the Dom be adapted for use in space, and it was decided to develop this machine under the name MS-R09 Rick Dom.

To begin with, since the hybrid nuclear thermal jet/rocket engines were to be used as pure rockets, their combustion chambers were expanded by removing air compressors and other systems. As a result, they could produce 490 tons of thrust, about four times that of the jet type. But this increase in thrust meant reduced energy conversion efficiency, so its propellant consumption rate was about one-half to one-third that of a chemical type (6). And with the addition of space cooling systems, navigation systems, and magnets, its propellant tank space was also decreased.

Although the overall performance of the Rick Dom's nuclear thermal propulsion system was reduced as a result of these changes, it was still capable of sustaining an acceleration of six Gs for almost 40 seconds. This was about three times the performance of a Zaku and, as per the original objective, it made it possible for inexperienced pilots to continue fighting even if they used their propellant wastefully.

In the last stage of the war, the Rick Dom replaced the Zaku as the main space weapon. However, the Dom which had fought so fiercely on Earth failed to produce the expected results in space combat. The main reasons were that its thick armor provided no defense against the Federation Forces' beam rifles, and that its pilots, whose quality had declined even more than expected, were unable to adequately draw out the Rick Dom's high performance.

MS-14 Gelgoog

The MS-14 Gelgoog was developed essentially as a successor to the Zaku which had produced such superb results around the beginning of the war, and it was adopted due to its clear superiority over the rival prototype MS-15 Gyan.

At this point the Zeon military intelligence bureau had gathered a variety of Federation Forces data via Side 6, including Energy CAP (capacitor) technology. It was believed that the Energy CAP, a temporary storage system for high-energy Minovsky particles (7), could be used to reduce the size and increase the output of mega particle cannons. The Zeon forces promptly began developing their own Energy CAP technology, as well as the large thermonuclear reactors required to power these devices.

The Gelgoog's cooling system was also enhanced to match its larger reactor, and air intakes and exhaust vents like those of the Federation's Gundam series were installed around the circumference of its chest. Due to the large reactor and cooling systems, there wasn't enough space in the torso section for chemical rocket engines, so these were moved to the legs. These rocket engines could also be used as jet engines in the atmosphere in order to conserve propellant, with air drawn in through the intakes around its waist. Supplemental jet engines for atmospheric flight were also attached to the mobile suit's forearms.

Although the prototype was completed by late June of U.C. 0080, development of a beam rifle using Energy CAP technology was greatly delayed, so the Gelgoog was only deployed in combat at the very end of the war. But since it used no particularly new technologies aside from its large reactor, the Gelgoog was very easy to produce, and 740 units were produced in just two months. With its ease of production and its ability to use powerful beam weapons like those of Federation Forces mobile suits, the Gelgoog could have enabled Zeon to win the war had it been introduced one month earlier.

Translator's Notes

(1) This description of aircraft maneuvering seems a little dubious to me, but the broader point that aircraft rely on the presence of the atmosphere to maneuver remains valid regardless.

(2) I'm not sure if this means ten tons of fuel per thruster, or for both of them combined. In the former case, the Zaku's chemical rocket engines would have a specific impulse of roughly 280 seconds; in the latter case, about 570 seconds. The second figure is amazingly high for a chemical rocket engine, and far higher than the 420 seconds calculated for the Gundam, so I'm inclined to rule it out. Either the Zaku's engines are less efficient than the Gundam's, or its total fuel capacity is actually somewhat greater than ten tons.

(3) According to Gundam Century's specs, the Dom's full weight is only 95 tons more than its dry weight. Since this weight difference includes both propellant and weapons, its propellant supply should actually be rather less than 100 tons.

(4) Technically that would be five months after the outbreak of the war, not six. The time difference is computed correctly in the following discussion of the Gogg.

(5) I'm not sure whether that's 40 tons per mega particle cannon or for both of them, but I suspect it's the latter. Deflection type mega particle cannons are discussed in more detail in the section on superweapons.

(6) If the specific impulse of 280 seconds calculated for the Zaku I above represents the lower end of chemical rocket engine performance, and the 420 seconds calculated for the Gundam is the higher end, then the Rick Dom's engines presumably have three times the fuel efficiency of the former and twice that of the latter. This suggests a specific impulse of roughly 850 seconds.

(7) In this section, the text literally describes the Energy CAP as a storage system for high-energy mega particles, but the more detailed description that follows makes it clear that it actually stores Minovsky particles.


Learning Computer

When the Zeon forces invaded Side 6 in July of U.C. 0077, the Federation Forces garrison met the Zaku mobile suit in battle for the first time, and were wiped out in just two hours.

The Federation Forces hadn't been completely inactive in the area of mobile suit development. However, given that their prototype RX-75 used caterpillar treads for locomotion and was powered by a hybrid gas turbine and conventional atomic reactor, their technology was more than three years behind that of the Zeon forces. Analyzing the Zaku's combat data, the Federation Forces attempted to introduce new technologies that the Zeon forces didn't possess.

In order to avoid the functional interference that Minovsky particles caused in large-scale integrated circuits, the Federation Forces decided to use optical integrated circuitry (GMO) in all the computer systems of their mobile suits (1). Then, using the high performance of this optical circuitry, they began the development of a main computer with self-educating functions.

When confronted by new situations or weapons, this learning computer had the ability to analyze data on the enemy and modify its own programming accordingly. Thanks to this feature, the mobile suit's pilot need focus only on making attacks and evading enemy fire.

This type of computer was of course highly expensive, and its newly recorded data was also highly valuable for learning about the enemy's fighting strength. Thus a system was needed for recovering both the pilot and the computer in the event that the mobile suit itself sustained critical damage. The Core Fighter was developed with this objective in mind.

The Core Fighter consisted of a module containing the cockpit and computer, to which small chemical jet/rocket engines and folding wings were attached to form a small fighter. Its flight range was 500 kilometers, enough to cover the operating radius of the mobile suit itself. If the pilot were dead or unconscious, it had the ability to return to its base or mothership under automatic control.

Energy CAP

Another new technology that the Federation Forces used along with the learning computer was the Energy CAP. A beam rifle equipped with this device could be made far more compact than previous mega particle cannons. The mega particle cannon's generation and compression functions were performed inside bases or aboard space warships, and once their electrical power had been used to charge the beam rifle with energy, it had destructive power comparable to that of a warship.

