- List of Universal Century technology
This is a list of fictional technology from the
Universal Centurytimeline of the " Gundam" anime metaseries.
These technologies first debuted in "Gundam Century", written by fans at that time, later endorsed by Sunrise and
Bandai, and some of the authors of the articles within "Gundam Century" became official editors and writers of Gundam mechanics. Later, following the trend of militaristic and technological interest in the community, " Gundam SentinelSpecial Edition" included a section called imidam 0093 (Innovative Mobile Suit Information Dictionary, Annual Series, intentionally using an m at the end to reference Gunda"m"), subtitled "Basic Knowledge of Gundam Mechanics". Written by mechanical designer Katoki Hajime, summarized both in and out of universe technologies of the Universal Century, sourcing from "Gundam Century", "Gun Sight", " VF-1 Valkyrie", "MS Graphical Guide 1~3", "MSV Technical & History 1~3". Gundam Officials has collected these information and has presented them alone with plot history and character summaries in an encyclopedic form, and "MS Encyclopedia 2003" has a short technical summary of these technologies in its first section before going into the lists of mobile weaponsin different series, which earlier editions only have.
Although most can argue fictional technologies carry no real-life impactFact|date=April 2008, these technologies are referred to in almost all of the series of Universal Century. They became a normal reference of the serial story and attracted publishers to publish books on. These technological settings have also since then impacted a lot of anime and manga to have their own technological background to a certain degree [Gundam Officials afterword] . Although this could be viewed as following the
Star Warstrend, nothing similar has started before the 1981 publishing of Gundam Century [Gundam Century renewal version acknowledgment] . Bandai (with its branch Sunrise) noticed the tradition and has hired writers to write articles for other Gundam series, too. [ [http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4757722729 G20] ] In the Cosmic Eratimeline, one of the authors of Gundam Century articles (while still a high school student at that time), Shigeru Morita, who had became a regular employee of Bandai, was assigned to write these kind of technological articles, possibly a method used by the company to attract Universal Century techno fans to watch the new series. [From the G Field, "Newtype" magazine special edition]
Mobile Suit Technology
These techonologies are the basic reasoning for the Universal Century having
mobile suits as the main battle unit replacing space fighters.
Active Mass Balance Auto-Control (AMBAC) is a fundamental technology that allows for thrusterless manoeuvring in the zero-G environment of space by mobile suits by means of precise movement control of their limbs in the Gundam universe as said in the Gundam Century and Gundam Officials. The AMBAC technology in conjunction with the fictional fusion reactor developed by the character Dr. Y.T. Minovsky made mobile suits feasible.
AMBAC works by leveraging
Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion (When there's an action there is an equal and opposite reaction) with regard to inertia to effect changes in direction. For example, if we place a person in a micro-gravity environment where friction is negligible (i.e. space), and ask him to place his left arm to his chest then swing it out to the side, the resulting inertia of the arm movement would result in the rest of his body turning the other direction in order to conserve angular momentum. Then when the motion of the arm stopped, the rotation of the body would also stop. The AMBAC system coordinates movements and micro-movements precisely, allowing a continuous balance and stability without expending reaction mass. For the most part, AMBAC is invisible to the naked eye, as the shifts are slight. However, the system can be used to dodge incoming projectiles or small objects as the arms and legs of a mobile suit account for a significant portion of its total mass. The AMBAC system also allows the center of massto shift outside of the body. AMBAC is by its nature limited to re-orienting the unit about its center of mass, and is not a substitute for propulsion. It is often used in conjunction with the propulsion system to quickly turn the unit and shorten aiming speed as well as directing the main thrusters. The system is similar in principle to the momentum wheelsystem used in present day satellites, though obviously more complex. Mobile suits performing AMBAC motions would presumably move similarly to present-day astronautsperforming extra-vehicular activity: both typically having roughly similar body structure, their use of that mass to control their rotation would presumably be similar, even if calculated by different means.
Tail Binder and Wing Binder
Binders are technological instruments that provide extra control for the AMBAC systems. The idea is simple: "If four limbs can manoeuvre the unit better than none, why not equip them with 5 or more?" The resulting advancement is the tail binder. First equipped on
MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki, the tail binder was originally used as part of the interface for the testing of the concept of transformable mobile units (the type installed on the Hyaku Shiki is not technologically advanced enough for it to be able to transform, however). The tail binder ultimately served as the fifth "limb" and demonstrated the usefulness of the concept. The unit performed well against more conventional mobile suits and showed superiority in manoeuvrability. Anaheim Electronicshad since then installed tail binders on most of the mobile suits of the same series under Project Zeta, most notably the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
A cousin to the tail binder is the wing binder, equipped on most transformable mobile suits with
waveridermode as wings. The system made use of the wings' mobility for the transformation during mobile suit mode as AMBAC limbs and further increasing the number of limbs for the AMBAC system. The tail binder is also seen on later models of military aircraft and space fighters in U.C.0088, on the FF-08 Wyvern.
A standard piece of mobile suit technology, the balancer, sometimes called balance controller or auto-balancer by different authors, is the device responsible for keeping a mobile suit upright. This device automatically adjusts to the terrain the mobile suit is walking along in. It is the device that enables the machine the ability to walk like a human being. The balancers are placed all across the body of the mobile suit's frame, with primary systems being located in the limbs.
During the events of mobile suit Zeta Gundam; when the AEUG were making a drop on Jaburo, their mobile suits used balloon like devices called ballutes to slow their decent down and prevent burning up. However, they are vulnerable to weapon fire, as Kacricon Cooler (And many other pilots both AEUG and Titan) later found out the hard way that his ballute was set on auto-leaving him vulnerable; Kamille Bidan took advantage of this and shot at it. It burst, causing Kacricon's Marasai to plunge into the atmosphere.
