Technology & Combat Characteristics
Based upon Orb's Izumo-class battleship, the Archangel-class mobile assault ship was jointly developed by the Atlantic Federation of the Earth Alliance and Orb's Morgenroete. The first ship of the class, the LCAM-01XA Archangel, was created to support the five prototype mobile suits developed under the G Project, and during operations, it was meant to deploy the GAT-X102 Duel Gundam and GAT-X103 Buster Gundam, Lieutenant Mu La Flaga's TS-MA2mod.00 Moebius Zero mobile armor, and two TS-MA2 Moebius mobile armors for defense, while the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam, GAT-X303 Aegis Gundam, and GAT-X207 Blitz Gundam took the battle to the enemy.
Besides the capacity to carry at least 8 mobile weapons, the Archangel-class is also capable of providing fire support during combat. Like the Izumo-class, it is armed with positron blaster cannons, beam cannons, CIWS, and several missile launchers, but it also has a pair of linear cannons not found on the former. This makes the class more powerfully armed than the other ships used by the Earth Alliance at that point in time, such as the Nelson-class battleship and Agamemnon-class carrier.
The Archangel-class also featured laminated armor for better protection against beam weaponry, ablative gel dispensers for protection against the heat of atmospheric entry and a number of multipurpose launchers for deploying flares, anti-beam depth charges, etc. With the use of extensive automation, the Archangel-class can be operated even by a handful of crew members. In terms of operating environment, the Archangel-class can travel in space, in the air and on water. After the First Alliance-PLANT War, the LCAM-01XA Archangel has the added ability to submerge and cruise underwater. Lastly, a tender vessel, the Cornelius-class was designed to specifically support the Archangel-class ships.
- "Lohengrin" Positron Blaster Cannon
- The most powerful weapon of the Archangel-class are two "Lohengrin" positron blaster cannons, which are retractable and mounted inside the two front "legs" of the ship, directly below the launch-bays and the hangar.
- "Gottfried Mk.71" 225cm Dual High-Energy Beam Cannon
- The only other beam weapon carried by Archangel-class ships are two "Gottfried Mk.71" 225cm dual high-energy beam cannons, which like the ones of the Izumo-class ships, are rotatable and the cannon barrels are movable. The beam cannons are retractable and mounted on top of the two "legs", providing defensive capabilities while mobile suits are launched.
- "Igelstellung" 75mm Automatic Multi-Barrel CIWS
- The Archangel-class is armed with an array of 16 "Igelstellung" 75mm automatic multi-barrel CIWS guns that are used to intercept incoming missiles or lightly armored Mobile Weapons. The CIWS guns are movable to shoot down targets from several directions.
- "Valiant Mk.8" 110cm Linear Cannon
- At the back of the ship, on each side, mounts a single "Valiant Mk.8" 110cm linear cannon, which are retracted when not in use. It could operate underwater after the Archangel was altered and was effective against underwater MS and submarines.
- Surface-to-air Missile Launcher
- The Archangel-class ships have 16 surface-to-air missile launchers located at the rear of the bridge tower. These launchers are loaded with small, short range "Helldart" anti-aircraft missiles, which are generally ineffective at damaging targets with phase-shift armor, but useful for intercept incoming missiles and the likes.
- Surface-to-ship Missile Launcher
- 24 surface-to-ship missile launchers are located in the stern sections of the Archangel-class ship that project backwards behind its dorsal wings and directly above its engines. These launchers house the larger missiles such as "Sledgehammer" anti-ship missiles, "Korinthos M114" anti-air missiles and "Wombat" atmospheric missiles. When fired, these missiles normally perform a 180° turn in a wide arc around the side of the ship and then forward towards their target.
Special Equipment & Features
- Ablative Gel
- A special heat-absorbing gel the Archangel-class ship uses to protect itself from the heat of atmospheric entry. This substance evaporates away as the ship descends, so it must be continually replenished by the gel dischargers on the underside of the hull.
- Anti-Beam Depth Charge
- Defensive devices which can be fired from the multipurpose launchers distributed around the hull of the Archangel and other space warships. They detonate between the ship itself and the enemy vessels, creating a cloud of beam-absorbing particles which temporarily decrease the energy of incoming beams. However, the particles have the same effect on the beam weapons of the ship which deployed the depth charges, so they aren't appropriate for all tactical situations.
- Laminated Armor
- The outer hull of the Archangel-class ship is made up of a single piece of laminated armor, which protects the ship from beam shots by dissipating their energy across the entire surface of the ship. This enables the ship to survive several direct hits from beam weapons, but because the beam energy is converted to heat, the armor can be fatally damaged when the accumulated energy overloads the ship's heat management systems.