The Federation Forces' mobile suits were also distinguished by their use of semi-monocoque construction, which had the drawback of a higher structural weight than the frameless monocoque used by the Zeon forces. However, both sides used composite armor made from a sandwich of metal foams, carbon ceramics, and boron composite materials, with a coating of critical semi-transparent materials applied to its surface (2). In this type of armor plating, the impact of enemy attacks was absorbed by the cracking of the metal foam's bubble sections, so an armor plate that had already taken one hit was unable to absorb successive impacts. Thus the Federation Forces' construction technique, which made it possible for the armor to be separated into multiple replaceable panels, was more combat-effective.

A new type of motor known as the field motor was used to drive the mobile suits' joints. An application of Minovsky physics, this system used the interaction of I-fields and Minovsky particles to achieve far lighter weight and higher output than an electric motor. The field motor technology used by the Federation Forces and the fluid pulse system used by the Zeons both had their advantages and disadvantages, and it would be hard to say which method was superior.

RX-78 Gundam

The Federation Forces' new technologies were combined to create the melee combat mobile suit RX-78. This mobile suit could separate into an upper body (A Parts) and lower body (B Parts), allowing a Core Fighter to be stored inside its torso section. The first prototype unit was completed in April of U.C. 0080, and the second unit two weeks later, after which both underwent repeated locomotion testing and combat testing.

The development of its beam rifle was delayed, and the prototype version was completed only in mid-May of U.C. 0080. However, the electrical power consumption of this beam rifle's Energy CAP was 30% higher than originally estimated, so the Federation Forces began developing a beam spray gun whose output was somewhat reduced in order to lower the Energy CAP's power consumption.

At the same time, it was also decided to modify the prototype RX-78, increasing the output of its thermonuclear reactor so that functional tests could be conducted with the beam rifle. Therefore, two of the eight prototype units were sent to Luna II, where precision engineering techniques made possible by zero-gravity conditions were used to boost the output of their reactors. As a result of these modifications, cases containing supplemental output-enhancing systems were installed around the prototype units' waists, and cooling units were added to their knee sections. After about a month of work, the output of both machines had been increased from the 29,500 horsepower of the prototype version to almost 38,000 horsepower, and they were given the name Gundam.

As a result of its increased output, the Gundam was somewhat heavier than the original prototype, with a dry weight of 53 tons and a full weight of 110 tons. Its standard armament consisted of two 60mm machine guns in its head and a pair of beam sabers on its back, and it could use other weapons like a beam rifle, 380mm bazooka, and Gundam Hammer. It was also able to carry a shield with ten tons of heavy armor, which was extremely useful for avoiding enemy fire. It was equipped with two chemical rocket engines like those of the Zaku, with a thrust of 202 tons apiece, and its 28 tons of fuel enabled them to run at full throttle for 29 seconds (3).

Final testing of the Gundam was conducted discreetly at Side 7, and it was scheduled to be stationed aboard the new space warship White Base in August and deployed in combat. However, the same day the White Base docked at Side 7, the colony was attacked by a team of three Zakus and many of the regular military personnel were killed or wounded. At this point the second Gundam unit, whose thermonuclear reactor had been left in idling mode, entered combat under the control of the civilian Amuro Ray and destroyed two of the invading Zakus, giving the Federation Forces their first combat results. Thus began the journey of the White Base crew, made up mainly of civilians like Gundam pilot Amuro Ray, which became known as the Newtype Corps.

Later, magnet coating was applied to the Gundam's drive system. Thanks to this process the Gundam's reaction speed was dramatically increased, and the time required for a 180-degree attitude change was reduced from the original 1.5 seconds to 1.1 seconds. This meant that its performance was more than twice that of a standard space fighter, which required 2.5 seconds, and this fact was proof of how well magnet coating combined with the AMBAC system.

After the application of magnet coating the Gundam went on to destroy the Elmeth piloted by Ensign Lalah Sune, perhaps the Zeon forces' most powerful Newtype, and during the Battle of A Baoa Qu it fought the Red Comet's Zeong to mutual destruction. These were the greatest accomplishments of all Federation Forces mobile suits. The success of the Gundam, which in only one month of fighting destroyed dozens of mobile suits and several mobile armors and space warships, was due not just to its own performance but even more to the abilities of the awakened Newtype Ensign Amuro Ray, the top ace of the war.

RX-77 Guncannon

Although its development started earlier, the prototype version of the medium-range attack mobile suit RX-77 wasn't completed until the end of May, about a month after the RX-78. In mid-June it was sent to Luna II, just like the Gundam, where it underwent improvements to its thermonuclear reactor so that it could use a beam rifle and received the name Guncannon.

As its name suggested, the Guncannon was equipped with a pair of 360mm low-recoil cannons. The barrels of these cannons were surrounded by cooling jackets, giving it a rate of fire comparable to that of a Zaku rifle. The two cannons had a combined capacity of 40 shells, with each shell made up of a front warhead section and a rear section containing liquid fuel (4). Due to the shell loading mechanisms and cooling systems for these 360mm cannons, the Guncannon's dry weight was 68 tons, more than ten tons greater than that of the Gundam, and its full weight was 145 tons.

Like the Gundam, the Guncannon was also equipped with two 60mm machine guns in its head and could carry a beam rifle, but due to its low mobility it wasn't equipped with beam sabers.

The first Guncannon unit was stationed aboard the White Base along with the Gundam and subsequently deployed in combat. A production type, which extended the cannon barrel for higher muzzle velocity but halved the ammunition capacity to create more space for rocket fuel tanks, entered mass production in July under the name RGC-80 GM Cannon. However, the war ended while the first GM Cannon unit was still on the final assembly line, so this mobile suit was never used in combat.

RX-75 Guntank

The prototype RX-75 Guntank was completed in October of U.C. 0077 and then entered testing. It was later heavily modified so that it could use the Core Fighter system, but it was still powered by a hybrid gas turbine and atomic reactor with an output of 8,000 horsepower rather than being converted to a thermonuclear reactor, so its output was too low for it to use a beam rifle.

For various reasons, plans for mass production were canceled. Of the eight prototype machines, one was stationed aboard the White Base, and four others were used to defend terrestrial bases.


