These technologies first debuted in Gundam Century, written by fans at that time, later endorsed by Sunrise and Bandai, and some of the authors of the articles within Gundam Century became official editors and writers of Gundam mechanics. Later, following the trend of militaristic and technological interest in the community, Gundam Sentinel Special Edition included a section called imidam 0093 (Innovative Mobile Suit Information Dictionary, Annual Series, intentionally using an m at the end to reference Gundam), subtitled Basic Knowledge of Gundam Mechanics. Written by mechanical designer Hajime Katoki, summarized both in and out of universe technologies of the Universal Century, sourcing from Gundam Century, Gun Sight, VF-1 Valkyrie, MS Graphical Guide 1~3, MSV Technical & History 1~3. Gundam Officials has collected these information and has presented them alone with plot history and character summaries in an encyclopedic form, and MS Encyclopedia 2003 has a short technical summary of these technologies in its first section before going into the lists of mobile weapons in different series, which earlier editions only have.
Although most can argue fictional technologies carry no real-life impact, these technologies are referred to in almost all of the series of Universal Century. They became a normal reference of the serial story and attracted publishers to publish books on. These technological settings have also since then impacted a lot of anime and manga to have their own technological background to a certain degree. Although this could be viewed as following the Star Wars trend, nothing similar has started before the 1981 publishing of Gundam Century. Bandai (with its branch Sunrise) noticed the tradition and has hired writers to write articles for other Gundam series, too. In the Cosmic Era timeline, one of the authors of Gundam Century articles (while still a high school student at that time), Shigeru Morita, who had became a regular employee of Bandai, was assigned to write these kind of technological articles, possibly a method used by the company to attract Universal Century techno fans to watch the new series.
Even in the Universal Century, it remains impossible to artificially nullify or generate gravity. However, in the weightless environment of space, the centrifugal force produced within a rotating cylinder can be used to simulate Earth's gravity. This is the principle used in the space colonies, and smaller centrifugal devices are sometimes installed in spacecraft like the assault carrier White Base.
Likewise, the lift-generating Minovsky craft system, which vehicles like the White Base use to float in Earth's atmosphere, isn't a true anti-gravity system. Instead, it uses a cubic lattice of Minovsky particles to push the vessel away from the Earth's surface.
In the world of the Universal Century, communication between ships, mobile suits, and the like is greatly complicated by the widespread use of Minovsky particles. When these particles are scattered in high densities, they render radio communication impossible. Under these conditions, the best alternative is to transmit data in the form of low-intensity laser pulses. Although these laser signals are limited to relatively short ranges, this is the standard means of communication in the battlefield, and these messages are very difficult for enemies to intercept. When in direct physical contact, it's also possible to communicate via a contact link.
In the closed environment of a space colony or lunar city, atmospheric pollution must be kept to an absolute minimum, so electric cars (often shortened to "elecar") are used for personal transportation. Even military vehicles, like the missile trucks used by colony defense forces, run on electrical batteries. Strict speed limits are also enforced inside space colonies, so for longer trips, it's more convenient to travel via the colony's linear car system.
Laser Propulsion System
This system uses an external power source - namely, a powerful laser - to heat a spacecraft's propellant. More efficient than the thermonuclear rocket engines used by space warships, this mechanism enables spacecraft to minimize their propellant consumption as they launch out of lunar orbit. Major lunar cities like Von Braun are equipped with laser ignition stations for boosting transport ships into space. The assault carrier Albion is one of the few military vessels designed to use this system.
These are commuter trains which travel on rails along the outside of a space colony, running from station to station just like the underground rail systems of terrestrial cities. Due to the strict driving speed limits enforced within space colonies, long trips are typically made using these linear cars.
An electromagnetic catapult installed on the surface of a planet, moon, or other celestial body, which is used to accelerate objects to escape velocity. On a small celestial body like Earth's moon, with low gravity and no atmosphere, objects can be launched into orbit by the mass driver alone, but objects launched from Earth still require a rocket booster to complete their ascent.
Upon reaching its destination, the mass driver's payload can be collected by a giant net known as a mass catcher. This system is used to deliver resources mined from the lunar surface to the Lagrange points, where they can be used for space colony construction.
A traditional space suit used for extravehicular activities, so named to distinguish it from mobile suits. The normal suit includes life-support and communications equipment, and can be fitted with a vernier backpack for zero-gravity maneuvering. There are several different varieties, including a lightweight version designed for pilots called a pilot suit.
A lightweight type of normal suit designed for combat pilots. These form-fitting space suits provide a minimum of impediment to the pilot's movements. Only a handful of reckless pilots, like Char Aznable, Paptimus Scirocco and Haman Karn, are willing to forfeit the protection of the pilot suit in order to avoid this minor inconvenience.
Solar Power Satellite
In the Universal Century era, most of Earth's electricity supply is provided by solar power stations placed in a satellite orbit around the planet. These satellites efficiently convert sunlight into electrical power, then transmit it down to receiver stations on the planet's surface in the form of microwaves.
In case of emergency, the inhabitants of a space colony can escape using small spacecraft stored in the colony's outer walls. These space boats can hold more than a dozen passengers each, in addition to two pilots, and are equipped with handy manipulator arms.
- Main article: Space colony (UC)
At the dawn of the Universal Century, a massive space settlement program is launched to address Earth's energy, environmental, and population problems. Huge space stations are constructed in Earth orbit to house the emigrants, and by U.C. 0050, these space colonies are home to 80% of the human race. Each colony can support millions of people, and they're grouped into clusters called Sides, each made up of between 35 and 40 colonies and housing a billion or more people.
Thermonuclear Pulse Thruster
A highly efficient propulsion system used for moving asteroids, space colonies, and large vessels like Inter-Planetary Helium Carriers. In this mechanism, fuel pellets composed of deuterium and helium-3 are bombarded by powerful lasers or particle beams, creating a series of tiny fusion explosions. The protons and helium ions produced by these fusion reactions can then be directed by a magnetic field to generate thrust. This mechanism has far better fuel efficiency than a thermonuclear rocket engine or a chemical rocket, but due to its relatively low thrust it's best suited for massive, slow-moving objects such as the asteroid Axis.