According to Gundam Officials and "
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam", the movable frame design is a new concept in mobile suit construction introduced after the One Year Waras a result of the increasingly widespread utilization of beam weapons. Before the invention of the concept by Titans engineer Franklin Bidan, all mobile suits' structure were based on a rudimentary internal frame, enclosed within an outer layer of sturdy armor (called the monocoquedesign). Because a well-placed shot from a beam weapon could easily pierce a mobile suit's armor regardless of how thick it is, mobile suit designers started to reduce the amount of armor mounted on the mobile suits. This new concept, rather than placing the armor on top of the mobile suit's internal mechanism, grafts the armor directly to the frame, thus giving the mobile suit the range of joint movement more like that of a human being, at the same time reducing the overall weight. It incorporates all the mobile suit's vital mechanisms, thus increasing responsiveness, reliability, and energy efficiency as well as making it far more agile. The first suit to use this system was the RX-178 Gundam Mk-IIand afterwards it became the standard in mobile suit construction.
As described in the Gundam Officials and "
Mobile Suit Gundam" the novel appendix, the semi-transparent coating (半透体コーティング) is originally used as the "laser medium", "mirror" and "partial mirror" of laserweapons in the Universal Century timeline. It was also used before and early in the One Year War as an effective armour coating to defend against laser weapons. However, due to massive use of mega-particle/beam weapons and the necessity of developing an anti-beam armor, this technology is no longer a basic requirement on mobile weapons. This technology served as the basis of the beam-resistant coating and anti-beam coating although the only common factor is the multiple layers. Semi-transparent coating protect the unit by having multiple layers all reflecting a certain wavelength of light and thus effectively reduces the energy of different laser weapons. This technology is also used in the colony laser Solar Ray, deployed by Zeon forces before the Battle of A Baoa Qu.
According to Gundam Officials, in the latter half of the One Year War, Zeon mobile suits suffered heavy damage from Earth Federation Forces' beam weaponry-equipped mobile suits. The semi-transparent coating is not useful in countering anything other than lasers, thus a new technology has to be developed. A technology similar to the later well-known anti-beam coating called beam-resistant coating (耐ビームコーテイング) was developed and became a standard after applying on the MS-07B3 Gouf Custom. This coating can absorb some of the energy from the mega-particles and hence reduce the damage. It can also protect the unit from laser attacks by the same principle. However, it is not as effective as the later anti-beam coating, and the armour will still be damaged if the beam weapon is fired in close range or has a high enough power. This coating is often applied on mobile suit shields.
According to the Gundam Officials and "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam", the anti-beam coating (ABC) first came into testing on MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki. The technology coats multiple layers of high
specific heatcapacity material on top of the armour that evaporates in high temperature. It provides a type of sacrificial protection against any type of beam weapon. However, due to its nature of ablating when defending against great heat, ABC can only tolerate a few hits to the same spot.
Anti-Beam Coating Mantle
As described in the manga, "
Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam", and "MS Encyclopedia 2003", in U.C.0133, the anti-beam coating mantle is used to provide easily restored protection against beam weapon attacks. The idea is simple — the ABC is applied on a piece of cloth instead of the unit itself. The mantle could then be discarded once it loses all the ABC (thus the anti-beam protection). Although most units are equipped with beam shields already, the ABC mantle provides stealth compared to the brightly glowing beam shields, which renders the units a visible target.
: "Distinguish from the real mathematical
Minkowski space."According to the "Gundam Century", "MS encyclopedia 2003" and Gundam Officials, the Minovsky Physics Society was formed in U.C.0045 at the space colony Side 3. Their research was devoted to the development of a nuclear fusion reactor. By the year U.C.0047, development of the Minovsky-Ionesco reactor began. This reactor, although designed by Dr. Y.T. Minovsky in his earlier days when he was serving the Earth Federation, was still a piece of black boxtechnology and rendered him a heretic in the classical physics community (where "classical" in the Universal Century includes the modern physics of today). This is the main reason for his termination of service in the Earth Federation and taking residence in Side 3 prior to the One Year War. However, seeing the horror of the Zabi family's militaristic regime, Minovsky defected back and offered his expertise to the Federation. However, his inventions were applied very differently by the Earth Federation.
The Minovsky-Ionesco reactor was named after its fictional inventor. This reactor was "radical" due to the fact that it was the first "clean" nuclear reactor, emitting zero neutron radiation. The nuclear equation was:
: (energy released: 18.35 MeV)
The reactant used a rare isotope of
heliumknown as helium-3(i.e., 2 protons and 1 neutronin the nucleus). A helium-3 atom is fused with a deuteriumatom (heavy hydrogen) to form the stable helium-4 and a single proton. Since the proton is positively charged, it can easily be trapped within a magnetic field. The main practical problem with this reaction is that helium-3 is extremely rare; there are few deposits on Earth, mainly found in uranium mines, and these are mostly depleted. The Gundam world's fusion reactors rely on a constant supply of helium-3 imported from the outer solar system planet Jupiter, thus necessitating the beginning of the Jupiter Energy Fleet. The JEF would travel from Earth to Jupiter, which has a high level of helium-3 in its atmosphere, and then come back to Earth with the gas fuel. It should be noted that in real physics, helium-3-deuterium fusion produces neutrons due to inevitable deuterium-deuterium reactions. Also, significant quantities of helium-3 were recently discovered on the moon, although there is certainly much more on Jupiter.
The Minovsky Particle
According to the official guide of Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam Century and Gundam Officials, the Minovsky Physics Society, while working on the reactor, encountered a strange
electromagneticwave effect in U.C.0065 within the Minovsky-Ionesco reactor that could not be explained by conventional physics. Within the next few years, they identified the cause: a new elementary particle generated by the helium-3 reaction on the inner wall of the reactor, which was named the Minovsky particle or "M" particle. The Minovsky particle has near-zero rest mass - though, like any particle, its mass increases to reflect its potential or kinetic energy- and can carry either a positive or negative electrical charge. When scattered in open space or in the air, the repulsive forces between charged Minovsky particles cause them to spontaneously align into a regular cubic lattice structure called an I-field. An I-field lattice will slowly expand and scatter into space, however, after dense interference it will take approximately 29 days before the region can support normal electromagnetic communication again.
