Phase Shift armor
|Functional Purpose||Armor protection against physical weapons|
|Power-plant||Mobile Suit's Powerplant|
Phase Shift, or "PS" armor, is an armor system that uses electricity to reduce the damage from all forms of physical attacks although in most practicalities, PS armor makes a mobile suit virtually immune to solid body impact attacks. When PS armor powers up, a hissing sound can be heard and the grey surface of the mobile suit's armor is overlaid in color, which appears to be alterable by entering different values in the Armor Voltage section of the OS. Once powered up, the PS armor requires a steady flow of energy to maintain although power consumption spikes momentarily whenever the mobile suit is hit. ZAFT commander Andrew Waltfeld, after watching the GAT-X105 Strike fight, calculated that the Strike in standard use can take approximately 76 hits from the missiles of a TMF/A-802 BuCUE, before the energy usage drains the battery. The Dominion's "Sledgehammer" missles could penetrate the Freedom armor if it hit. This example illustrates that even solid ballistic weapons can eventually overpower Phase Shift Armor. Most beam weapons are able to overpower PS Armor faster than ballistic weapons. However, should a power failure occur, caused by either prolonged use or the use of high energy beam weapons, which will further drain the mobile suit's battery, the PS armor will power down, leaving the mobile suit vulnerable to even the simplest physical attack.
Phase Shift armor is also able to protect the unit from great heat and thus making the unit possible for atmospheric re-entry, though the upper limit is unknown - the Freedom was torn to pieces by a grazing shot of the GENESIS cannon and the Providence was obliterated by it. However, the Dreadnaught was able to withstand a miniature nuclear blast when the Hyperion's stolen N-Jammer Canceller went critical.
Because PS armor draws energy off of a mobile suit, the suits so equipped must have a means of replenishing that energy, or risk power depletion. During the war, the existence of Neutron Jammers limited mobile suits and mobile armors to operation on an energy battery (some mobile suits were equipped with various turbine engines to extend their operating time, but almost none had truly unlimited operational ability). Due to the limited amount of energy within each battery only a certain amount of power is ever allocated to the PS armor system. This limitation prevents the armor from being able to nullify higher forms of energy such as beam weapons. Because of this, most PS armored mobile suits carry a shield with an ablative anti-beam coating for defense against beams.
Nuclear power could give a PS armored mobile suit theoretically unlimited operating time. However, during the Bloody Valentine War, the widespread use of N-Jammers made this impossible without the use of Neutron Jammer Cancellers; afterward, the Treaty of Junius Seven outlawed nuclear-powered mobile suits. Only a few nuclear-powered mobile suits were made in any event, including the YMF-X000A Dreadnought, ZGMF-X09A Justice, ZGMF-X10A Freedom, ZGMF-X11A Regenerate,ZGMF-X12A Testament, ZGMF-X13A Providence, and the ZGMF-X999A ZAKU Trial Type. Each of these units incorporated an N-Jammer Canceller in their design, negating the effects of the N-Jammers in the field. With the tremendous amount of energy made available through the use of nuclear power, even greater amounts of energy could now be allocated to PS armor. ZAFT's superweapon GENESIS allocated so much power to its PS armor that it was able to nullify direct energy beam attacks from the Eternal and Kusanagi, including the Kusanagi's "Lohengrin" Positron Blaster Cannons.
Orb also improved the PS armor with their own technology and installed it on the MBF-02 Strike Rouge. This minor improvement allowed the Strike Rouge to configure attributes of it's PS armor, such as changing its power usage and strenght as well as the colors. Unlike VPS (see below), this must be done outside of combat.
Trans Phase Armor
During the first Bloody Valentine War, OMNI Enforcer experimented with ways to extend the usefulness of PS Armor, leading to the development of Trans Phase Armor (TP), which improved on PS Armor by only activating at the point of impact. Because the PS armor consumed large quantities of energy non-stop until it is turned off, it rendered most mobile suits at the time with a very limited operation time. This also left little energy for the power-hungry beam weapons. TP armor was developed to solve this problem as it only activates upon contact, enabling the mobile suit to conserve energy while not in use. However, this left TP armored mobile suits vulnerable to heavy attack from multiple vectors (a sufficiently powerful weapon could also overpower the TP armor). Orb's Morgenroete, Inc. produced a similar Phase Shift system to armor the cockpit of the refitted MBF-P03 Astray Blue Frame Second L. While this armor was not referred to as Trans Phase, it was functionally identical.
Variable Phase Shift Armor
While the Earth Alliance developed the TP armor to save energy, ZAFT went in a different direction, with a combination of improved batteries and Variable Phase Shift Armor (VPS). Variable Phase Shift allows the MS to automatically alter the strength and by extension the power consumption of a Mobile Suit's PS Armor automatically, depending on what combat configuration that MS is in. As a result, the MS's colors changes. Unlike Strike Rouge's color-shifting PS, VPS is capable of changing its strength in the field.