A handheld device which helps humans get around in zero-gravity environments like spacecraft hangars and space colony docks. The wire-gun launches a powerful magnet attached to a wire cable, which anchors the user in place and can be rewound to pull him to his destination. This device can also be used to establish a contact link for voice communication.
Mobile Suit Technology - General
The contact link is an alternative means of short-range voice communication. When mobile suits come into direct physical contact with each other, or with other vehicles, sound can be transmitted between them via vibrations in their outer armor. A mobile suit can reach out with its manipulator to establish the link, and these sound vibrations can also be relayed through wires, including the wire-guns used by human workers. Unlike radio communications, conversations transmitted in this way are almost impossible to intercept.
A deception device that takes advantage of Minovsky particle interference. Thanks to this interference, warfare in the Universal Century era relies heavily on visual sensors, which can be tricked by inflatable decoys. These decoy balloons are designed to mimic mobile suits, asteroids, and even warships. More sophisticated varieties are equipped with small maneuvering verniers, allowing them to move in a realistic manner and register on infra-red sensors.
A device which converts the energy of a mobile suit's thermonuclear reactor into electrical power. Electricity can be obtained directly from the reactor core via magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), and the heat emitted by the reactor can also be converted to electrical power using turbines. In this fashion, the reactor provides the mobile suit with an abundant supply of electricity.
An attachment point for weapons, shields, spare ammunition, or optional mission-specific equipment. Hardpoints can also be used to store carried weapons when a mobile suit needs its manipulators free for other purposes, or when a transformable mobile suit changes into its mobile armor form.
The technical term for a mobile suit's arm and hand. The mobile suit was originally conceived of as a powered space suit to extend the human operator's own capabilities, and the term "manipulator" is inherited from the artificial arms used in powered suits. These devices give the mobile suit unparalleled versatility, and their built-in touch sensors provide immediate feedback for precise operation. In some cases weapons and shields are also integrated into these manipulators, but their primary functions are carrying equipment and manipulating objects.
This device sprays a sticky sealant (also known as "birdlime"), similar to the wall film used to mend breaches in warship hulls. This substance can be used to seal ruptures in spacecraft and space colony exteriors. By the time of the Gryps Conflict most mobile suits have sealant launchers built into the fingers of their manipulators, as well as utility devices like signal flares, dummy dispensers, and fire extinguishers.
Mobile Suit Technology - Maneuverability
Active Mass Balance Auto-Control (AMBAC) is a fundamental technology that allows for thrusterless manoeuvring in the zero-G environment of space by mobile suits by means of precise movement control of their limbs in the Gundam universe as said in the Gundam Century and Gundam Officials. The AMBAC technology in conjunction with the fictional fusion reactor developed by the character Dr. Y.T. Minovsky made mobile suits feasible.
AMBAC works by leveraging Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion (When there's an action there is an equal and opposite reaction) with regard to inertia to effect changes in direction. For example, if we place a person in a micro-gravity environment where friction is negligible (i.e. space), and ask him to place his left arm to his chest then swing it out to the side, the resulting inertia of the arm movement would result in the rest of his body turning the other direction in order to conserve angular momentum. Then when the motion of the arm stopped, the rotation of the body would also stop. The AMBAC system coordinates movements and micro-movements precisely, allowing a continuous balance and stability without expending reaction mass. For the most part, AMBAC is invisible to the naked eye, as the shifts are slight. However, the system can be used to dodge incoming projectiles or small objects as the arms and legs of a mobile suit account for a significant portion of its total mass. The AMBAC system also allows the center of mass to shift outside of the body. AMBAC is by its nature limited to re-orienting the unit about its center of mass, and is not a substitute for propulsion. It is often used in conjunction with the propulsion system to quickly turn the unit and shorten aiming speed as well as directing the main thrusters. The system is similar in principle to the momentum wheel system used in present day satellites, though obviously more complex. Mobile suits performing AMBAC motions would presumably move similarly to present-day astronauts performing extra-vehicular activity: both typically having roughly similar body structure, their use of that mass to control their rotation would presumably be similar, even if calculated by different means.
Wing Binders and Tail Stabilator
Wing Binders and Tail Stabilator are technological instruments that provide extra control for the AMBAC systems. The idea is simple: "If four limbs can maneuver the unit better than none, why not equip them with 5 or more?" The wing binders concept was first utilized on MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki as a part of its transformation system, they were originally supposed to help the mobile suit move effectively even while it is in mobile armor form. When the Hyaku Shiki's transformation system fails, the mobile suit was retooled into a non-transformable unit and the wing binders were kept as they can serve as additional AMBAC limbs. As a result, the unit performed well against more conventional mobile suits and showed superiority in manoeuvrability. Anaheim Electronics had since then installed wing binders on the back of most of the mobile suits of the same series under Project Zeta, most notably the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
A cousin to the wing binders is the tail stabilator, an elongated binder that is also mounted on the mobile suit's back and can serve to increase the unit's AMBAC capabilities. Some variants of the tail stabilator are equipped with built-in vernier thrusters and can thus further improve a mobile suit's manoeuvrability. Besides being mounted on transformable mobile suit, it is also used by non-transforming units such as PMX-003 The O. The tail stabilator continues to be used on MS developed after U.C.0087, an example is the RGZ-91 Re-GZ.
A standard piece of mobile suit technology, the balancer, sometimes called balance controller or auto-balancer by different authors, is the device responsible for keeping a mobile suit upright. This device automatically adjusts to the terrain the mobile suit is walking along in. It is the device that enables the machine the ability to walk like a human being. The balancers are placed all across the body of the mobile suit's frame, with primary systems being located in the limbs.
Apogee Motor/Vernier Thrusters
In addition to their main rocket engines, mobile suits and other spacecraft are also equipped with secondary rockets called vernier thrusters, derived from the "apogee kick motors" used to position artificial satellites into geosynchronous orbit around the Earth. These devices, distributed across the machine's outer surface, are used for changing direction and performing fine movements - or attitude control, in technical jargon. While early mobile suits use solid-fuel motors for maneuvering, later models often use liquid-fuel rockets for better performance.