Mass production of the RGM-79 GM, a production type whose details had been modified based on the test results of the prototype RX-78, began in mid-June of U.C. 0080 at underground factories around the world. The main changes from the prototype model were the simplification of its complex head design, and the reduction of its standard armament from two beam sabers to only one.

GM production proceeded smoothly, and hundreds were deployed in the battles of Solomon and A Baoa Qu at the end of the war, contributing greatly to the Federation Forces' victory.

RB-79 Ball

The RGM-79 GM which served as the backbone of the Federation Forces used expensive systems such as a learning computer, thermonuclear reactor, and beam rifle, so even the Federation Forces with their high production capacity could only field a limited number of these mobile suits. Thus, according to the high-low mix concept, this RB-79 Ball was developed to support the GM. The Ball's design was based on that of a one-man space worker pod, with a 180mm low-recoil cannon (which stored three projectiles in a double-file magazine) in a rotating turret on its top section (5), enhanced main rockets on its back, and stronger armor plating.

The Ball's magic hands were driven by a fuel cell with an output of 540 horsepower, but with this kind of power output it was incapable of performing attitude control via the AMBAC system. Thus, for the first time, the Federation Forces employed a high-mobility vernier system. In this system, solid fuel pellets were combusted in what amounted to a kind of directed explosion, generating momentary high thrust. Although this system had the drawback of extremely high fuel consumption, it allowed the machine to move freely without firing its main engines.

Since the Ball had no thermonuclear reactor and a low generator output, it also had no significant cooling problems. The Ball's body didn't require cooling when it returned from a mission, so it could be carried even by lightly-armed ships which had no mobile suit cooling systems.

Designed to operate alongside the GM, the RB-79 Ball had a simplified TV camera, long-range sensors, and navigation systems, and its construction cost was less than one-quarter that of a GM. The prototype was completed in June of U.C. 0080, and mass production began in parallel with its testing. More than 1,200 units were deployed in the battles of Solomon and A Baoa Qu, where they performed about as well as anticipated.

Mobile Suit Performance Chart (6)

Name Overall
Power System Propulsion System
MS-05 Zaku I 17.5m 34.2t 63.2t fusion reactor
4,300kW (5,700HP)
chemical rocket
105.2t x 2 x 27.2sec
MS-06F Zaku II 17.5m 36.4t 67.1t fusion reactor
9,200kW (12,300HP)
chemical rocket
105.2t x 2 x 27.2sec
MS-07 Gouf 18.2m 48.5t 81.4t fusion reactor
14,600kW (19,600HP)
chemical rocket
180.6t x 2 x 13.0sec
MS-09 Dom 18.6m 88.6t 183.8t fusion reactor
23,000kW (30,800HP)
nuclear thermal jet
95.4t x 2 x 18,000sec
MS-R09 Rick Dom 18.6m 94.8t 171.6t fusion reactor
18,000kW (24,100HP)
nuclear thermal rocket
490.7t x 2 x 38.5sec
MS-14 Gelgoog 19.2m 72.1t 138.3t fusion reactor
35,000kW (49,600HP)
chemical rocket
240.1t x 2 x 31.2sec
MSM-03 Gogg 17.2m 142.2t 294.5t fusion reactor
85,000kW (113,900HP)
nuclear thermal
hydrojet x 2
MSM-04F Acguy 16.8m 37.9t 97.2t fusion reactor
12,000kW (16,100HP)
nuclear thermal
hydrojet x 2
MSM-07 Z'Gok 18.4m 167.3t 273.2t fusion reactor
92,000kW (123,300HP)
nuclear thermal
hydrojet x 2
RX-78 Gundam 18.0m 53.4t 110.4t fusion reactor
28,000kW (37,500HP)
chemical rocket
201.5t x 2 x 29.1sec
RGM-79 GM 18.0m 48.2t 102.3t fusion reactor
22,000kW (29,500HP)
chemical rocket
201.5t x 2 x 29.1sec
RX-77 Guncannon 17.5m 68.0t 144.8t fusion reactor
28,000kW (37,500HP)
chemical rocket
232.4t x 2 x 18.2sec
RX-75 Guntank 13.2m 71.2t 170.3t hybrid gas turbine
and atomic reactor
chemical rocket
241.0t x 2 x 15.5sec
RB-79 Ball 12.8m 17.2t 49.0t fuel cell
400kW (540HP)
chemical rocket
128.2t x 2 x 31.0sec

Name 180 Degree
Attitude Change
Main Armament
MS-05 Zaku I 2.9sec 120km/h 105mm rifle (100 rounds),
crackers, triple missile launcher x 2,
120mm rifle (100 rounds),
280mm bazooka, heat hawk
MS-06F Zaku II 1.7sec 160km/h
MS-07 Gouf   185km/h 75mm five-barreled machine gun (internal),
heat rod (internal)
MS-09 Dom   380km/h heat saber (standard),
360mm giant bazooka (10 rounds)
MS-R09 Rick Dom 2.1sec  
MS-14 Gelgoog 1.5sec 212km/h beam rifle, beam saber (standard)
MSM-03 Gogg     deflection type mega particle cannon x 2 (internal),
laser cannon x 2 (internal)
MSM-04F Acguy     30mm machine gun x 4 (internal),
240mm rocket launcher (internal, 14 rounds)
MSM-07 Z'Gok     mega particle cannon x 2 (internal),
240mm rocket launcher x 6 (internal, 30 rounds)
RX-78 Gundam 1.5sec (1.1sec) 205km/h beam saber (standard) x 2,
60mm vulcan gun (internal, 50 rounds) x 2,
beam rifle, shield, 380mm bazooka,
super napalm
RGM-79 GM 1.6sec 192km/h
RX-77 Guncannon 2.0sec 145km/h 360mm cannon x 2 (standard, 20 rounds),
beam rifle
RX-75 Guntank 7.5sec 110km/h 280mm cannon x 2 (standard, 30 rounds),
180mm quadruple rocket launcher x 2
RB-79 Ball 2.2sec   180mm cannon (standard, 21 rounds)

Translator's Notes

(1) I have no idea what GMO is supposed to stand for here. The only vaguely related real-world term I've found is Glass Moulded Optics, a lens technology used in Canon cameras.

(2) A similar semi-transparent coating is used within the Solar Ray system, so perhaps this has some protective function against lasers or laser sensors.

