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List of Universal Century Weapons

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This is a list weapons used by most factions within the Universal Century (UC) timeline of the Gundam meta-series.

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.[1]

Mega-Particle

The fictional weaponry of the UC 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, Principality of Zeon researchers exploit this phenomenon to create the fearsome mega-particle cannon.[2]

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 Armors. This weapon fires a focused beam of massive, high-velocity mega-particles, which cannot be deflected by magnetic fields and tears through any conventional armor 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 armor which renders Laser weapons virtually useless unless having a laser device at least as big as a mobile suit, excluding the generator.[3]

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 Zeon's MS-05 Zaku I and MS-06 Zaku II were 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,[4] the Zanzibar class' new improved generator still takes 150 seconds to charge up.[5] 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 reduce 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 (turned into the FA-78-3 Full Armor 7th Gundam) 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 deadweight of the unit in these cases.[6]

M-Warhead

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.

Beam Rifle

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. Trenov Y. Minovsky who had fled Zeon and joined the Earth Federation in the early U.C. 0070s) developed the E-cap (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 Project V units) are equipped.

The limited capacity of the E-cap proved to be a significant shortcoming. The RX-78-2 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 (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 projectile weapons.

Zeon's beam weaponry research suffered great difficulties after Dr. Minovsky's defection, and was only able to use large Mobile Armors to 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 Gelgoog could use a beam weapon that is small and efficient enough to be installed on a mass production 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 MS Saga: A New Dawn.

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 RGM-79 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 armor of a Dom, which is said to be the most heavily armored unit throughout the OYW. 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-09B Dom and MSM-03 Gogg also 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 Aznable said 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 maneuverability.

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 Ζeta 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 C1 "Hummingbird".

Optional Parts

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 Radome device 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: the deadweight and high cost.[7]

Beam Saber

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 (as demonstrated in Mobile Suit Victory Gundam) or discarded as decoys (as first demonstrated in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory.)

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 Naginata, etc. Even a Beam Flag was created to be used as a signaling device.

The power output of the beam sabers used in the OYW (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-78-2 Gundam, was fighting one of Zeon's aces, Ramba Ral, he used his beam saber to cut into Ral's MS-07B Gouf and 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 Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team showed Shiro Amada altering the output of the beam saber to use it as a heating source in snow to create a hot bath.

I-Field Barrier

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. Most I-field applications of this type were used on mobile armors 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 armor MA-08 Big Zam. The I-field technology would later be utilized in other mobile armors, most notably the massive mobile armors AMX-002 Neue Ziel and RX-78GP03 Gundam "Dendrobium" during Operation Stardust. 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 XM-X3 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 LM314V21 Victory 2 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 diffracts all beam attacks with the dense Minovsky particle area around the suit.

Funnel and Bit

Towards the end of the OYW 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.

Funnel

A Funnel is essentially a 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.

Cultural Influence

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.[8]

Bit

Bit is fundamentally similar to funnel, except that a bit has it 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

Fin funnels, despite being 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.

Incom

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 Bro and MSN-02 Zeong during 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-002 Neue Ziel mobile armor fielded by the Delaz Fleet in U.C. 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 of Incom. A reflector/refractor incom can bend  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 are used for its 56MW Beam Smart Gun and 1 incom mounted on the head that can fire normal mega-particle beams. The Gundam Mk-V is another test unit that can use incoms. 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 Desides. Other than being the standard equipment of S Gundam belonging to the Task Force Alpha charged with suppression of Penzun rebellion, it is also present on Gundam Mk-V delivered to the hands of New Desides. Two Gundams equipped with incom crossed swords at the lunar city Ayers 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 Wolf used in the First Neo-Zeon War.

Fin-funnel Field

The energy shielding technology of the ν Gundam, sometimes called a Fin-funnel Field (also called a Beam Barrier or FFF), 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 Gundam ZZ to block the 50MW High Mega Cannon of the MSZ-010 ΖΖ Gundam by 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.[9]

Beam Shield

The first defensive application of beam saber technology was the beam barrier projected by 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 Ra Cailum-class Jeanne D'arc from Mobile Suit Victory Gundam and the Mother Vanguard from Mobile Suit 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 the F90V Gundam F90 VSBR Type, F91 Gundam F91, and later the LM314V24 Victory 2 Assault Gundam and LM314V23/24 V2 Assault-Buster 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 G-Saviour.