With the development of a new generation of highly compact mobile suits after U.C. 0100, designers begin to consider shifting systems like generators and thrusters outside the mobile suit itself. The shelf nozzles installed on Crossbone Vanguard command mobile suits like the XM-04 Berga Dalas and XM-05 Berga Giros are examples of this external device concept. These shelf nozzles are movable thrusters attached to the mobile suit's backpack, whose flexibility also allows them to be used for AMBAC maneuvering.
Installed on the XM-07 Vigna Ghina, these devices are improved versions of the shelf nozzle used by other Crossbone Vanguard command mobile suits. The fin nozzles, which project laterally from the Vigna Ghina's backpack, are connected directly to the mobile suit's generator for better energy transmission efficiency.
An optional accessory for the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II, which is subsequently developed into the binder on the back of the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam. The flying armor functions as a wave rider, allowing the Gundam Mk-II to enter Earth's atmosphere from orbit, and also serves as a hovercraft once it reaches the ground.
Propellant is the reaction mass used in the rocket engines of mobile suits and other spacecraft. When this propellant is discharged through the rocket nozzles, it creates a counter-force in the opposite direction, generating thrust. The amount of thrust depends on the exhaust velocity and the rate at which propellant mass is consumed, and since the former factor is subject to strict technological constraints, mobile suits must carry large quantities of propellant to sustain them throughout extended battles. Due to internal space limitations, some mobile suits carry additional propellant in external propellant tank
An external tank is used for propellant storage. This extra propellant greatly extends a mobile suit's operating range, and enables it to stay in combat longer. When the propellant is consumed, the tank can be discarded to reduce the mobile suit's weight. These tanks use a two-layered construction, with one layer containing propellant, and the other holding extra coolant.
A device that generates lift from shock waves like those produced during atmospheric entry. While a normal aircraft obtains lift from the difference in airflow speed between the upper and lower surfaces of its wings, a wave rider flying at supersonic speeds concentrates the shock waves under its lower surface and obtains lift from the resulting pressure, essentially riding on these shock waves. This principle is used in the flying armor employed by the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II, and in the transforming MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
Magnet Coating is a special process developed by the Earth Federation in U.C. 0079 for their Mobile Suits. The need for this process came as the higher-ups realized that, despite the RX-78-2 Gundam's amazingly continued performance, there was one major flaw to it - its pilot, Amuro Ray, whose Newtype abilities were overwhelming the unit. To fix this, the Magnet Coating process was created.
The process has the joints of a suit coated with a special material that, when energized, repels the joints to the point where there is zero friction. By doing this, a Mobile Suit's reaction time is increased by 20-30%. The process was first tested on the RX-78-3 "G-3" Gundam, then applied to the original RX-78-2 Gundam, later being added to all future Mobile Suits. Zeon would try this with their MS-11 Act Zaku, but the suit wouldn't see the light of day until the Gryps Conflict.
In the original show, the magnet coating process has no visible indication. However, in March 2012, the life-sized Gundam statue at Gundam Front Tokyo was upgraded with sealed joint parts to represent having received magnet coating, and sealed joints were later used to indicate the magnet coating upgrade in several Gunpla model kits, such as the Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam 3.0.
A detachable booster that can be installed on mobile suits and mobile armors. These devices house both propellant tanks and powerful rocket thrusters, enabling the mobile armor to accelerate rapidly on its way to the battlefield. Once their propellant is exhausted, the sturm thruster units are detached and discarded as dead weight.
Sub Flight System (SFS)
During the One Year War, the Principality of Zeon adapts the Dodai YS bomber into a flying platform for transporting mobile suits through Earth's atmosphere. But the Dodai also retains all the functions of a conventional aircraft, such as navigation and fire control systems, and requires its own dedicated pilot. This makes the Dodai highly versatile, but also rather expensive.
After the war, the Earth Federation Forces refine this concept into a dedicated mobile suit support device, substantially reducing its cost. These Sub Flight Systems, or sled, come in both atmospheric and space versions. During the Gryps Conflict, they are often unmanned models controlled by the mobile suit itself, but later versions are equipped with cockpits so that they can also be used as transport craft. During the Gryps Conflict and the Neo Zeon rebellion of U.C. 0093, these "sleds" are used by every warring faction, including the Earth Federation Forces, the Titans, the AEUG and the Neo Zeon.
Mobile Suit Technology - Cockpit
A new type of control lever used in the mobile suits of the U.C. 0090 era. When the pilot grasps the spherical controller, he can use his fingers to operate the individual control switches, while moving the sphere itself to maneuver the mobile suit. It is said that this type of control lever was actually much more simplistic to use over the switches and computers used by past Mobile Suits
Most of the early mobile suits used during the One Year War lack emergency escape mechanisms. The core block system used in the Earth Federation's RX series, meanwhile, is too expensive for mass production. After the war, when the linear floating seat and 360-degree panoramic screen become standard equipment, this problem is addressed by turning the entire cockpit assembly into a spherical escape pod which can be ejected in emergencies.
This ejection pod design proves effective and inexpensive, and soon becomes a standard feature. However, since these devices are unable to survive the explosion of a mobile suit's main reactor, research continues into the core block system and other escape mechanisms.
Mobile suit pilots have to endure much higher acceleration forces than aircraft pilots, caused by maneuvering and engaging in close combat in a mobile suit. During the One Year War, there were many cases of pilots being wounded in the cockpit while their mobile suits remained relatively intact. The linear seat technology was invented to address this issue. The system consists of a pilot seat suspended on a linear rail floating in the cockpit block. The linear rail contains actuators, which are controlled by a computer to mitigate the g-force from acceleration and impact. Furthermore, if the pilot wears a compatible normal suit, the suit itself can be affixed to the seat, with no need for seatbelts.
Prototypes for the linear seat were installed in the RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex" and the RX-78GP03S Gundam "Stamen". The first mass production mobile suit that adopted the linear seat was the RMS-106 Hizack. Some older mobile suits, such as the RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom, were also refitted with linear seats by the time of the Gryps War.