The main use of the Minovsky particle was in combat and communication. When the Minovsky particle is spread in large numbers in the open air or in open space, the particles disrupt low-frequency electromagnetic radiation, such as microwaves and radio waves. The Minovsky particle also interferes with the operations of electronic circuitry and destroys unprotected circuits due to the particles' high electrical charge which act like a continuous
electromagnetic pulseon metal objects. Because of the way Minovsky particles react with other types of radiation, radar systems and long-range wireless communication systems become useless, infra-red signals are defracted and their accuracy decreases, and visible light is fogged. This became known as the "Minovsky Effect".
The disruption of electromagnetic radiation is due to the small lattice of the I-field creating fringes that long wavelengths cannot penetrate, and that diffract wavelengths that have similar distance with the fringes. This
diffractionand polarizationprocess disrupts the electromagnetic waves. Notice in real life there is a similar experimental particle that could do the same thing in few thousandth of a second, which is still not practical but proves the theory to be correctFact|date=April 2008. A second use of the I-field (and Minovsky particles in general) was the repulsion of charged plasma and chargeless mega-particles from an I-field surface, which was of use both in power generation and armament technology. If controlled, the particles can form fringes of different widths and further interfere with electromagnetic waves of shorter wavelengths. This provides the basis for the miniaturizing of fusion reactors installed in mobile suits since a controlled I-field can block the infra-red waves. This reduces the heat from the thermonuclear reaction and reduces the need for coolant and shielding for the fusion reactors. Without such a field, a pilot would be boiled alive in a few nanosecondsand the suit would burst into superheated gasses, thus explaining many of the series' casualtieswhen the reactor of a mobile suit is pierced with a beam weapon powerful enough to disperse this I-field.
The only counter measure to the "M" particle in the series was to install bulky and expensive shielding on all electronic equipment, but only to counteract the effect it had on electronic circuitry. While this could be done for space ships and naval ships, this ruled out the use of precision guided weapons, such as
guided missiles. Due to this, the military use of Minovsky particles ushered in a new era of close-range combat. This is the primary reason for the birth of the Zeon close-combat weapon: the mobile suit.
Minovsky Ultracompact Fusion Reactor
According to the timeline deduced by the Gundam Officials, in UC 0071, Zeon researchers created the Minovsky ultracompact fusion reactor. Instead of the conventional magnetic field, this improved version of the Minovsky-Ionesco reactor used an I-field to confine and compress the reactor fuel, triggering a fusion reaction. The Minovsky particles produced as a byproduct of the helium-3 fusion reaction were recycled to keep that reaction going. The Minovsky particles that form the I-field lattice also helped catalyze the fusion reaction, in a process similar to the
muon-catalyzed fusioninvestigated by real-world scientists during the 1950s. This super-efficient design was only a fifth as large as an equivalently powerful Minovsky-Ionesco reactor, for this reason it was adopted for use on mobile suits as the standard power plant.
Minovsky Craft System
Since it is made up of charged particles, the I-field is unable to penetrate metal, water, the Earth's surface, or other electrically conductive materials and can be shaped simply by trapping it in an electromagnetic field. Thus, at low altitudes it is possible to generate an I-field cushion between the underside of a vessel and the ground, yielding a gravity-countering buoyancy. This principle is used in the creation of the Minovsky craft system, which allowed a spaceship or heavy ground vehicle to "fly"/hover on Earth. The Principality of Zeon was slow to make use of this principle and the only units equipped with Minovsky craft systems during the One Year War were the
MAX-03 Adzamand the three prototype Apsalus mobile armours. However, the Earth Federationwas quick to adopt the system on its "Pegasus"-class assault carriers. This allowed the "Pegasus"-class to enter and exit earth's atmosphere and to fly while inside the atmosphere.
This system could not be miniaturized to fit on a mobile suit until after U.C.0100. The first MS equipping such a device is RX-104FF Penelope from "Hathaway's Flash". RX-105 Ξ Gundam which appeared in the same series also equipped the device.
During the Zanscare War of the U.C.0150s, mobile suits deployed on Earth by
Zanscare Empireused beam rotor (which could also be used as a beam shield or a rotary saw) to achieve long-distance atmospheric flight. At the same time, high-end models fielded by League Militairesuch as V Gundam and V2 Gundam, have equipped an improved version of the Minovsky craft system called the Minovsky flight system.
Minovsky Theory-applied Weapon System
The following technologies are quoted from Gundam Century, Gundam Officials and MS Encyclopedia. The new weapons derived from Minovsky physics are referred to by the generic term "beam weapons". There are two distinct varieties of beam weapon - one that uses regular Minovsky particles, and another that employs the mega-particles formed by fusing positive and negative Minovsky particles.
The fictional weaponry of the Universal Century are described by Gundam Century, Gundam Officials and MS Encyclopedia are as follows: due to the repulsive forces between positive and negative Minovsky particles, large amounts of energy are required to compress an I-field lattice. If enough energy is applied, and the I-field is sufficiently compressed, the Minovsky particles ultimately fuse into massive electrically neutral mega-particles. The energy used to create the mega-particles is expressed as both mass and velocity. No longer subject to the electrical forces that maintain the I-field lattice, the particles burst out of the electromagnetic field used to compress them. The weapon requires a second I-field forming a barrel shape to prevent the mega-particles from destroying the weapon that fired them. This stream of heavy fast-moving particles, unlike a conventional charged-particle beam, cannot be deflected with magnetic fields. In U.C.0070, Zeon researchers exploit this phenomenon to create the fearsome mega-particle cannon.
