A mobile weapon is the generic term used to describe vehicles that incorporate technology typically found in mobile suits, as opposed to conventional vehicles such as tanks, planes, and ships. The term "mobile weapon" can be used to describe any vehicle fitting that definition (such as mobile suits and mobile armors) but is typically only used when referring to more than one type simultaneously or when it is difficult to label a vehicle as a specific sub-type.
Mobile Weapon Types Overview
Most mobile weapons fall under one of four categories: Mobile Pods, the most simplistic type of mobile weapon; Mobile Suits (MS), the more popular and iconic type of mobile weapon; Mobile Armors (MA), larger non-human counterparts to mobile suits; and Transformable Mobile Weapons, which traditionally can switch between an MS-mode and an MA-mode. Note: there are others, however, that do not conform fully to one of these categories.
The mobile pod is the predecessor of the mobile suit, simpler machines consisting of a main body frame, usually spherical, with attached manipulator hands and a number of thrusters along the body. Mobile pods typically have poor performance compared to other mobile weapons, but occasionally see use due to the fact that they tend to be cheap and easily constructed. The most popular mobile pod is the RB-79 Ball from the Universal Century timeline, appearing primarily in the original Mobile Suit Gundam.
Mobile Suits (MS) are the most popular and most numerous type of mobile weapon. They are humanoid combat vehicles, typically employing two arms to deploy weapons, two legs for propulsion, and a head that acts as a main camera and sometimes houses a secondary weapon that acts as a rotating turret (with the head itself providing the rotation). Typically speaking, a mobile suit is approximately 60 feet in height, with a cockpit located in the unit's torso. However, exceptions are not uncommon; units that are much larger or slightly smaller are not unheard of, and occasionally the cockpit is located in the head or (in semi-rare cases) the crotch, as well. The name "mobile suit" is believed to be a combination of the terms "Mobile Infantry" and "powered armor suit" from the Robert A. Heinlein book Starship Troopers. Different terms exist to differentiate mobile suits from ordinary space suits used to protect individuals in vacuum; for example, Universal Century makes reference to "normal suits" or "pilot suits", while After Colony uses the term "astrosuit".
Though the exact development process behind the creation of mobile suits varies by timeline, they are generally used for their versatility, with many models being usable in a wide variety of environments; from inside space colonies to open space, across all parts of Earth, and even occasionally underwater or in mid-air.
Mobile suits are typically deployed in a fashion similar to modern-day tanks or aircraft. Working in groups, they are often organized into teams consisting of three to five units, though larger formations in major battles are not unknown. Typically teams are homogeneous, consisting of a single unit type, but may sometimes be composed of complimenting unit types (e.g. a close-combat unit type and a fire support unit type). The latter is most common in teams with high-performance units and experienced pilots.
Universal Century Mobile Suits
In the Universal Century timeline, the phrase "Mobile SUIT" (MS in short) is an acronym for Mobile Space Utility Instrumental Tactical. While this definition has since been officially endorsed by Sunrise, it is a backronym that originated from a semi-official guide book called Gundam Century.
In the Universal Century timeline, two main technological advancements led to the creation of the mobile suit: the AMBAC (Active Mass Balance Auto Control) technology, and the Minovsky particle. The original AMBAC prototype only had two large limbs (instead of the four that later suits would have), but moving those limbs allowed it near-thrusterless maneuverability in space by changing its center of mass. This led to a revolution in space warfare tactics. Another revolution would follow the development of a type of nuclear fusion reactor designed by Dr. T.Y. Minovsky. Not only could his nuclear reactor be shrunk down to the size of a quartet of refrigerators, but it also produced a unique subatomic particle called the Minovsky particle. These particles could block out certain types of radiation, including radar and radio signals. This would hamper space combat over large distances and force modern combat back down to the visual range. The first prototype mobile suit would be the MS-01, while the first mass-produced model would be the MS-05 Zaku I. The most famous mobile suit is the second prototype model RX-78-2 Gundam piloted by Amuro Ray in the first series, Mobile Suit Gundam.