(3) Since the Gundam's specs indicate that its weapons, fuel, and coolant weigh 57 tons combined, it presumably carries a total of 28 tons of fuel rather than 28 tons for each rocket. This means that its chemical rocket engines have a specific impulse of roughly 420 seconds.

(4) This liquid fuel is described as being for "explosive use," but I'm not sure if it's meant to explode on impact or as a means of propelling the shell. The same Japanese term is used to describe the liquid fuel which is ignited to fire shells from the Dom's Giant Bazooka.

(5) I have no idea what the parenthetical comment about the cannon's ammunition storage is supposed to mean.

(6) This table of specifications is presented almost exactly as it appears in Gundam Century, although I had to split it into two parts to fit the page width. In the 180 Degree Attitude Change column, figures in parentheses are with magnet coating.


Zeon Forces Space Vessels

More than a hundred years had already passed since humanity began its expansion into space. Space engineering had advanced remarkably, and manned spacecraft had already reached as far as the orbit of Saturn. Because most spaceships were constructed in space factories and used only in outer space, they had no need to concern themselves with atmospheric friction or the high acceleration required to escape Earth's gravity during launch. The propulsion systems of these spaceships were mainly mass drivers, or ion rockets and plasma rockets with little thrust but extremely low propellant consumption rates.

Spaceships of this type had less than 0.01G of acceleration and couldn't be used as military spaceships, which demanded high mobility. In order to obtain high thrust from small rocket engines, there was no choice but to use traditional chemical rocket engines. However, the fuel consumption of chemical rockets was extremely high. Traveling from a satellite orbit around Earth to lunar orbit, and then reducing orbital speed to match the rotation of the moon, required ten times the spaceship's own weight in fuel, and returning from lunar orbit required an even greater amount. (However, a returning vessel could reduce its speed by passing repeatedly through the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere, so its fuel consumption would be less than that of the outward voyage.) Spaceships which used chemical rockets thus had an extremely small amount of weaponry and armor, and could serve as nothing more as patrol ships.

It was therefore natural to think of combining both plasma rockets for low-thrust cruising and chemical rockets for high acceleration, a method which compensated for the shortcomings of each. In U.C. 0055, Side 3, planning for its independence from Earth, began developing military spaceships using the aforementioned method. These were the space warships later known as the Chivvay and Papua.

However, the fighting capabilities of these two ships were far short of what one would expect from so-called warships, and they were closer in nature to missile transport ships. The Zeon military leadership wanted stronger vessels that would be space warships in the true sense of the word. This desire would be fulfilled by the adoption of the Minovsky-Ionesco reactor, or in other words by the development of the nuclear thermal rocket engine and the creation of powerful mega particle cannons.

The nuclear thermal rocket engine, which directly applied the heat of thermonuclear reactions to impart propulsive force to its propellant, had extremely high energy conversion efficiency. Moreover, the thruster output could be freely controlled by adjusting the propellant mass fed into the thermonuclear reactor, ranging from the high thrust of a chemical rocket to the low thrust (and low propellant consumption rate) of a plasma rocket.

The mega particle cannon, meanwhile, was an application of Minovsky particle fusion technology which had a smaller energy loss than existing laser cannons. Its lower production of waste heat also made it capable of rapid fire despite the poor cooling efficiency of space. Naturally, it used a powerful thermonuclear reactor as its energy source.

The Zeon military leadership ordered the development of new space warships incorporating these new technologies.

Two years after this, in U.C. 0069, the development of Minovsky particle dispersion technology gave birth to revolutionary changes in every area of strategy and tactics. One example of this was the development of the mobile suit, intended for close combat within visual range.

Even mobile suits, which produced such great combat results in the subsequent Zeon War, couldn't carry out every operation singlehandedly. Because their chemical rockets could only be used for a short time due to their high fuel consumption rate, they required a mothership to transport them to their destination. Thus, in addition to their original independent attack capabilities, space warships also needed to be able to carry mobile suits. And as a result, they had to be equipped with systems for supplying mobile suits with weapons, ammunition, and rocket fuel, as well as for cooling their bodies, which heated up by hundreds of degrees due to their space cooling systems.

The following are the main spaceships of the Zeon forces.

Papua: A missile warship constructed before the adoption of the nuclear thermal rocket engine. Its propulsion system was later converted from the old combination of plasma rockets and chemical rockets to the new nuclear thermal rockets, and it was used as a transport ship during the Zeon War. Because it had no mobile suit cooling systems, the only mobile suit it could support was the MS-05 Zaku.

Chivvay: An old model of battleship planned at the same time as the Papua class. After undergoing various modernizations such as the installation of mega particle cannons, a thermonuclear reactor as a power source, and nuclear thermal rockets for propulsion, it remained in service as a heavy cruiser even during the war.

Musai: The cruiser which made up the bulk of the Zeon forces during the war. Its appearance was very distinctive because it was designed to carry an HRSL (Heavy Return Storm Launch) in its belly for use in Earth landing operations. Its hull had an overall length of 234 meters, could carry six mobile suits, and had three twin mega particle cannons as standard equipment. (In the last stage of the war, a simplified type was produced with only two mega particle cannon turrets.) One Komusai, a lifting body capsule for atmospheric entry, was installed in its bow.

Gwazine: A large battleship which could be said to have the most elegant hull of both sides. It was designed to enter the atmosphere and was capable of carrying 20 mobile suits.

On January 24, U.C. 0080, just after the Zeon forces began their Earth landing operations, an atmospheric entry test was performed with the Gwamel, the second ship of the class. However, the test ended in failure as the Gwamel disintegrated at an altitude of 30,000 meters, and the fragments of its hull were scattered across the Atlantic Ocean. The results of the investigation confirmed that the Gwazine's construction was unable to withstand atmospheric entry. But since there were no problems using it in space, it was remodeled to carry a small atmospheric entry craft in its bow, and production then continued. Other ships of this class included the Great Degwin, the Gwaran, and the Gwarib.

Zanzibar: A mobile cruiser which, like the Gwazine, had a lifting body shape capable of atmospheric entry. In July of U.C. 0080 it successfully performed an atmospheric entry test, becoming the first warship in history that could be used both inside and outside the atmosphere. It used a large single-stage chemical booster to launch from the Earth's surface.

Four deflection type mega particle cannons were installed in its bow, and a twin 600mm recoilless cannon on the top of its hull. This state-of-the-art space warship was equipped with traditional gunpowder-based cannons so that, when used on Earth, they could make high-angle attacks on targets hidden behind cover.