The ubiquitous mega-particle cannon - variously referred to as the "beam cannon", "mega-beam gun", "mega-beam cannon" or simply "mega-cannon" - is the standard armament of the Gundam world's warships and mobile armours. This weapon fires a focused beam of massive, high-velocity mega-particles, which cannot be deflected by magnetic fields and tears through any conventional armour material. The output power of the mega-particle cannon is 4 times greater than conventional laser weapons at the time and is considered to be more efficient due to most units having semi-transparent coatings on top of their armour which renders Laser weapons virtually useless unless having a laser device at least as big as a mobile suit, excluding the generator.
To create the mega-particles, a cannon-toting vehicle must first gather Minovsky particles from the vehicle's fusion reactor. The Minovsky particles are collected in a device called an energy condenser, where they are compressed in a high-density I-field until they fuse into mega-particles. The performance of the mega-particle cannon is thus limited by the reactor's ability to produce Minovsky particles.
Though it quickly became the standard armament of space warships, the mega-particle cannon's high energy requirements and the sheer bulk of the energy condenser at first precluded its use in mobile suits. Consequently, the Principality of Zeon's
MS-05 Zaku Iand MS-06 Zaku IIwere armed with conventional projectile weapons, rather than beam weapons. As a reference, a "Musai"-class light cruiser's on-board generator requires a few minutes to compress each shot of mega-particle cannon. [Gundam Century, Minori, 22nd Sep, 1981.] , the Zanzibar class new improved generator still takes 150 seconds to charge up. [Char Deleted Affairs] This was not practical for the mobile suits' smaller reactors to compress mega-particles by themselves in combat, since it would take an unreasonable amount of time to do so and would significantly reducing the firing rate. Attempts to create a portable mega-particle cannon for use by mobile suits was always a challenge, and during the One Year War, various mobile suit have been equipped with a large generator unit in order to power the cannon. However, it is still impossible for a mega-particle cannon to be fully utilized on a mobile suit. For example, the RX-78-7 7th Gundam will have to carry a large add-on unit as big as the mobile suit itself (the FHA-78-3 add-on) in order to fire just one shot of mega-particle beam and have to detach the unit in order to retrieve mobility, since the add-on still needs a few minutes to charge the second shot, rendering the less mobile enlarged mobile suit a big target for the enemies for "target practice" if not detached.
Amphibious mobile suits have an advantage on equipping the mega-particle cannon as they can use water as a coolant and greatly reducing the size of the cannon, and thus most Zeon amphibious mobile suits are equipped with one or more such cannons. The shortcoming of this is that the mega-particle cannon is basically useless under water or if the unit is far away from the water and the cannon cannot effectively cool down. The cannon became
deadweightof the unit in these cases.
Due to the effect of the Minovsky particles of interfering with low-frequency
electromagnetic waves, it is used in combat as a form of warhead on missiles. The M-warhead will spread Minovsky particles in the battle field and prevent all known wireless communication and enemy detection methods except visible light.
The M-warhead technology was used extensively in the One Year War, but after the war, a treaty (The Granada peace treaty and later treaties include this as well) was signed to stop the mass dispersal of the Minovsky particle because the dense Minovsky particle areas became a major disaster for civilian communications and the economy. The M-warhead became like the nuclear warhead and was banned from the battlefield. However, most warships were still equipped with M-warheads and the captains can use the warheads whenever they get the authorization from higher-ranked officers, and Minovsky particle-scattering mobile suits were still widely used.
In order to work around the mega-particle cannon's high energy demands (which hinders the use of beam weapons by mobile suits), the Earth Federation Forces (with the help of Dr. Minovsky, who had fled Zeon and joined the EF in the early U.C.0070s) developed the E-cap (a contraction of "energy capacitor"). This device stores Minovsky particles in a high-energy pre-compressed state, so that only a small amount of additional energy is required to trigger their fusion into mega-particles. The E-cap is charged by energy condensers at the mobile suit's home base or carrier ship, and then functions like a battery until its supply of particles is exhausted, at which point the weapon becomes useless. During the One Year War the Federation Forces perfected the E-cap and used it to create a miniaturized mega-particle cannon called a beam rifle, with which their first prototype mobile suits (the RX-78 and RX-77) are equipped.
The limited capacity of the E-cap proved to be a significant shortcoming. The RX-78 Gundam, for example, could only fire 16 shots from its beam rifle before exhausting the E-cap. Shortly after the end of the war, the beam rifle was further refined to use a removable E-cap module called an E-pac (short for "energy pack"). A mobile suit equipped with spare E-pacs could then swap them during a battle to replenish its beam rifle's particle supply, similar to the use of magazines to reload conventional rifles.
Principality of Zeon's beam weaponry research suffered great difficulties after Dr. Minovsky's defection, and was only able to use large mobile armourto carry the mega-particle cannon. Though the MSM-03, MSM-04, MSM-07 and MSM-10 had mega-particle cannons installed, it was not until the development of the MS-14 Gelgoogcould use a beam weapon that is small and efficient enough to be installed on any Zeon mobile suit. As a result, the Earth Federation seized the opportunity to establish a strategic advantage with their beam weapon-equipped mobile suits.
Some of the later mobile suit models employed powered-up variants of the beam rifle, such as beam bazooka and beam launcher.
It should be noted that E-cap technology appears outside of UC continuity in "".
Beam Spray Gun
The tuned-down version of the beam rifle, the beam spray gun was developed specifically for the Earth Federation's mass-produced GM mobile suits. Since the beam rifle was a relatively expensive weapon to produce owing to the need for a long converging I-field to direct the mega particles, a shorter-ranged version, was created. The name came from the more divergent beam resulting from the shorter barrel, where the expensive focusing coil was simplified. Although the beam spray gun has an effective range less than the beam rifle, it is still capable of penetrating the armour of a Zeon Dom - said to be the most heavily armoured unit throughout the One Year War. In the novelization of the series, at short ranges the GM's beam spray gun was said to be more powerful than even the Gundam's beam rifle. This may be due to the wider focus of the beam causing more widespread damage, rather than the narrower, more penetrative beam of the Gundam's rifle, already more than powerful enough to penetrate armor.