- Plasma Booster
- A reusable external booster designed to help Orb's Izumo-class warships launch into space. Once the vessel has reached the desired velocity, the plasma boosters detach and return independently to Earth. The Archangel, which shares many design elements with the Izumo class, is able to use these boosters when it launches into space from the Orb Union.
First Alliance-PLANT War
The first ship of the class, the Archangel was created at Orb's resource satellite Heliopolis, where it was rolled out on January 25, CE 71, under less than ideal circumstances: it was in response to ZAFT attacking Heliopolis with the intention of stealing or destroying both the Earth Alliance's newest warship (the Archangel) and the G-Weapons. Most of the primary crew of the Archangel were killed during the initial siege, which included the pilots of the G-weapons, leaving only a few lower-ranking officers and mechanics to operate the ship. As being the highest-ranking officers present, Lieutenant (later Lt. Commander) Murrue Ramius captained the ship while Natarle Badgiruel acted as the ship's Executive Officer (XO). ZAFT succeeded in stealing four of the five prototypes and destroying two Moebius mobile armors, and although the Archangel survived the initial assault, it was left with only the Strike mobile suit and Lieutenant La Flaga's Moebius Zero to defend herself. It was with the aid of Kira Yamato piloting the Strike and Mu La Flaga's Moebius Zero that the Archangel escaped Heliopolis, and began its frantic trek to the Atlantic Federation Headquarters, carrying civilian refugees along the way. The ship's main pursuers, the Le Creuset Team, would continue to trail the ship after their encounter at Heliopolis, in an attempt to sink the ship and/or the Strike.
After the warship pitted at the Eurasian Base Artemis and passed through the Debris Belt, the Archangel linked up with Admiral Halburton's 8th Fleet in Earth Orbit. She took on-board two FX-550 Skygrasper fighters, which were compatible with the Strike's Striker Packs, while most of the civilian refugees disembarked from the ship before its descent to Earth. On Earth, the ship plotted a course for the Atlantic Federation Base JOSH-A, which would take her through the ZAFT-controlled African Desert, across the Red Sea, through Southern Asia, and into Orb Territory. At Orb, the ship refueled and restocked for its final march towards Alaska. However, en route to the Alaskan Base, the Archangel lost the Strike and one Skygrasper in combat, but would recapture the Buster and defeat both the Aegis and Blitz.
Arriving at JOSH-A, the Archangel would be partially supplied while some of its crew was reassigned: Natarle Badgiruel, Flay Allster, and Mu La Flaga were among the officers reassigned. However, ZAFT's attack on JOSH-A led the ship to protect the base's main gate, and prompted Mu La Flaga to return and defend the Archangel. Escaping the ensuing explosion generated from the base's Cyclops System, the Archangel added the stolen ZAFT mobile suit ZGMF-X10A Freedom to its complement, piloted by former Strike pilot Kira Yamato. After the Battle at Alaska, the ship returned to Orb, again for needed resupply and repairs. But with the sequential fall of Panama Spaceport and the ongoing battle at Orb occurring closely thereafter, the Archangel returned to space via Onogoro's Mass Driver, accompanied by the Orb Union's Kusanagi and adding both the restored Strike, now piloted by Mu La Flaga, and the Freedom's sister unit, the ZGMF-X09A Justice, piloted by Athrun Zala. Now labelled as a renegade ship by the Alliance, the Archangel joined with the Kusanagi and the ZAFT renegade ship Eternal, led by Lacus Clyne, to form the Three Ships Alliance in the wake of the war's escalation.
During this time, a second Archangel-class ship was built: the Earth Alliance/Blue Cosmos flagship, Dominion, commanded by Lt. Commander Natarle Badgiruel. Stocked with many GAT-01 Strike Dagger units, as well as the GAT-X131 Calamity, the GAT-X252 Forbidden, and the GAT-X370 Raider, the ship makes its debut on June 18 at the Mendel colony, with the singular primary task of destroying its elder ship, the Archangel. Both ships fought against one another at the Battle of Mendel, with the outcome being a stalemate and the Dominion retreating back to the lunar base. While the Archangel resupplied and prepared for the final battle, the Dominion led the Earth Alliance in a successful nuclear strike against ZAFT's base at Boaz. Both ships would once more ultimately battle when the Dominion led a subsequent nuclear attack on the PLANT's, which prompted the Archangel, along with the Kusanagi and Eternal, to intercept the fleet at the Second Battle of Jachin Due on September 26. During this climatic fight, not only did the Dominion lose the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider in battle, the Dominion herself was destroyed by the Archangel's Lohengrin. While the ship itself was severely damaged in its fight with the Dominion, the Archangel also lost the Justice and Strike in combat, and retrieved the massively crippled Freedom. With the war over, the ship returned to Orb for prolonged maintenance and ship repairs.