Dolos: The largest space carrier of the Zeon forces. It had an overall length of 495 meters and a carrying capacity of up to 182 mobile suits. In order to support this large number of mobile suits, it was equipped with a huge centralized cooling system. Of the three ships of this class only the first, the Dolos, was introduced into combat. It fought fiercely but in vain at the Battle of A Baoa Qu, and fell before the mass tactics of the Federation Forces.

Federation Forces Space Vessels

The Federation Forces made slow progress in their own space warship development. But in U.C. 0072, Doctor Y.T. Minovsky, the originator of Minovsky physics, fled to the Federation side. Making up for their technological lag, they then began the development of new space warships. The following are the main spaceships of the Federation Forces.

Salamis: The main space cruiser of the Federation Forces. Although this ship corresponded to the Musai class used by the Zeon forces, its design concept was old and the first production type had no mobile suit carrying capabilities. The ships produced on Earth were launched into orbit using large two-stage rocket boosters, but they were unable to enter the atmosphere under their own power, and were equipped with small ferry craft.

Magellan: A heavily armed space battleship equipped with seven large twin mega particle cannons. However, even this heavy armament wasn't that effective in mobile warfare dominated by mobile suits, and it passed away in the same fashion as the "big ships, big guns" ideology of the previous century.

Pegasus Class: A state-of-the-art warship that fundamentally overturned the concepts of previous space warships. Nicknamed the "Trojan Horse." With its own side's space bases destroyed and their space supremacy lost, it was given atmospheric entry capabilities so that it could be maintained and supplied at terrestrial bases.

Its construction was based on an advanced design concept which allowed its weapons and propulsion systems to be replaced in response to changing strategic and tactical ideas, and the hull was divided into several units. The effectiveness of this concept was proven upon the adoption of the mobile suit, when the design easily gained foreleg units for carrying mobile suits in place of the previous mega particle cannon units.

This Pegasus class was also equipped with an experimental Minovsky craft system, a makeshift anti-gravity system. Using this system the Pegasus class could escape the atmosphere without requiring a rocket booster like the Salamis and Magellan.

The White Base, the first ship of the Pegasus class, operated as the Federation Forces' only Newtype combat corps. Including the White Base, three ships entered combat in the last stage of the Zeon War, and five more were completed. The utility of this Pegasus class was extremely high, and it had a great influence on the design of postwar space warships.


Aerial Weapons

The Principality of Zeon, whose home was in the space colonies, had essentially no need for aircraft aside from human-powered aircraft for leisure purposes. Also, due to the effects of Coriolis forces and the uniform density of the atmosphere, it was impossible to adequately perform even gliding tests with aircraft. It's thus no exaggeration to say that Zeon aircraft were designed only with computer simulations, based as much as possible on existing aviation technology. Many of the Zeon aircraft born from theoretical advances had extremely peculiar appearances compared to those of the Federation Forces.

Examples of this would be machines like the Dopp, which had a large canopy designed for visual-range combat under Minovsky particle conditions, and a short fuselage for maximum maneuverability. There were numerous problems with its design and, in the terrestrial flight tests which began at the end of January, U.C. 0080, every single one of the first four prototypes crashed. But the military, which considered air power an absolute necessity, stuck to its plans, and a functional model was gradually developed over the course of three months of improvements. This improved model was equipped with attitude control verniers, compensating for inferior aerodynamic technology with the application of space engineering. Although they were still troubled by frequent instances of crashing in battle, these produced relatively satisfactory results in low-altitude combat.

Because high-thrust jet engines were installed in its small fuselage, which had an overall length of 7.2 meters and a dry weight of only 2.1 tons, the Dopp had a cruising range of just 1,200 kilometers and could only be used for local warfare. The Gaw attack carrier was developed in order to expand the operating radius of Dopps and mobile suits.

The Gaw had an overall length of 63 meters and a dry weight of 140 tons, and when loaded with three mobile suits and eight Dopps its fully equipped weight reached 980 tons. In order to make this huge mass fly and give it a cruising range sufficient to circle the Earth several times, the Gaw used 18 powerful nuclear thermal jet engines for propulsion, and the large thermonuclear reactors that powered it also enabled it to use three twin mega particle cannons.

Like the Dopp, the Gaw was developed without adequate testing, and even in full-speed flight it relied on downward jets for more than 30% of its lift. Moreover, because the mobile suit hangar doors were installed in the aircraft's nose, it had to reduce its speed to about 100 kilometers per hour when deploying mobile suits. This made it a perfect target for the Federation Forces.

On the other hand, the Federation Forces' many years of aircraft development history proved counterproductive, and their fighters seemed very much like relics of the age of radar and missiles that preceded the use of Minovsky particles. As a result, in battle they were no more than evenly matched against Zeon's Dopps, which were intended exclusively for visual-range combat.

The Federation Forces, keenly aware of their need for air supremacy fighters due to the Zeon forces' Earth landings, took the Core Fighter developed as a mobile suit escape cockpit and adapted it to create a new type of air supremacy fighter. As its name suggests, the state-of-the-art machine known as the Core Booster was a Core Fighter with a booster attached to its rear, giving it large hybrid jet/rocket engines and two beam rifle-type mega particle cannons.

This Core Booster was designed for use both inside and outside the atmosphere. Several machines entered combat in the last stages of the war and produced respectable results.

Land And Sea Weapons

As with aircraft, Zeon's land and sea weapons essentially weren't used inside colonies. Many of them were developed, based on unreasonable demands and insufficient experience, for use in the Earth invasion operation. This could be clearly seen in the Magella Attack system which served as the main battle tank of the Zeon forces. Due to a demand for aerial attacks against ground forces with thin top armor, the Magella Top, armed with a 175mm recoilless cannon, could fly independently from the Magella Base. However, its accuracy was greatly reduced while in flight, and its effective firing range was less than 600 meters. Its flight time was only five minutes, and in many cases it had to make an emergency landing because its Magella Base, having lost its fighting abilities, had been destroyed.

Another characteristic of land warfare during the Zeon War was the use of hovercraft vessels on land. One example was the Big Tray used by the Federation Forces, a remodeled land craft that was used as a mobile headquarters under Minovsky particle conditions.

The main reason why the Zeon forces were almost a match for the Federation Forces' powerful land and sea weapons, despite their lack of experience, was the fighting strength of the mobile suit.