Zeon's MS-09 Dom and
MSM-03 Goggalso have scattering beam guns mounted on the torso. However, these spray guns were not used as primary offensive armament like those of the Federation GMs, but only for temporarily stunning the enemy unit.
Beam Smart Gun
According to "Gundam Sentinel Special Edition", the beam smart gun is designed to be the most powerful mobile suit beam weapon; at 56MW output it is only beaten by the 79.8MW Hyper-Mega-Cannon of the FAZZ. However, its strength comes from accuracy and rapid fire and not just the high power output. The Beam Smart gun has another advantage over the Hyper Mega Cannon. The particle deflecting system at the muzzle can bend the output beam by up to 20 degrees. Since the velocity of Mega particles is said to be close to the speed of light it is near impossible to dodge a beam weapon output once it is fired. In the original Mobile Suit Gundam series,
Char Aznablesaid that the way to avoid a beam rifle is to avoid it being pointed at you. As such, a gun that does not need to be pointed directly at the target is more dangerous. The Beam Smart Gun fitted to the S Gundam is essentially the same as the Z Plus Beam Smart Gun. However, the Ex-S Gundam had 2 reflector incoms mounted on its knees in order to direct the beam fired by the beam smart gun.The Beam smart gun is able to rapid fire at high power briefly. The Beam Smart Gun has two energy intakes that can be linked to the movable frame hard point of the Mobile Suit. A single connection can power the gun at 12MW+ , two connections are needed to give the 56MW output power, but at the cost of less manoeuvrability.
The Beam Smart Gun only appears in "Gundam Sentinel" equipping the MSA-0011 S Gundam, and its variants as well as a shield mounted version as the primary weapon of MSZ-006C1 Zeta Plus C1. However, according to "Gundam Wars III" and "Gundam Fix Figuation" series, the gun can also be used by the MSZ-006C1 [Bst] Zeta Plus booster type "Humming Bird". (Thus the unit will be mounting two Beam Smart Guns at the same time, by mounting the Beam Smart Gun from the S Gundam on the shield Beam Smart gun of the "Humming Bird".)
Although not specifically mentioned in the story, the beam smart gun is designed to take various optional parts. The base design consist of only the gun itself, with one main grip and one sub grip (with folded cover on the left of the gun).
* "Sensor unit": The small sensor unit is attached on the right side of the gun. In the original line art from the "Gundam Sentinel Special Edition", it is specified that this is not an ordinary scope and is not looked through; the visual data is transmitted electronically. This was later adopted by other books including "Gundam Officials" and "MS Encyclopedia" for other Mobile Suit hand weapons. This unit is the basic optional part of the beam smart gun and is normally attached unless unnecessary for battle. However, according to "Gundam Sentinel", no record shows it was ever detached from the gun. For identification from the Disk Radar, it is usually depicted as "Normal Sensor" in the books.
* "Disk Radome": The Disk
Radomedevice is set parallel to the sensor unit and can perform a wide area scan. The main function of it is to provide specific location of multiple enemies on the field. It is said to be more useful when the S Gundam is piloted by three pilots with one being the weapon control person.
* "Cryo-system": This system adds extra cooling devices to the barrel. This allows extended period of rapid firing of 56MW beams without over-heating the gun. It was introduced as a combination of the Plan 303E system in order to give the unit more fire power. However, also mentioned in the Sentinel line-art is, the downside of this system is the deadweight and high cost.
MSZ-006C1 type shield-mount beam smart gun (often shortened to just Z-Plus smart gun)
The name "beam saber" is somewhat of a misnomer as, unlike other weapons with the word beam, the beam saber does not use mega-particles. Instead, it emits high-energy Minovsky particles to form a blade-shaped I-field (via manipulation of electromagnetic fields), and then fills this I-field shell with superheated Minovsky particle plasma to produce an effective cutting blade. The Minovsky particles are stored by E-cap in the hilt of the beam saber, which is recharged from the mobile suit's reactor when the saber is returned to its socket. Once activated, beam sabers do not rely on the mobile suit's reactor and can be thrown or discarded as decoys (as demonstrated in "
The termination of the I-field along a solid contact surface allows the plasma to eat away at the offending material until the I-field reestablishes itself, allowing the weapon to "cut" through almost any target. Likewise, as the beam saber's I-field enclosure repels plasma, it not only keeps the blade's plasma in but also keeps plasma from another blade out allowing one beam saber to be used to block another. Since the containing fields can be formed into a variety of simple shapes, it is trivial to create exotic variants like the beam tomahawk, beam axe, beam
naginataetc, even beam flag as a signaling device.
The power output of the beam sabers used in the One Year War (power rated at 0.38 MW) has been called into question due to certain events during the One Year War. When
Amuro Ray, pilot of the RX-78 Gundam, was fighting one of Zeon's aces, Ramba Ral, he used his beam saber to cut into Ral's MS-07 Goufand expose the pilot. By all accounts, Ral should have been immolated by the sheer heat emitted by the weapon (particularly since his cockpit armor was still malleable immediately thereafter), yet he survived unscathed. Either his normal suit had higher heat resistance and air conditioning than the mobile suit, or the beam saber's I-field prevented the plasma from touching the human. A scene in "" showed Shiro Amada altering the output of the beam sabre to use it as a heating source in snow to create a hot bath.
Another application of the I-field is the I-field barrier. This generates a dense I-field in the space surrounding the barrier generator, which can deflect the beam weapons derived from Minovsky physics due to the interaction force (presumably a fifth basic force) between the mega particles and the Minovsky particles. However, this barrier has no effect against lasers or against physical attacks such as missiles until late in the Universal Century, very high-output I-field might have created a barrier using the effect like the Minovsky craft system, was seen blocking missiles, and within the barrier's radius beam weapons do not function with their usual lethality. Most I-field applications of this type were used on mobile armours developed by both the Principality of Zeon and later the Earth Federation.
