Mobile weapons (機動兵器) are fictional weapon systems from the Gundam anime metaseries. The term originally includes all self-propelled military used vehicles including traditional tanks and aircraft. However, the English term was used to generalize all weapons including Mobile Suit, Mobile Armour and any other machines based on the same technologies. Note that in Universal Century, most weapons are designed to combat under the influence of the Minovsky Particle and thus differ from conventional weapons.
Mobile weapons types
- Tanks/Armoured cars
- Mobile Pod
- Mobile Suit (MS)
- Mobile Armor or Mobile Armour (MA)
- Mobile Doll (After Colony timeline) - an unmanned computer-controlled mobile suit
- Mobile Worker - a unit used for construction purposes (Worker-use Mobile Suit seem to be more common)
- Mobile Fighter (Future Century timeline)
- Mobile Bit (After War timeline) - unmanned remote-controlled mobile suits
- Man-Machine - A designation for Mobile Suits used exclusively in the non-canon novel Gaia Gear.
Despite the fact that mobile suits are the main stream ground combat unit, tanks are still around. For example, in the One Year War, Earth Federation Ground Forces rely heavily on their Type 61 Tank since they do not have mobile suits until towards the end of the war. Zeon forces also introduce a tank/fighter hybrid, the Magella Attack Tank, as mass produced ground vehicles helping the outnumbered Zeon mobile suits against the Earth Federation's massive force of Type 61s.
The Type 61 can hardly be imagined as a mobile weapon using the same technology as MS and MA since it is manufactured in UC0061, well before the Minovsky Technology become mainstream. However, the Magella Attack incoporates propulsion technology of the mobile suits and can have a thrust large enough to lift it in air while firing its cannon.
Later in the One Year War, the Earth Federation Forces deployed a tank called G-Bull as a support mecha of RX-78-2 Gundam and have E-Cap technology built in for it to fire beam weaponry.
There are a few armoured vehicles used in the Universal Century to support Mobile suit combats in the Minovsky particle environment. The Earth Federation deployed the Type 74 Hover truck to assist mobile suit teams in detecting enemies using its high powered radar that can penetrate low desity minovsky particles and underground sonar system that can function in a high density area. The Samson transport truck was modified from ore transporter by the Zeon army to transport Mobile suits.
In the Universal Century timeline, aircraft were extensively used in the One Year War both in atmosphere and in space. Earth Federation Air Force mainly uses FF-3 Saberfish as their high altitude interceptor, FF-4 Toriares and FF-6 Tin cod as their short range fighter.
The FF-3 is actually a join project with the EFSF and could be slightly modified and become the space fighter FF-S3.
The Zeon Forces, having a different testing environment, developed the Dopp fighter to counter the EFAF. The unit flies mainly by thrust and little by air lift due to space colonies having no gravitational pull in the middle. The Dopp fighter design concept is the same as mobile suits which relies heavily on its turning speed rather than its flight speed. A special type of material called Zeonium was used on such planes to give it a lighter yet stronger frame. Despite the strange name given, it is actually just a type of aluminium alloy.
The Gattle used by Zeon forces in the One Year War also incoporates Wing Binder system for minimal AMBAC.
Later, EF developed the FF-7 to slowing phase out FF-3 series.
Before the One Year War, an average space fighter uses liquid fuel rocket engine for propulsion and directed solid fuel pellet for turning. This gives an average space fighter a 2.5 second turning speed (for 180 degrees) and could turn about 30 times before running out of fuel. The space fighters in Universal Century starts to incorporate new technologies during and after the One Year War. For example, the FF-X7[Bst] uses the E-Cap technology on it and the FF-08WR came along after that and the booster unit of it incorporated the Minovsky Ultracompact Fusion Reactor for powering its beam cannon and thermo-nuclear propulsion system and a Tail binder for AMBAC. It was not only used as the main fighter of the EFSF but also as a trainer plane for Z Plus pilots.
The FF-08WR is actually a fighter capable of combat in and out of the atmosphere.
The mobile pod is the predecessor of the mobile suit. They are simpler machines, consisting of a main body frame, usually spherical, with manipulator arms and a number of thrusters along the body.