Minovsky Physics

Minovsky physics is the physics of Minovsky particles and their technological applications.

Y.T. Minovsky, the originator of Minovsky physics, was born at Side 3 in U.C. 0025. This man is considered one of the greatest minds of the Universal Century. The Minovsky particle he discovered had a near-zero rest mass and either a positive or a negative electrical charge. Due to the balance of their electrostatic inputs and T-forces (a conversion interaction between Minovsky particles), they had the unique characteristic of "crystallizing," or arraying themselves into a cubic lattice.

When Minovsky predicted the existence of these particles, his announcement was attacked or ignored as a revival of the aether theory of the 19th Century. But the attempt to unify space and the electromagnetic, nuclear, and gravitational forces into a single entity rather than treating them as separate things, which could only be partially achieved by the Unified Field Theory of the 20th Century genius Einstein, was realized through Minovsky's supposition of this particle's existence.

Within twenty years, Minovsky's pure physics had been applied in various technical fields, including thermonuclear reactors (Minovsky-Ionesco reactors), mega particle cannons, radio jamming, Minovsky communication, field motors, and anti-gravity (Minovsky craft systems). All of these served to spur on the development of military technology.

In U.C. 0072, Doctor Y.T. Minovsky fled to the Federation by way of Side 6. His motives were antipathy toward the Zabi family, and the desire to prevent a war by balancing the two sides. However, war broke out despite his efforts, leading to the deaths of half of humanity.

Mega Particle Cannons

In U.C. 0068, a powerful beam weapon was developed to replace previous laser and charged particle cannons. Known as the mega particle cannon, this weapon was created through the application of Minovsky physics.

Due to their electrical charges and T-forces, the Minovsky particles produced inside particle accelerators form cubic lattices. When these cubic lattices are compressed with powerful I-fields, the Minovsky particles "degenerate," with positive and negative Minovsky particles fusing to form mega particles.

As their cubic lattices are compressed, the Minovsky particles appear to increase in mass. When they fuse to become mega particles, part of this mass disappears and is converted to kinetic energy. This effect is nothing more than the mass-to-energy conversion known by the formula E=mc2, as seen with the elementary particles in a nuclear fusion reaction.

The principle of the mega particle cannon is the focused emission of mega particles with high kinetic energy. These mega particles are created through the fusion of Minovsky particles, and their movement direction is established by an I-field. The mega particle cannon has an energy conversion efficiency of more than 85%, giving it almost four times the performance of a laser, and unlike a charged particle cannon its beams have a low dispersion rate and are largely unaffected by magnetic fields.

Because the earliest mega particle cannons were quite large and used a great deal of electrical power, they were set in large turrets. It was difficult to improve the targeting accuracy of these large turrets, and their ability to track moving enemies was none too high. Therefore, in more advanced types of mega particle cannon an I-field generator was installed in front of the focused particle emitter, making it possible to deflect the beam by about 20 degrees (1).

In U.C. 0076, advances in Minovsky particle control technology led to the development of a new mechanism called the Energy CAP (capacitor). With this technology, Minovsky particles which have been given high energy by compressing their cubic lattice with an I-field can be stored in a state just prior to degeneration. With the input of a certain amount of energy, the accumulated Minovsky particles fuse into mega particles. The energy required at this point is less than one twentieth of that needed to produce the Minovsky particles and compress the cubic lattice.

The use of the Energy CAP thus made it possible to develop a mega particle cannon of unprecedented power and compactness. This was the beam rifle. A beam rifle supplied with high-energy Minovsky particles by the large thermonuclear reactor of a space warship had destructive power genuinely comparable to that of a warship. Therefore, new mobile suit models which could use this beam rifle had several times the firepower of the older Zaku.

Another application of Energy CAP technology was the weapon known as the beam saber, which used the high heat produced by the direct emission of Minovsky particles.

Fortress Attack Weapons

During the Zeon War, many major bases were built inside large asteroids or deep below the surface of the Earth and moon. Because these fortresses were protected by thick bedrock, they couldn't easily be destroyed even with nuclear weapons. The following are a few of the weapons of mass destruction developed in order to destroy such fortresses.

Colony Bomb: The largest bomb in history, "developed" to attack the Federation Forces' Jaburo headquarters. It consisted of a reinforced Island 3-class space colony fitted with a nuclear pulse propulsion system. Accelerated by Earth's gravity, its speed reached 11 kilometers per second by the time it entered the atmosphere, giving it a kinetic energy more than 100 times that of a hydrogen bomb.

The Zeon forces made two attempts to carry out the colony fall operation known as Operation British. The first succeeded in falling on Earth, but failed to directly hit Jaburo. The second operation was halted by the desperate resistance of the Federation Forces.

Solar System: With nuclear weapons prohibited by the Antarctic Treaty, the Federation Forces developed this weapon system to attack asteroid fortresses. It used the extremely primitive principle of obtaining high heat by reflecting and focusing sunlight with mirrors. On the other hand, producing 20 meter-by-10 meter mirrors that were equipped with gas-jet attitude control verniers and weighed only two kilograms each, rapidly deploying more than four million of these mirrors, and operating them under central control despite Minovsky particle interference was certainly far from simple. This system was used against Solomon and its warships, leading the Federation Forces to victory.

Solar Ray System: The ultimate weapon of the Zeon forces, in which a space colony was remodeled into a giant laser cannon with a diameter of 6.5 kilometers. The sealed colony known as Colony 3 had been undergoing remodeling since before the outbreak of war and was put to use in the war's final stage. All the colony's inhabitants were forcibly evacuated, its interior was covered with aluminum mirrors, 6.5 kilometer-wide critical semi-permeable membranes were placed at both ends, and powerful cooling systems were installed at various points. An atmosphere of 80% helium, 15% nitrogen, and 5% carbon dioxide was used in the laser emitter, and virtually all the power of the Principality of Zeon was used for laser pumping.

This system was used in the Battle of A Baoa Qu, and in just three seconds it destroyed more than a third of the Federation Forces' main fleet. At the same time, many friendly vessels were caught in its beam and destroyed, including the Great Degwin used by the Principality of Zeon's Sovereign Degwin Zabi.

