Technology & Combat Characteristics
As a descendant of the Zaku series of mobile suits, the Zaku III was designed to be highly versatile, being able to perform just about any mission role. Though a part of the Zaku series, the Zaku III is a big step up from the venerable MS-06 Zaku II, possessing over twice the power output, three times the sensor range, and four times the thruster acceleration, not to mention the various new beam weapons it wielded. Though not the highest performing mobile suit designed by Neo Zeon, the Zaku III could still outperform most Earth Federation and AEUG fielded mobile suits.
In the year U.C. 0096, the surviving Zaku III units were modified by The Sleeves for their own use. The Zaku III's front skirt armor was reconfigured with two sub-arms similar to the PMX-003 The O, thanks to this new feature the Zaku III could quickly deploy and wield both beam sabers at the same time, catching enemies off guard in close-quarters combat.
- Mouth Beam Gun
- Each Zaku III possesses a fixed beam gun mounted in the "mouth" of the mobile suit. Power rating of 2.3 MW
- Beam Gun/Beam Saber
- Mounted on recharge racks on the front skirt armor and hand operated in use, these weapons possess two modes, a close combat beam saber mode and a long range beam gun mode. Both modes have a power rating of 2.8 MW. These are similar to the Beam Guns/Sabers of the AMX-004 Qubeley.
- Beam Rifle
- Same beam rifle used by the AMX-011S Zaku III Custom.
- Beam Rifle
- The beam rifle, as its name suggests, is a high-powered energy beam weapon that fires condensed mega particles. A bayonet heat blade can be mounted under the barrel. It is quite similar to the Beam Rifle used by the AMX-104 R-Jarja.
- Heat Bayonet
- The heat bayonet attached to the Beam Rifle has the same length as a beam saber and is mounted underneath the barrel of the beam rifle. Though not as effective as a beam saber, the heat bayonet can damage a mobile suit that gets within melee range, allowing it to serve as a quick defense/offense weapon as the pilot prepares a more effective weapon.
- Beam Machine Gun
- A handheld beam weapon originally used by the AMS-119 Geara Doga, it is powered by a replaceable e-pac. The beam machine gun was used by The Sleeves' Zaku III.
- Optional Shield/Weapons Rack
- Unlike the previous Zaku II the Zaku III's shoulder mounted shield is optional equipment, though it was standard practice to install one. Also unlike the Zaku II the shield of the Zaku III doubled as a weapons rack to store extra armaments, such as additional beam sabers and grenades.
- Medium-sized Beam Gun
- Replacing the original beam guns/beam sabers in the skirt armor, these beam guns likely have greater firepower but not the ability to generate a beam saber.
- 30mm Vulcan Gun
- These head mounted shell firing weapons have a high-rate of fire but have little power and are generally ineffective against mobile suits, though it can damage lightly armored areas such as the sensors. These weapons are ideal for shooting down small, fast moving, lightly armored targets such as missiles or small vehicles.
- 8-tube Missile Pod
- The optional backpack of the Zaku III mounts two missile pods. The standard load of the missile pods is eight AMS-11S small missiles.
Special Equipment & Features
- Interchangeable Heads
- Optional Backpack
- The Zaku III can be fitted with an optional backpack, providing additional thrusters and a pair of external propellant tanks to offset its additional consumption of fuel.
- External Propellant Tanks
- An external tank used for propellant storage. This extra propellant greatly extends a mobile suit's operating range, and enables it to stay in combat longer. When the propellant is consumed, the tank can be discarded to reduce the mobile suit's weight. These tanks use a two-layered construction, with one layer containing propellant, and the other holding extra coolant.
- Skirt Extention Booster
- A small manipulator which is normally retracted, folded, or otherwise concealed, like those installed in the mobile suit PMX-003 The O. Not only can these hidden hands carry extra weapons, but the element of sheer surprise provides a tactical advantage, since mobile suits rely heavily on computer backup and can't deal as effectively with an enemy if they don't have complete data on its combat capabilities.
As the First Neo Zeon War raged on, the Neo Zeon military continued its development of new and more powerful mobile suits. Two competing designs were produced as potential new mass-production front-line units: the AMX-011 Zaku III and the AMX-014 Doven Wolf. The intention of the Zaku III's design was that it would be a new descendant of the old Principality of Zeon's venerable (and highly versatile) MS-05 Zaku and MS-06 Zaku II lines, acting as a symbol for the restoration of the ideals and power of Zeon that Axis Zeon wished to present. The Zaku III featured a modular construction design, enabling armor, the backpack, and other components to be changed out and customized depending on the mission. Despite its high performance and versatility, however, the Zaku III design lost out to the more powerful Doven-Wolf. As a result, the Zaku III saw only limited production.
One of these units would be piloted by the captain of the Endra and mobile suit pilot Mashymre Cello who would outfit his Zaku III with various optional equipment which would lead the machine to be called the AMX-011S Zaku III Custom.
The Zaku III mobile suits served during the brief Zeon Civil War that occurred during the end of the First Neo Zeon War, being piloted by Haman Karn loyalists. The Zaku III proved itself quite successful against the seemingly more powerful mobile suits being used by Glemy Toto's forces, especially against its former rival, the Doven Wolf. In U.C. 0096, a number of these mobile suits survived and would be used by "The Sleeves" during the third of the major Neo-Zeon Movements. These mobile suits would be modified with new weaponry and given the distinctive markings featured on many of the mobile suits used by The Sleeves. One such unit was seen fighting against a RGM-89D Jegan during the Battle of Industrial 7. Some Zaku III units were also spotted on Earth in the same year, with one unit being piloted by the leader of an unknown group of Pirates who raided the Zeon remnant's base in New Guinea.
Notes & Trivia