Mobile suit design in the UC universe follows two lineages - the Gundam line and the Zaku line. Zaku type mobile suits are "fatter" than Gundam type mobile suits, though neither is necessarily faster or more maneuverable than the other; it's largely a matter of body styling and design. Zaku-derived mobile suits tend to have a mono-eye sensor and a more bulky, "slouchy" design than Gundam-derived suits; more of a "soldier" appearance to the Gundam's "superhero" look. This is due to a difference in design philosophies - Zeon manufacturers designed mobile suits by creating an external shell, and then fitting components within, while the Federation designed mobile suits by creating an internal skeletal structure and then fitting components and armor to the support structure, a philosophy eventually fully realized in the creation of moveable frame construction. Over the years, advancement in mobile suit technology, materials science, and design philosophies (such as the Formula initiative) resulted in the reduction of overall weight and scale of mobile suits, rendering them lighter and more efficient, and by the early U.C. 150s, vastly more powerful than their predecessors.
After War Mobile Suits
In 1996's After War Gundam X, mobile suits were the main weapons of both the United Nations Earth and the Space Revolutionary Army. After the 7th Space War ended with a massive colony drop, which brought the Earth to a post-apocalypse state, a large number of these mobile suits remain on Earth and many are taken by civilians for personal use. These includes powerful Gundam type mobile suits used by the UNE during 7th Space War, which are rare and highly valued machines. In addition, new mobile suit models continue to be developed by the Space Revolutionary Army and the newly formed New United Nations Earth.
After Colony Mobile Suits
In 1995's New Mobile Report Gundam W, the first mobile suit was the OZ-00MS Tallgeese, a high-powered prototype unit built in After Colony 170. This prototype unit was considered too powerful for mass production (and for most pilots to handle), and was later redesigned into the more average-performing mass-production OZ-06MS Leo. The researchers who worked on the Tallgeese then defected to the Space Colonies, designing a mobile suit that would outperform the Tallgeese on all levels: the Wing Gundam Zero. However the project was canned not only because it was deemed too powerful due to its Twin Buster Rifle, which at full power could destroy a colony, but due to its operating system, codenamed the ZERO System, which could turn a pilot into the perfect pilot by sampling their thoughts and giving them visions of possible outcomes. It would however decrease mental stability, making the pilot insane, and only a truly skilled pilot could handle the system. The five scientists believed the type of power the Wing Zero had wasn't necessary to attain peace. With each taking a copy of the plans of the Wing Zero, each of the researchers fled to a different colony, and developed each of the five Gundam suits independently that were based on the plans: Wing Gundam, Deathscythe, Heavyarms, Sandrock, and Shenlong.
Another line of mobile suit in the After Colony era is the G-UNIT. Developed at MO-V, the G-UNIT was based on information gathered from the first five Gundams. G-UNIT Gundams look like basic mobile suits when compared to the original five Gundams, but this makes them much more versatile. G-UNIT Gundams are also able to be equipped with additional parts to improve their performance. Another feature that is applied to G-UNIT Gundams is the PX system. The PX system increases the machine's performance, and also forces the pilot's brain to have hormones produced, namely epinepherine/adrenaline, to increase his/her combat ability. Since it puts stress on both the MS and the brain, the PX system can only be used for a short time (about 65 seconds was the max for Odin's PX System) before damage can be done. The first G-UNIT Gundams are OZX-GU01A Gundam Geminass 01 and OZX-GU02A Gundam Geminass 02.
Cosmic Era Mobile Suits
In the Cosmic Era timeline, the first mobile suit, the YMF-01B Proto GINN, was rolled out in CE 65, while the first production mobile suit, the ZGMF-1017 GINN, entered production two years later. The Earth Alliance begins mobile suit development in CE 69 with the "G Series" (the Gundam mobile suits), and development culminates with the rollout of five Gundam prototypes on 20 January CE 71. The first Earth Alliance mass-production mobile suit, the GAT-01 Strike Dagger, rolls out late in the war just before the Battle of Porta Panama.
The Earth Alliance's development of the G Series mobile suits was aided by Morgenroete Incorporated, a semi-nationalized munitions company based in the neutral country, Orb Union. The company however had an ulterior motive for doing so, it wanted to steal the technology behind the machines so that they could be used to produce mobile suit to protect Orb against the Alliance and ZAFT. The company was somewhat successful: it managed to obtain the technological details of the Alliance's beam weapons (Beam saber, Beam rifle, etc.), but not the secrets behind Phase Shift Armor. The company then proceeded on mobile suit development of its own for Orb's use, code named Astray. Five prototypes were developed: the Gold Frame, the Red Frame, the Blue Frame, the Green Frame and a fifth unit. The data from the development of these units were then used to create Orb's mass-production mobile suit, the M1 Astray.
