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The MS-06D Desert Zaku is a mass-production desert combat mobile suit, it was first featured in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, the design was later updated and featured in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. The unit is piloted by Niki and Karahan.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
Sharing the same model number and a similar name the MS-06D Desert Zaku serves as an improved version of the MS-06D Zaku Desert Type. Featuring much of the same technology the Desert Zaku has been improved by redesigning the joints to include more sand filters and armor to block the sand of the desert. This equipment allows the Desert Zaku to be buried in the sand without the worry of sand clogging its equipment, thus allowing the unit to lie in wait for enemy forces and ambush them. The unit also features better power output, external propellant tanks on its backpack to carry extra thruster fuel, and additional shields for defense.
To improve mobility the Desert Zaku a pair of jet skis can be mounted on the units feet that allow the Desert Zaku to propel itself over the sand in a manner similar to a skier on snow.
- 60mm Vulcan Gun
- Mounted in the head, these shell firing weapons have a high-rate of fire but have little power and can't damage the thick armor of a mobile suit, though it can damage lightly armored areas such as the sensors. The weapons are ideal for shooting down small, fast moving, lightly armored targets such as missiles, small land vehicles, and attack helicopters.
- Shoulder Shield
- The shield is a simple defense used to block most incoming ballistic and explosive projectiles. Also used to great effect in close quarters battle with enemy mobile suits. The Desert Zaku mounts a shield on its right shoulder.
- 290mm Rocket launcher
- A handheld weapon seen only on the Desert Zaku, it fires rocket-propelled explosives at its target and can hold up to eight rounds in its magazine.
- M-120AS 120mm Machine Gun
- A machine gun developed for the Zaku Desert Type. Changes from the M-120A1 model include shortened barrel and stock, and omission of the scope. Its handling properties are improved through the reduction in weight.
- Cracker Grenade
- Basically a mobile suit sized hand grenade. Up to two of them can be stored in a compartment on its hip armor.
- Hand Grenade
- Throwing weapon used an alternative to the Cracker Grenade. These waist mounted grenades can be thrown like regular grenades and set to detonate upon impact with the target or timed to explode after a preset time. They come in multiple variants, allowing them to perform different roles in battle.
- 3-tube Missile Launcher
- A small missile launcher attached to the left forearm.
- Heat Hawk
- An axe-shaped close combat weapon, it uses a super-heated blade to cut through the armor of enemy MS or vehicles. The thermal energy is generated by the power output of the Zaku's thermonuclear reactor and relayed through the MS' hands.
Special Equipment & Features
- External Propellant Tank
- Attached to the unit's back are a set of propellant tanks intended to give the mobile suit longer use of its thrusters.
- Jet Ski
- To increase its mobility on land, the Desert Zaku can be equipped with a pair of Jet Ski's on its feet. When in use, they give the Zaku mobility on par with the Dom series. Each jet ski has its own propellant tank and a set of thrusters.
During U.C. 0088 a number of Desert Zakus would be deployed in North Africa by Zeon remnants led by Desert Rommel, these units would engage in guerrilla activity against the Earth Federation army in Africa, all the while stealing weapons and materials from nearby federal military bases. A few Desert Zakus would also land in the hands of the African Liberation Front rebel group, with one unit operating as part of their Blue Team and painted in their distinctive light-blue-on-blue colors. In U.C. 0096, at least one of these suits was used by Zeon remnants to attack the Federation's Torrington Base in combination with a MS-09F/trop Dom Tropen and a MS-09G Dwadge. Its group would later be destroyed by the regrouping Federation Forces during the Federation counterattack.