One of the earliest types of MS optical cameras, They are distinctive main sensors used by the mobile suits of the Principality of Zeon, which resembles the eye of a giant cyclops. In addition to an optical camera, this compound device also incorporates laser and infra-red sensors for precision targeting. The mono-eye is mounted on rails, and can slide back and forth to cover a wide field of view. The visual data provided by the mono-eye is supplemented by ten or more secondary cameras, which are distributed around the exterior of the mobile suit. It is considered the trademark of Zeonic's famous MS-06 Zaku II.
Thanks to the effects of Minovsky particle interference, radar sensors are virtually useless in the battlefields of the Universal Century, and optical cameras are the primary means of detecting and targeting enemy vessels. These are supplemented by infra-red and laser sensors for precision targeting. Infra-red sensors can be used for long-range enemy detection. Although Minovsky particle interference does have some effect at infra-red wavelengths, enemy warships and mobile armors still register as heat sources. On Earth, other options for detecting enemies include sonar and magnetic anomaly detectors - the latter devices, used in the modern era for locating submarines, sense the magnetic distortions caused by metallic objects.
Hybrid dual sensor
A unique type of sensor used in the heads of Crossbone Vanguard mobile suits, which consists of a pair of compound sensors installed behind two goggle-like lenses. This arrangement is highly effective for judging distances and three-dimensional positions in space, and its performance is many times better than that of the mono-eye used in the Principality of Zeon's mobile suits.
A new type of cockpit display, typically used in conjunction with a linear floating seat. The multiple panels of the panoramic screen make up a single 360-degree display, which covers the entire inner surface of the spherical cockpit. The image displayed on this screen is a computer simulation constructed from the cameras distributed around the mobile suit's exterior. The viewpoint is that of the mobile suit's head, and the image is carefully edited to remove the mobile suit itself. This system is introduced during the One Year War and experimentally employed in the RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex", but it doesn't enter mass production until U.C. 0085.
A shock-absorbing device which becomes a standard feature of mobile suit cockpits around U.C. 0090. Numerous shock absorbers are installed throughout a mobile suit's body, and the linear floating seat where the pilot sits is itself mounted on an electromagnetic shock absorber. The shock balloon, an inflatable cushion similar to the airbags in modern automobiles, provides additional protection in the event of violent deceleration. The balloon emerges from the cockpit's console panel at the moment of impact, and then immediately deflates again.
Mobile Suit Technology - Construction & Coating
Fluid Pulse System
The joints of Zeon mobile suits are driven by a fluid pulse system, which used a pulse converter to turn the energy produced by the atomic reactor into pulses of pressure within a fluid. Thousands of fluid pipes, finer than human hairs, transmitted these pulses at supersonic speed to the rotary cylinders which drove the joints. This system yielded a higher operating speed than hydraulics, and lower weight and greater structural simplicity than electric motors. The exposed power cables seen on some Zeon mobile suits, such as the Zaku II series, are part of the fluid pulse system, connecting the reactor to each joint.
A new type of motor used to drive the joints of Federation mobile suits. An application of Minovsky physics, this system used the interaction of I-fields and Minovsky particles to achieve far lighter weight and higher output than an electric motor.
The MS-11 Act Zaku, the first Zeon mobile suit to incorporate magnet coating technology, used field motors instead of the traditional fluid pulse system. The RMS-106 Hizack, a Federation mobile suit that incorporated Zeon technology, used a fluid pulse/field motor hybrid system.
The movable frame was a new concept in mobile suit construction introduced after the One Year War, it was first tested on the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II (though the GP series featured partial movable frame). Essentially, it was an inner frame that incorporated all the mobile suit's vital mechanisms, including the cockpit, the generator, and the actuators and control systems required for movement. This frame was completely separate from the sensors, thrusters, armor, weapons and propellant tanks. This design allowed for better energy efficiency, easier repair, maintenance, and modification of mobile suits, as well as increased maneuverability and fluidity of movements.
During the One Year War, Zeon and Federation mobile suits utilized monocoque and semi-monocoque construction respectively, with machinery placed inside an armored "outer shell" akin to an exoskeleton. However, with the introduction of the beam rifle that makes conventional armor almost useless, designers begin reducing their mobile suits' armor to improve their maneuverability and agility, eventually leading to the movable frame. Due to the various advantages of the movable frame, it soon become the standard mobile suit construction method during the Gryps War, and the obsolete monocoque and semi-monocoque construction was eventually phased out.
Titanium alloys are metallic materials which contain a mixture of titanium and other chemical elements. Such alloys have very high tensile strength and toughness (even at extreme temperatures), light weight, extraordinary corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures. However, the high cost of both raw materials and processing limit their use to military applications, aircraft, spacecraft, medical devices, connecting rods on expensive sports cars and some premium sports equipment and consumer electronics.In the Universal Century, Titanium Alloy is used as the standard armor material for most mass-produced mobile suits.
Neo Titanium Alloy
The first variant to Titanium Alloy, this version is both stronger and lighter than titanium alloy.
Luna Titanium Alloy/Gundarium Alloy
A super high-tensile alloy developed by Earth Federation Forces researchers at the asteroid base Luna II. Originally intended for use inside thermonuclear reactors, this alloy's superb strength, durability, heat resistance and radiation-absorbing properties make it an ideal material for mobile suit armor. However, the difficulty and expense of producing this alloy preclude its use in mass-produced mobile suits like the RGM-79 GM. After the One Year War, the material is renamed Gundarium in honor of the famous mobile suit.
After the One Year War, the material is further refined by renegade Principality of Zeon soldiers at the asteroid base Axis and later given to Anaheim Electronics. The Axis researchers develop an improved lightweight version called Gundarium Gamma, which is introduced in the RMS-099 Rick Dias and widely used throughout the Gryps Conflict. However, the difficulty of processing the titanium, and the expense of the rare metals used, render Gundarium alloy unsuitable for mass-produced mobile suits. The Federation did not know of the existence of this variant of Gundarium until Anaheim Electronics gives them the RMS-108 Marasai as a political gesture.