Postwar MS development continues apace on both sides, with the Alliance developing the Dagger L and then the more advanced Windam mobile suits, while ZAFT develop the GuAIZ R, followed by the ZAKU lines and the GOUF Ignited. Both sides heavily utilize Striker Pack technology after the war, which allows a single mobile suit to fulfill multiple roles. In addition, ZAFT made several breakthroughs in the design of transforming mobile suits, developing MS that are capable of transforming between an all-purpose mobile suit form and a specialized mobile armor form.
Correct Century (Seireki) Mobile Suits
In 1999's Turn A Gundam, the technology on Earth has regressed back to that of early-20th century, and in some cases, even to pre-industrial levels. The Militia, which is Earth's defense against the invading Moonrace, had biplanes, jeeps, and tanks as its main war vehicles. However, in certain locations of the world, called Mountain Cycles, ancient mobile suits are buried, protected from deterioration and decay by regenerative nanomachines called Nano-skin. These mobile suits are said to be relics from the Dark History, and when the first Militia mobile suit, the Turn A Gundam, is uncovered from a statue called the White Doll, the Militia begins searching through these mountain cycles and discovering more and more mobile suits. These uncovered mobile suits become the backbone of the Militia and allow to produce them the war between it and the Moonrace, which has never lost its mobile suit technology, to proceed on a more even scale. Later, the Moonrace also begins searching through mountain cycles on both the Earth and the Moon, and a menagerie of both low-tech and high-tech mobile weapons from various ages of the lost past are eventually fielded by both sides.
Future Century Mobile Suits
In 1994's Mobile Fighter G Gundam, mobile suits are very common much as airplanes are in the early 21st century. Their development began even before mankind left the Earth for Space Colonies. However, what is special about G Gundam's timeline is the presence of advanced mobile suits called Mobile Fighters. Using the Mobile Trace System, these mobile fighters mimic the movements of their pilots, making them very effective for close-ranged martial arts combat.
Anno Domini Mobile Suits
In 2007's Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the mobile suit is a technology that had its roots traced back to Aeolia Schenberg, which is historically credited as the inventor because of some concepts he introduced. It shares a brotherly relationship with the Orbital Elevators, of which is also designed by Aeolia. Because the construction of the elevators spans several different environments, there is a need to develop a machine that can work in these environments. From this requirement, the work loader was born which was given a humanoid form in order to improve its usability (more precisely, the application of "arms" and "legs"). The Solar Energy Wars which involved pro and anti elevator factions, involved the protection of the Orbital Elevator. As protection of the Orbital Elevators requires a machine to be able to work in different environment, work loader thus evolves into a weapon and such weapon with a humanoid form is called mobile suit. As time progresses, many military weapons were discarded in favor of the mobile suit due to its high performance in many fields although they are exceptions such as aerial recon and naval activities.
Mobile suits are typically designed to be in a range of 15 to 20 meters, this is because this is the best height range for best movement around the elevators. Another reason for the effectiveness of mobile suit is because of their ability to use thick E-Carbon armor easily due to their size. Their size allows them to withstand the considerable weight of the armor. To destroy such armor requires very destructive weapons and this result in upsizing of weapons. The result is only MS can use such weapons, thus the unwritten rule that only mobile suit can defeat mobile suit is born.
One large revolution in mobile suits comes from GN Particle technology. Initially, these technology was exclusive to Celestial Being and is a big advantage for them, however the technology eventually made its hands to the world authorities due to a traitor. Initially these highly advanced suits are kept completely secret from the public, but eventually the ESF government reveals them, albeit only what they want the public to know and still in a restrictive manner. The relationship between the GN-X and the Gundams is never revealed. The mass production of these GN mobile suits is delayed for awhile up to three years with the official reason being parliamentary approval, however the true reason are because of the time they are taking to understand GN technology more as well as the setting up of the production system. Other limitations include their incompatibility with current storage/preparation facilities as well as their high cost. The advent of GN technology also have some regular mobile suits being equipped with GN technology, such as MSJ-06III-A Tieren All Region Type and the CBNGN-003 (SVMS-01AP) Union Flag Celestial Being Version.
By the 2360s, most mobile suits models of the early 2300s no longer exist.
