A mobile weapon (機動兵器) is the generic term used to describe vehicles that incorporate technology typically found in mobile suits, as opposed to conventional vehicles such as tanks, planes, and ships. The term "mobile weapon" can be used to describe any vehicle fitting that definition (such as mobile suits and mobile armors) but is typically only used when referring to more than one type simultaneously or when it is difficult to label a vehicle as a specific sub-type.
Mobile Weapon Types Overview
Most mobile weapons fall under one of four categories: Mobile Pods, the most simplistic type of mobile weapon; Mobile Suits (MS), the more popular and iconic type of mobile weapon; Mobile Armors (MA), larger non-human counterparts to mobile suits; and Transformable Mobile Weapons, which traditionally can switch between an MS-mode and an MA-mode. Note: there are others, however, that do not conform fully to one of these categories.
The mobile pod is the predecessor of the mobile suit, simpler machines consisting of a main body frame, usually spherical, with attached manipulator hands and a number of thrusters along the body. Mobile pods typically have poor performance compared to other mobile weapons, but occasionally see use due to the fact that they tend to be cheap and easily constructed. The most popular mobile pod is the RB-79 Ball from the Universal Century timeline, appearing primarily in the original Mobile Suit Gundam.
|“||Wasn't there a construction machine called a Mobile Worker?||”|
|“||No. This is so advanced, you should consider it totally different.||”|
Mobile Suits (MS) are the most popular and most numerous type of mobile weapon. They are humanoid combat vehicles, typically employing two arms to deploy weapons, two legs for propulsion, and a head that acts as a main camera and sometimes houses a secondary weapon that acts as a rotating turret (with the head itself providing the rotation). Typically speaking, a mobile suit is approximately 60 feet in height, with a cockpit located in the unit's torso. However, exceptions are not uncommon; units that are much larger or slightly smaller are not unheard of, and occasionally the cockpit is located in the head or (in semi-rare cases) the crotch, as well. The name "mobile suit" is believed to be a combination of the terms "Mobile Infantry" and "powered armor suit" from the Robert A. Heinlein book Starship Troopers. Different terms exist to differentiate mobile suits from ordinary space suits used to protect individuals in vacuum; for example, Universal Century makes reference to "normal suits" or "pilot suits", while After Colony uses the term "astrosuit".
Though the exact development process behind the creation of mobile suits varies by timeline, they are generally used for their versatility, with many models being usable in a wide variety of environments; from inside space colonies to open space, across all parts of Earth, and even occasionally underwater or in mid-air.
Mobile suits are typically deployed in a fashion similar to modern-day tanks or aircraft. Working in groups, they are often organized into teams consisting of three to five units, though larger formations in major battles are not unknown. Typically teams are homogeneous, consisting of a single unit type, but may sometimes be composed of complimenting unit types (e.g. a close-combat unit type and a fire support unit type). The latter is most common in teams with high-performance units and experienced pilots.
Universal Century Mobile Suits
In the Universal Century timeline, the phrase "Mobile SUIT" (MS in short) is an acronym for Mobile Space Utility Instrumental Tactical. While this definition has since been officially endorsed by Sunrise, it is a backronym that originated from a semi-official guide book called Gundam Century.
In the Universal Century timeline, two main technological advancements led to the creation of the mobile suit: the AMBAC (Active Mass Balance Auto Control) technology, and the Minovsky particle. The original AMBAC prototype only had two large limbs (instead of the four that later suits would have), but moving those limbs allowed it near-thrusterless maneuverability in space by changing its center of mass. This led to a revolution in space warfare tactics. Another revolution would follow the development of a type of nuclear fusion reactor designed by Dr. T.Y. Minovsky. Not only could his nuclear reactor be shrunk down to the size of a quartet of refrigerators, but it also produced a unique subatomic particle called the Minovsky particle. These particles could block out certain types of radiation, including radar and radio signals. This would hamper space combat over large distances and force modern combat back down to the visual range. The first prototype mobile suit would be the MS-01, while the first mass-produced model would be the MS-05 Zaku I. The most famous mobile suit is the second prototype model RX-78-2 Gundam piloted by Amuro Ray in the first series, Mobile Suit Gundam.