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: high-penetration mode and 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 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 have 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 being installed on a mobile suit were still expensive units, and thus still not common by U.C.0120. Kincade Nau of Crossbone Gundam manga, did manage to block a VSBR shot via use of both the beam zanber and a pair of beam shields to reduce its penetrate power. [10]

Generative Beam Rifle Device

The GBRD (Generative Beam Rifle Device) 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 the VSBR. However, while the VSBR is mounted on the suit and powered by the reactor of the MS, the GBRD is completely hand-carried and also has its own internal reactor.

Minovsky Drive

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 the Mother Vanguard. Making use of the beam shield installed on the ship, the ship can be propelled by a mechanism similar to the 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 involved 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 novelization of Mobile Suit Victory Gundam 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 1 km out from the drive. These beam wings have a similar destructive effect as a beam saber. A more advanced version is found on the Second Victory Gundam.

Another Minovsky Drive was created by the Strategic Naval Research Institute for their experimental F99 Record Breaker. Jupiter Empire also had made research into this field, thus created the EMS-TC02 Phantom Gundam from the stolen data of F99. However, because Jupiter did not have the resources to create a perfected Minovsky Drive, this resulted in an incomplete MS with the lack of balance between the two technologies and was abandoned as a failure.

Other Weapon Systems

Projectile Weapons

The earliest weaponry for mobile suits, projectile weapons are 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 autocannon, 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 autocannons), rifles and shotguns, to payload-carrying projectiles like rockets (multiple-shot bazookas and Panzerfausts), launcher grenades, missiles, cannons, and torpedoes. These weapons are basically upscaled version of real-life modern infantry weapons.

Heat Weapons

A unique class of melee weapons introduced by 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 MS-06 Zaku II's Heat Hawk (Heat Tomahawk), the Gouf's Heat Rod and the Heat Saber/Heat Sword used by the Goufs and the Dom. 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 OMS-07RF 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 OMSM-07RF RF Z'Gok uses Heat Claw for melee combat.

Electric Weapons

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 armor 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, 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.

Shot Lancer

A distinctive close combat weapon 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 Zon and remained a standard melee weaponry for many Crossbone Vanguard mobile suit models. Earth Federation Forces later adapted the idea into their RGM-122 Javelin during 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-S mobile suit. Not only can it be used in melee combat, but the entire device or its individual claws can also be launched like missiles.

Microwave Weapons

Rarely used in combat, microwave weapons are used as a non-lethal weapon to 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, nausea and diarrhea.

Biological warfare

Biological warfare refers to the use of any disease causing bacteria or virus found in nature. The effectiveness of these weapons is low when compared to nuclear and/or chemical weapons since a biological attack would take days to implement. Biological weapons are also very sensitive to heat, humidity, moisture, and other outside influences that can reduce or even eliminate the intended effect of such a weapon.

In the Gundam Universe biological weapons are known to have been used in the OYW, when the Principality of Zeon attacked Side 1, Side 2, and Side 4 at the start of hostilities.

Astaroth

Astaroth was a bioweapon developed on Earth by the Principality of Zeon, that accelerated and encouraged the proliferation of plant growth at extremely high levels. It was a weapon of slow, irreversible destruction that was designed with the objective of transforming the Earth into a giant, uninhabitable forest. During the events of Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story 0079: Rise From The Ashes video game, the "Astaroth" sample is completed at California Base and then transported to the Hughenden fortress in Australia. During the EFF attack on the base, The H.L.V. carrying the virus sample was destroyed by the White Dingo Team.

Some speculate that "Astaroth" was a ploy used by Zeon pilot Visch Donahue to get the H.L.V. of his men and equipment launched safely from the Hughenden H.L.V. base, and the Federation's focus on destroying the virus and heavy fighting in other areas was distraction enough for Walter Curtis' Staircase to the Moon plan (involving Zeon forces to retreat and gather in Africa) to be successful.