Mobile Armors (MA) are similar to mobile suits in technology and operation, but vary tremendously in design. Mobile armors are almost always significantly larger than mobile suits, and non-humanoid in appearance as well. Due to their larger size, they frequently equip more powerful energy sources than other vehicles of the same era, giving them the ability to mount more energy-intensive equipment such as large directed-energy weapons or powerful defensive systems. Their large size also makes them capable of using equipment that is too bulky to fit into mobile suits.
Because of the increased cost of building a mobile armor as compared to a mobile suit, they are rarely deployed in large numbers. They are usually operated as solo units, with tactics more closely resembling those of a warship than a mobile suit. However, exceptions have been known to occur, and groups of mobile armors operating in conjunction are extremely effective.
It is worth noting that the mobile armors of the Cosmic Era timeline are divided into two groups. While some mobile armors fit the description given here, conventional space fighters such as the Mistral and the Moebius are also referred to as "mobile armors", leading to possible confusion. The information in this section does not apply to those vehicles.
Universal Century Mobile Armors
In the Universal Century timeline, Mobile ARMOR (MA in short) is an acronym for All Range Maneuverability Offence Utility Reinforcement. While this definition has since been officially endorsed by Sunrise, it originated from a semi-official guide book called Gundam Century. In addition, the acronym does not seem to be a particularly accurate description of mobile armors, as they rarely display "all range" capabilities (instead tending to be specialized to very specific environments) and are almost always employed as independently-operating juggernauts, rather than as "reinforcement" for mobile suits. Considering the term "all range" is also used to describe the use of bits and funnels, it might meant MAs can attack on many directions. However, MAs rarely have this ability (Braw Bro, Elmeth, Dendrobium Orchis, Neue Ziel, Psyco Gundam, etc. being the exceptions) therefore, this is also not a very accurate explanation.
Originally, Mobile Armors were built to compete with Mobile Suits (MS). While Zeonic Co. was building MS as the next generation of mobile weapons for Zeon before the One Year War, the rival company MIP was developing MA. However, MIP lost the competition, and MAs were never mass-produced. Later, both Zimmad (another rival company which later developed the famous MS-09 Dom) and MIP became sub-contractors of Zeonic Co. and assisted in the mass-production of Mobile Suits.
In general, a mobile armor is a unit emphasizing generator power output so that it can support a Mega Particle Cannon: this series of model include the test type model MA-04X Zakrello and the mass production models MA-05 Bigro and MA-06 Val Varo. In Gundam Officials (the ultimate UC guide book) and various settings announced, MAs should have at least two of the following performance compared to the other mobile weapons within the same time frame:
- High mobility (high acceleration or high terminal velocity in atmospheric/subsuface conditions)
- High maneuverability (having high ability to turn and aim)
- High fire power (usually means carrying different types of weapon for various enemies or high power mega beam weapon.)
- Strong defence (usually I-Field generators)
However, most MAs in the One Year War did not meet the above requirements. For example, the Bigro have worse acceleration, maneuverbility and defence (due to worse metallurgy technology of the Zeon side) compare to RGM-79 GM and this should be a better design over the Zakrello. The only MA that should have met all the requirements in the One Year War should be the Val Varo appearing in the series 0083. MAs after 0079 have better performance but almost none were produced in great number and most considered to be testing platform for new technologies. Due to their high costs, MAs remained as experimental units or limited production ones during the One Year War like the Zakrello and Bigro. Another draw back of MAs is, they can only do combat missions because some do not have humanoid arms or too large in size to complete certain tasks. Mobile suits, however, can be used for construction work or carry ammunition and materials over short distances in a ship or a base.
A mobile armor is usually non-humanoid, and is usually much larger and more powerful than contemporary mobile suits: the MA-08 Big Zam exemplifies the typical traits of a mobile armor. However, the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam's non-humanoid mode is not considered a mobile armor; instead it's designated as a "Wave Rider". Most TMS in the Zeta project only have a Wave Rider form (with the exception of the MSZ-008 ZII), and are not considered to be mobile armors. These mobile suits are designated VMSAWRS (usually with the S's and R decapitalized as VMsAWrs for unknown reasons.) for "Variable Mobile Suit And Wave Rider System".
Cosmic Era Mobile Armors
In the Cosmic Era timeline, mobile armors are non-humanoid units employed by the Earth Alliance forces. Early mobile armors were essentially small space fighters, and were vastly outclassed by ZAFT's mobile suits: on average, it would take five TS-MA2 Moebius units to equally match a single ZGMF-1017 GINN. However, in the sequel TV series Gundam SEED Destiny, larger MAs equipped with powerful positron reflector shields are used, such as the YMAG-X7F Gells-Ghe. These units more closely resemble the MAs used in the UC timeline, with their huge size, overwhelming firepower, and ability to resist attack.