This technology was first utilized in the One Year War, and installed on the massive Zeon mobile armour Big Zam. The I-field technology would later be utilized in other mobile armours, most notably the massive mobile armours Neue Ziel and Dendrobium Orchis during the Delaz Incident. This technology would also be used in the powerful
MSA-0011 S Gundam's cockpit area. The first mobile suit that have a fully covering I-field is the Crossbone Gundam X-3, which featured an I-field generator on each hand. Despite the deflection power of the I-field, it usually overheats easily, and has no effect on conventional projectile weapons. The MA-08 Big Zam could only operate its I-field for no longer than 20 minutes and each generator of Crossbone Gundam X-3 could operate for no longer than 115 seconds, with 120 seconds of cool-down time each (thus having a 10-second gap between two cool down sequences and being vulnerable within that period).
It was not until U.C.0153 when the
V2 Gundam, with its Assault Armor's mega-beam shield, could a mobile suit have an unlimited-use barrier. A more effective defensive device (the beam shield) fell into common use, and the I-field barrier became obsolete.
Newtypes may also have the ability to attract Minovsky particles via the bio-sensor, creating a I-field around their suit (seen in the penultimate episode of "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam" when the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam is covered in a glowing redish-pink aura, which also increases the size of its beam saber). These situations formed a barrier like an I-field barrier which defracts all beam attacks with the dense Minovsky particle area around the suit.
Funnels and Bits
Towards the end of the One Year War and beyond, there was much research into developing remote weapons that are designed to exploit the heightened senses of a Newtype pilot. Funnels and bits are the culmination of that research.
Funnels are essentially funnel-shaped drone units that are designed to be remotely controlled by a Newtype pilot. It is equipped with a small beam cannon, and an energy cell to propel the funnel when it is operating. A Newtype pilot is able to control these funnels with great precision, allowing him to remotely attack an enemy from all directions, making a funnel-equipped mobile suit extremely deadly. When the funnels are not in use, they are attached to the mother suit's surface hardpoints for recharging. All Zeon funnel equipped units have the ability to recharge funnels but the Earth Federation Forces is very slow in adopting the technology.
Although early funnels can indeed resemble funnels, they can come in a variety of shapes. The most unusual funnel is perhaps the ones equipped on V2 Assault's mega-beam shield. They do not fire any assault weaponry but is instead used to form an I-field barrier.
The new DACS(Divert & Attitude Control System) created by the Japan Self Defense Forces in December, 2006 was quoted as an attempt to create Funnel system in real life by Gizmodo Japan. [ [http://www.gizmodo.jp/2007/10/post_2477.html Gizmodo Japan] ]
Bits are fundamentally similar to funnels, except that they have their own on-board power generators, and do not require re-docking with the mother unit with for recharging, unlike their funnel counterparts. Bits are not always used as offensive weapons. The reflector bits on Psyco Gundam Mk-II are used to reflect the beam fired by its torso mega-particle cannon towards the enemy, or deflect incoming enemy beams.
Fin funnels, despite called "funnels", are actually miniaturized bits equipped on the RX-93 ν Gundam. Unlike other bits, fin funnels rely on chemical propellant and cannot be refueled in battle once the fuel is used up. Only the later model RX-93-ν-2 Hi-ν Gundam has such an ability to refuel its fin funnels. Whether the mass-production type RX-94 ν Gundam has such ability is unknown.
Funnel Missiles are
guidance missilesusing funnel like remote control designs employed in the story "".
Incom is a type of weapon developed by the Federation's Murasame Research Institute for normal (i.e. Oldtypes) pilots. It is similar to bit and funnel operated by psycommu system. It is equipped on number of mobile suit following MRX-011 Mass-Production Type Psyco Gundam.
It is a wire-controlled beam weapon platform, remotely controlled by quasi-psycommu or psycommu system. It can execute the apparent all-range attack like bits and funnels, but is inferior in attack range and complexity of maneuvers. Incom is similar to the wire-controlled mega-particle cannons on
MAN-03 Braw Broand MSN-02 Zeongduring the One Year War, except that weapons of these units were controlled by magnified brainwave as oppose to computer. One of the first examples of a "true" incom unit would be the remote claws of the AMA-02/AMX-002 Neue Ziel mobile armor fielded by the Delaz Fleet in UC 0083, controlled by a "half-control system" which is similar, if not the same as, the later produced quasi-psycommu system employed by Axis/Neo Zeon.
There are a few variants. A reflector/refractor incom is a device for bending a mega-particle beam to different directions in order to increase the chance of hitting. For example, MSA-0011 [Ext] Ex-S Gundam is equipped with 2 reflector incoms that is used for its 56MW Beam Smart Gun and 1 incom mounted on the head that can fire normal mega-particle beam. Gundam Mk-V is another test unit that can use incom. The technology of quasi-psycommu and incoms were transferred from Murasame Research Institute to Augusta Research Institute for development of Gundam Mk-V.
This technology is utilized in the battlefield in U.C.0088 by a group of Federation officers of the training corps stationed at asteroid Penzun that revolted against the Federation under the name of New Decides ("Gundam Sentinel"). Other than being the standard equipment of S Gundam belonging to the Taskforce Alpha charged with suppression of Penzun rebellion, it is also present on Gundam Mk-V delivered to the hands of New Decides. Two Gundams equipped with incom crossed swords at the lunar city Aries signified the coming chaos of the time.
Another Gundam Mk-V was transferred to Neo Zeon and was later developed into the
AMX-014 Doven Wolfused in the First Neo-Zeon War.
Fin Funnel Field
The energy shielding technology of the RX-93 Nu Gundam, sometimes called a fin-funnel field (also called a beam barrier,FFF is the contraction), was not a proper I-field barrier, but an early precursor to the beam shield.
