ZGMF-X88S Gaia Gundam
ZGMF-X88S Gaia Gundam is a prototype transformable ground assault mobile weapon, it is featured in the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The Gaia is a transformable unit specializing in ground combat and transforms into a quadrupedal mobile armor mode similar to the TMF/A-802 BuCUE. In MS mode, the Gaia is armed with a beam rifle, a pair of beam sabers, and head-mounted CIWS. In MA mode, the beam rifle is mounted on the right side and is supplemented by a pair of beam assault cannons and four CIWS. The Gaia is also equipped with two back-mounted wings, which mount a beam blade each. Additionally the wings contain thrusters which can increase the Gaia's speed. For defense, the suit mounts a single MMI-RS1 mobile shield on its left arm. Despite Gaia specialization in ground combat, it is still effective in space combat regardless of which mode it is in. This fits with the designs of four of the Second Stage Series mobile suits, which are all capable of combat in space or on Earth but possess a mobile armor mode specifically suited for combat in one particular environment.
- MMI-GAU25A 20mm CIWS
- Like most other mobile suits, the Gaia mounts two MMI-GAU25A 20mm CIWS guns in its head to shoot down incoming missiles or enemies at close range.
- MA-M941 "Vajra" Beam Saber
- Another feature similar to most other suits is the set of two MA-M941 "Vajra" beam sabers for close combat, which are mounted on the hips of the suit when not in use.
- MA-BAR71XE High-energy Beam Rifle
- For ranged combat, the Gaia is equipped with a single MA-BAR71XE high-energy beam rifle. This rifle is not only used in MS mode but also in MA configuration, in which it is mounted on the right side of the suit.
- MMI-RS1 Mobile Shield
- MA-81R Beam Assault Cannon
- Additional firepower is granted through two MA-81R beam assault cannons, which are mounted in the backpack and can be used in both MA and MS mode.
- MMI-GAU1717 12.5mm CIWS
- Four additional MMI-GAU1717 12.5mm CIWS guns are mounted on the head of the quadrupedal mode, which however can only be used in MA mode.
- MR-Q17X "Griffon 2" Beam Blade
- As the Gaia cannot use its beam sabers in MA mode, it instead features two MR-Q17X "Griffon 2" beam blades, which are mounted on wings on the back of the suit. These blades allow the Gaia to quickly charge at an enemy and slice through it.
- A new technology capable of recharging mobile suits powered by use of a Deuterion Beam. However since the suits was stolen by the Earth Alliance forces the system has not been used.
- Operating System
- The Gaia uses the Generation Unrestricted Network Drive Assault Module.
- Like the other Second Stage Series suits the Gaia has VPS armor, this technology is more energy efficient and capable of altering its strength, as well as color in the field, although this must be programmed beforehand.
In late CE 73, ZAFT created a new series of advanced mobile suits to succeed their previous generation of Gundams, which were all lost in the previous war. One Gundam of this new Second Stage Series was the Gaia.
The Gaia was initially tested at Armory One by Riika Sheder, a defective Coordinator who could only see with artificial assistance. However, before ZAFT could bring it into active service, Stella Loussier of the Earth Alliance's 81st Independent Mobile Battalion (better known as Phantom Pain) stole the mobile suit and escaped with it to the battleship Girty Lue, where it was given the new model number RGX-03. The Girty Lue eventually fled from the colony while being pursued by the new ZAFT battleship Minerva. When reaching the Debris Belt, a battle broke out between the two ships, during which Stella sortied in the Gaia to fight against Shinn Asuka in his ZGMF-X56S Impulse and Lunamaria Hawke in her ZGMF-1000/A1 Gunner ZAKU Warrior. Some time later, Stella took part in the battle at the falling colony Junius Seven.
The Gaia was later transferred to Earth and operated from the carrier John Paul Jones. During its time on Earth, it again battled against the Minerva two times. During the second battle, Stella fought against Heine Westenfluss and his ZGMF-X2000 GOUF Ignited, whom she is able to defeat. Stella eventually launched a solo sortie against orders at the Lodonia laboratory facility. There, the Gaia was disabled by the ZGMF-X23S Saviour and Impulse, and Stella got captured. The Gaia was then recovered by the Minerva, and shipped back to PLANT after being repaired.
Later in the war, the Gaia was somehow acquired by the Clyne Faction, and cosmetically altered with a custom orange and yellow color scheme. The recolored Gaia was piloted by Andrew Waltfeld, who used the suit only once to defend the Eternal, when it is discovered by ZAFT.
Although not implemented, Courtney Heironimus in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Astray indicates that there is a plan to fit Gaia with a Core Splendor system similar to those on ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam. This means that Gaia is developed to collect data for new Silhouette Pack that would allow Impulse to have better performance in ground combat. Jess then imagines about how ZGMF-X56S/ζ Gaia Impulse might look like.
Notes & Trivia
- Gaia's head crest displays the text "X-88S OTTO", which means "Eight" in Italian and is a reference to the Gaia's series number.
- In the seriel number of Gaia Gundam, "ZGMF" means "Zero Gravity Maneuver Fighter", "X" means it is a prototype, the first 8 means it is one of the mobile units with 4 legs, the second 8 is it's series number, and the "S" represents "Second Stage".
- According to the "Destiny IQ" section of the official Japanese Seed Destiny website, the Gaia that's in the hands of the Clyne Faction is indeed the original Gaia unit. Also, it was the only stolen Gundam that wasn't destroyed.
- The recolored Gaia Gundam's orange-and-yellow color scheme resembles that of its pilot, Andrew Waltfeld's previous quadruped unit that he co-piloted in Gundam SEED, TMF/A-803 LaGOWE, which also uses orange and yellow as its main colors, although the orange scheme used in the Gaia Gundam is of a darker shade.