Technology & Combat Characteristics
During the One Year War, the battlefield shifted from space to Earth after the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. Because of Earth's many different terrains and environments, the Principality of Zeon had to adjust their mass production MS-06J Zaku II Ground Type model to be more suitable in the varying climates.
Developed in the captured Earth Federation California Base, the MS-06D Zaku Desert Type, also known as the D-Type, was designed for Earth's desert and tropical regions. Early test units used a double antennae, but when Zeon finalized the mobile suit for mass production, they dropped it down to a single antenna. They also repainted the Zakus to a more sand-like color. The Zaku Desert Type featured several new features for its adaptation to the new climates. The biggest change was the replacement of the Zaku II's standard thruster jetpack with a heat-dissipating radiator backpack. The D-Type was thus fitted with jet thrusters in the legs and skirt armor so that it had a small boost in mobility.
- 40mm Vulcan Gun
- A pair of head-mounted shell firing weapons, they have a high rate of fire but little penetration power. They are ideal for shooting down small, lightly armored targets such as missiles, attack vehicles, etc. They are also often employed as a deterrent against closing in enemy units.
- Shoulder Shield
- Mounted on the right shoulder, it is a simple defense used to block most physical projectiles.
- SA-712 Cracker Grenade
- Basically a mobile suit sized hand grenade. Up to two of them can be stored in each compartment on its left and right hip armor.
- M-120AS 120mm Machine Gun
- A machine gun developed for the Zaku Desert Type. Changes from the M-120A1 model include shortened barrel and stock, and omission of the scope. Its handling properties are improved through the reduction in weight.
- 3-tube Missile Launcher
- A small missile launcher attached to the left forearm.
- P-3 2-tube Rocket Launcher
- Hand Grenade
- Throwing weapon used an alternative to the Cracker Grenade. These waist mounted grenades can be thrown like regular grenades and set to detonate upon impact with the target or timed to explode after a preset time. They come in multiple variants, allowing them to perform different roles in battle.
The D-Type was a great success. Overall, 114 MS-06D Zaku Desert Types were produced, with 43 two-antennae types and 71 single-antenna types. The Zaku Desert Type was well suited for its environment and operated very effectively. The Zaku D-Type would dominate Zeon's Earth forces in North Africa and the Middle East for many months until it was replaced by the more mobile and powerful MS-09F/trop Dom Tropen.
Notes and Trivia