The Gundam Development Project is a military design program in the mythos of the long-running Japanese franchise Mobile Suit Gundam. Most of the machines presented here are focal points of the thirteen-episode OVA series Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, which takes place a few years after the conclusion of the original Gundam television show.
Gundam Development Project models
History of the Gundam Development Project models
As described in the Gundam Officials, Gundam 0083 and MS encyclopedia, on January 1st, UC 0080, the One Year War came to an end. This was a relief on both sides, because the long war had drained resources and lives. During the postwar reconstruction effort, the Federation began to scale back funding in an effort to regain lost revenue while fighting the war. But the military argued that they should be exempt from the budget cuts, because there were still remnants of the Principality of Zeon unaccounted for. The Federation agreed, and in October UC 0081 passed the Federal Forces Reconstruction Plan in an effort to get the military back into shape. One week later, the Gundam Development Project was secretly started as part of the Reconstruction Plan.
During the One Year War, the Federal Forces had been forced to make do with any company willing and able to develop mobile suits for use against the Zeon, but under the supervision of the Admiralty, the production of mobile suits for the Federation was limited to Anahiem Electronics. The Reconstruction Plan rolled out the Birmingham-class battleship, the refitted Salamis-class cruisers, and the refitted Magellan Kai-class battleships, but it was the Gundam type mobile suits that were to be the center of attention. The Federation was so impressed with Anaheim Electronics that they remained the primary supplier of Federation mobile suits even after the Gryps Conflict where Anaheim was believed to have sided with the AEUG.
Although the existence and details of this machine in canon plot are disputed (See this article's talk page), the GP00 is said to be a model tested before 01~04 was designed and was the first of the Gundam-development Project series. This model was to be designed to contain all the special features and concepts of the GP series (and therefore if this one had actually succeeded, all the other four would not have been designed.). However, the configuration shown here as the primary test run only contains a mega beam rifle, a multi-sensor and a core fighter. The machine was destroyed, but it is disputed as to exactly how.
In Phantom Bullet (the original appearance of this mobile suit which is an unofficial side story) it says: "Destroyed in a combat against Zeon forces."
In Dengeki Hobby Magazine "Gundam Secret Weapons", it says: "Caught in the collapsing wreckage of an abandoned ship."
In Gundam Wars card game (the first official appearance of the mobile suit with detailed design as shown in picture), it says: "Due to all the equipment, the balance of the machine is lost and self-destructed on the test run."
No evidence points to one explanation being more accurate than the others. However, a combined story might have been: "During a test run, GP00 encountered Zeon forces and was forced into battle (just like GP03 in Gundam Evolve 4). While battling Zeon forces, due to all the equipment, the balance of the machine was lost. After losing control, the machine crashed into the collapsing wreckage of an abandoned ship (which was abandoned due to the battle) and is destroyed."
However, the most important part is "It was destroyed due to an unbalanced design" Thus leading the project team on separating the features into different units, which is the 01~04. This unit never appeared in 0083. Originally appeared in ファントムブレット (Phantom Bullet). The only official appearance of this unit is from Gundam Wars, the official trading card game.
RX-78GP01 Gundam "Zephyranthes"
RX-78GP01Fb Gundam Full Vernian "Zephyranthes"
As mentioned above, the RX-78GP01 was said to be designed to operate both on earth and in space; however, in order to be effective the unit must be reconfigured for each environment. After suffering heavy damage while en route to Von Braun, the Gundam was retooled into the RX-78GP01Fb Gundam Full Vernian Zephyranthes at the Anaheim Electronics facility on the moon. The Full Vernian unit differs from the regular unit in a couple of ways. First, it has a set of Universal Boost Pods mounted behind the shoulder for better maneuverablity. Secondly, the FF-XII's wings were removed and replaced with additional fuel units - the Universal Boost Pods replace the wings on the FF-XII.
This version is a formidable opponent in space. The Full Vernian boasts increased maneuverablity and a wide range of weapons that the unit can utilize, which made it a high priority for the Zeon movement to find and destroy. This unit was lost at the Naval Review in 0083 after an intense fight against Anavel Gato and the stolen RX-78GP02A.