After War Mobile Suits
In 1996's After War Gundam X, mobile suits were the main weapons of both the United Nations Earth and the Space Revolutionary Army. After the 7th Space War ended with a massive colony drop, which brought the Earth to a post-apocalypse state, a large number of these mobile suits remain on Earth and many are taken by civilians for personal use. These includes powerful Gundam type mobile suits used by the UNE during 7th Space War, which are rare and highly valued machines. In addition, new mobile suit models continue to be developed by the Space Revolutionary Army and the newly formed New United Nations Earth.
After Colony Mobile Suits
In 1995's New Mobile Report Gundam W, the first mobile suit was the OZ-00MS Tallgeese, a high-powered prototype unit built in After Colony 170. This prototype unit was considered too powerful for mass production (and for most pilots to handle), and was later redesigned into the more average-performing mass-production OZ-06MS Leo. The researchers who worked on the Tallgeese then defected to the Space Colonies, designing a mobile suit that would outperform the Tallgeese on all levels: the Wing Gundam Zero. However the project was canned not only because it was deemed too powerful due to its Twin Buster Rifle, which at full power could destroy a colony, but due to its operating system, codenamed the ZERO System, which could turn a pilot into the perfect pilot by sampling their thoughts and giving them visions of possible outcomes. It would however decrease mental stability, making the pilot insane, and only a truly skilled pilot could handle the system. The five scientists believed the type of power the Wing Zero had wasn't necessary to attain peace. With each taking a copy of the plans of the Wing Zero, each of the researchers fled to a different colony, and developed each of the five Gundam suits independently that were based on the plans: Wing Gundam, Deathscythe, Heavyarms, Sandrock, and Shenlong.
Another line of mobile suit in the After Colony era is the G-UNIT. Developed at MO-V, the G-UNIT was based on information gathered from the first five Gundams. G-UNIT Gundams look like basic mobile suits when compared to the original five Gundams, but this makes them much more versatile. G-UNIT Gundams are also able to be equipped with additional parts to improve their performance. Another feature that is applied to G-UNIT Gundams is the PX system. The PX system increases the machine's performance, and also forces the pilot's brain to have hormones produced, namely epinepherine/adrenaline, to increase his/her combat ability. Since it puts stress on both the MS and the brain, the PX system can only be used for a short time (about 65 seconds was the max for Odin's PX System) before damage can be done. The first G-UNIT Gundams are OZX-GU01A Gundam Geminass 01 and OZX-GU02A Gundam Geminass 02.
Cosmic Era Mobile Suits
In the Cosmic Era timeline, the first mobile suit, the YMF-01B Proto GINN, was rolled out in CE 65, while the first production-type mobile suit, the ZAFT's ZGMF-1017 GINN, entered production two years later. The Earth Alliance begins mobile suit development in CE 69 with the "G Project", and development culminates with the rollout of five Gundam prototypes on 20 January CE 71. The first Earth Alliance mass-production mobile suit, the GAT-01 Strike Dagger, rolls out late in the war just before the Battle of Porta Panama. Amongst the mobile suits deployed by ZAFT include quadrupled, animal-like ones such as TMF/A-802 BuCUE. Thus, Cosmic Era is the first timeline with official animalistic design.
The Earth Alliance's "G Project" was aided by Morgenroete Incorporated, a semi-nationalized munitions company based in the neutral country, Orb Union. The company however had an ulterior motive, it wanted to steal the technology behind the machines so that they could be used to produce mobile suit to protect Orb against the Alliance and ZAFT. The company was somewhat successful: it managed to obtain the technological details of the Alliance's beam weapons (Beam saber, Beam rifle, etc.), but not the secrets behind Phase Shift armor. The company then started mobile suit development of its own, code named Astray. Five prototypes were developed: the MBF-P01 Gundam Astray Gold Frame, the MBF-P02 Gundam Astray Red Frame, the MBF-P03 Gundam Astray Blue Frame, the MBF-P04 Gundam Astray Green Frame and a fifth unit. Data from the development of these units were simultaneously used to create Orb's mass-production mobile suit, the MBF-M1 M1 Astray, back on earth.
Postwar MS development continues apace on both sides, with the Alliance developing the GAT-02L2 Dagger L and then the more advanced GAT-04 Windam, while ZAFT develop the ZGMF-601R GuAIZ R, followed by the ZAKU lines and the ZGMF-2000 GOUF Ignited. Both sides heavily utilize Striker Pack technology after the war, which allows a single mobile suit to fulfill multiple roles. In addition, ZAFT created a new generation of transforming mobile suits, capable of transforming between an all-purpose mobile suit form and an environment specific mobile armor form.