At the time of this battle the critical semi-permeable membranes and polarizing mirrors of the Solar Ray System were still in the prototype stage, and could be used only once. Had this system been used repeatedly, many people believe the war would have ended in victory for Zeon. However, the effectiveness of this system, which consumed several hours' worth of Zeon's entire electrical output when firing and then required at least a week of cooling afterwards, was questionable in many respects.

Solar Ray System Conceptual Diagram
Illustration: A diagram of the Solar Ray System. Critical semi-permeable membranes are located at each end of the colony cylinder. The firing end is covered by a half-mirror and, at the other end, mirrors are used to direct light into an energy recovery system. The middle section of the cylinder contains electric field generators, and electron beam guns which fire into the electric field to pump the laser itself. The colony walls are lined with cooling systems.

Translator's Notes

(1) Weapons of this type are referred to elsewhere in Gundam Century as "deflection type mega particle cannons."


Standard Mobile Armors

Although the MIP-X1 was defeated by the all-purpose ZI-XA3 during Zeon's mobile suit development competition, its performance in space was extremely high, and plans were made to develop it into a more powerful attack weapon through the introduction of the AMBAC system. Thus the Mobile ARMOUR (All Range Maneuverability Offense Utility Reinforcement) was developed (1).

Since research results showed that a single pair of arms or legs was sufficient for use of the AMBAC system, most mobile armors were equipped with only one or the other of these. They were also designed with heavier armor and firepower than a mobile suit, placing a greater emphasis on offensive power than on versatility. These concepts, which did not exist among the Federation Forces, resulted in an advanced weapon unique to the Zeon forces.

Adzam: A system based on an anti-fortification attack weapon used on the lunar surface, and developed to withstand use under Earth's gravity. Its nature was something between that of a mobile armor and a movable turret. It was equipped with eight twin mega particle cannons and ultralarge thermonuclear reactors with an output of 620,000 kilowatts, and its massive hull, which had a dry weight of 2,500 tons, floated with a Minovsky craft system. However, the performance of the Adzam's Minovsky craft system was fairly low compared to that of the Federation Forces' White Base, and it was said to be unable to operate continuously for more than 50 minutes.

Grabro: A mobile armor developed for underwater combat. It was equipped with long-range sonar and, thanks to its powerful nuclear thermal hydrojets, its cruising range was more than enough to circle the Earth under its own power. It was planned that a powerful mega particle cannon would be installed in the bow of the mass production model.

Bigro: Essentially an advanced type of the MIP-X1. It was equipped with two powerful nuclear thermal rocket engines for propulsion, and the combination of its short fuselage and the AMBAC system gave it enough mobility to perform a 180-degree attitude change in 1.3 seconds. One mega particle cannon and eight missile launchers were installed as armament, and the mass production model could also use a Gelgoog beam rifle. Testing of the prototype began in July of U.C. 0080, and it is believed that 12 units of the first production type entered battle in the last stage of the war, but this cannot be confirmed due to the loss of all detailed records of their combat results.

Big Zam: An extreme example of the standard mobile armor, this was the product of a kind of dinosaurian evolution focused on offensive power. It was designed chiefly for attacking fortresses, in particular the Jaburo headquarters of the Federation Forces. Its heavy armament of one large deflection type mega particle cannon and 28 small mega particle cannons was driven by four ultralarge thermonuclear reactors with an output of 350,000 kilowatts apiece. The Big Zam was also equipped with powerful I-field generators, giving it the ability to render enemy mega particle cannons useless by deflecting them. Of course, this served to increase the Big Zam's construction costs, and the cost of one machine rivaled that of two Musai ships.

The first prototype unit was deployed in the Battle of Solomon, and proved its fighting strength by destroying 21 mobile suits and nine warships in this single battle. It is recorded that Space Attack Force commander Dozle Zabi operated it himself. However, the Big Zam used massive amounts of energy, and in space it had a combat duration of less than 20 minutes, mainly due to cooling problems. As a result, the first unit was on the verge of overheating when it was destroyed by the Federation Forces' Gundam.

It is believed that the mass production model of the Big Zam would have had the ability to enter the atmosphere independently, and would have been able to fly thanks to a Minovsky craft system. Moreover, in the atmosphere its combat duration would supposedly have exceeded ten hours, allowing it to demonstrate even greater power than it could in space. In fact, the Zeon forces were reportedly planning an operation in which 12 units of the mass production type Big Zam would each be carried in the belly of a Musai ship and dropped from satellite orbit for a surprise attack on Jaburo.

Newtype Mobile Armors

The combat results of the Zaku in the early stages of the war were remarkable, and its fighting strength was highly regarded by all of Zeon's military leaders. But one of them, Kycilia Zabi, the commander of the Mobile Assault Force, harbored doubts about the Zaku's excessively high combat results. As the supervisor of the mobile suit development project team, she secretly conducted an analysis of the Zaku pilots' abilities.

One fact that became clear as a result was that many of the pilots who had destroyed warships had been able to evade even enemy mega particle cannons. Since mega particles traveled at almost the speed of light, it was practically impossible to evade mega particles that had been fired after being accurately targeted. In other words, these Zaku pilots had sensed the enemy's attacks before the fact. Naturally, the skills of the pilots played a large role in this, but that alone could not explain their ability to evade enemy fire.

The mobile suit pilots of the war's early stages were an elite who had passed rigorous tests. It was conjectured that some among them were "Newtypes," a new type of humanity with abilities different from those of previous human beings. However, by the time this data was reported to Kycilia Zabi, many of these possible Newtype pilots had been killed or injured. Large numbers of Zakus were destroyed while performing engineering work during the Operation British colony drop, and because the cockpit escape system had been eliminated, many skilled pilots were lost.

Mobilizing the intelligence staff under her command, Kycilia Zabi gathered all information related to Newtypes and established contact with the Flanagan Agency at Side 6.

Among the systems researched by the Flanagan Agency was the psycommu system, which amplifies the acute reactive waves of Newtypes and translates them into computer language (2). These "reactive waves" were detected through the systematic anomalies they produced in radio communications under Minovsky particle conditions. The question of what position Newtypes occupy in the evolution of life remains undecided even in the present postwar era, but it proved possible to use the properties of these reactive waves as a weapon.

With the cooperation of the Flanagan Agency, Kycilia ordered military manufacturers to develop mobile armors equipped with psycommu systems. The following are the Newtype mobile armors thus produced.