As described in the Gundam Officials and Mobile Suit Gundam the novel appendix, the semi-transparent coating (半透体コーティング) is originally used as the laser medium, mirror and partial mirror of laser weapons in the Universal Century timeline. It was also used before and early in the One Year War as an effective armour coating to defend against laser weapons. However, due to massive use of mega-particle/beam weapons and the necessity of developing an anti-beam armor, this technology is no longer a basic requirement on mobile weapons. This technology served as the basis of the beam-resistant coating and anti-beam coating although the only common factor is the multiple layers. Semi-transparent coating protect the unit by having multiple layers all reflecting a certain wavelength of light and thus effectively reduces the energy of different laser weapons. This technology is also used in the colony laser Solar Ray, deployed by Zeon forces before the Battle of A Baoa Qu.
According to Gundam Officials, in the latter half of the One Year War, Zeon mobile suits suffered heavy damage from Earth Federation Forces' beam weaponry-equipped mobile suits. The semi-transparent coating is not useful in countering anything other than lasers, thus a new technology has to be developed. A technology similar to the later well-known anti-beam coating called beam-resistant coating (耐ビームコーテイング) was developed and became a standard after applying on the MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom. This coating can absorb some of the energy from the mega-particles and hence reduce the damage. It can also protect the unit from laser attacks by the same principle. However, it is not as effective as the later anti-beam coating, and the armour will still be damaged if the beam weapon is fired in close range or has a high enough power. This coating is often applied on mobile suit shields.
According to the Gundam Officials and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the anti-beam coating (ABC) first came into testing on MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki. The technology coats multiple layers of high specific heat capacity material on top of the armour that evaporates in high temperature. It provides a type of sacrificial protection against any type of beam weapon. However, due to its nature of ablating when defending against great heat, ABC can only tolerate a few hits to the same spot.
Anti-Beam Coating Mantle
As described in the manga, Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam, and MS Encyclopedia 2003, in U.C.0133, the anti-beam coating mantle is used to provide easily restored protection against beam weapon attacks. The idea is simple — the ABC is applied on a piece of cloth instead of the unit itself. The mantle could then be discarded once it loses all the ABC (thus the anti-beam protection). Although most units are equipped with beam shields already, the ABC mantle provides stealth compared to the brightly glowing beam shields, which renders the units a visible target.
Added to a layer of armor to increase durability.
Multiple Construction Armor
A design concept conceived in the early UC 120s through the development of the Formula 91 Gundam. In this approach, a variety of functions are incorporated into the mobile suit's armor layers. In addition to providing protection, the F91's armor also incorporates circuitry and cooling systems, allowing this highly compact mobile suit to make more efficient use of its limited internal space.
Mobile Suit Technology - Defensive Systems
A system installed in the RX-78-2 Gundam, which pumps out air to counter the friction heat of atmospheric entry. The mobile suit's internal cooling systems must also be engaged to deal with the heat that penetrates the air field.
During the events of mobile suit Zeta Gundam; when the AEUG were making a drop on Jaburo, their mobile suits used balloon like devices called ballutes to slow their decent down and prevent burning up. However, they are vulnerable to weapon fire, as Kacricon Cooler (And many other pilots both AEUG and Titan) later found out the hard way that his ballute was set on auto-leaving him vulnerable; Kamille Bidan took advantage of this and shot at it. It burst, causing Kacricon's Marasai to plunge into the atmosphere.
When Minovsky particles are released into the air or into open space, the positive and negative particles spontaneously align themselves into a three-dimensional cubic lattice. Due to the repulsive and electrostatic forces between the Minovsky particles, this lattice functions as a kind of a force field, which is referred to as an I-field. This field has difficulty permeating conductive materials like metal, water, and plasma, and it exerts a repulsive force against mega particles. An I-field is used to deflect enemy mega particle beams. Due to its high power requirements, the I-field generator originally could only be installed in large mobile weapons. When the generator is activated, the I-field forms an invisible barrier around the mobile weapon, protecting it from incoming beam attacks. However, this barrier has no effect against solid objects like missiles and projectiles, and beam weapons can still be used at point blank range within the barrier's boundary. Another weakness is that the I-field generator has an operating limit. An I-field generator consumes a large amount of energy and overheats in around 15-20 minutes. While on the Earth heat can be transferred to water or air, space is a vacuum which means the heat must be given off through radiation, an extremely slow process.
However, as the years went on, development into the I-field Generator would lead to interesting creations. The first of these are the Fin Funnel Barrier used by the RX-93 Nu Gundam and its deriatives. The Fin Funnel Barrier is a special force field that is powerful enough to not only stop beam weaponry, but also physical weaponry and is even able to trap units within it. Another is the X3 I-field, a special, miniaturized I-field Generator built into the hands of the XM-X3 Crossbone Gundam X-3 and later the XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1 Kai Kai "Skull Heart". While the X3 I-field acted like a normal I-field, it also had the added bonus of being able to let the Gundam grab beam sabers with its hands without destroying them. However, it had the same weakness as all other I-field Generators - the generators tend to overheat and thus force cooldowns. Even if the unit used them generators one at a time, there was still a window of opportunity for others to utilize.
Mega Particle Deflection System
Another version of the I-Field Generator but allows the user to redirect incoming beam weapons fire back at targets.
A new protective device used by the mobile suits of the U.C. 0120 era. Thanks to their increased generator output, the scaled-down mobile suits of this era are able to use beam technology for defensive purposes. Unlike an I-field generator, which is effective only against beam attacks, the beam shield blocks both beam and projectile weapons. The beam shield generates a plane of energy similar to the blade of a beam saber. This plane is divided into multiple sections, which can be turned on or off as needed to conserve energy. Individual sections are also automatically deactivated whenever they're in danger of coming into contact with the mobile suit itself.
An extra plate of armor carried on a mobile suit's arm. A skilled pilot can use this crude device to deflect enemy attacks, but in the hands of a novice it's little more than dead weight, so designers sometimes opt to omit the shield and devote the equivalent mass to heavier armor for the mobile suit itself.
- Distinguish from the real mathematical Minkowski space.