In the Universal Century timeline, mobile pods were civilian craft used to construct the space colonies, long before the mobile suit concept was developed. Later, when the Earth Federation came under attack by Zeon's first mobile suits, many civilian SP-W03 Space Pods were retrofitted into the RB-79 Ball type units. It is designed as a mid-range support unit for both space ships and mobile suits. During the Earth Federation Space Force's offensive at the end of the One Year War, the Ball was used as a fighter unit before EFSF's mass production of their own mobile suit finished and form a group of 6 to counter Zeon mobile suits. Later, it is used as a middle to long range support unit in conjunction with the EFSF's mobile suit, the RGM-79 GM. Despite being generally unsuited to anti-mobile suit combat, the standard Ball saw service in 0083, when it was used in the defense of the Earth Federation's Solar System II during Operation Stardust. In UC 0133, Ball-type units equipped with three cannons, later called the Type 133(133式/133 Shiki), were seen supporting mass-production Gundam F91s.
Towards the end of the One Year War, due to lack of resources and construction sites and time, Zeon forces built their own mobile pod MP-02A Orgg. The unit cost is about half of a MS-06F Zaku and is cylindrical in shape. This unit was first field by the 603 test team.
Mobile suits are the technological machinery that is the basic namesake of the Gundam universe. Mobile suits are generally humanoid in shape with two upper torso limbs and two lower torso limbs. Generally, the cockpit of a mobile suit is located in the chest, although in some cases it is located in the head. In general, a mobile suit stands around 60 feet tall. The name 'mobile suit' is believed to be a reference to the terms 'Mobile Infantry' and 'Powered Suit' from the Robert A. Heinlein book, Starship Troopers.
Mobile Suits in Universal Century
In the Universal Century timeline, Mobile SUIT (MS in short) is an acronym for Mobile Space Utility Instrument Tactical. While this definition has since been officially endorsed by Sunrise, it is a backronym that originated from a semi-official guide book called Gundam Century.
In the Universal Century timeline, two main technological advancements led to the creation of the mobile suit: the AMBAC (Active Mass Balance Auto Control) technology, and the Minovsky particle. The original AMBAC prototype only had two large limbs (instead of the four that later suits would have), but moving those limbs allowed it near thruster-less maneuverability in space by changing its center of mass. This led to a revolution in space warfare tactics. Another revolution would follow the development of a type of nuclear fusion reactor designed by Dr. Y.T. Minovsky. Not only could his nuclear reactor be shrunk down to the size of a quartet of refrigerators, but it also produced a unique subatomic particle called the Minovsky particle. These particles could block out certain types of radiation, including radar and radio signals. This would hamper space combat over large distances and force modern combat back down to the visual range. The first prototype mobile suit would be the MS-01, while the first mass produced model would be the MS-05 Zaku I. Curiously, since mobile suits were originally designed for use as manned space vehicles and later adapted to earth use, the designation "MS" would be valid to use for them in the 20th-21st century Tri-Service Designation System after which their designations were modeled, with "MS" being the designation for a Multimission Spacecraft.
Mobile suit design in the UC universe follows two lineages - the Earth Federation line and the Zeon line. Zeon type mobile suits are "fatter" than EF type mobile suits, though neither is necessarily faster or more maneuverable than the other; it's largely a matter of body styling and design. Zeon-derived mobile suits use Mono-eye system as the main optical sensor and EF-derived mobile suits use a forehead main camera with the help of two secondary optical sensors (a.k.a. Gundam Head, where GMs have an eye shield like plate covering the two secondary sensors and a fourth camera in the back of the head). Zeon line normally has a more bulky design than EF line due to difference in design philosophies - Zeon manufacturers designed mobile suits by creating an external shell, and then fitting components within, while the Federation designed mobile suits by creating an internal skeletal structure and then fitting components and armor to the support structure, a philosophy eventually fully realized in the creation of moveable frame construction. After the One Year War, due to 2 major reasons, the lines was mixed:
- The collapse of Zeon and EF forces captured and secured a lot of mobile suits of the Zeon forces.
- The bankruptcy of Zeon weapons manufacturers (namely Zeonic, Zimmad and MIP) and was bought and merge by Anaheim Electronics.