RX-78GP02A Gundam "Physalis"
RX-78GP02A Gundam GP02A Type MLRS
The original design for GP02A is a heavy assault mobile suit, based upon a six-tube Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, with three tubes each mounted on the side of the backpack. Despite its name, the rockets in the MLRS is much larger, almost to the size of a cruise missile, and thus can pack a much larger attack power; used in mid range, it can easily bombard a large area, sweeping down majority of the enemies so that the normal troops can come in to clean up the remaining enemies eaisly. For more conventional firepower, the GP02A is also mounted with a heavy beam bazooka; it can be divided into two sections, with the main barrel stored in its heavy shield while the main particle generator can be mounted behind the shoulder unit. When in uses, it firepower can rival that of a mega particle cannon of a large scale mobile suit such as Bigro or Big Zam.
Due to the fact that save for the backpack most parts are identical to the Physalis, it can also mount and use atomic bazooka, abeit the lack of a storage bunker for the atomic warhead.
Manufacturer: Anaheim Electronics Corporation
User: Earth Federation Forces
Unit type: prototype heavy assault mobile suit
Overall height: 18.5 meters
Empty: 54.5 metric tons
Max gross: 105 metric tons
Construction: gundarium alloy on semi-monocoque frame
Powerplant: Minovsky type ultracompact fusion reactor, output rated at 1860 kW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4 x 32000 kg, 4 x 6800 kg
Performance: maximum thruster acceleration 1.87 G; 180-degree turn time 1.1 seconds
2 x 60mm vulcan gun, fire-linked, mounted in head
2 x A.E.Blash AEXB-909L beam saber, stored in recharge racks in hip armor, hand-carried in use
1 x Heavy beam bazooka, mounted on right shoulder, barrel/trigger mechanism stored in shield when not in use
1 x Multiple Launch Rocket System: 6 x rocket tube, mounted on backpack
Optional hand armaments: NR-Sh-02-RX/S-00013 shield, stores barrel/trigger mechanism for atomic bazooka
RX-78GP03D Gundam "Dendrobium"
As described in the MG model manual and MS encyclopedia, while the initial two designs of the Gundam Development Project were specifically designed for an offensive role, the Federation also needed a design for territorial defense in space, also known as Area Dominance tactic. In the Area Dominance Tactic, the battalion group will be small, may be even just a single unit, but need to be able to hold on to that region and fight against numerous enemies with a vats amount of firepower. Furthermore, if it's a single unit, it needs to be able to move around a large area of space rapidly to defend all the incoming enemies. Since the Earth Federation forces were interested in the power of mobile armours deployed by Zeon forces during the One Year War, they had specifically ordered the unit to be a model using mobile armour technology. The result of this was the massive RX-78GP03D Gundam "Dendrobium" mobile weapon. It was not a mobile armour but a unit composed of a mobile suit "Stamen" and its add on "Orchis".
Developed at the Von Braun city facility and to be Field tested at Anaheim Electronics' La Vie En Rose orbital manufacturing plant, the GP03D Dendrobium was designed to have exceptional firepower and mobility with minimal use of manpower. Two large weapons racks containing 16 weapon containers sat on the top of the GP03, enabling the pilot to engage in extended firefights without running out of ammunition. The containers were interchangeable and were able to carry different weapons. Extendable large claws mounted with large beam sabres were mounted on both sides of the underbelly of the unit. A warship class mega beam cannon was mounted on the right, while an I-field generator was mounted on left. The control unit for the Dendrobium was the RX-78GP03S Dendrobium Stamen, which was the mobile suit itself. In cases of emergency or severe damage to the Orchis, the Stamen could eject from the mobile armor portion.
GP03D was "acquired" by the crew of the Albion during a stop at La Vie En Rose, against the orders of the Federation liaison officer overseeing its development. Federation pilot Kou Uraki piloted this unit in the final moments of Operation Stardust, destroying enemies including the AGX-04 Gerbera Tetra and engaged in battle with the AMA-X2 Neue Ziel mobile armour and both were severely damaged by the solar system II deployed by the Earth Federation forces in an unsuccessful attempt to stop a colony drop on the North American Midwest area.