The mechanism of the device is releasing the Minovsky particles in the reactor of the fin funnels and trapping them temporarily in the electromagnetic field generated by the funnels which is used for the shaping of the I-field barrel. In principle, the device generates an ultra-thin slice of beam saber to "cut off" incoming attacks, beams and projectiles alike. A similar defence system was used earlier by Haman in "
Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam" to block the 50MW Hi-Mega-Cannon of the MSZ-010 ZZ Gundamby holding up the hand of her mobile suit Qubeley in front to release the Minovsky particles and electro-magnetic field from the beam gun/beam saber hybrid mounted in the arm of the MS. However, no proper name was given to this courageous yet almost suicidal action.
The first defensive application of beam saber technology was the beam barrier projected by the RX-93 Nu Gundam's fin funnels. This barrier creates a tetrahedral shell around the mobile suit, with a fin funnel at each vertex and planes of energy akin to beam saber blades forming the surfaces of the shell. Unlike the classic I-field barrier, this beam barrier not only deflects beam attacks, but could also deflect (or destroy) physical attacks and missiles as well (acting as both a minovsky craft system and beam blade simultaneously). It could, however, be collapsed by a sufficiently powerful attack. This so-called fin funnel field (or FF field for short) could not be used as a weapon due to the limits on the funnels and the I-fields involved.
By about U.C.0120, the decreased size and increased power output of modern mobile suits made it possible to use a simplified version of this barrier on all mobile suits. A beam shield is composed of a simple plane of beam barrier, radiating from a central generator unit, which can be used like a physical shield to deflect enemy attacks. Since the edges of the beam shield are as deadly as a beam saber blade (because they are simply beam sabers formed like a shield), the mobile suit's computer automatically deactivates sections of the shield that would otherwise lop off the mobile suit's own parts.
Though it was limited to a single direction and, like its beam barrier ancestor, could be collapsed by a powerful attack, the beam shield's lower energy requirements and effectiveness against every type of weapon made it a perfectly satisfactory alternative to the I-field barrier. By about U.C.0150, even some warships are equipped with beam shields, notably the "Jeanne D'arc" from
Victory Gundamand the "Mother Vanguard" from " Crossbone Gundam".
However, a relatively low-energy beam weapon is developed to counter this technology. The VSBR (Variable Speed Beam Rifle) was developed and equipped on V-type (VSBR type) F90 Gundam, F91 Gundam, and later the V2 Assault Gundam, to make the beam rifle output power adjustable in a form capable of penetrating a beam shield.
After Victory Gundam, the Beam Shield is minimized in both size and number due to unknown reasons but still equipped in some mobile suits in
Variable-Speed Beam Rifle
By U.C.0120, even the weakest mass-production mobile weapons were mostly equipped with a beam shield impenetrable to common MS weapons. This forced developers to either design mobile suits for close-range encounters, or to develop much more powerful ranged weapons. However, both options were very expensive, and the latter too energy-intensive to be feasible. Eventually, the VSBR was developed to be able to switch between two fire modes.
1) high-penetration mode
2) high-damage mode
The first mode emits a higher-velocity mega-particle beam with enough momentum to breach a beam shield. However, the damage dealt to the target without penetrating a beam shield is significantly reduced due to its lower energy transfer.
The second mode is like a classic beam rifle: the mega-particles have less velocity and, while less penetrating, quickly transfer their energy to the target material upon impact, reverting back to Minovsky particles and destroying the target from within.
The VSBR was still a relatively expensive technology and was hardly mass-produced. Only high-end models like the F90 Gundam V Type, F91 Gundam, RXF-91 and V2 Assault Gundam, and only one mass-produced unit (the F91s in "Crossbone Gundam"), has such weapon as standard equipment.
The only method of stopping a VSBR attack is by generating a very strong I-field. However, miniaturized I-field generators capable of installation on an MS were still expensive units, and thus still not common by U.C.0120. Kinchaid Nau, the protagonist of Crossbone Gundam manga, block VSBR with beam zanber by use pair of beam shield to reduce its penerate power.
Generative Beam Rifle Device
The GBRD is a special variant of beam rifle installed on RX-99 Neo Gundam. The weapon's concept was long-developed, and contains a separate energy generator installed just for the beam rifle. GBRD also have the "selective fire" ability seen in VSBR.
The latest of all Minovsky technologies, the Minovsky drive was formally introduced on the powerful V2 Gundam in April, U.C.0153. Development started in November, U.C.0152 and terminated in early U.C.0153. However, later intelligence indicated that the first unit equipped with a Minovsky drive is "Mother Vanguard" and its sister ship in "Crossbone Gundam". Making use of the beam shield installed on the ship, the ship can be propelled by a mechanism similar to Minovsky drive.
The device emits a vast amount of Minovsky particles as a propulsion reaction. Although it may appear that the technology violates Newton's Second Law of Motion, the physics is very similar to that of a photon drive, because Minovsky particles have near-zero rest mass.
The Minovsky drive is by far the most powerful drive unit in the UC timeline. It is capable of a maximum acceleration of 20G (196.2 m/s^2) in the V2 Gundam. According to the MS Encyclopedia, the V Gundam novel and 1/60 HG model manual, it can, theoretically, accelerate up to a speed close to the speed of light. The external manifestation of the Minovsky drive are two large Minovsky particle plasma flames, the infamous "Wings of Light" ("Hikari no tsubasa"), projecting approximately 1km out from the drive. These beam wings have a similar destructive effect as a beam sabre.
A more advanced version is found in the novelized version equipped on the MS called "Second V".
Other Weapon Systems
The earliest weaponry for mobile suits,
projectile weaponsare the standard armament of mobile warfare before the invention of E-cap allowed the miniaturization of beam weapons. Projectile weapons remained the most commonly used weapons during the One Year War, and did not become gradually phased out until the Gryps Conflict. Some such weapons, such as the Vulcan machinegun, remained a standard fixed armament of almost all mobile suits throughout UC history.
Projectile weapons come in great varieties, from kinetic projectiles like
machine guns (although caliber-wise, these ought to be called machine cannons), rifles and shotguns, to payload-carrying projectiles like rockets ( bazookas and Panzerfausts), grenades, missiles, shells and torpedoes. These weapons are basically amplified version of real-life modern infantry weapons.