A good example would be the GP series where ex-Zeonic workers worked on the GP-02A and GP-04, these two units have a Gundam head but the construction of them is from the Zeon line mobile suits. Because Anaheim Electronics will sell their technology to anyone, Axis (later named Neo Zeon) have their hands on the EF design triads, too.
Mobile Suits in After War
In 1996's After War Gundam X, mobile suits were the main weapons of both the Old Earth Federation and the Space Revolutionary Army. After the 7th Space War ended with a massive colony drop, which brought the Earth to a post-apocalypse state, a large number of these mobile suits remained on Earth and many are taken by civilians for personal use. These includes powerful Gundam type mobile suits used by the Earth Federation during 7th Space War, which are rare and highly valuable machines.
In addition to the mobile suits from the 7th Space War, new mobile suit models continue to be developed by the Space Revolution Army and the newly formed New Earth Federation.
Mobile Suits in After Colony
In the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing anime (and the related works that make up the After Colony fictional setting), the first military mobile suit was the Tallgeese, itself based on unspecified work mecha. Following events in the backstory, mobile suit development went down two different paths from this point; mass-produced mobile suits such as the Leo used by the controlling Alliance and OZ, and the individualised Gundam mobile suits built by the rebelling orbital colonies, like Wing Gundam Zero and its 'descendants'.
Mobile Suits in Cosmic Era
In the Cosmic Era timeline, the first mobile suit, the YMF-01 Proto GINN, was rolled out in CE 65, while the first production mobile suit, the ZGMF-1017 GINN, entered production two years later. The Earth Alliance begins mobile suit development in CE 69 with the "G Series" (the Gundam mobile suits), and development culminates with the rollout of five Gundam prototypes on 20 January CE 71. The first Earth Alliance mass-production mobile suit, the GAT-01 Strike Dagger, rolls out late in the war just before the Battle of Porta Panama. The Orb Nation, in order to defend themselves against both the Earth Alliance and ZAFT, aids the Earth Alliance in the development of their mobile suits with the express purpose of stealing the technology behind the machines (the process was somewhat successful - Orb was able to learn of and steal the design of the Earth Alliance's beam weaponry, but not the secrets behind Phase Shift armor). Orb then proceeded on mobile suit development of its own, code named Astray. Three prototypes were developed (Red Frame, with an OS designed to allow Naturals to fight at the same level as Coordinators; Blue Frame, with an OS designed to allow for modules to be grafted onto the mobile suit to extend its capabilities; and Gold Frame, equipped with power interfaces for both Earth Alliance and Orb beam weapons), and the data from the three prototypes was then used to create Orb's mass-production mobile suit, the MBF-M1 Astray.
Postwar MS development continues apace on both sides, with the Earth Alliance developing the stopgap Dagger L and advanced Windam mobile suits and ZAFT continuing to develop its GuAIZ and ZAKU lines. Both sides heavily utilize Striker Pack technology after the war, which allows a single mobile suit to fulfill multiple roles. In addition, ZAFT made several breakthroughs in the design of transforming mobile suits, developing MS that are capable of transforming between an all-purpose mobile suit form and a specialized mobile armor form.
Mobile Suits in CC (Seireki)
In 1999's Turn A Gundam, the technology on Earth has regressed back to that of early-20th century, and in some cases, even to pre-industrial levels. The Militia, which is Earth's defense against the invading Moonrace, had biplanes and jeeps tanks as its main war vehicles. However, in certain locations of the world, called mountain cycles, ancient mobile suits are buried, protected from deterioration and decay by regenerative nanomachines called nano-skin. These mobile suits are said to be relics from the Dark History, and when the first Militia mobile suit, the Turn A Gundam, is uncovered from a statue called the White Doll, the Militia begins searching through these mountain cycles and discovering more and more mobile suits. These uncovered mobile suits become the backbone of the Militia and allow to produce them the war between it and the Moonrace, which has never lost its mobile suit technology, to proceed on a more even scale. Later, the Moonrace also begins searching through mountain cycles on both the Earth and the Moon, and a menagerie of both low-tech and high-tech mobile weapons from various ages of the lost past are eventually fielded by both sides.
