Technology & Combat Characteristics
The Zaku I was the world's first nuclear-powered MS to achieve combat status in the UC timeline. The Zaku I was developed from the MS-04 Prototype Zaku, and featured technologies that would become standard in all mobile suits. The MS-05A ran a thermonuclear reactor developed and manufactured by the ZAS company that provided the Zaku I with an unlimited power source. The reactor was cooled by stored liquid hydrogen during missions in space, and an air-cooled system when operating on Earth. The Zaku I used the head-mounted Mono-Eye camera system, which was used in conjunction with several cameras mounted around the mobile suit's body and granted the pilot excellent visibility from the enclosed cockpit. The Zaku I also incorporated laser sensors, infra-red sensors, and a powerful computer to facilitate the MS' operation.
- 105mm Machine Gun
- The 105mm machine gun is a standard weapon for Zaku type mobile suits. It is a shell firing gun that does not require energy to be used, however its effectiveness against heavy armor is very limited. This model used a 100-round drum magazine.
- 280mm Zaku Bazooka
- The 280mm Zaku Bazooka was another standard weapon that could be equipped to a Zaku type mobile suit. The bazooka fired explosive rounds that were quite effective against the armor of Earth Federation mobile suits and battleships.
- Heat Hawk
- An axe-like melee weapon, whose name is short for "tomahawk". Thermal energy is used to superheat the heat hawk's blade, allowing it to slice through the armor of enemy warships or mobile suits.
- A pump-action shotgun that is similar to the model used by the MS-18E Kämpfer.
- Twin 280mm Zaku Bazooka
- A weapon where two 280mm Bazookas have been combined into a single weapon, allowing for higher offensive power. The twin bazookas fired explosive rounds that were quite effective against the armor of Earth Federation mobile suits and battleships.
The Zaku I was first designed and built in U.C. 0074 as the YMS-05, with the design being selected for Zeon's "SUIT Project", and tested against the EMS-04 Zudah for a development contract. It wasn't put into mass-production until later the following year, as the MS-05B Zaku I. The last production run of the MS-05B was in U.C. 0077, before it was replaced by the newer MS-06 Zaku II unit. Only 27 Zaku I Early Type units were produced. While the Zaku I series was no longer being mass-produced, it was not difficult to obtain one. Most Zaku I's were assigned to pilots that requested them, or to newly formed squadrons that were unable to obtain the best equipment available. More would be assigned to the Midnight Fenrir Corp teams.
The successful use of these suits prompted the Zeon Navy to commission ships that could carry them into combat, primarily the Musai-class. The Zaku I was rendered obsolete by the Zaku II before the beginning of the One Year War, and thus they were relegated for use in the rear lines as supply and construction suits. They still saw some action, though, as colony gassers in the One Week War and, towards the end of the war, they joined frontline combat to reinforce the Zeon's weakening military lines. Despite being an antiquated machine this unit would be deployed in U.C. 0096 by the Zeon Remnants.
Notes & Trivia
- In Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation VS Zeon the Zaku I does not use a Heat Hawk. Instead it uses unarmed combat.