Superweapons

Solar System/Solar System II

Based on the weapon devised by ancient inventor Archimedes, the Solar System, also called Solar Flare System, is a superweapon developed by the Earth Federation which uses a system of mirrors to focus sunlight onto an object in order to heat it to the point of fracture. The Federation used this weapon twice, once during the One Year War and again during the Delaz Fleet crisis.

  • The Battle of Solomon: The Earth Federation deploys its 1st Solar System array at Solomon which decimates the base's Primary Gate and all ships and mobile suits docked there. During the battle, Dozle Zabi attempted to destroy the system but was killed by Amuro Ray. The weapon consists of four million individually adjustable mirrors that are controlled by computer-coordination.
  • Operation Stardust: The Federation's 3rd Orbital Fleet deploys the Solar System II in an effort to destroy the colony set on a collision course before it impacts Earth. Anavel Gato intervenes, destroying the Solar System II control ship, and as a result the Solar System II fails to prevent the colony drop. Thanks to improved materials and more sophisticated control software, it consists of only 408,000 mirrors resembling the shape of a plus sign, while retaining the destructive power of the first Solar System.

Solar Ray Cannon

Following the loss of Odessa and Solomon, the Zeon military was on the defensive. After witnessing the effectiveness of the Earth Federation's Solar System during the Battle of Solomon and fearing the Federation's next move would be a full-scale assault on the home colonies, Zeon's Supreme Commander Gihren Zabi ordered the construction of a massive solar powered beam projector known as the Solar Ray System. The project originally started in the Mahal colony in September 0079, exploiting the same loophole in the Antarctic Treaty as the Federation's Solar System. Supervised by Colonel Asakura, who also developed Zeon's lethal G3 nerve gas, solar batteries from other colonies were collected and a projection array was built within the colony walls. Although intended for use against the Federation this weapon was only used once against Degwin Sodo Zabi while his fleet and General Revil's fleet were meeting to negotiate a peace. The premature firing of the Solar Ray Cannon by Gihren Zabi caused the Colony Laser to burn out, which contributed to the Principality of Zeon's loss during the Battle of A Baoa Qu by depriving Gihren and Kycilla Zabi the ability to strike at the Federation from a distance.

In the novel adaptation of the series, the Solar Ray Cannon is fully functional and not only is it tested once, it's used twice during the Battle of A Baoa Qu, leading to the virtually mutual destruction of both sides and the obliteration of the asteroid base.

Gryps Colony Laser

Essentially a superior improvement of the Solar Ray Cannon. To punish rebellious colonies without resorting to conventional invasion or the use of chemical weapons, Section 2 of the Gryps Colony was converted into a massive laser cannon. Unlike the Solar Ray Cannon, which burned out after firing, the Gryps Colony Laser can fire indefinitely, although its primary flaws were the time-consuming process of recharging between shots and the fact that it was a ponderously slow and huge (but resilient) target. Power is supplied by an array of solar panels, whilst a thermonuclear pulse thruster provides a limited degree of mobility. It was first used by the Titans to destroy Colony 18 of Side 2, and later captured by the AEUG and used to eradicate the remnants of the Titans. The Colony Laser was destroyed following the conclusion of "Operation Maelstrom" and the end of the Gryps Conflict. However, by U.C. 0096, it was rebuilt and renamed Gryps II Colony Laser and was used to fire on Industrial 7.

References

  1. MS Encyclopedia 2003, ISBN / 4-84-022339-4, Mediaworks, Mar, 2003.
  2. [New MS Encyclopedia, ISBN / 4-89189-050-9, Bandai, 1st Oct, 1988.]
  3. New MS Encyclopedia Ver. 3.0, ISBN / 4-89189-225-0, Bandai, 30th Jun, 1991.
  4. Gundam Century, Minori, 22nd Sep, 1981.
  5. Char Deleted Affairs
  6. Gundam Century Renewal Version, ISBN / 4-87777-028-3, Kisousha, 15th Mar, 2000.
  7. 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)
  8. Gizmodo Japan
  9. [MS Encyclopedia, ISBN / 4-89189-336-2, Bandai, 10th Feb, 1988.]
  10. MS Encyclopedia 98, ISBN / 4-07-308519-0, Mediaworks, 15th May, 1998.
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