According to the Gundam Century, MS encyclopedia 2003 and Gundam Officials, the Minovsky Physics Society was formed in U.C.0045 at the space colony Side 3. Their research was devoted to the development of a nuclear fusion reactor. By the year U.C.0047, development of the Minovsky-Ionesco reactor began. This reactor, although designed by Dr. T.Y. Minovsky in his earlier days when he was serving the Earth Federation, was still a piece of black box technology and rendered him a heretic in the classical physics community (where classical in the Universal Century includes the modern physics of today). This is the main reason for his termination of service in the Earth Federation and taking residence in Side 3 prior to the One Year War. However, seeing the horror of the Zabi family's militaristic regime, Minovsky defected back and offered his expertise to the Federation. However, his inventions were applied very differently by the Earth Federation.
The Minovsky-Ionesco reactor was named after its fictional inventor. This reactor was "radical" due to the fact that it was the first "clean" nuclear reactor, emitting zero neutron radiation. The nuclear equation was:
- (energy released: 18.35 MeV)
The reactant used a rare isotope of helium known as helium-3 (i.e., 2 protons and 1 neutron in the nucleus). A helium-3 atom is fused with a deuterium atom (heavy hydrogen) to form the stable helium-4 and a single proton. Since the proton is positively charged, it can easily be trapped within a magnetic field. The main practical problem with this reaction is that helium-3 is extremely rare; there are few deposits on Earth, mainly found in uranium mines, and these are mostly depleted. The Gundam world's fusion reactors rely on a constant supply of helium-3 imported from the outer solar system planet Jupiter, thus necessitating the beginning of the Jupiter Energy Fleet. The JEF would travel from Earth to Jupiter, which has a high level of helium-3 in its atmosphere, and then come back to Earth with the gas fuel. It should be noted that in real physics, helium-3-deuterium fusion produces neutrons due to inevitable deuterium-deuterium reactions. Also, significant quantities of helium-3 were recently discovered on the moon, although there is certainly much more on Jupiter.
The Minovsky Particle
According to the official guide of Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam Century and Gundam Officials, the Minovsky Physics Society, while working on the reactor, encountered a strange electromagnetic wave effect in U.C.0065 within the Minovsky-Ionesco reactor that could not be explained by conventional physics. Within the next few years, they identified the cause: a new elementary particle generated by the helium-3 reaction on the inner wall of the reactor, which was named the Minovsky particle or "M" particle. The Minovsky particle has near-zero rest mass - though, like any particle, its mass increases to reflect its potential or kinetic energy - and can carry either a positive or negative electrical charge. When scattered in open space or in the air, the repulsive forces between charged Minovsky particles cause them to spontaneously align into a regular cubic lattice structure called an I-field.
The main use of the Minovsky particle was in combat and communication. When the Minovsky particle is spread in large numbers in the open air or in open space, the particles disrupt low-frequency electromagnetic radiation, such as microwaves and radio waves. The Minovsky particle also interferes with the operations of electronic circuitry and destroys unprotected circuits due to the particles' high electrical charge which act like a continuous electromagnetic pulse on metal objects. Because of the way Minovsky particles react with other types of radiation, radar systems and long-range wireless communication systems become useless, infra-red signals are defracted and their accuracy decreases, and visible light is fogged. This became known as the "Minovsky Effect".
The disruption of electromagnetic radiation is due to the small lattice of the I-field creating fringes that long wavelengths cannot penetrate, and that diffract wavelengths that have similar distance with the fringes. This diffraction and polarization process disrupts the electromagnetic waves. Notice in real life there is a similar experimental particle that could do the same thing in few thousandth of a second, which is still not practical but proves the theory to be correct. A second use of the I-field (and Minovsky particles in general) was the repulsion of charged plasma and chargeless mega-particles from an I-field surface, which was of use both in power generation and armament technology. If controlled, the particles can form fringes of different widths and further interfere with electromagnetic waves of shorter wavelengths. This provides the basis for the miniaturizing of fusion reactors installed in mobile suits since a controlled I-field can block the infra-red waves. This reduces the heat from the thermonuclear reaction and reduces the need for coolant and shielding for the fusion reactors. Without such a field, a pilot would be boiled alive in a few nanoseconds and the suit would burst into superheated gasses, thus explaining many of the series' casualties when the reactor of a mobile suit is pierced with a beam weapon powerful enough to disperse this I-field.
The only counter measure to the "M" particle in the series was to install bulky and expensive shielding on all electronic equipment, but only to counteract the effect it had on electronic circuitry. While this could be done for space ships and naval ships, this ruled out the use of precision guided weapons, such as guided missiles. Due to this, the military use of Minovsky particles ushered in a new era of close-range combat. This is the primary reason for the birth of the Zeon close-combat weapon: the mobile suit.
Minovsky Ultracompact Fusion Reactor
According to the timeline deduced by the Gundam Officials, in UC 0071, Zeon researchers created the Minovsky ultracompact fusion reactor . Instead of the conventional magnetic field, this improved version of the Minovsky-Ionesco reactor used an I-field to confine and compress the reactor fuel, triggering a fusion reaction. The Minovsky particles produced as a byproduct of the helium-3 fusion reaction were recycled to keep that reaction going. The Minovsky particles that form the I-field lattice also helped catalyze the fusion reaction, in a process similar to the muon-catalyzed fusion investigated by real-world scientists during the 1950s. This super-efficient design was only a fifth as large as an equivalently powerful Minovsky-Ionesco reactor, allowing the reactor to be mounted within the mobile suit instead of an external backpack. For this reason, it was adopted for use on mobile suits as the standard power plant. Furthermore, Minovsky also developed the Fluid Pulse system, which utlized the Minovsky Particles to drive the Mobile Suit's system, which allows active attitude control possible. This unlimited source of electricity supplies the power needed to run an MS' avionics and life support systems, as well as the actuators and motors control the MS' joints.
