Technology & Combat Characteristics
A mass-produced mobile suit of the "New Millennium Series" developed by ZAFT to be its new mainstay machine, it is often referred to simply as "ZAKU", which is an acronym for "ZAFT Armored Keeper of Unity". The ZAKU Warrior was based on the ZAKU Mass Production Trial Type, a nuclear-powered mobile suit created by ZAFT after the First Alliance-PLANT War for mass production. However, due to the ban on military use of Neutron Jammer Cancellers placed by the Junius Treaty signed later that officially ended the war, the ZAKU Warrior is powered instead by a conventional battery system unlike its predecessor. Even so, its default capabilities exceeds those of the GAT-X series deployed by the Earth Alliance during the war, as well as the previous mainstay machines used by ZAFT.
The Junius Treaty also placed strict limits on the number of ships and mobile weapons each superpower can maintain, and to comply with the limitation, the ZAKU Warrior was designed with high operability and versatility. This was achieved through the use of the "Wizard System", a series of interchangeable armament packs usually mounted on the ZAKU Warrior's back, but other attachment locations and methods also exist. The ZAKU Warrior can acquire different characteristics by exchanging the armament packs, this reduced the need for localized warfare-type mobile suits which could only be used in specific operations, and enabled the general-purpose ZAKU Warrior to be deployed in mass numbers. Most of the armament packs are created by authorized manufacturers, but some of them were developed based on leaked data, resulting in wide variations.
The ZAKU Warrior also has a sturdy structure that in theory should be able to withstand atmospheric entry, and other interesting features include the tubes around its body housing the "Multi-Dazzler" system for intercepting guided missiles, and a hidden communication panel at the side of the left foot to enable communications between ZAFT's soldiers. Additionally, the ZAKU Warrior and other mobile suits in the New Millennium Series have standardized cockpit configuration, as well as improved cockpit systems for ease of control. There are special-purpose ZAKU Warriors that are painted in the pilot's personal colors, such as the one used by Lunamaria Hawke, and a high performance variant known as the "ZGMF-1001 ZAKU Phantom" is available for commanders and ace pilots.
- Anti-Beam Shield
- A distinctive shield mounted on the left shoulder, leaving both hands free to hold weapons. The shield is capable of independent movement, has an anti-beam coating on its surface and three spikes for use in melee combat. Additionally, the shield's back has hardpoints for mounting two spare magazines for the beam assault rifle. It also stores the beam tomahawk, which slides out of a slot near the top of the shield when deployed, grip first. It is possible to use the shield to enter the atmosphere, but this is not recommended except in exceptional situations, as it is likely to be damaged to the point of interfering with movement.
- MA-M8 Beam Tomahawk
- An axe-shaped weapon that emits a curved beam blade, it is the ZAKU Warrior's primary close combat weapon and can also be thrown.
- MMI-M633 Beam Assault Rifle
- The primary ranged weaponry of the ZAKU series, this beam firearm's design emphasizes destructive power and rapid-fire capabilities. Its accuracy is lowered somewhat as a result, but the scattering of its beam shots allows for simultaneous attack of multiple targets. Unlike most beam rifles, it does not draw power from the mobile suit's battery. Instead, the rifle is powered by the energy stored in a replaceable drum-type magazine. When not in use, this weapon could be stored on the back waist armor.
- Hand Grenade
- Four hand grenades are stored on the suit's side skirt armor. Several different types can be carried, including fragmentation, high-explosive, incendiary and smoke grenades.
- M68 "Cattus" 500mm Recoilless Rifle
- A large, handheld, bazooka-type weapon first used by the ZGMF-1017 GINN. It is most suited for anti-ship combat, and is fed by a box magazine mounted on the top, allowing it to reload or switch to other types of ammunition quickly. Since beam weaponry is ineffective underwater, this weapon is used by ZAKU Warrior as the main weapon in aquatic combat.
Special Equipment & Features
- A series of optional, interchangeable armament packs developed by ZAFT that closely resemble the Striker Pack System used by the Earth Alliance. Various types of armament packs have been created so as to give the ZAKU Warrior different characteristics to suit the situation at hand. These packs are usually mounted on the ZAKU Warrior's back, but there are several packs with other attachment locations and methods, including those that require the replacement of certain parts of the mobile suit.
After the end of the First Alliance-PLANT War and the signing of the Junius Treaty, a new generation of mobile suits was needed by ZAFT to cope with the technological and numerical restrictions placed on the superpowers as part of the treaty. To that end, a competition was held to determine the first MS in the "New Millennium Series" of next generation mass production MS, the ZAKU Warrior participated and defeated the ZGMF-XX09T DOM Trooper Original Spec Type and the ZGMF-X2000 GOUF Ignited.
Despite fielding many ZAKU Warriors and its higher performance sibling, the ZGMF-1001 ZAKU Phantom, in the beginning of the Second Alliance-PLANT War, older machines like GINNs, CGUEs, DINNs, BuCUEs, and ZGMF-601R GuAIZ Rs were still widely used by ZAFT. In the early days, it was assigned preferentially to ZAFT Reds such as Lunamaria Hawke and other ace pilots like Dearka Elsman. Over the course of the war, the ZAKU Warrior would continue to phase out older machines and would be supplemented by the new ZGMF-2000 GOUF Ignited.
Notes & Trivia
- The Zaku Warrior is the Cosmic Era parallel to the Universal Century's MS-06 Zaku II, with the main armaments having slightly similar appearances but significantly different properties. (i.e. the Zaku II's M-120A1 is a shell-firing machine gun, whereas the Zaku Warrior's MMI-M633 is a beam weapon)
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Battle Destiny, a mission the Another arc called "ZAFT's Protectors" entails battling waves of regular Zaku Warriors including the Live Concert version (who imparts auto hyper mode to all allies whenever Meer Campbell starts singing). Ace pilots with custom colored Zaku Warrior and Zaku Phantom units (Yzak, Dearka, Heine, Rey, and Lunamaria) will also appear later on, with their entrance paying homage to a Super Sentai group intro scene.
- In SD Gundam G Generation games, the Live Concert Zaku Warrior fights by summoning a group of regular Zaku Warriors.
- Profile on instruction manual of HG SEED 1/144 ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warrior
- Profile on instruction manual of MG 1/100 ZGMF-1000/A1 Gunner ZAKU Warrior (Lunamaria Hawke Custom)
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY MS Encyclopedia
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY Models VOL.2 DESTINY MSV (2006), P.127
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny PHASE-39, Kira of the Skies