Anno Domini Mobile Armors
Mobile Armors in Anno Domini are seen as early as the 4th Solar Conflict, along with mobile suits. The mobile armors in this time-line mostly appear as either an extended part of, or docked with mobile suits, although some mobile armors can be operated on their own.
In the 24th century, Mobile Armors were considered obsolete and went out of use. However, the terrorist group La Eden used mobile armors such as the MAJ-03 Shuichai as part of their plan to get Celestial Being to stand down. The AEU also gives Ali al-Saachez the massive Mobile Armor Agrissa which docks with his Custom Enact Agrissa Type.
In the year 2307 mobile armors will begin to appear on the battlefield again with three new GN powered models being fielded, two by Celestial Being and one by the UN Forces that is piloted by Alejandro Corner. These mobile armors are similar to others of this time-line in that they are operated from a docked mobile suit, however other than that they are considerable more powerful. The GN Arms type E and type D of Celestial Being dock with Exia and Dynames respectively dramatically increasing their firepower and speed. The GNMA-XCVII Alvatore lacked speed and maneuverability, but made up for it with overwhelming firepower and GN field powered by 7 GN Drives that make the machine more of a mobile fortress.
In AD 2312 a new series of mobile armors is developed by the A-Laws and the Innovators. These new units are distinguishable for not only their inhuman form but also from how they are powered by multiple GN Drives. The first mobile armor would be the newly developed aquatic mobile armors of the A-Laws. The GNMA-04B11 Trilobite while fast under the water and had an impressive load of torpedoes did not seem to be a particularly powerful fighter, having little in the way of weapons or defenses. The Innovators GNMA-Y0001 Empress matches the listed characteristics of a mobile armor from the UC time-line being a very fast and maneuverable mobile weapon possessing a strong offensive attack and defensive GN field. Celestial Being also develops a small group of supporting mobile armor, which work as support units for the Gundams.
Mobile Armors created before and after the advent of GN technology are actually different weapons should be classified under different names, but are still collectively known as "mobile armors" in spite of the differences. Further development down the line may result in two different names for the weapons.
Transformable Mobile Weapons
Transformable Mobile Weapons are mobile weapons with multiple configurations that allow them to change their basic design based on the tactical situation at hand. Typically, these configurations are limited to a standard Mobile Suit mode, where the unit acts as a normal mobile suit (often called "Transformable Mobile Suits"), and a mode which features increased speed and greater protection for vital parts at the cost of flexibility and firepower, appearing similar to a conventional space fighter, atmospheric craft, or Mobile Armor. Many exceptions exist, however, and virtually any combination of modes is possible, though it is very rare for a transformable mobile weapon to have more than two modes.
Transformable mobile weapons can be deployed in a manner similar to either mobile suits or mobile armors, depending on their specific capabilities. However, their transformation mechanisms tend to make them expensive to build and maintain, and therefore they usually appear in smaller numbers than mobile suits, though still in higher numbers than most mobile armors.
Universal Century Transformable Mobile Weapons
There are some mobile weapons that have the ability to transform between two or more operating modes, classified either as Transformable Mobile Suits (TMS) or Transformable Mobile Armors (TMA). These typically consist of a mobile suit mode and a mobile armor mode. The term "Transformable Mobile Armor" is used to describe a transformable mobile weapon that is substantially larger than contemporary mobile suits, even if the mobile suit mode is its primary configuration. TMS are normally not considered MAs in their non humanoid form. Examples of TMSs include the Gaza-C, Methuss, Zeta Gundam & ZZ Gundam, Gabthley, and Hambrabi; TMAs include the Psyco Gundam & Psyco Gundam Mk-II, Asshimar, Baund Doc, Gaplant, and Messala.
Transformable mobile weapons were widely used during the Gryps War and First Neo Zeon Conflict, but generally fell out of favor among military designers soon afterward. This is likely a result of the increased expense and the weakened structural issues that lead to lesser durability involved in such designs; only the Neo Zeon forces at Axis had any success in mass-producing even the simplest transformable mobile suit designs.
