Monday, September 29, 2014

EFSF Weapons Vol. 4 - Beam Weapons

The final volume of the extensive GM weapons series...The beam weapons.

A late model Beam Spray Gun with increased beam cohesion used by an RGM-79B.  On January 1, U.C. 0080, this image was taken by an embedded war journalist during the battle of Hughenden.   Due to complications in reporting the armistice negotiations, this grueling battle continued for an additional two days.

GM Beam Weapons
A brief overview of GM Series Weapons

This article will detail the various weapons systems deployed by the RGM-79 GM during the One Year War period and beyond, and though most information is known at this time, there are a few details that remain unknown to this day, most information can be inferred from the state of production and technology at the time.



BOWA BR-M-79C-1
BEAM SPRAY GUN


Beam Spray Gun


The BR-M79-C-1 Beam Spray Gun was designed and developed by BOWA corporation as an Anti-Mobile Suit weapon for the RGM-79.   While the XBR-M-79, the pioneering beam rifle developed by the Federation Military ahead of the Principality of Zeon, would be classified as an long range assault rifle under the previous system of weapon categorization, the Beam Spray Gun falls more into the category of a mid range machine pistol.  


The Beam Spray gun is not equipped with any targeting sensors, but instead relies on the data received from the head sensors of the GM, and the FCS relies on the data supplied from the main mobile suit.  Regardless of the mid-range classification, the official effective range of the weapon remains classified, but slightly surpasses that of the 120mm machine gun utilized by the main Mobile Suit deployed by the Principality of Zeon, the MS-06 Zaku, while still retaining more than sufficient knock down power.


The rate of fire has been increased by 20% over the experimental XBR-M-79, and burst firing mode allows the weapon to fire 16 shots in rapid succession.  While the power output of the weapon is relatively high at 1.4MW, the energy cap can be completely charged from an empty state using the RGM-79’s main reactor in approximately 40 seconds.  


The Beam Spray Gun featured three fire modes: a basic single shot mode, an area suppression burst shot with a widened beam focus, and a range shot with the ability to cause damage over a wide area.  The Burst mode, commonly known as ‘shotgun mode’ was conceived as a way for inexperienced pilots to rob the enemy of mobility, while the wide spread of the range shot allows pilots a measure of defense against the projectile weapons used by Zeon forces, the wide pattern ultimately leading to the name ‘spray gun’.


The Beam Spray Gun’s interface with the targeting systems also automatically adjusts the power output of the weapon, increasing power against distant targets, and restricting the power against close range targets, allowing a great deal of power saving.


The weapon, being both compact and having an emphasis on rate of fire, was thought to be ideally suited in the operation to capture the Space Fortress Solomon and was intended to be used to penetrate into enemy positions, but was also found well suited for breaking through the defensive lines above Solomon as well as combat within the fortress interior.   This weapon, heavily utilized by the RGM-79 series, was seen as a masterpiece of beam weapon design.




BOWA BR-M-79C-3
BEAM SPRAY GUN 


Beam Spray Gun


An enhanced version of the Federation’s successfully developed BR-M-79C-1, the C-3 was introduced late in the One Year War.   140mm shorter than the C-1, the upper frame of the C-3’s improved body also housed a new sensor system, the BP-SS-001 developed by BOWA.  This targeting system allows the weapon itself to acquire targets rather than relying exclusively on the GM’s head sensors like the C-1.   Though other examples of beam weapons with mounted targeting sensors certainly existed, with the RX-series’ beam weapons being the most obvious example, suitability for mass production was of principal concern, meaning that the installation of targeting sensors was omitted on the C-1 type Beam Spray Gun.   In both theory and actual testing, favorable results were achieved with minimal problems. However, with the introduction of the GM into combat there were many reports of damage to the head sensors or even many cases of complete destruction of the head unit.   


While the GM can still function with damage to the head unit by compensating with other small cameras and sensors located around the body of the GM, the loss of the head sensor rendered the GM completely unable to acquire targets and fire weapons.   When reports of these issues were received from Federation Soldiers on the front lines, an improvement program was immediately begun, and BOWA corporation, who developed the weapon sensors for the RX-series, was consulted.


The 79C-3’s BP-SS-001 featured video, infrared, and laser rangefinding systems in a vertical layout which were identical in function to those mounted in the GM head unit.  This expensive system was introduced together with the late-war RGM-79C GM Kai, and the combination of head sensors and the BP-SS-001 allowed nearly a three-point rangefinding system and higher targeting system resolution that increased accuracy by 20%.


Since the 79C-3 was almost identical to the 79C-1 in terms of power output, the GM Kai’s FCS coding could be installed onto other models of RGM-79, allowing other units to increase their combat capabilities in parallel.