Correct Century (Seireki) Mobile Suits
In 1999's Turn A Gundam, the technology on Earth has regressed back to that of early-20th century, and in some cases, even to pre-industrial levels. The Militia, which is Earth's defense against the invading Moonrace, had biplanes, jeeps, and tanks as its main war vehicles. However, in certain locations of the world, called Mountain Cycles, ancient mobile suits are buried, protected from deterioration and decay by regenerative nanomachines called Nano-skin. These mobile suits are said to be relics from the Dark History, and when the first Militia mobile suit, the Turn A Gundam, is uncovered from a statue called the White Doll, the Militia begins searching through these mountain cycles and discovering more and more mobile suits. These uncovered mobile suits become the backbone of the Militia and allow to produce them the war between it and the Moonrace, which has never lost its mobile suit technology, to proceed on a more even scale. Later, the Moonrace also begins searching through mountain cycles on both the Earth and the Moon, and a menagerie of both low-tech and high-tech mobile weapons from various ages of the lost past are eventually fielded by both sides.
Future Century Mobile Suits
In 1994's Mobile Fighter G Gundam, mobile suits are very common much as airplanes are in the early 21st century. Their development began even before mankind left the Earth for Space Colonies. However, what is special about G Gundam's timeline is the presence of advanced mobile suits called Mobile Fighters. Using the Mobile Trace System, these mobile fighters mimic the movements of their pilots, making them very effective for close-ranged martial arts combat.
Anno Domini Mobile Suits
In 2007's Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the mobile suit is a technology that can be traced back to Aeolia Schenberg, who is historically credited as the inventor because some concepts he introduced were critical to it. It is related to the Orbital Elevators, which were also designed by Aeolia. Because the construction of the elevators spanned several different environments, there was a need to develop a machine that could work in these environments. From this requirement, the work loader was born. It was given a humanoid form in order to improve its usability (more precisely, the addition of "arms" and "legs"). The Solar Power Wars, which involved pro and anti elevator factions, centered around the protection of the Orbital Elevator. As protection of the Orbital Elevators also required a machine to be able to work in different environments, the work loader thus evolved into a weapon. Such a weapon with a humanoid form is called a mobile suit. As time progressed, many military weapons were discarded in favor of the mobile suit due to its high performance in many fields although there are exceptions such as aerial reconnaissance and naval activities.
Mobile suits are typically designed to be in a range of 15 to 20 meters tall, because this is the best height range for optimal movement around the elevators. Another reason for the effectiveness of mobile suits is their ability to use thick E-Carbon armor easily due to their size, which allows them to withstand the considerable weight of the armor. To destroy such armor requires very destructive weapons and this resulted in the upsizing of weapons. The resulting weapons can only be used by MS, thus the unwritten rule that only mobile suits can defeat mobile suits was born.
One large revolution in mobile suits came from GN Particles technology. Initially, this technology was exclusive to Celestial Being and was a big advantage for them, but it eventually got into the hands of the world authorities due to a traitor. Initially, these highly advanced suits were kept completely hidden from the public, but eventually the ESF government revealed them, albeit only those they wanted the public to know about and then still in a restrictive manner. The exact relationship between the GN-X and the Gundams is never revealed. The mass production of these GN mobile suits was delayed for up to three years with the official reason being parliamentary approval, but the true reason was that greater understanding of GN technology as well as the setting up of the production system took time. Other limitations included their incompatibility with current storage/preparation facilities as well as their high cost. The advent of GN technology also led to some regular mobile suits being equipped with GN technology, such as the MSJ-06III-A Tieren All Region Type and the CBNGN-003 (SVMS-01AP) Union Flag Celestial Being Version. By the 2360s, most mobile suits models of the early 2300s no longer exist.
Advanced Generation Mobile Suits
In the Advanced Generation timeline, Mobile Suits are humanoid machines dating back to at least the Colony Nations' War. While some are used for labor, most are seen being used in combat. In addition, the Mobile Suits of the Earth Federation are humanoid and conventionally shaped while the ones possessed by Vagan are more exotically shaped and constructed.
There're also two subtypes, Mobile Sport for sporting activities (such as CMS-F/06 Shaldoll-G) and Mobile Security for the police and security related activities.