Mobile Suits in Future Century
In 1994's Mobile Fighter G Gundam, mobile suits are very common much as airplanes are in the early 21st century. Their development began even before mankind left the Earth for Space Colonies. However, what is special about G Gundam's timeline is the presence of advanced mobile suits called Mobile Fighters. Using the mobile trace system, these mobile fighters mimic the movements of their pilots, making them very effective for close-ranged martial arts combat.
Mobile Armour is not a specialized variation of a mobile suit. While the mobile armour concept is most prevalent in the original Universal Century timeline, it also appears in other Gundam alternate universes.
Mobile Armour in the Universal Century
In the Universal Century timeline, Mobile ARMOUR (MA in short) is an acronym for All Range Maneuverability Offence Utility Reinforcement. While this definition has since been officially endorsed by Sunrise, it originated from a semi-official guide book called Gundam Century. In addition, the acronym does not seem to be a particularly accurate description of mobile armours, as they rarely display "all range" capabilities (instead tending to be specialized to very specific environments) and are almost always employed as independently-operating juggernauts, rather than as "reinforcement" for mobile suits.
Considering the term "all range" is also used to describe the use of bits and funnels, it might meant MAs can attack on many directions. However, MAs rarely have this ability (MAN-03, MAN-08, GP03, AMX-002, MRX-009, MRX-010, etc. being the exceptions) therefore, this is also not a very accurate explanation.
Originally, Mobile Armours were built to compete with Mobile Suits (MS). While Zeonic Co. was building MS as the next generation of mobile weapons for Zeon before the One Year War, the rival company MIP was developing MA. However, MIP lost the competition, and MAs were never mass-produced. Later, both Zimmad (another rival company which later developed the famous MS-09 Dom) and MIP became sub-contractors of Zeonic Co. and assisted in the mass-production of Mobile Suits. Zeon, later in the one year war, reconsidered the concept of MA due to the beam weapons advancement in the Earth Federation MS which their own MS cannot equip due to a shortage of power, larger units like MAs better served the purpose of equipping high power output beam weapons and is reintroduced into the war as test beds for different technologies that is hard to minimize to fit a MS.
In general, an original mobile armour is a unit emphasizing generator power output so that it can support a mega particle cannon, this series of models include the prototype model MIP-X1, test type models MA-04X and MA-06 and the mass production models MA-05 and MAM-07.
In Gundam Officials (the ultimate UC guide book) and various settings announced, MAs should have at least two of the following performance compared to the other mobile weapons within the same time frame:
- High mobility (high acceleration or high terminal velocity in atmospheric/subsurface conditions)
- High maneuverability (having high ability to turn and aim)
- High fire power (usually means carrying different types of weapon for various enemies or high power mega beam weapon.)
- Strong defence (usually I-Field generators)
However, most MAs in the One Year War did not meet the above requirements. For example, the MA-05 Bigro has worse acceleration, maneuverbility and defence (due to worse metallurgy technology on the Zeon side) compared to the RGM-79 and this should be a better design over MA-04X Zakrello. The only MA that should have met all the requirements in the One Year War should be the MA-06 Val Varo which appeared in the series Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory. MAs after 0079 have better performance but almost none were produced in great number and most considered to be testing platform for new technologies.
Due to their high costs, MAs remained as experimental units or limited production ones during the One Year War like the MA-04X and MA-05. Another draw back of MAs is, they can only do combat missions because some do not have humanoid arms or too large in size to complete certain tasks. Mobile suits, however, can be used for construction work or carry ammunition and materials over short distances in a ship or a base.
A mobile armour is usually non-humanoid, and is usually much larger and more powerful than contemporary mobile suits. The MA-08 Big Zam exemplifies the typical traits of a mobile armour.
The mobile pod RB-79 Ball, is said to be the Earth Federation concept of a minimized version of Mobile Armour in the MG model construction manual and MS encyclopedia 2006 by Katoki Hajime. However, both source still listed the unit as a mobile pod instead of mobile armour.
The MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam's non-humanoid mode is not considered a mobile armour, and instead is designated as a Wave Rider. Most TMS in the Zeta project only have a Wave Rider form (with the exception of the MSZ-08 Z II), and are not considered to be mobile armours. These mobile suits are designated VMSAWRS(usually with the S's and R decapitalized as VMsAWrs for unknown reasons.) for "Variable Mobile Suit And Wave Rider System".