BOWA BG-M-79F-3A
BEAM GUN




Beam Gun


The BG-M-79F-3A was a next generation beam weapon developed as a testbed for a new category of weapon between the Beam Rifle and the Beam Spray Gun, resulting in the new ‘Beam Gun’ category.


Though this weapon possessed a number of unusual features for Federation weapons, including externally routed cables, the most unique feature of the 79F-3A was likely the large beam accelerator and battery pack located on top of the rear portion of the weapon.  
These features enable the 79F-3A to have fire a continuous beam for 1.2 seconds, allowing impact correction within the space of a single shot, which effectively increases overall accuracy.    Additionally, this type of beam, in addition to pinpoint penetration of targets, also has the side effect of cutting through the internal systems of the target, which proved to be very effective at rendering targets combat ineffective.


The change from a point to a line style attack was vindicated on on the battlefield.  When Federation forces engaged the Beam Coated BA-05 Bigro (nicknamed by Federation pilots as the ‘Big Claw’), the 79F-3A was able to disable it in a single attack.   


While burst firing mode and other features remained the same as the BR-M-79C-3, the output was increased by .1MW to 1.6MW, though this change was virtually unnoticeable given the beam amplifier and accelerator leading to a 20% increase in shot accuracy and shot effectiveness.


The 79F-3A was introduced with the RGM-79GS GM Command Block 15 and later, though it soon after began to be used with A, C, and G types stationed with space combat units.




BRASH XBR-M-79-07G
BEAM RIFLE




Beam Rifle


The XBR-M-79-07G was one of the first Mobile Suit deployable beam weapons in history.  
Although just a prototype, it was introduced into combat situations very early, and after a number of effective results in combat, it soon became apparent that the design and engineering were comparable to a completed weapon system, and it was met with high regard.


The 79-07G was prepared for use with the RX-78 Gundam, and was conceived as a mid range weapon, it easily surpassed these initial expectations and was later developed with the addition of long range sniper rifle functionality.


An alternate explanation is that as the technology to moderate the beam output was still immature, the decision was made to simply set the output of the beam weapon to maximum to facilitate earlier deployment of the weapon.


The large, movable offset sensor mounted on the upper frame of the weapon interfaces with the RX-78’s Fire Control System (FCS) to achieve a high degree of accuracy, and the 79-07G type was noted to achieve the highest degree of accuracy with the sensor offset at 45 degrees to either side, with the stabilizing foregrip of the weapon extended out to 90 degrees for firing support.


Though it was never planned to exist as anything other than a unique prototype, with advances in Mobile Suit technology miniaturization and rebalancing improvements were developed. However, the myriad other types of beam weapons that appeared late in the One Year War ultimately meant that these plans were never realized.


The 79-07G was not planned for full production with only a few production lots produced as needed for testing on the RX-78, and it is also unknown how much the weapons in each lot differed internally.




BOWA BR-M-79L-3
R-4 Type Beam Rifle

R-4 Beam Rifle


The BR-M-79L-3 Beam rifle was based off of the prototype XBR-M-79a beam rifle (later known as the XBR-L-79) used by the RX-77 Guncannon, and was redeveloped by the BOWA corporation as a medium/long range precision rifle.


Among the various RGM-79 GM variations, the GM Sniper Custom’s enhanced rangefinding and fire controls systems meant that special targeting software had to be created in a BOWA initiative to allow this unit to be used at its full potential.  This meant that the M79L could not be effectively used by other units, but allowed the RGM79/Sniper Custom units to snipe at extended ranges, or provide long range support to friendly units, with both of these abilities being used extensively in warship defense or to support assault operations.




BOWA BR-S-85-C2
BEAM RIFLE

Beam rifle


BOWA corporation developed the BS-S-85-C2 as a general purpose medium beam rifle to serve as the primary armament of Federation Military Mobile Suits in the mid 0080s.


The weapon was introduced in 0087 as a result of the rapidly developing Grypps conflict.


Utilizing a well-designed ‘unit construction concept', maintenance was simplified and parts could easily be changed out, greatly reducing the workload of mechanics.


The sensor system utilizes a high resolution optical camera, which simultaneously reduces costs and allows for a smaller form factor, but some pilots complained that in long range engagements ‘even vulcans would be more effective’, leading to the introduction of a 24 round burst firing mode.  However, the minimum energy recharge time from an empty state (enough power for a single shot, as opposed to a full charge) has been reduced to 15 seconds, which earned the support of many pilots.


Primarily seeing use as the primary weapon on the RGM-79R GM II, the Anti Earth federation Group AEUG was also seen to utilize this weapon extensively on their own MS.