Second Alliance-PLANT War
After the war, the Archangel was repaired and hidden in a secret hangar at Orb and was upgraded to be both an amphibious and submersible vehicle. Its crew had since been adopted to the Orb military and assumed aliases while living in the country. After a failed attack by ZAFT commandos in CE 73, the Archangel left the facility, and its mobile suit complement at this point was the restored Freedom piloted by Kira Yamato, the MBF-02 Strike Rouge piloted by Cagalli Yula Athha, and a custom MVF-M11C Murasame, a new transformable mobile suit piloted by Andrew Waltfeld. Later that year, the Archangel intervened in battles between the ZAFT battleship LHM-BB01 Minerva and a joint Earth Alliance/Orb Union task force near the Dardanelles and again off the coast of Crete. After the second battle, six more MVF-M11C Murasame from the Orb aircraft carrier Takemikazuchi defected to the Archangel.
However, shortly after the exposure of the shady group 'LOGOS' being the true warmongers of human civilization, ZAFT issued orders to destroy the Archangel, called Operation: "Angel Down". Being pursued by a team under Commander Willard and ultimately the LHM-BB01 Minerva, its mainstay mobile suit the Freedom was destroyed by the ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam, and its outer hull was damaged by the LHM-BB01 Minerva's Tannhäuser main cannon.
The Archangel returned to Orb, and was repaired at a secret Morgenroete facility before ZAFT's attack on Orb (codenamed "Operation Fury"). Soon after she was repaired, she engaged the LHM-BB01 Minerva once again, but with the support of Neo Roanoke and his FX-550 Skygrasper.
During the invasion of Orb by ZAFT, the Archangel was forced to engage the LHM-BB01 Minerva head on in order to defend Orb against ZAFT attacks. With both ships fairly evenly matched, Capt. Ramius decided to submerge the Archangel into the water to break free from the LHM-BB01 Minerva's relentless pursuit (realizing that once the ship was under water, the Archangel was virtually unchallenged in terms of firepower because all the beam weapons from the LHM-BB01 Minerva cannot hit targets underwater). The Archangel then proceeded to fire the Valiant linear cannons against the LHM-BB01 Minerva which was still hovering above the water's surface. Afterwards, the Archangel destroyed ZAFT support ships and submarines (including the St. Helens which was the flagship of Operation Fury) one by one with torpedoes and forced a total retreat of all ZAFT forces.
After the Battle of Onogoro, the Archangel was assigned to Orb's 2nd Space Fleet, and made its way to the Moon for an intelligence mission. After the mission was completed, the Archangel was joined by three Izumo-class battleships, including the Kusanagi and headed for ZAFT's Mobile Space Fortress Messiah, where it fought in the last battle of the Second Alliance-PLANT War.
Notes & Trivia
- The Archangel and Dominion are named after angelic ranks in Christian cosmology. Interestingly, in Christian angelic hierarchy, the ranks are divided into three "spheres"; archangels belong to the first sphere, and dominions to the second; it is therefore possible that had a third ship of the class been produced (or more), its name would have been that of one of the ranks in the third sphere: seraphim, cherubim, or ophanim.
- ZAFT's nickname for the Archangel is the "legged ship".
- The name of the positron blaster cannons, "Lohengrin", is a reference to Richard Wagner's opera of the same name.
- Although not used in Gundam SEED Destiny, it is known that the Archangel's "Lohengrin" positron blaster cannons still exist as it was mentioned that the crew wanted to attack the Destroy Gundam with it, but its use would cause damage to the environment and Berlin itself.
- In SD Gundam G Generation Advance, a third, non-canon, Archangel battleship is introduced, the Archangel Kai. Captained by Natarle Badgiruel, it is made part of the Titans fleet and, like its Dominion counterpart, it is sunk in battle. The Archangel Kai is, for all intents and purposes, just the Archangel, but for the enemy. The reason for the Archangel Kai's inclusion is unknown, though it is most likely because the Game Boy Advance couldn't handle another large graphic that was supposedly intended for the Dominion, thus the reusing of the normal Archangel.
- In Phase 44 The Archangel's starboard Gottfried was destroyed in battle with the Dominion, however in Phase 45 the damage had been repaired despite the fact that only a few hours had passed within the series. This is possibly an oversight by production staff.
- The Archangel-class is very similar to that of the Pegasus-class starship. White Base, that belonged to the Universal Century timeline. It is one of the many shout outs to the original Mobile Suit Gundam series.
- The CIWS weapon of Archangel-class is German for "hedgehog".
- For the Archangel to be able to submerge and travel underwater, functioning and navigating like most submarines, it likely have improved pressure resistance. Pressure underwater increases by 1 atmosphere every 10 meters, while a spacecraft must withstand at most 1 atmosphere of pressure