Technology & Combat Characteristics
Since this ship class is designed as a battleship, it is equipped with several powerful weapons. Its most powerful weaponry are two 177 cm high-energy beam cannons while two 100mm dual railguns serve as side weaponry. For defensive purposes the ship is equipped with ten 58mm CIWS turrets, mounted across the hull to defend against incoming missiles. Thanks to its armaments, the Nazca-class is the most powerful and well-armed mass-produced ship class in the Zodiac Alliance of Freedom Treaty military.
The Nazca-class is among the fastest ships in the Earth Sphere, being even faster than the Earth Alliance' prototoype Archangel-class assault ship. Since mobile suits were already a common weapon at the time of its introduction, the Nazca-class has a hangar which can carry up to six mobile suits, which can be launched from a single hangar. The only drawback of this ship class was the fact that it couldn't enter the Earth's atmosphere.
At the beginning of the First Alliance-PLANT War, ZAFT's common warship in space was the Laurasia-class. At the beginning of CE 71, the military introduced a new type of warship, which is not only larger but also more powerful and quicker than the old class. This ship class is known as the Nazca-class high speed mobile destroyer, which became an important part of ZAFT's space fleet and took part in many battles against the Earth Alliance forces in space. The ship eventually began replacing the Laurasia-class, although this process wasn't finished even during the Second Alliance-PLANT War that occurred two years after the end of the first war. However, there were now more Nazca-class than Laurasia-class vessels.
One Nazca-class vessel was the Vesalius, which served as the flagship of Rau Le Creuset's task force. The Vesalius was one of the three ships which attacked Orb Union's space colony Heliopolis to capture the new mobile suits of the Earth Alliance. The ship was also used by Creuset and his group to pursue the Archangel after it left the colony. When the ship returned to space several months later, the Vesalius again was used to attack the Archangel and its partner ships of the newly formed Three Ships Alliance. During one of these battles it was eventually destroyed.
During the first war, the Amzen, Rembrandt, Gansback and Bonstell were part of a ZAFT expeditionary force that was wiped out by Rondo Ghina Sahaku with his MBF-P01-ReAMATU Gundam Astray Gold Frame Amatsu.
In CE 73, another Nazca-class destroyer, the Voltaire, served as the flagship of Yzak Joule, and was accompanied by its sister ship Rousseau in a failed attempt to destroy Junius Seven before it fell to Earth.
Another Nazca-class destroyer was refitted with the experimental Neutron Stampeder and instrumental in thwarting a nuclear attack by Earth Alliance forces shortly after declaration of the Second Alliance-PLANT War. Three such vessels (Holst, Caernarfon and one unknown name) made up the fleet which chased the Eternal after it fled its asteroid base. The three ships and most of their mobile suits were heavily damaged by Kira Yamato in his new ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam. At the end of the second war, several such vessels were part of the Three Ships Alliance's new fleet, consisting of ships from different nations.
- The Nazca-class itself is named for the Nazca culture of ancient Peru.
- The Vesalius is named for the 16th century physician Andreas Vesalius, who wrote the first complete textbook on human anatomy.
- The Heusinger is possibly named for Edmund Heusinger von Waldegg, who invented the steam engine valve gear independently in 1849.
- The Voltaire takes its name from the pen name of 18th century philosopher François-Marie Arouet.
- The Rousseau is most likely named for 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
- The Holst is named for Gustavus Theodore von Holst, who was an English composer whose best-known work is his orchestral suite The Planets.
- The Caernarfon is named for the famous Caernarfon Castle in Wales. It was built by Edward I as a military stronghold and also as a seat of government and royal palace. It was the setting for the Investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.