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The Ark-class training ship is a fictional battlship from the Mobile Suit Gundam F91 anime movie.
Technology and Combat Characteristics
The technology and design of the Ark-class is a development variant of the Earth Federation Forces' Clop-class light cruiser. The overall design of the Clop-class was not extensively changed, rather it was retooled to be optimized for training purposes. This required little change to the hull, the most prominent is the removal of the radiator fins and half the secondary weapons.
The removal of the radiator fins, an iconic feature of the Clop-class, could be an indication that technology had advanced enough that the Ark-class did not need them to maintain the same level of fuel efficiency, which is supported by the fact that a descendant of the Clop-class, the Reinforce cruiser also lacks radiator fins. However it is also possible that the designers of the Ark-class believed that the ship would not be traveling the same distances as her combat ready cousins, thus it would be more cost-effective to spend a little extra on fuel than to add large and costly components.
With the removal of 8 secondary weapons turrets the Ark-class lost half of the anti-air combat capabilities of the Clop-class. In addition to the removal of those weapon turrets the profile of the design was altered further by moving the main anti-air batteries further up towards the bow. The reduction of weapons is another sign that the Ark-class is not a full combat ship, though it could serve as one. A logical explanation for this design is that with fewer weapons the Ark-class would require fewer gunners, or in this case most likely gunner trainees, thus could run with a smaller crew and decrease the expense of keeping the ship active.
Though its anti-air combat ability has been decreased from the Clop-class, the Ark-class's anti-ship combat abilities remain much of the same as it retains the pair of dual beam cannons and six missile launchers. The Ark-class also retains the single 4-mobile suit hanger design of the Clop-class.
- Two-Barrel Main Gun
- The main weapons of the Ark-class are a pair of 2-Barrel beam cannons situated on the port and starboard hull just under the mobile suit hanger. The guns are capable of pivoting up and down to increase their firing arc however their position still leaves the ship vulnerable to attacks from port and starboard.
- Two-Barrel Secondary Gun
- For anti-air defense the Ark-class is equipped with 6 two-barrel secondary guns. The guns are placed beneath the bridge tower with three on the starboard hull and three on the port hull.
- Missile Launcher
- The Ark-class is equipped with six missile launchers, and depending on the ordnance can used for anti-ship or anti-mobile suit combat.
In the year 0123 U.C., the Ark-class training ship, Space Ark was stationed at the Frontier 1 colony where its crew was striving to keep it hidden from Crossbone Vanguard scouting parties. Though the ship was captained by Leahlee Edaberry it fell under the command of Colonel Cosmo Eigesse, who desired to use the ship as the headquarters for a civilian resistance group against the Crossbone Vanguard. At this time the Space Ark served as the home for the as yet unfinished F91 Gundam F91. Throughout most of the war with the Crossbone Vanguard the Space Ark would remain hidden near the end of the Frontier 1 colony, occasionally moving to avoid detection, while launching its only two mobile suits, one RGM-109 Heavygun and, when it was completed, the F91 Gundam, to battle any enemy mobile suits that did find it.
When Annamarie Bourget defected to the Earth Federation, she did so to the captain of the Space Ark to whom she surrendered her XM-06 Dahgi Iris and vital information she had obtained about Iron Mask's goals. The crew of the Space Ark summarily repainted her mobile suit which she was allowed to continue piloting.
As the Crossbone Vanguard made their major offensive to take the Frontier 1 colony the Space Ark had no choice but to depart. However its crew avoided direct confrontation, leaving the fighting to the mobile suit pilots. Eventually the crew decided to paint large red crosses on the side of the ship and claim that they were a refugee rescue ship, which was true since the captain had decided the ship would pick up as many refugees as she could carry. This half-ruse/half-truth saved the Space Ark from being destroyed at the hands of Zabine Chareux and his Black Vanguard squadron.