BRASH XBR-M-79E
BEAM RIFLE

Beam Rifle


The experimental XBR-M-79E was used extensively with the Federation’s ground forces, created from a redesign of the XBR-M-79-07G.   Omitting the 79-07G’s large sensor, this rifle uses the license-built BOWA BP-SS-001 composite sensor system utilized on the BR-M-79C-3 Beam Spray Gun, allowing the weapon to benefit from excellent targeting precision.


Following in the footsteps of the proven 79-07G, the M-79E was also extremely effective on the battlefield, and the reputation of the weapons system only increased.   However, the RGM-79[G] Ground type GM units equipped with this weapon in the Southeast Asian theater reported some issues with the high temperatures and sudden squalls causing a large degree of beam diffusion, which meant that the rifle could not fulfill the desire for a medium/long range weapon in this theater.  However, demands for beam weaponry from troops stationed on the front lines remained high, and small numbers of the weapon were also seen deployed with RGM-79 units late in the One Year War in the Australian theater.




BOWA BR-S-85-L3
SNIPER BEAM RIFLE






Sniper Beam Rifle


Utilizing the ‘unit construction concept’ of the BS-S-85-C2 Beam Rifle, the BR-S-85-L3 was created to fulfill the role of a long range sniper rifle.  



The greatly lengthened barrel contains a newly developed ‘I-field choke’ (a beam accelerator) which increases the coherence of the beam by almost 40% compared to previous models. The compact internal box sensor unit is the same as that used on the S-85-C2, though a more advanced targeting system was originally planned to be installed according to the initial designs. However development was halted due to cost concerns, though there remained the idea to instead utilize the Mobile Suit’s sensor systems to their maximum potential, resulting in the weapon being deployed with the RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom, which was able to utilize its head-mounted high resolution sensors and advanced FCS to this effect, and the weapon was supplied to both ground and space bases where the RGM-79SC was deployed.


As a sniping weapon, even with the general purpose S-85-C2 sensor unit, the accuracy at maximum range is said to be accurate enough to hit a Zaku’s eye (Monoeye) and it was ultimately well received by pilots.  The long standing curse of being unable to obtain an effective precision sniper weapon was lifted, and as the ease of maintenance on the S-85-C2 type was also maintained, the weapon was also popular with maintenance units.  


However, due to the relatively low number of GM Sniper Custom units produced and deployed, and despite the emphasis on affordability for the weapon system itself, ultimately a
very small number of units were deployed in combat.




BRASH XBR-X-79YK
SNIPER BEAM RIFLE





Large Bore Beam Rifle


Developed by Brash corporation, the XBR-X-79XK is a super large beam weapon developed with a sniper-use beam generation system and equipped with a large sight scope.  


Though the weapon is capable of producing a continuous beam for up to six seconds, the combined output of just the gun’s internal battery and the Mobile Suit’s generator is insufficient for sustained fire, and so additional energy from an external generator option is required.  However, even without an external generator there is enough stored energy for two volleys of fire, but with the long minimum recharge time of 120 seconds it was difficult to deploy effectively in combat, and despite the excellent accuracy and extreme power of the weapon it was only introduced into a few combat situations.  


In the Southeast Asian theater, there is a confirmed instance of these weapons being deployed along the launch path of a Zanzibar-class mobile cruiser attempting to launch to space, successfully sniping it in an intense daytime deployment.


Though the X-79YK is not specifically designed for a particular type of unit, in most cases it was deployed by the RGM-79 series of units, notably by the RGM-79[G] Ground type GM in the Lhasa capture operation, and the RGM-79SP GM Sniper II in the Hughenden capture operation.   Though some RGM-79[G] units which deployed with the X-79YK featured a one-tone dark green camouflage scheme, becoming known as ‘Ground Type Sniper GMs’, fundamentally these units were functionally no different than standard RGM-79[G] units.


Though units who deployed the X-79YK were also provided with FCS software upgrades for their Mobile Suits to achieve the maximum targeting enhancements, the high resolution sensor system installed in the weapon itself allowed units who used this weapon to have ultra-long range sniping capability even without utilizing the ranging sensors on the Mobile Suit.



BOWA BR-S-85-C2
BEAM RIFLE


Modified Beam Rifle

The BR-S-85-C2 Modified Beam Rifle was independently developed at the Titans’ research facilities at their Konpeito workshop.   The BR-85-C2 was an experimental type which featured an added E-Pack that was utilized by the Titans Test Team’s RGM-79CR High Mobility GMs for deployment testing.  As the weapon was a experimental type, a small number of 10 lots were produced, though the E-pack development data and deployment data were used in the next generation of beam weapons development.



Source: Mobile Suit Master Archive RGM-79 GM GA Graphic, 2010

4 comments:

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