However, in the side story Moon Crisis the Earth Federation Space Forces did produced some transformable mobile suits in UC0099 to form a high speed strike team called Z-Plus team to react to special situations like mobile suit terrorist attacks and such. The team mainly compose of second generation Z-Plus units called Z-Prompt and excel in re-entree missions.
After Colony Transformable Mobile Weapons
In the After Colony timeline, after the creation of the Leo, OZ expanded its military force by investing in manufacturing transformable mobile suits. Because of this, TMSs were widely used by both OZ and the UESA by extension. The TMSs were developed to cope with specific terrains and environments, according to OZ's needs: the Aries for aerial combat, the Pisces and Cancer for aquatic and deep-sea combat, the Targos for land battles, and the Taurus for space combat. However, TMS manufacturing later declined in favor of producing models based on combat data of the five Gundams that landed on Earth, but was still prominently utilized in conjunction for newer models.
Most notably, the five scientists developed Wing Gundam Zero as a TMS, giving the mobile suit a high-speed flight form named "Neo-Bird Mode", where it transforms into a fighter plane resembling a large white bird. This transformation aspect was carried on by Doctor J in the construction of the Wing Gundam, and is the inspiration of its own high-speed flight form, "Bird Mode". Lastly, the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon was designed based on data taken from the Tallgeese and the five Gundams, including the Wing Gundam. Thus, in taking with Treize's ideals as well, Epyon was also created as a TMS with a mobile armor mode, called "Dragon Mode" for its dragonic appearance, again for high-speed flight and space cruising.
Cosmic Era Transformable Mobile Weapons
Outside of the Universal Century, Transformable Mobile Suits are most common in the Cosmic Era, with examples including: the Earth Alliance's GAT-Series Aegis, Forbidden, and Raider; Orb's Murasame; and ZAFT's Saviour, Chaos, Abyss, and Gaia. In addition, the Cosmic Era features the first Transformable Mobile Armor to appear in an Alternate Universe, the GFAS-X1 Destroy.
Anno Domini Transformable Mobile Weapons
In the 24th century, TMS are the most common types of mobile suits in both the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (Union) and Advanced European Union (AEU), and were mass-produced and sold to other member nations. The Union has the Flag and the Realdo, and the AEU has the Enact and the Hellion. However, since only a few skilled pilots can transform their mobile suit in mid-air with no difficulty, most of the pilots would rather keep their mobile suit either in plane form or mobile suit form. The GN-003 Gundam Kyrios and its successors, the GN-007 Arios Gundam and the GN-011 Gundam Harute, can also transform into a fighter mode. Arios' support unit, the GN Archer can also transform, and further combine with Arios in fighter mode.
Transformable Mobile Weapons in Alternate Universes
While the concept is most prevalent in the late 0080s of the Universal Century, some transformable mobile suits have appeared in other Gundam timelines, such as After War's GW-9800 Gundam Airmaster and NRX-0015 Gundam Ashtaron, and CC's (Seireki's) FLAT-L06D FLAT.
Other Mobile Weapons
The term Mobile Weapon is applied to units that otherwise defy categorization. Machines that are not truly mobile suits nor fitting the definition of mobile armor are often called simply "mobile weapons". Though such units are rare, they are sometimes extremely powerful, a unique design combining with powerful armaments to pose a tremendous threat to enemy combatants. Such machines include the Dendrobium Orchis, a mobile weapon from the Universal Century OVA 0083, which consists of a mobile armor-like framework set around a standard mobile suit, creating a unit that is neither truly a mobile armor nor entirely a mobile suit.
Remote Mobile Weapons
Remote Mobile Weapons refers to mobile weapons that operates, either primarily or solely, without a pilot. Though most mobile weapons have the potential to function "unmanned" or in the absence of a physical pilot, some mobile weapons have been created with this specific intention. Normally, these mobile weapons utilize either an internal or external control system, or are installed with a unique operational program or AI.
After Colony Remote Mobile Weapons - Mobile Doll
In the After Colony timeline, Colonel Tsubarov, a loyal supporter of the Romefeller Foundation and OZ, developed the Mobile Doll System - a powerful AI-based programmed operating system that can be installed into any existing Mobile Suit and allow it to operate independently using its on-board AI system, or remotely by an external control connected to the same system (be it another mobile suit or a large terminal). A Mobile suit installed with this control system is referred to as a "Mobile Doll" (or simply "Doll" due to the lifeless response the MS displays in combat). The Virgo and its successors were designed specifically for the use of this system, thought it has been installed and tested on the Leo, the Taurus, and briefly on the Vayeate and Mercurius.