Braw Bro: The first mobile armor in history developed for use by Newtypes. It had two twin and two single mega particle cannon turrets, which were capable of detached operation. A wire-guided system, in which reactive wave commands were converted to laser signals and sent through light cables, was used to control these turrets.

During the war there were very few Newtype pilots, so a cockpit escape system of a kind not found in mobile suits was adopted. The fuselage could separate into five parts, each of which could operate under its own power.

Since it used traditional mega particle cannons, it required powerful thermonuclear reactors, and so the machine was extremely large. Thus it was almost impossible for it to maneuver with the AMBAC system, and high mobility verniers were installed throughout its fuselage.

Zeong: The ultimate mobile suit on which the Zeon forces staked their prestige. Both its arms were equipped with five-barreled beam rifles and capable of flying under their own power, making possible wired all-range attacks like those of the Braw Bro. Because it used Energy CAPs, its thermonuclear reactor could be made relatively compact, allowing it to maneuver with the AMBAC system.

A unique characteristic of the Zeong's construction was that its head, arms, waist, and legs could all be detached from the central torso. During space combat, it could enter battle without the legs it used for land warfare. It could also fight by detaching its head, which had sensor systems, and its arms, which were heavily armed with beam cannons, while hiding its central torso—which lacked mobility because it contained a cockpit, a large thermonuclear reactor system, and propellant tanks—behind an asteroid or similar object.

It was anticipated that, at such times, the guidance cables might easily be severed if enemies used their beam weapons to make sweeping attacks. It was thus equipped with several spare cables, but it's hard to imagine that a head or arm that had lost guidance would be able to successfully rendezvous with the central torso in a battlefield under Minovsky particle conditions.

The first prototype unit of the Zeong was deployed in the Battle of A Baoa Qu in an 80% completed state. Under the control of the Red Comet, it destroyed 18 Federation Forces mobile suits and four warships. It then engaged the Gundam of the Federation Forces' Newtype Corps, and the two machines destroyed one another.

Elmeth: A revolutionary Newtype mobile armor which used Minovsky communication to wirelessly control unmanned attack machines known as bits. The reactive waves of Newtypes create vibrations in cubic lattices of Minovsky particles, and the propagating characteristics of these vibration waves are used to perform Minovsky communication.

The Elmeth could carry ten bits. Like other Newtype mobile armors, it had a cockpit escape system, and the upper section of its fuselage could detach and fly independently.

The small fuselage of each bit attack machine housed a thermonuclear reactor and a beam rifle, and was highly maneuverable thanks to its countless high mobility verniers. But its cruising time was short, and the beam rifle was also limited to about ten shots.

While the combination of the Elmeth and its bits was extremely powerful, it required the pilot to have a high degree of Newtype ability. Large numbers of bits went missing during practical tests, and it is recorded that the first prototype unit exploded after its own bits went out of control and attacked it.

The second prototype unit was introduced into combat under the control of Ensign Lalah Sune, the top Newtype of the Zeon forces. As it destroyed one Federation warship after another in Solomon airspace, this so-called "Ghost of Solomon" struck terror into the Federation soldiers.

But even though this system of Elmeth and bits destroyed seven warships and six mobile suits in only two battles, it had a fatal flaw. Its amplified reactive waves could also be received by an enemy Newtype, creating a reactive wave resonance phenomenon between the two Newtypes and making it impossible to guide the bits. The record of such a resonance phenomenon occurring between Ensign Lalah Sune and Ensign Amuro Ray of the Federation Forces had a huge effect on later Newtype research.

Mobile Armor Performance Chart (3)

Name Overall
Power System Propulsion System
MAX-03 Adzam (25.2m) 860.5t 1420.0t fusion reactor
154,000kW x 4
Minovsky craft
MAM-07 Grabro 26.1m 324.1t 739.7t fusion reactor
110,000kW x 1
nuclear thermal hydrojet x 6
MA-05 Bigro 23.6m 125.5t 229.8t fusion reactor
78,000kW x 1
nuclear thermal rocket
680.5t x 2 x 86.5sec
MA-08 Big Zam (59.3m) 1021.2t 1820.4t fusion reactor
350,000kW x 4
nuclear thermal rocket
1,450.0t x 4 (x 2) x 42.5sec
Minovsky craft
MAN-03 Braw Bro 62.4m 1425.5t 3211.3t fusion reactor
145,000kW x 2
nuclear thermal rocket
1,100.0t x 16 x 245.0sec
MSN-02 Zeong   234.2t 421.2t fusion reactor
94,000kW x 1
nuclear thermal rocket
850.5t x 2 x 41.0sec
MAN-08 Elmeth 28.1m 163.7t 291.4t fusion reactor
42,000kW x 1
nuclear thermal rocket
274.2t x 6 x 52.0sec
  Bit 8.4m 9.5t 25.5t fusion reactor
25,000kW x 1
chemical rocket
212.4t x 1 x 32.0sec

Name Main Armament
MAX-03 Adzam twin mega particle cannon x 8, leader x 3
MAM-07 Grabro seven-barreled missile launcher x 2, anti-air missile launcher x 2,
deflection type mega particle cannon x 1
MA-05 Bigro deflection type mega particle cannon x 1, beam rifle (carried) x 1,
quadruple missile launcher x 2
MA-08 Big Zam large deflection type mega particle cannon x 1,
small deflection type mega particle cannon x 28,
I-field generator system (for defensive mega particle deflection)
MAN-03 Braw Bro twin wired mega particle cannon x 2, single wired mega particle cannon x 2
MSN-02 Zeong deflection type beam rifle x 3, five-barreled wired mega particle cannon x 2
MAN-08 Elmeth beam rifle x 2, unmanned bit attack machine x 12+
  Bit beam rifle x 1

Translator's Notes

(1) Literally, the Japanese explanation that accompanies this acronym would be translated as All-Region or All-Domain General-Purpose Support Weapon. Although the acronym provided spells "armour" rather than "armor," I've used the latter spelling throughout the rest of this document.

(2) Although I've translated this term as "reactive waves," it could just as easily be interpreted as "responsive waves," "sympathetic waves," or "induction waves," to name just a few options. According to Entertainment Bible 1, these are formally known as "psychowaves."

(3) This table of specifications is presented almost exactly as it appears in Gundam Century, although I had to split it into two parts to fit the page width. In the Overall Length column, figures in parentheses represent overall height.