The first MS with VPS technology was the ZGMF-X12A Testament originally built by ZAFT, but acquired and fielded by Blue Cosmos under the designation RGX-00. It is highly likely that this is how the Earth Alliance acquired VPS technology, which they incorporated into the GAT-X105E Strike E, although it is also possible that they acquired that technology as a result of their brief alliance with Orb in CE 73. A third, less likely theory is that the Earth Alliance was able to obtain VPS technology through analysis of the three mobile suits stolen during the Armory One incident. VPS was later incorporated into all of ZAFT's Second Stage Gundams, including the ZGMF-X56S Impulse. The Impulse had at least six VPS settings, three of which were used in combat by the first Impulse, piloted by Shinn Asuka. It is also part of the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam, ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice Gundam, the ZGMF-X42S Destiny Gundam, & the ZGMF-X666S Legend Gundam.
Phase Shift armor (PS) was developed by the Earth Alliance, and first rolled out in Cosmic Era 71. It remains in use as of CE 73. The first mobile suits to be equipped with PS Armor are the so-called "Gundams", GAT-X102 Duel, GAT-X103 Buster, GAT-X105 Strike, GAT-X207 Blitz and GAT-X303 Aegis. Later, both ZAFT and the Orb Union's Morgenroete, Inc. were able to study and duplicate the armor design. Over time several different versions of PS armor were developed, which are more efficient than the original version. As a result, the first variant isn't produced anymore.
- The inverse of the Phase Shift armor concept is the Universal Century's I-field generator, which defends against beam weaponry but has no effect against physical attack.
- The Phase Shift armor is similar to the Luna Titanium Alloy (Gundarium Alloy) in the Mobile Suit Gundam that can withstand strong physical attacks from the Zeon mobile suits,such as the Zaku's 120mm and 90mm shells and even the Dom's 360mm Bazooka.
- It is possible Phase Shift can create a beam reflective like coating. When GENESIS deactivates its Mirage Colloid its mirror pannels are grey (on the main body, not its Mirror Blocks), but when its Phase Shift is activated, the plates take on a blue colour.
- The fact that all the gundams, from the Strike Gundam to the Aegis are gray prior to the activation of PS armor could be a reference to the fact that the RX Gundam was originally supposed to be gray and white, not blue and red.
- In Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, the Phase Shift armor was implimented awkwardly - while Beam weapons still harmed them, a lot of attacks were either greatly reduced in damage or outright negated despite the power of the attack, such as Mazinger-Z's Breast Fire and Getter Robo G's Getter Beam, both energy attacks but not actually Gundam-type beam weaponry. This was fixed in subsequent SRW instalments.
- This issue might have came about from trying to replicate the armor's power from the series along side with broad definitions of non-beam weaponry. Something similar reared its head in the past in Super Robot Wars regarding the beam absorb defense: It absorbed any energy weapon despite not being gundam-type beam weapons. The broad definition also came up in Super Robot Wars J though the damage reduction was reduced to around 1500.
- In Super Robot Wars series, Phase Shift armor reduces non-beam and non-energy damage by 1500, while the VPS reduces non-beam and non-energy damage by 2000. Both of them consume 10 energy when used. Trans-phase armor reduces non-beam and non-energy by 1500 but only costs 5 energy per use.
- In Gundam Assault Survive, Phase Shift and Trans Phase Armor become available as purchasable MS accessories aside from being innate features of specific CE MS. The unit will display a second shield meter when it is equipped, which depletes when taking physical damage, but recharges over time, the rate depending on how the unit is tuned. If used in the early UC timeline missions, the unit will be practically invincible against every mobile suit that is not carrying a beam weapon, especially Zaku IIs and Ground GMs.
- In Gundam Battle Assault 3 Featuring Gundam SEED, Phase Shift armor work completely differently. Instead of reducing melee and impact damage, it actually protects from energy based long range attacks.
- In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Phase Shift armor reduces physical projectile damage by 75%. However, physical melee damage isn't dealt with.
|Cosmic Era technology|
Deuterion Beam Energy Transfer System | Lightwave Barrier | Mirage Colloid | Phase Shift armor | Positron Blaster Cannon | Positron Deflector
|Mobile Suit technology|
DRAGOON system | G Project | METEOR | Second Stage Series | Striker Packs | Voiture Lumiere
Cyclops System | GENESIS | Hyper-Deuterion Nuclear Reactor | Neutron Jammer | Neutron Jammer Canceller | Neutron Stampeder | Nibelung | Requiem
Carbon Human | Coordinators | Extended humans | Newtypes | SEED factor