Equipped with beam rifle and shield
Model number: RX-78-2
Code name: Gundam
Unit type: prototype close combat mobile suit
Manufacturer: Earth Federal Forces "Project V"
Operator: Earth Federal Forces
Rollout: July UC 0079
First deployment: UC 18 September 0079
Accomodation: pilot only, in standard cockpit in torso with Core Block System using FF-X7 Core Fighter
Dimensions: overall height 18.5 meters; head height 18.0 meters
Weight: empty 43.4 metric tons; max gross 60.0 metric tons
Construction: lunar titanium alloy on semi-monocoque frame
Powerplant: Minovsky type ultracompact fusion reactor, output rated at 1380 kW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 2 x 24000 kg, 4 x 1870 kg
Performance: maximum thruster acceleration 0.93 G; 180-degree turn time 1.5 seconds (1.1 seconds after magnetic coating upgrade); maximum ground running speed 165 km/h
Equipment and design features: sensors, range 5700 meters; "learning computer" system; re-entry coolant system; magnetic coated joints (subsequent field upgrade)
Fixed armaments: 2 x 60 mm vulcan gun, fire-linked, mounted in head; 2 x beam saber, power rated at 0.38 MW, stored in recharge racks in backpack, hand-carried in use
Optional hand armaments: beam rifle, powered by rechargable energy cap; 380 mm hyper bazooka, clip-fed, 5 rounds per clip plus 1 round in chamber; beam javelin; hyper hammer; Gundam hammer; shield, can be optionally stored on backpack
"The Federal Forces have built a mobile suit that powerful?!" - Denim
The third mobile suit developed under the Earth Federation's top-secret "Project V," the RX-78 Gundam series saw final assembly and rollout at the Side 7 colony under the supervision of engineer Lieutenant Tem Ray. Three prototypes were constructed, although only one unit, the RX-78-2, survived a Zeon attack on Side 7 when Project V was discovered by Zeon Lieutenant Commander Char Aznable. The RX-78-2, having been commandeered by Ray's young son Amuro, fended off the attack and was transferred to the assault carrier White Base. Amuro Ray would continue to serve as the Gundam's pilot for the remainder of the One Year War, being White Base's mobile front line of defense.
The Gundam was designed as a fast, close-combat mobile suit and was the first to feature several new technologies, including the energy cap-based beam rifle (making the Gundam the first mobile suit to pack the firepower of a battleship) and beam saber. Although designed with "high performance" in mind, the Gundam was simply outmatched by its own pilot: Amuro's emerging Newtype abilities would increasingly allow him to push the Gundam beyond its design limits. This had the often-annoying result of the Gundam's motors and joints getting burned-out or overloaded simply because it couldn't keep up with Amuro's reflexes. A later field upgrade which involved coating the joints with an electromagnetic solution, thus reducing the motors' and joints' friction, increased the Gundam's performance to a point where it could keep up with Amuro's reaction time. Another factor that contributed to the Gundam's success was its "learning computer" system, which allowed the mobile suit to "learn" from - and adapt to - the pilot's input. The data from the learning computer system would later be incorporated into the Federation's first mass-production model mobile suit, the RGM-79 GM.
The Gundam's service record - and that of Amuro Ray - would continually draw the attention of the Zeon forces - and particularly Char Aznable - until the end of the war... thus providing the distraction the Federation military needed to complete construction of its GM units at its Jaburo base on Earth. The Gundam was finally destroyed at the Battle of A Bao A Qu in a fight against Char Aznable, piloting the MSN-02 Zeong mobile suit, although Amuro survived. As fate would have it, of course, the Gundam itself would become the most famous mobile suit of the One Year War - even more famous than its young pilot, Amuro Ray, whose own abilities were the keys to the Gundam's performance, perhaps more so than the abilities of the Gundam itself.