In the Post Disaster timeline, Mobile Suits are large humanoid-shaped mobile weapons that are around 18 meters tall. They are the most powerful weapons available to mankind since the Calamity War that preceded the Post Disaster era. However, they are also expensive as they require high construction and maintenance costs. Because of this, they are rarely seen or used in the current era except for use by the larger military factions and even for them having building them in great numbers is prohibitive. They usually make use of a humanoid shape frame system, in which parts and systems are installed on top of it. The frames are made out of a rare type of metal that is really strong and also used to construct mobile suit-class melee weapons. A single frame type can be used for multiple mobile suit designs. They are usually equipped with Ahab Reactors and Nanolaminate Armor, which are the main reasons as to why they are powerful machines. Currently, the development of new mobile suits are primarily dominated by Gjallarhorn, but in the Outer Sphere areas (such as Mars and Jupiter), factions such as the Teiwaz also have acquired this capability. However, Gjallarhorn still have a monopoly on Ahab Reactor production, so the other factions have to rely on scavenged reactor units.
In most of SD Gundam series (some notable exception are SD Gundam Eiyuden), mobile suit are sentient robotic lifeform roughly the size of human. In some setting such as SD Gundam Gaiden series, mobile suits and humans living together despite their physical different.
Mobile Armors (MA) are similar to mobile suits in technology and operation, but vary tremendously in design. Mobile armors are almost always significantly larger than mobile suits, and non-humanoid in appearance as well. Due to their larger size, they frequently equip more powerful energy sources than other vehicles of the same era, giving them the ability to mount more energy-intensive equipment such as large directed-energy weapons or powerful defensive systems. Their large size also makes them capable of using equipment that is too bulky to fit into mobile suits.
Because of the increased cost of building a mobile armor as compared to a mobile suit, they are rarely deployed in large numbers. They are usually operated as solo units, with tactics more closely resembling those of a warship than a mobile suit. However, exceptions have been known to occur, and groups of mobile armors operating in conjunction are extremely effective.
In Correct Century, although JMA-0530 Walking Dome has characteristic of mobile armor, it's classified as a mobile suit. Similarly in Advanced Generation, Sid and Xvx-ooo Gurdolin are classified as mobile suit despite the appearance of Mobile Armor.
Universal Century Mobile Armors
In the Universal Century timeline, Mobile ARMOUR (MA in short) is an acronym for All Range Maneuverability Offence Utility Reinforcement. While this definition has since been officially endorsed by Sunrise, it originated from a semi-official guide book called Gundam Century. In addition, the acronym does not seem to be a particularly accurate description of mobile armors, as they rarely display "all range" capabilities (instead tending to be specialized to very specific environments) and are almost always employed as independently-operating juggernauts, rather than as "reinforcement" for mobile suits. Considering the term "all range" is also used to describe the use of bits and funnels, it might meant MAs can attack on many directions. However, MAs rarely have this ability (Braw Bro, Elmeth, Dendrobium, Neue Ziel, Psycho Gundam, etc. being the exceptions) therefore, this is also not a very accurate explanation.
Originally, Mobile Armors were built to compete with Mobile Suits (MS). While Zeonic Co. was building MS as the next generation of mobile weapons for Zeon before the One Year War, the rival company MIP was developing MA. However, MIP lost the competition, and MAs were never mass-produced. Later, both Zimmad (another rival company which later developed the famous MS-09 Dom) and MIP became sub-contractors of Zeonic Co. and assisted in the mass-production of Mobile Suits.
In general, a mobile armor is a unit emphasizing generator power output so that it can support a Mega Particle Cannon: this series of model include the test type model MA-04X Zakrello and the mass production models MA-05 Bigro and MA-06 Val Walo. In Gundam Officials (the ultimate UC guide book) and various settings announced, MAs should have at least two of the following performance compared to the other mobile weapons within the same time frame:
- High mobility (high acceleration or high terminal velocity in atmospheric/subsuface conditions)
- High maneuverability (having high ability to turn and aim)
- High fire power (usually means carrying different types of weapon for various enemies or high power mega beam weapon.)
