At the outbreak of the One Year War, the Federation Forces was caught completely by surprise when the Principality of Zeon launched mobile suits against their fleets. The Federation Admiralty quickly realized that they would need mobile suits if they were to have any chance of victory, and instituted Project V, in order to develop a mass-production mobile suit design. The Admiralty also realized that it would need ships that could carry mobile suits into battle as well, and so they began to construct a new class that would be designed exclusively for MS combat and support, resulting in the Pegasus-class.
From the external contour, the two initial Pegasus-Class ships share much similarity to a class of twin-hull Assault Lander employed by Federation Forces to carry its troops and land-based equipment, particularly its engine, twin hangar, and the bridge; this particular Assault Lander also served as the template for Columbus-class, which inherit its laid out.
These assault carriers are functionally equivalent to the modern day aircraft carrier, as their primary role is to launch and recover mobile suits. Because of this, Pegasus-class ships enjoy more freedom on the battlefield, since they do not have to stick in packs for protection against enemy mobile suits. Because all Pegasus-class ships carry their own MS with them at all times, they are somewhat less dependent on their main guns and anti-aircraft/anti-MS guns for protection. All Pegasus-class ships are also equipped with a Minovsky Craft System which enable ships in this class to enter and exit the Earth's atmosphere; additionally, the craft system allows for these assault carriers to float on the planet by creating a barrier between the carrier and the earth.
Unlike the other Space Warships in the Earth Federal Forces Space Force, the Pegasus-class is not so much a single class as a concept; as rapidly advancing technology swiftly changed both the internal arrangement and external appearance of the Pegasus-class ships. Only the first three units (Pegasus SCV-69, White Base, and White Base Jr. (SCV-71) were completed to the original plans. After the White Base Jr., technology was advancing so quickly that each subsequent Pegasus-class assault carrier looked significantly different, though each had the same general arrangement of a central hull with two large aft thruster blocks, two wings, and two forward mobile suit launching "legs." The overall design looked like a sphinx or a winged horse, giving the class its name.
After the One Year War, every ship was re-designated MSC (Mobile Suit Carrier) whether it had survived the war or not.
Ships of the Pegasus-class
List of ships of the Pegasus-class
- SCV-69 (MSC-01) Pegasus - Nameship and second ship of the class. Due to construction delays, it was the second of its class to be completed. Assigned to Luna II fleet near the end of the One Year War. First mentioned in Mobile Suit Variations.
- SCV-70 (LMSD-71) (MSC-02) White Base
- SCV-71 White Base Jr. - Third ship of the class. Completed just before the end of the One Year War, later commissioned as the White Base II. First mentioned in Mobile Suit Variations, first appearance in Char's Deleted Affair.
- SCV-73 Blanc Rival - Fifth ship of the class. Attacked by Midnight Fenrir Corps at Jaburo, later participated in the Battle of A Baoa Qu carrying the RX-78-3 Gundam "G-3". First appearance in Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu.
- SCVA-72 Thoroughbred - Flagship of 16th Autonomous Corps during the One Year War, later assigned to Phantom Sweep Corps in U.C. 0081. First mentioned in Mobile Suit Variations, first appearance in Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space.
- SCVA-73 Troy Horse - Sister ship of the Thoroughbred and the Gray Phantom. Often confused with the Gray Phantom, since the latter was named "Troy Horse" in early drafts. It is said that it was responsible for transporting supplies during Operation Star One, but did not participate in combat. First mentioned in Mobile Suit Variations.
- SCVA-74 - Unnamed, it was approximately 40% complete when it was disassembled and used to repair the White Base. Model number first mentioned in Mobile Suit Variations.
- MSC-05 (LMSD-76) Gray Phantom - Stationed at the Side 6 Ribo colony near the end of the One Year War, deployed mobile suit teams against the MS-18E Kämpfer, which were all destroyed. Later participated in the naval review at Solomon. First appearance in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket.
- MSC-06 (LMSD-77) Stallion - Sixth ship of the class. Its construction began after the One Year War. Very little is known about this ship other than that it was apparently destroyed during the naval review at Solomon.
- MSC-07 (LMSD-78) Albion - Seventh ship of the class. Its construction began at the same time as the Gundam Development Project, as it was specifically designed to serve as the mothership of the newly developed Gundams. Appears in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory.
- Spartan - A unique Pegasus-class ship equipped with four landing ships above its mobile suit decks. The Spartan participated in Operation Thunderbolt, and was sunk during the final battle at Taal volcano base. Appears in Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt.
- Forrestal - A Gray Phantom-type ship used by Federation official Grave. Participated in the attack on Solomon and A Baoa Qu. Destroyed by the rogue Slave Wraith team. Appears in the Missing Link manga.
- Sleipnir Kai
- Il Nido
- Tribune - A Gray Phantom-type ship that served as the flagship of the Federation 7th fleet. Appears in Outer Gundam.
In the Mobile Suit Gundam novel trilogy, the corresponding vessel is the White Base-class assault carrier, Pegasus rather than Pegasus-class assault carrier, White Base. Beyond that, the vessel is identical.
- Mobile Suit Variations 3 stated that the class of the White Base was known as the White Base-class, since the Pegasus, despite being the first ship of the class, was completed after the White Base. The three SCVA ships: the Thoroughbred, the Troy Horse, and the unnamed SCVA-74, were labelled "quasi White Base-class" (準ホワイトベース級). However, starting from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, the class name was changed to Pegasus-class.
- According to Data Gundam, all White Base-class and quasi White Base-class ships were renamed Pegasus-class after the end of the war due to standardization.