|Please note that this is the Gundam Wiki's article on the class of vessels featured in Mobile Suit Gundam; if you are looking for the article on the class of vessels featured in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin then you should head to Columbus-class/Origin.|
Technology & Combat Characteristics
Evolved from an earlier class of twin-hull Assault Lander employed to carry its troops and land-based equipment, the Columbus-class Space Transport Ships are of the Earth Federation's fleet and were created to keep the space fleets supplied while they were not in action. Columbus-class ships were successful in this role, but many of the vessels were commandeered by the space fleet commanders for use as makeshift mobile suit carriers during the One Year War, as their large pair of cargo bays were well suited for carrying large volumes of material. However, unlike its earlier iteration, each Columbus-class ship had no armaments and were completely unprotected without an escort.
During the One Year War, the hit-and-run tactics employed by the Principality of Zeon's mobile suits devastated the Earth Federation's ships, which were ill-equipped to fend off the small and agile mobile weapons. With the Earth Federation's introduction of the RB-79 Ball, it became necessary to convert ships to support these mobile weapons. Many of the Columbus-class supply ships were converted to carry and resupply Balls in their hangars
Once the Earth Federation began fielding mobile suits, the Columbus-class vessels were converted again to carry the RGM-79 GM within their hangers. The underside of the Columbus-class was converted so that multiple GMs could hook up and be refueled and resupplied quickly during major battles, such as the Battle of Solomon and the Battle of A Baoa Qu.
Like most ships in the Federation's space fleet, the vessels of the Columbus-class were refitted between UC 0079 and UC 0083, resulting in the Columbus Kai-class. Unlike earlier Columbus-class vessels, the Columbus Kai-class vessels were not used to ferry mobile suits.
It should also be noted that it was a Columbus-class ship which was modified into a control ship for both Solar Flare Systems.