- Strong defence (usually I-Field generators)
A mobile armor is usually non-humanoid, and is usually much larger and more powerful than contemporary mobile suits: the MA-08 Big Zam exemplifies the typical traits of a mobile armor. However, the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam's non-humanoid mode is not considered a mobile armor; instead it's designated as a "Wave Rider". Most TMS in the Zeta project only have a Wave Rider form (with the exception of the MSZ-008 ZII), and are not considered to be mobile armors. These mobile suits are designated VMSAWRS (usually with the S's and R decapitalized as VMsAWrs for unknown reasons.) for "Variable Mobile Suit And Wave Rider System".
Cosmic Era Mobile Armors
In the Cosmic Era timeline, mobile armors are non-humanoid units employed by the Earth Alliance forces. Early mobile armors were essentially small space fighters, and were vastly outclassed by ZAFT's mobile suits: on average, it would take five TS-MA2 Moebius units to equally match a single ZGMF-1017 GINN. However, in the sequel TV series Gundam SEED Destiny, larger MAs equipped with powerful positron reflector shields are used, such as the YMAG-X7F Gells-Ghe. These units more closely resemble the MAs used in the UC timeline, with their huge size, overwhelming firepower, and ability to resist attack.
Anno Domini Mobile Armors
As soon as the humanoid, versatile machine known as mobile suits were introduced in the battlefield of this timeline, they quickly replaced the other existing weapons and became the weapon of choice. However, non-humanoid machines in the form of mobile armors escaped being eliminated. Mobile armors are known to have participated in the Solar Power Wars alongside the mobile suits. They are capable of operating on their own, like the Human Reform League's MAJ-S08 Xiaoshou and MAJ-V34 Jiachong, or can operate in tandem with an attached mobile suit like the AEU's AEU-MA0707 Agrissa Type 7 and AEU-MA07013 Agrissa Type 13. Regardless, these mobile armors are primarily to assist the mobile suits or to serve in a specific capacity. As with old mobile suits, old mobile armors were exported to third parties and can end up in the hands of terrorist groups, as seen with the aquatic MAJ-03 Shuichai used by the La Edenra.
As with the mobile suits, the arrival of GN technology had a huge impact on the mobile armor. The first mobile armor-like units with GN technology was the Celestial Being's GNR-001E GN Arms Type-E and GNR-001D GN Arms Type-D which appeared in AD 2308. Like the previous mobile armors, these two machines served as support machines to mobile suits. However, they also have sufficient firepower to take down advanced mobile suits powered by GN Drive Taus, and can combine with Gundam Exia and Gundam Dynames respectively to power them up. Even so, the real game changer was the GNMA-XCVII Alvatore that appeared later in the same year. Piloted by the Celestial Being's traitor, Alejandro Corner, this machine was massive and very powerful thanks to it being powered by 7 GN Drive Taus. The introduction of the Alvatore herald the trend of large mobile armor powered by multiple GN Drive Taus that could take on multiple mobile suits at once.
In AD 2312, several large mobile armors with multiple GN Drive Taus were used by the A-Laws and the Innovators. The former deployed the aquatic mobile armor, the GNMA-04B11 Trilobite, while the latter introduced the GNMA-Y0001 Empress and the GNMA-0001V Regnant. The Regnant was particularly notable as it had the ability to transform into a mobile suit mode. It should be noted that the Innovators also participated in the development of the Alavtore, and can be seen as the ones responsible for creating the new mobile armor trend. It is speculated that the main reason behind this is because the Innovators is an elite group consisting of few members, and therefore needed very powerful machines to showcase their power. After the defeat of the Innovators, the Earth Sphere Federation Army used the former's technology and developed the GNMA-Y0002V Gadelaza, a mobile armor customized for use by the true Innovators.
Overall, mobile armors created before and after the advent of GN technology are fundamentally different weapons and should be classified under different names, but are still collectively known as "mobile armors". Further development down the line may result in two different names for these weapons.
Post Disaster Mobile Armors
In the Post Disaster timeline, Mobile Armors are fully automated, similar to Mobile Dolls in the After Colony timeline or Sid in the Advanced Generation timeline, and capable of producing sub-units that could support them. As they are controlled by artificial intelligence instead of human pilots, they are unrestrained by ethics or emotion. Consequently, they destroyed cities and killed hundreds of millions during the Calamity War. Mobile Suits were originally designed to fight them and are essentially their arch-enemy. The original ancestors of Gjallarhorn's Seven Stars and Agnika Kaieru ended the Calamity War by destroying them. At least one was discovered on Mars about 300 years later and was accidentally activated.