Mobile Armour in the Cosmic Era
In the Cosmic Era timeline, mobile armours are non-humanoid units employed by the Earth Alliance forces. Early mobile armours were essentially small space fighters, and were vastly outclassed by ZAFT's mobile suits: on average, it would take five TS-MA2 Moebius units to equally match a single ZGMF-1017 GINN. However, in the sequel TV series Gundam SEED Destiny, larger MAs equipped with powerful positron reflector shields are used, such as the YMAG-X7F Gells-Ghe. These units more closely resemble the MAs used in the UC timeline, with their huge size, overwhelming firepower, and ability to resist attack. The Blue Cosmos-dominated Alliance military expresses its preference for larger Mobile Armors to counter the influence of the "impure" Coordinators on military doctrine. Despite the apparent size and power of MAs, though, none manages to significantly improve upon the combat utility of mobile suits.
Transformable Mobile Weapons
Also, there are some mobile weapons that have the ability to transform between two or more operating modes, classified either as transformable mobile suits (TMS) or transformable mobile armours (TMA). These typically consist of a mobile suit mode and a mobile armour mode. Typically, the term transformable mobile armour is used to describe a transformable mobile weapon that is substantially larger than contemporary mobile suits, even if the mobile suit mode is its primary configuration. TMS are normally not considered MAs in their non humanoid form.
Transformable Mobile Weapons in Universal Century
Universal Century transformable mobile suits include the AMX-003 Gaza-C, MSA-005 Methuss, MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam, MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam, RX-110 Gabthley, and RX-139 Hambrabi. Transformable mobile armours include the MRX-009 Psyco Gundam, NRX-044 Asshimar, NRX-055 Baund Doc, ORX-005 Gaplant, and PMX-000 Messala.
Transformable mobile weapons were widely used during the Gryps War and First Neo Zeon Conflict, but generally fell out of favor among military designers soon afterward. This is likely a result of the increased expense and the weakened structural issues that lead to lesser durability involved in such designs; only the Neo Zeon forces at Axis had any success in mass-producing even the simplest transformable mobile suit designs. </br> However, in the side story Moon Crisis the Earth Ferderation Space Forces did produced some transformable mobile suits in UC0099 to form a high speed strike team called Z-Plus team to react to special situations like mobile suit terrorist attacks and such. The team mainly compose of second generation Z-Plus units called Z-Prompt and excel in re-entree missions.
Transformable Mobile Suits in Alternate Universes
While the concept is most prevalent in the late 0080s of the Universal Century, some transformable mobile suits have appeared in other Gundam timelines, such as After Colony's XXXG-00W0 Wing Gundam Zero, XXXG-01W Wing Gundam, OZ-12SMS Taurus, and OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon, After War's GW-9800 Gundam Airmaster and NRX-0015 Gundam Ashtaron, and CC (Seireki)'s FLAT-L06D FLAT.
Transformable Mobile Weapons in the Cosmic Era
Outside of the Universal Century, transformable mobile suits are most common in the Cosmic Era, with examples including the GAT-X303 Aegis, GAT-X370 Raider, MVF-M11C Murasame, ZGMF-X23S Saviour, ZGMF-X24S Chaos, ZGMF-X31S Abyss, and ZGMF-X88S Gaia. In addition, the Cosmic Era features the only transformable mobile armour to appear in an Alternate Universe, the GFAS-X1 Destroy.
In addition to the types listed here, there are a number of units that can be classified as mobile weapons but do not fit into any of the standard subcategories. Such units include the GP-03 Dendrobium Orchis, which has many characteristics of both a mobile suit and a mobile armour but not officially classified as any. The MAX-03 Adzam is also one of these, although most people classify it as a Mobile armour, it is not classified as one according to MS Encyclopedia, instead, it is classified as a predecessor of mobile armours. The unmanned mobile suit from G-Saviour also called by the term mobile weapon.
- List of Mobile Weapons
- Universal Century Mobile Units
- Universal Century Technology
- Cosmic Era Mobile Units
- Cosmic Era technology
- After War Era technology
- Category:Gundam Mobile Suits
- Category:Universal Century mobile armours