Energy capacitor (E-CAP)
A mega particle cannon like those installed in space warships requires a large electrical power source, a steady supply of energy in the form of Minovsky particles, and a massive energy condensor to compress the latter into mega particles prior to firing. Therefore, it initially seems impossible to install these weapons in mobile suits. These issues are addressed with the development of the energy capacitor, which makes it possible to create compact beam weapons with greatly reduced power and energy requirements. The E-CAP stores Minovsky particles in a compressed, high-energy state, just short of fusing into mega particles. The power output of a mobile suit's generator, although far lower than that of a warship, is sufficient to complete this process and form mega particles. However, the E-CAP cannot be recharged by Mobile Suits themselves; once its energy is drained the weapon becomes useless. Early beam rifles were either taken back to ships for recharging or simply discarded.
Minovsky Craft System
Since it is made up of charged particles, the I-field is unable to penetrate metal, water, the Earth's surface, or other electrically conductive materials and can be shaped simply by trapping it in an electromagnetic field. Thus, at low altitudes it is possible to generate an I-field cushion between the underside of a vessel and the ground, yielding a gravity-countering buoyancy. This principle is used in the creation of the Minovsky craft system, which allowed a spaceship or heavy ground vehicle to "fly"/hover on Earth. The Principality of Zeon was slow to make use of this principle and the only units equipped with Minovsky craft systems during the One Year War were the MAX-03 Adzam and the three prototype Apsalus mobile armours. However, the Earth Federation was quick to adopt the system on its Pegasus-class assault carriers. This allowed the Pegasus-class to enter and exit earth's atmosphere and to fly while inside the atmosphere.
This system could not be miniaturized to fit on a mobile suit until after U.C.0100. The first MS equipping such a device is RX-104FF Penelope from Hathaway's Flash, which is comprised of the RX-104 Odysseus Gundam combined with its Fixed Flight support unit. RX-105 Ξ Gundam which appeared in the same series also equipped the device, however it is fully integrated into its structure.
Eventually the Minovsky Craft System design would be overhauled and upgraded into the Minovsky Drive, the first of its kind being built into the ship Mother Vanguard of the Crossbone Vanguard as a system nicknamed the "Sail of Light". The Minovsky Drive allowed the ship to reach incredible speeds, such that it could travel between Earth and Jupiter over the course of a few weeks instead of the months it takes other ships. Several years after the ship's destruction SNRI would take the Minovsky Drive and improve it, reducing the size and installing onto three mobile suits, the F99 Record Breaker, as the "wings of light". However All Record Breaker units, their spare parts, and all data on the "wings of light" were lost. At the same time Anaheim Electronics had scavenged the Minovsky Drive from the remains of the Mother Vanguard and used it do design their own mobile suit with a "wings of light" system. The machine was codenamed "Icarus" by SNRI who observed the machine fall into the atmosphere of Earth, but it was later discovered that the mobile suit had used its "wings of light" as a shield to protect itself during reentry.
During the Zanscare War of the U.C.0150s, mobile suits deployed on Earth by Zanscare Empire used beam rotor (which could also be used as a beam shield or a rotary saw) to achieve long-distance atmospheric flight. At the same time, high-end models fielded by League Militaire such as V Gundam and V2 Gundam, have equipped an improved version of the Minovsky craft system called the Minovsky flight system.
- See also the article for Minovsky Theory-applied Weapon Systems.
Mobile Suit Technology - Unique control/interface systems
During the One Year War, the researchers of the Flanagan Institute discover that Newtypes emit powerful thoughtwaves - similar to regular brainwaves, but not electrical in nature - which they call psycho-waves. The Flanagan Institute goes on to develop a mind-machine interface called the psycommu (psycho-communicator) system, which receives these thoughtwaves and translates them into computer commands. Using this interface a Newtype pilot can direct remote weapons, and operate huge mobile armors, by thought alone. The Principality forces based at the asteroid Axis succeed in miniaturizing the psycommu system, so that it can be installed in regular-sized mobile suits like the AMX-004 Qubeley. The Federation Forces, meanwhile, concentrate on developing artificially enhanced cyber-Newtypes to operate their psycommu weapons.
A mind-machine interface, based on the psycommu system used by Newtype, which can be used even by normal humans. Rather than sending and receiving data via thoughtwaves as in a true psycommu system, the quasi-psycommu system continually samples the pilot's electrical brainwaves, allowing the pilot to communicate specific instructions almost instantaneously. This system permits the use of simple remote weapons like incoms, but even with computer support, these devices are capable only of two-dimensional movement.
Half Control System
Computer control system that takes over some of the basic tasks that a pilot normally does, and allows him or her to focus on other tasks. Also allows the user to use wire-guided weapons.
An advanced type of psycommu system developed by the Crossbone Vanguard commander known as Iron Mask, and installed in the mobile armor XMA-01 Rafflesia. Using this mind-machine interface, Iron Mask can operate the Rafflesia via thought alone, without the use of any conventional levers, pedals, or manual controls.
Designed as an anti-newtype system, the system however has the trapped soul of a young newtype girl who wishes to kill herself. Often in conflict with the program the system will cause the mobile weapon to go berserk and kill both enemy and friends alike. It takes a strong pilot to use the system and even then the newtype girl maybe still against the pilot. Only if he or she connects with her may the systems true performance come out.
An acronym for HYPER ANIMOSITY DETECT ESTIMATE SYSTEM. It is a controversial system which seems to be similar to the earlier developed EXAM System. The HADES was created by the Augusta Newtype Lab with the data they requested from Chlust Moses regarding the EXAM system. As with the EXAM system, the HADES provides a temporary increase in equipped mobile suit's performance along with increased reaction times to the pilot. This strengthening of the pilot's abilities is done by forcibly increasing and speeding up the neurotransmissions in the pilot's brain. This process however leads to the side effect of gradual memory loss. Akin to the EXAM system's aggression and tendency to go berserk, the HADES can activate without the pilot's consent when it detects a perceived threat, regardless of it being an ally or foe. When under the influence of the system, the mobile suit's visor glows red and all of its exhaust vents glow yellow.
The newtype injection trace reformed oldtype System, a new Psycommu system installed in the MSN-001X Gundam Delta Kai that can grant Cyber Newtype abilities. It improves the response time, and allows the use of complicated fire control system as well as remote weaponry. It causes the Delta Kai to produce blue flames when activated.