A type of mobile weapon designed for purpose of construction work.
In Universal Century timeline, the Principality of Zeon used the development of a Mobile Worker as a cover for the development of Mobile Suit. Some Mobile Workers have non-humanoid form such as Geze, and MW544B Sandhoge. Although humanoid models such as the MS-01 Mobile Worker and MWS-19051G D Gundam "First" also exist. It's worth noting that a labor variant of Zaku II, the MS-06W Worker Zaku is classified as labor Mobile Suit instead.
In Post Disaster timeline, Mobile Workers are group of small general purpose mobile weapons with tank-like form. They are often used as light tactical weapons or as transportation outside of combat.
Transformable Mobile Weapons
Transformable Mobile Weapons are mobile weapons with multiple configurations that allow them to change their basic design based on the tactical situation at hand. Typically, these configurations are limited to a standard Mobile Suit mode, where the unit acts as a normal mobile suit (often called "Transformable Mobile Suits"), and a mode which features increased speed and greater protection for vital parts at the cost of flexibility and firepower, appearing similar to a conventional space fighter, atmospheric craft, or Mobile Armor. Many exceptions exist, however, and virtually any combination of modes is possible, though it is very rare for a transformable mobile weapon to have more than two modes.
Transformable mobile weapons can be deployed in a manner similar to either mobile suits or mobile armors, depending on their specific capabilities. However, their transformation mechanisms tend to make them expensive to build and maintain, and therefore they usually appear in smaller numbers than mobile suits, though still in higher numbers than most mobile armors.
Universal Century Transformable Mobile Weapons
There are some mobile weapons that have the ability to transform between two or more operating modes, classified either as Transformable Mobile Suits (TMS) or Transformable Mobile Armors (TMA). These typically consist of a mobile suit mode and a mobile armor mode. The term "Transformable Mobile Armor" is used to describe a transformable mobile weapon that is substantially larger than contemporary mobile suits, even if the mobile suit mode is its primary configuration. TMS are normally not considered MAs in their non-humanoid form. Examples of TMSs include the Gaza-C, Methuss, Zeta Gundam & ZZ Gundam, Gabthley, and Hambrabi; TMAs include the Psycho Gundam & Psycho Gundam Mk-II, Asshimar, Baund Doc, Gaplant, and Messala.
Transformable mobile weapons were widely used during the Gryps War and First Neo Zeon Conflict, but generally fell out of favor among military designers soon afterward. This is likely a result of the increased expense and the weakened structural issues that lead to lesser durability involved in such designs; only the Neo Zeon forces at Axis had any success in mass-producing even the simplest transformable mobile suit designs.
However, in the side story Moon Crisis the Earth Federation Space Forces did produced some transformable mobile suits in UC 0099 to form a high speed strike team called Z-Plus team to react to special situations like mobile suit terrorist attacks and such. The team mainly composed of second generation Z-Plus units called Z-Prompt and excel in re-entry missions.
After Colony Transformable Mobile Weapons
In the After Colony timeline, after the creation of the Leo, OZ expanded its military force by investing in manufacturing transformable mobile suits. Because of this, TMSs were widely used by both OZ and the UESA by extension. The TMSs were developed to cope with specific terrains and environments, according to OZ's needs: the Aries for aerial combat, the Pisces and Cancer for aquatic and deep-sea combat, the Tragos for land battles, and the Taurus for space combat. However, TMS manufacturing later declined in favor of producing models based on combat data of the five Gundams that landed on Earth, but was still prominently utilized in conjunction for newer models.
Most notably, the five scientists developed Wing Gundam Zero as a TMS, giving the mobile suit a high-speed flight form named "Neo-Bird Mode", where it transforms into a fighter plane resembling a large white bird. This transformation aspect was carried on by Doctor J in the construction of the Wing Gundam, and is the inspiration of its own high-speed flight form, "Bird Mode". Lastly, the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon was designed based on data taken from the Tallgeese and the five Gundams, including the Wing Gundam. Thus, in taking with Treize Khushrenada's ideals as well, Epyon was also created as a TMS with a mobile armor mode, called "Dragon Mode" for its draconic appearance, again for high-speed flight and space cruising.