In the creation of the Tallgeese, OZ's MS developers believed the machine was too sophisticated to be controlled by a single person - they said the machine was perfect: it was the human pilots that were the problem. In order to make it a viable weapon, something had to change. They believed two paths could make Mobile Suit combat a reality: 1) eliminate the human pilot entirely by making the MS an unmanned vehicle; or 2) alter the pilots themselves to make them perform better. While the latter aspect gave birth to the ZERO System, the former concept evolved into the MOBILE Direct Operational Lead Labor (MOBILE DOLL) project, or MD project.
The project was funded by the Romefeller Foundation who used Mobile Dolls to take over the UESA. The Mobile Dolls required both a unique MS operating system and some sort of external command software feeding it orders. With this system, they could either be controlled directly or left stand-alone, controlled by their on-board Artificial Intelligence (AI). Operators didn't need to be fully trained pilots, as the AI handles the nuances of control. Through mass-production, the Romefeller Foundation could maintain and expand their command of the Earth sphere without needing to train new pilots.While some people saw this as a solution to warfare long plaguing the Earth Sphere - without the casualties resulting from traditional combat (believed as the most horrifying aspect of war) and death all but removed - others believed, since the Mobile Doll is fundamentally a weapon of mass destruction, when you remove the human element from such destruction, warfare ultimately becomes meaningless. OZ opposed the move towards unmanned suits, as they relied on manned MS, and its leader, Treize Khushrenada, fought against their use by the Foundation.
While he proved, at the time, a human pilot was still superior to the AI System, development of Mobile Dolls continued on their Lunar Base under Colonel Tsubarov. As the Eve Wars continued, White Fang abducted the MD lunar facility and mass-produced their own Mobile Doll army, which included the most powerful Mobile Doll type - the Virgo II. Uniquely, Milliardo Peacecraft decided to use a modified version of the Epyon System as the control system for the White Fang's Mobile Dolls, which was operated by Dorothy Catalonia. However, as did with all other suits (except the five Gundams), after the war ended in December AC 195, all Mobile Dolls were dismantled and/or destroyed.
After War Remote Mobile Weapons - Bit Mobile Suit
In the After War timeline, there is a unique type of mobile suit specifically designed to be operated unmanned, called "Bit Mobile Suits". These mobile suits are controlled by the mind of a Newtype pilot, using the Flash System built into that pilot's mobile suit. The pilot can then manipulate the bit mobile suits through thought alone. The Bit Mobile Suits, so far, are modeled after the main unit equipped with the Flash System, not only in their outward appearance but also in terms of weaponry, speed, and armor, making it hard for enemy forces to determine which suit held the actual pilot. The NRX-016 Rasveht is the most notable mobile suit to utilize this system: others include the G-Bit D.O.M.E., GX-Bit, GW-Bit, and GT-Bit.
The Bit Mobile Suit was created by the United Nations Earth to be used in conjunction by the Newtype pilots of their Gundam series. Most of these suits were destroyed at the end of the 7th Space War, but at least one set of GX-Bits survived at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, in an area which became known as the Sea of Lorelei. These were part of a secret UNE project called Operation L, and in AW 0015 were salvaged by the New United Nations Earth. However, the crew of the Vulture ship Freeden tried to prevent this from happening: during a battle against the forces of the New UNE, Freeden captain and former Newtype Jamil Neate was able to control the suits (with the help of his old friend Lucille Liliant) and used them to destroy a part of the UNE armada. Afterwards, he destroyed them so that they wouldn't fall into the wrong hands.
This did not stop the New UNE military to develop a new set of Bit Mobile Suits; this time connected to the NRX-016 Rasveht. They were modeled to be identical to the main unit, making it hard for the enemy to distinguish the main unit. The Rasveht was later piloted by potential Newtype Abel Bauer and sent against the Freeden and its mobile suits. During the battle, Bauer's Newtype powers awakened which allowied him to use the Bit Mobile Suits of the Rasveht: with them, he nearly defeated the Gundams of the Freeden. However, the Freeden's crew destroyed some of the Bit Mobile Suits and, after Garrod Ran critically damaged the Rasveht main unit, the rest of the suits deactivated. Since then, no other bit mobile suits have been seen.
- ↑ Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Season 1 Episode 2 "Gundam Meister"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 3
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 7
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 4
- ↑ Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 6
- ↑ Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 13
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 14