This technology allows a mobile suit to be externally controlled via the psycommu system. Developed by the Earth Federation's Newtype Labs, this system is first installed in the second unit of the MRX-009 Psyco Gundam, and is a standard feature of the MRX-010 Psyco Gundam Mark II. The technology is later obtained by the renegade Principality of Zeon soldiers based at the asteroid Axis.
A variant of the psycommu system, developed by Anaheim Electronics and experimentally installed in the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam in attempt to build a smaller-scale, more economical psycommu system. Although its full capabilities are unknown, its primary purpose was to allow a Newtype pilot to more easily interface with his mobile suit via mental commands. The bio-sensor could also have a rather surprising side effect when the pilot was mentally and emotionally focused enough (usually when angry or upset) to cause the bio-sensor to amplify the power, speed and strength of the mobile suit for a short period of time. Paptimus Scirocco's custom-made mobile suit PMX-003 The O is also equipped with this device as is Judau Ashta's MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam.
The Psycoframe is a powerful variation of the psycommu system. Developed by Char Aznable's Neo-Zeon, the Psycoframe allowed a Mobile Suit to be controlled by a Newtype pilot as if it were an extension of their own body, giving it greater response time. Not wanting his rival Amuro Ray to be left with an unsatisfactory unit for their final fight, Char leaked the plans to Anaheim and allowed it to be used for the RX-93 ν Gundam. However, the system is so new that the scientists and Anaheim had noticed odd phenomenon, meaning that the Psycoframe could actually be much more powerful. This was shown when Amuro, emotionally charged because of his fight with Char, overloaded the Nu Gundam, causing it to explode in a burst of light, yet using that power to tether the falling piece of Axis to the other half and pull it away from the Earth. This system was latter used by the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.
Newtype-Destroyer (NT-D) System
The Newtype Destroyer (or NT-D) System is an anti-Newtype system developed by the Earth Federation and used on the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. The system works by using the Psycoframe built within its body to seek out Newtype brainwaves. Should one be found, the NT-D System activates and turns the Unicorn Gundam into its "Destroy mode", improving its stats overall and allowing it to take control of Newtype weaponry used by others and turn them against them. However, the system has a number of flaws to it. Among them being having a five minute time usage so it wouldn't kill its pilot and the fact that it doesn't discriminate against real Newtypes and Cyber-Newtypes. Its most ironic flaw is that, because of the massive stress to gives its pilots, a Newtype is the best pilot for the unit. Thankfully, those with strong wills can overpower the system and determine when it can activate.
A new kind of man-machine interface which allows machines to be controlled by human thoughts. While functionally similar to the psycommu system, the bio-computer places less strain on its human operator. The bio-computer is originally intended to help the disabled, but its development is ultimately funded by the Earth Federation Forces, who hope to employ it as a mobile suit control system and install it in the F91 Gundam for experimental purposes. As its name implies, the bio-computer is similar in structure to a human brain, and its operating processes resemble human thoughts and feelings. Rather than merely displaying data on a computer monitor, the bio-computer can relay it directly to the pilot in the form of sensory information, so what the machine "feels" can also be experienced by the human operator. However, the full latent potential of this system can only be tapped by a Newtype pilot.
Reuse Pyscho Device
A system in which electrical signals sent from the pilot's brain to the limbs are translated into commands for the machine for a higher quality of control. Designed by the scientific team of Zeon's Living Dead Division, the Reuse "P" Device was meant to improve the performance of soldiers significantly injured during the One Year War. To use the system, a direct link to all limbs was needed, thus the pilot has to be a quadruple amputee, either through misfortune or volunteer surgery. Only one machine with the Reuse "P" was deployed late in the War, the MS-06R Zaku II High Mobility Type (Reuse "P" Device) in order to counter the advancement of the Moore Brotherhood
Main article: CloneSome individuals in the Universal Century are artificially-produced, genetically identical (or nearly identical) copies of others. Elpeo Ple has at least eleven such clones, such as Ple Two and Marida Cruz, and Char Aznable served as the basis for Full Frontal, who was genetically modified to resemble Char rather than born with an identical genome. In both cases, the clones seem to have an enhanced receptivity to the Newtype thoughtwaves of the original, particularly after the originals' deaths.
A method of preserving one's personality and memories developed by the Jupiter Empire. The bio brain is an artificial mass of brain matter collected in glass cylinders, acting as a biological computer in which one can upload a copy of their personality and memories, without deleting those in the original brain. Thus, an unlimited number of copies of the user's mind can be made, allowing for an immortality of will, if not consciousness as well. Two leaders of the Jupiter Empire, Crux Dogatie and Callisto's Shadow, upload their minds into bio brains, allowing them to continue fighting and piloting Mobile Suits even after the deaths of their physical bodies. Another bio brain is fed the combat data of Amuro Ray's RX-78-2 Gundam, which allows it to pilot the Amakusa with Amuro's skill. This bio brain also develops Newtype abilities thanks to the combat data, as well as some aspects of Amuro's personality. However, it should not be considered a complete brain clone of Amuro, as the bio brains of Dogatie and Callisto's Shadow were.
- Gundam Officials afterword
- Gundam Century renewal version acknowledgment
- From the G Field, Newtype magazine special edition
- Dengeki Data Collection No.4 - Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Z Part 1, p.50-51
- Master Grade 1/100 RX-78GP03S Stamen (2001) instruction manual
- Master Grade 1/100 RX-78NT-1 Gundam NT-1 (1999) instruction manual
- High Grade Universal Century 1/144 (2000) RMS-106 Hi-Zack instruction manual
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Model Series 1/144 GM Sniper Custom (1985) instruction manual
- Gundam Century, Minori, 22nd Sep, 1981.
- MS Encyclopedia, ISBN / 4-89189-336-2, Bandai, 10th Feb, 1988.
- Gundam Sentinel special edition(with Gundam Wars III), ASIN: 4499205301, 大日本絵画 (Dai Nippon Kaiga Co. Ltd.), Sept, 1989. (May, 2006, 11th edition)
- Perfect Grade, Master Grade, High Grade Model Instruction Manual, Bandai.