Cosmic Era Transformable Mobile Weapons
Outside of the Universal Century, Transformable Mobile Suits are most common in the Cosmic Era, with examples including: the Earth Alliance's GAT-Series Aegis, Forbidden, and Raider; Orb's Murasame; and ZAFT's Saviour, Chaos, Abyss, and Gaia. In addition, the Cosmic Era features the first Transformable Mobile Armor to appear in an Alternate Universe, the GFAS-X1 Destroy Gundam.
Anno Domini Transformable Mobile Weapons
In the 24th century, TMS are the most common types of mobile suits in both the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (Union) and Advanced European Union (AEU), with the latter selling their older TMS models to non-member nations. The Union has the SVMS-01 Union Flag and the VMS-15 Union Realdo, and the AEU has the AEU-09 AEU Enact and the AEU-05 AEU Hellion. However, unlike other timelines, the older TMS like the Union Realdo and AEU Hellion cannot transform freely, instead they required parts swapping in their base to accomplish the transformation. Therefore, they could only be launched and used in one chosen form. While the Union Flag was not designed to transform during operation, skilled pilots such as Graham Aker managed to came up with a maneuver to make this possible. In contrast, the TMS deployed by the Celestial Being, which include the GN-003 Gundam Kyrios, GN-007 Arios Gundam, GNR-101A GN Archer, and GN-011 Gundam Harute had no such limitations and can transform freely. Furthermore, both the Arios and GN Archer can combine with each other while in their flight mode.
Transformable Mobile Weapons in Alternate Universes
While the concept is most prevalent in the late 0080s of the Universal Century, some transformable mobile suits have appeared in other Gundam timelines, such as After War's GW-9800 Gundam Airmaster and NRX-0015 Gundam Ashtaron, and CC's (Seireki's) FLAT-L06D FLAT.
Other Mobile Weapons
The term Mobile Weapon is applied to units that otherwise defy categorization. Machines that are not truly mobile suits nor fitting the definition of mobile armor are often called simply "mobile weapons". Though such units are rare, they are sometimes extremely powerful, a unique design combining with powerful armaments to pose a tremendous threat to enemy combatants. Such machines include the Dendrobium, a mobile weapon from the Universal Century OVA 0083: Stardust Memory, which consists of a mobile armor-like framework set around a standard mobile suit, creating a unit that is neither truly a mobile armor nor entirely a mobile suit.
Although classified as a mobile worker, the Catl is actually a large construction machine that predate the development of mobile weapon by decades.
So far only one mobile weapon classified with this category, YMT-05 Hildolfr. It's very large self-propelled artillery powered by Minovsky fusion reactor.
So far only one mobile weapon classified with this category, QRX-006 Geminus.
So far only one mobile weapon classified with this category, NRX-033 Matabiri.
Exclusive to Future Century. Mobile Fighter is mobile weapon control through pilot's movement via mobile trace system.
Exclusive for Gaia Gear novel and radio drama. Technically the Man Machine is successor to Mobile Suit with much more advance technology that they are on completely different level.
Humanoid mechs that appear in For the Barrel novel version of the Universal Century where they play the same role of Mobile Suits.
Humanoid Mechs that have replaced Mobile Suits in Cyber Newtype Story: MAD WANG 1160
Humanoid mecha used in the Tenpou Era appearing in Mobile War History Gundam Burai
Remote Mobile Weapons
Remote Mobile Weapons refers to mobile weapons that operates, either primarily or solely, without a pilot. Though most mobile weapons have the potential to function "unmanned" or in the absence of a physical pilot, some mobile weapons have been created with this specific intention. Normally, these mobile weapons utilize either an internal or external control system, or are installed with a unique operational program or AI.
After Colony Remote Mobile Weapons - Mobile Doll
Developed by OZ's Colonel Tubarov, a loyal supporter of the Romefeller Foundation at OZ's Lunar Base, the Mobile Doll System uses a powerful computer system equipped in a mobile suit that allows it to act on its own without a human pilot. Through this method not only would it help prevent Romefeller from sacrificing the lives of their pilots, but it also would prevent them from using poorly skilled pilots in battle. The Mobile Dolls were deadly in battle, because they had faster reaction times than human pilots. However one of the Mobile Dolls chief opposers was OZ's leader Treize Khushrenada who felt that the Mobile Doll system would make humans unnecessary for battle, and therefore render battles useless. After the White Fang seized control of the Lunar Base, the modified ZERO System that the White Fang leader Zechs Merquise had developed allowed Dorothy Catalonia to employ the system in controlling the Virgo II's Mobile Doll target programming and tactics during battle. One other variation is that when the Gundam Scientists who remained as prisoners in the hands of OZ and later the White Fang rebuilt the OZ-13MSX1 Vayeate and OZ-13MSX2 Mercurius into Mobile Dolls. Both of these suits Mobile Doll AI system were equipped with battle data from Trowa Barton and Heero Yuy from when they previously piloted these suits, and were later single-handedly destroyed by Duo Maxwell.