A unique class of
meleeweapons introduced by the Principality of Zeon for its early mobile suits, heat weapons apply thermal energy to the weapon's blade, creating a superheated cutting surface that has enhanced penetration on the target. When "cold" (not thermally charged), heat weapons can be used as conventional material melee weapons. Because of their material nature, heat weapons suffer from the same physical wears and tears that plague solid material weapons.
Heat weapons made their debut during the One Year War in the form of the Zaku's heat hawk (heat tomahawk), the Gouf's heat rod and the heat saber and heat sword used by the Goufs and the Doms. With the increasingly widespread application of the more efficient and versatile beam sabers, heat weapons soon became obsolete and eventually phased out.
A couple of heat weaponry variants did show up in later Universal Century, most notably by the Oldsmobile Army during the U.C.0100s. The Mars Zeon's RF Gouf used a modified version of the heat rod, which uses a beam blade-style field emitter on the tip to enable deadlier slicing and piercing. The RF Z'Gok uses the heat claw for melee combat.
The earliest electric shock weapons appeared during the One Year War as the Gouf's heat rod, which in addition of being a cutting/slicing weapon, was capable of delivering a sudden electric surge to shock the enemy unit. The Gouf Custom has a heat wire, which has a longer reach and a magnetic tip for grappling.
The Zeon mobile armour MAX-03 Adzam also carries three experimental electric weapons called the leaders. Each leader has an explosive container which saturates the target with a highly electroconductive particle dust, before the leader weapon itself anchors into the ground over the target, thus trapping it inside a "cage", and delivering its lethal plasma electric attack; this plasma attack can reach temperatures up to 4000 degrees fahrenheit, according to Amuro Ray.
Another type of electric weapons was
RX-139 Hambrabi's infamous Sea Serpent. Sea Serpent is a wire-guided grappling device which delivers a high-power electric shock to destroy/disable the target. Titans' Hambrabi squads sometimes used a tactic called "spider web" to trap, shock and incapacitate their enemy, before finishing it off with their beam cannons.
Neo-Zeon's AMX-014 Doven Wolf has wire-controlled detachable forearms that can grapple onto an enemy and deliver an electric surge shock.
Rakan Dahkaran's Doven Wolves squad from Glemy Toto's anti-Haman rebellion used such tactic on Haman loyalist Mashymre Cello's Zaku III Custom, forcing Mashymre to self-destruct.
close combatweapon developed by the Crossbone Vanguard, the shot lancer is designed for combat in and around space colonies, where beam weapons would run the risk of triggering catastrophic reactor explosions in enemy mobile suits. Instead, the shot lancer uses electromagnetic acceleration to drive its tip through the enemy's armor, and the spearhead itself can also be launched like a missile. The shot lancer was first equipped on XM-01 Den'an Zonand remained a standard melee weaponry for many Crossbone Vanguard mobile suit models. Earth Federation Forces later adapted the idea into their RGM-122 Javelinduring the late U.C.0130s.
A variant of the weapon called shot claw, is installed in the left arm of Crossbone Vanguard's
XM-03 Ebirhu Smobile suit. Not only can it be used in melee combat, but the entire device or its individual claws can also be launched like missiles.
Rarely used in combat, microwave weapons are used as a
non-lethal weaponto harass and demoralize the adversary. Use of such type of weapon was only depicted in " Mobile Suit Victory Gundam", where League Militaire used the "Alexandria"-class cruiser "Gaunland" to power their microwave attack on the BESPA troops, causing almost all of them to suffer from physical symptoms like headache, nauseaand diarrhoea.
Newtypes and Related Technologies
: main|NewtypeThe word Newtype first came into being when
Zeon Zum Deikun, the fictional character, founder of the space colony-based Principality of Zeon, created his philosophy: mankind was destined to leave the Earth for space, where they would evolve into a new stage of evolution, called the Newtype.
As Newtypes began to grow in numbers during and following the One Year War, the psycommu (psychic communicator) system was invented, which allowed these Newtypes to control wireless weapons known as bits and funnels, and even mobile suits, through thought alone. The device detects and amplifies the user's
brainwaves, and sophisticated computer system enable the user to manipulate weapons by using his/her mind.
The Psycoframe is a later technology that builds the psycommu into the
nanomachines within the metal frame of a mobile suit. This allows a Newtype pilot to control the mobile suit as if it were his/her own body.
Other Newtype technologies are the Bio-Sensor system, the Quasi-psycommu system, the Neo-psycommu system, the Bio-computer, the EXAM System and the Angel Halo fortress.
: Gundam Century, Minori, 22nd Sep, 1981.:: [http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4877770283 Gundam Century Renewal Version] , ISBN / 4-87777-028-3, [http://www.kisousha.com/ Kisousha] , 15th Mar, 2000.: MS Encyclopedia, ISBN / 4-89189-336-2, Bandai, 10th Feb, 1988.:: New MS Encyclopedia, ISBN / 4-89189-050-9, Bandai, 1st Oct, 1988.:: [http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4891892250 New MS Encyclopedia Ver. 3.0] , ISBN / 4-89189-225-0, Bandai, 30th Jun, 1991.:: [http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4073085190 MS Encyclopedia 98] , ISBN / 4-07-308519-0, Mediaworks, 15th May, 1998.:: [http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4840223394 MS Encyclopedia 2003] , ISBN / 4-84-022339-4, Mediaworks, Mar, 2003.: [http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4499205301 Gundam Sentinel special edition] (with Gundam Wars III), ASIN: 4499205301, 大日本絵画 (Dai Nippon Kaiga Co. Ltd.), Sept, 1989. (May, 2006, 11th edition): Perfect Grade, Master Grade, High Grade Model Instruction Manual, Bandai.
* [http://www.mahq.net/ http://www.mahq.net/] has the line art of the weapons for most of the Mobile Suits.
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