The use of a powerful mobile armor with fast acceleration, heavy defense, and vast firepower has only few further developments along this concept in the Universal Century timeline, and most were not used for Area Dominance, but for long range assault against enemy strongholds. Example can be seen in the earlier FHA-78-7 design, EX-S Gundam 303-E Deep Striker, Gaplant TR-5 [Fiver], and V2 Assault-Buster Gundam. However, the concept of Area Dominance is carried over, but instead uses the more agile and versatile transformable or mode-change mobile suit, such as Gaplant TR-5 [Hrairoo] and RX-178 Super Gundam.
Unit Type: Mobile Weapon, Space Territorial Defense use
Overall length: 140 m
Unarmed length: 73m
Height: 38.5 m
Width: 62 m
Mass: 226.4 t (empty) 453.1 t (max)
Generator output: 38,900 kW
Main thrusters: 6 x 377500 kg
Maximum acceleration: 5.00G
Equipment and design features: I-field beam-deflecting barrier generator, externally mounted on main body
Mega Beam Cannon
Large Beam Saber
Optional weapon containers(16 slots)
108-tube micromissile pod
3-tube large missile pod
Chain mine, rocket-guided
Folding Bazooka, clip-fed, 6 rounds in clip plus 1 round in chamber for Stamen
XBR-BOWA M-82A beam rifle, power rated at 1.5 MW, powered by replaceable e-pac, with mounted "jitte" beam saber blocking unit, for Stamen
Folding Shield, 4 spare e-pacs stored within, for Stamen,
RX-78GP03S Gundam "Dendrobium Stamen"
The Dendrobium was composed of two parts, the mobile armor section Orchis and the RX-78GP03S Gundam Dendrobium Stamen, a mobile suit that controlled the entire mobile armor. The Stamen had the ability to split from the armor section for independent action against enemy units. Operating as a mobile suit, GP03S carried a folding shield and beam rifle as standard armament, and special folding bazookas could be carried in place of either the shield or rifle. The traditional twin head vulcans were removed; the space thus freed was used to install more advanced avionics and sensor systems.
The Stamen also featured the panoramic cockpit and linear chair initially used in the RX-78 NT1, allowing its operator a full view of the battlefield. Originally a core fighter version was used (Gundam Evolve 4). However, it was changed to the current setting because if ever the GP03 had faced a foe so powerful that it could destroy the Orchis unit, the Stamen unit would not stand a chance and should not continue battle. Therefore, there was no need for 2 escaping devices since the Stamen itself was considered to be used for escape purposes. In addition, the wing binders on the sides of the GP03S both increased the maneuverability of the unit and protected the interface ports for the Orchis. A set of extendable waldo arms used to retrieve weapons from the weapon racks were concealed in the forearms of the GP03S.
Unit type: prototype mobile armor control unit MS
Head height: 18.0 m
Base weight: 41.6 t
Special equipment: Orchis mobile armor module
Fixed Armament: beam saber x 2
Optional armament: beam rifle x 1, folding bazooka x 1 or 2
Pilot: Kou Uraki
RX-78GP04G Gundam "Gerbera"
According to the MG model manual and MS encyclopedia, one of the tactics that Zeon used to great success against the Federation in the One Year War was high speed strikes with mobile suits. Federation forces had little time to react before being attacked by mobile suit squadrons. So, it was not surprising that the Federation sought to develop high speed assault mobile suits of its own.
The RX-78GP04G Gundam Gerbera was intended to be built specifically for high speed assault. Its major feature was that it could have a pair of "stürm booster" thrusters added on to increase the unit's top speed and range. However, the Federation came to the realization that both the RX-78GP04G and the RX-78GP01Fb would essentially be filling the same niche and the GP04G, due to its high performance designs, is radically more expensive then the GP01Fb. Because of this, the Federation cancelled development of the RX-78GP04G, leaving Anaheim Electronics with a half-completed prototype.
It was about at this time that the Delaz Fleet approached the division of Anaheim Electronics created from the Zeonic Company, which was still filled with Zeon loyalists. They then revised the design of the RX-78GP04G, transforming it into the AGX-04 Gerbera Tetra assault mobile suit.
Some say that the branch of the Earth Federation which later developed into Titans cancelled the development in order to provide in secret this mobile suit to the spy Cima Garahau. Although highly possible, no actual record could be traced to support this argument.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
- Gundam Century, Minori, 22nd Sep, 1981.