In the creation of the Tallgeese, the mobile suit developers believed they had created a machine too sophisticated to be controlled by a single person. The machine, they said, was perfect – it was the human pilots that were the problem. In order to make it a viable weapon, something had to change.
There were two paths that could make Mobile Suit combat a reality: the human pilot would be eliminated entirely, making the MS an unmanned weapon or the pilots themselves would be altered to make them perform better.
The former concept evolved into the MOBILE DOLL (MD) program, short for MOBILE Direct Operational Lead Labor. Mobile Dolls required an operating system to be installed on the MS, and some sort of command software outside the MS that would feed orders to it. They could be controlled directly or left to their onboard Artificial Intelligence (AI). Operators need not be fully trained pilots as the AI handles the nuances of control.
Some people saw the creation of unmanned combat MS as a solution to the warfare that long plagued the Earth Sphere. Without the casualties that resulted from traditional combat, the most horrifying aspect of war, death, was all but removed. But the MD was fundamentally a weapon of mass destruction, and when the human element is removed from that destruction, warfare becomes all the more meaningless.
The MD project was funded by the Romefeller Foundation who used MD to take over the UESA. Through the mass-production of MD, they could maintain and expand their command of the Earth sphere without needing to train new pilots. OZ, the group who most relied on manned MS, did not like the move towards unmanned suits, and its leader, Treize, fought against their use by the Foundation. While he proved, at the time, that a human pilot was still superior to an AI, development of MD continued.
The Mobile Doll program was originally tested on a handful of antiquated Leos, although these test models had to be teathered to an external computer in order to function. The first mass-produced MD were modified Tauruses, which still contained cockpits. The first exclusively MD-controlled mobile suit was the OZ-02MD Virgo, based on the designs of the Mercurius and Vayeate. It was later succeeded by the WF-02MD Virgo II, which has improved mobility and defensive ability as well as more variety of weapons.
Although the MD program proved to be a resounding success for the most part, it was not without its flaws. As they could only be programmed with a set of commands, a MD could not innovate in battle or change tactics unless specifically programmed to do so, allowing older, weaker mobile suits to defeat them in certain conditions. However, the heavy attack and defensive power of the Virgo worked to mitigate this, allowing the MDs to dominate the battlefield by sheer firepower and overwhelming numbers to overcome the deficiencies of its programming. Even so, a MD still could not attack anything it was not programmed to consider a target, and could be tricked into attack friendly units.
After War Remote Mobile Weapons - Bit Mobile Suit
In the After War timeline, there is a unique type of mobile suit specifically designed to be operated unmanned, called "Bit Mobile Suits". These mobile suits are controlled by the mind of a Newtype pilot, using the Flash System built into that pilot's mobile suit. The pilot can then manipulate the bit mobile suits through thought alone. Although some of the designs of these Bit MS differ, they are basically equipped and armed with the same equipment as the parent MS, and they attack in tandem. The NRX-016 Rasveht is the most notable mobile suit to utilize this system: others include the G-Bit D.O.M.E., GX-Bit, GW-Bit, and GT-Bit.
Universal Century Remote Mobile Weapons
Appearing in G-Saviour in the late Universal Century, remote mobile weapons are built by CONSENT as a means of suppressing dissidents, and are simply referred to as "Mobile Weapons". These are essentially mobile suits programmed with an onboard A.I. referred to as Feeling Sense Equipped Block Boxes to track and destroy enemy targets. As such, many see mobile weapons as soulless killing machines. The mobile weapons that are first seen are the CAMW-13 MW-Rais, however these units were fully automated and attacked preset targets. Project Raven was an attempt at improving the A.I. to function more like actual pilots, producing the improved CAMW-14 MW-Raid and the eponymous CAMS-15 Raven.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Season 1 Episode 2 "Gundam Meister"
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 3
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 7
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 4
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 6
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 13
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00N Chapter 14