Monday, May 9, 2016

Argama Assault Cruiser, Part 1: Development and Deployment

Assault Cruiser Argama Part 1: Development and Deployment

The Assault Cruiser (Argama) served as the AEUG flagship and first ship of the Argama-class (the nameship) during both the Grypps conflict and First Neo Zeon War (the Haman Khan conflict).

Carrying the MSZ-006 Z Gundam, as well as other AEUG flagship Mobile Suit units, the Argama functioned as the carrier and mothership for these units, continuing the legacy of the One Year War assault carrier, the SCV-70 ‘White Base’.   The name ‘Argama’ means ‘The coming of’ in the Sanskrit language (with the religious implication of ‘the coming of the one who leads others to the doctrines’) 

TL Note: A more clear implication in a Christian sense could be ‘one who leads others towards faith’, or 'disciple' in the purest religious sense of the word.  It's difficult to translate and I can't actually find any corroborating evidence in Sanskrit.

Constructed by Anaheim Electronics Company (hereafter referred to as AE) using techniques learned from the construction of the 7th Pegasus-class carrier ‘Albion’ after the One Year War, creating a new concept that carried forward the accumulated of experience thus far, creating a ‘second coming of the White Base’.

The ‘Argama’, is also classified as a ‘High-Speed Cruiser’, is an extremely capable design able to move very quickly at high speed to almost any location within the Earth Sphere in a short time.    Because of this speed, which is much greater than other contemporary designs, the Argama rarely participates in fleet actions, but it was frequently seen working in concert with a related design, the Irish-class.

The Argama is not only a MS carrier, but also possesses ample offensive and defensive firepower.  In addition to the primary and secondary mega particle cannons, the central rear section of the ship could accommodate two optional payloads sections containing equipment such as missiles and propellant.

‘Argama’ Development Process

Silhouette Pegasus Project
The conclusion of the One Year War saw a great diffusion of technology and technical personnel from the disbanded Zeon Military, with many of these valuable resources being absorbed not only by the Federation Military’s Industrial Complex, but also other civilian organizations.  One of these organizations, Anaheim Electronics Company, absorbed staff from the former Zeon companies Zeonic and ZImmad, as well as from the Federation’s Hervic Company, which was responsible for the development of the Core Fighter, and were it not for the Delaz Fleet Conflict, the advanced and progressive GP project was expected to produce an advanced new Mobile Suit for the Federation Forces.   However, with the loss of the project’s major backer, Brigadier General John Cowen, AE’s efforts ultimately lost to the joint AE/Granada(Federation) - developed RMS-106 Hizack.   The Federation would go on to independently proceed with development of the RX-178 ‘Gundam Mk. II.’ excluding AE from the development process.

Though at the time Anaheim Electronics was principally based on Earth, these events caused the company to form closer relations with Spacenoids.   The company already possessed several production facilities in space that were used with the GP project, and having been passed over to be what should be one of the entire Earth Sphere’s top organizations, this treatment was said to have been humiliating for AE. 

Though there were many reasons the company became one of the AEUG’s sponsors, one of the company’s main objectives was to be a leader in military industry, and Char Aznable’s (known at the time under the alias of Quattro Bajeena) knowledge of Gundarium Alloy technology was used towards this long-term strategy, though behind the scenes it became a boost in helping the AEUG push its philosophy of ‘Spacenoid Autonomy’.

Though the company would be viewed as a ruthless ‘merchant of death’, there were at least a few individuals in the company that truly believed in the ideals of this revolution, which led its Chairman, Melanie Hugh Carbine, to use this image of the company as a propaganda tool.  

In any case, if AEUG was to effectively take action as AE’s private military, more than just Mobile Suits would be needed, a mother ship that could deploy them effectively would also be needed.
One of the AEUG’s central figures, Brigadier General Brex Forrer and AE itself created a plan to divert some of the Federation Forces’ military budget in order to construct an entirely new warship, called ‘Silhouette Pegasus’.

As the AEUG was composed of members rebelling against the Titans-influenced Federation Forces, it was initially a very fragile organization and a literal ‘Flagship’ was needed. 
The flagship would allow a literal base on which to form the foundation of military action, and also serve to serve as a beacon for the rebel forces with which they could rally like-minded individuals to their cause.

As Spacenoids were the core of the AEUG, there was also a strong necessity to aggregate the support of the Anti-Federation elements on Earth’s Surface, and to lead an orderly military organization that would be able to operate in unit sized elements, there was a great need to attract command officers to the AEUG, as none of the regular military personnel were willing to believe that guerrilla campaign by a force not even possessing a single warship would be successful.

The Silhouette Pegasus plan was conceived as a bold plan to construct and design a completely new warship.  While of course incorporating design elements from existing vessels, it is obvious that this plan would allow new possibilities to be explored in warship design.  In AE’s previously mentioned involvement in the GP project, AE was able to gain experience in warship design by constructing a Gundam-Type MS carrier, the Pegasus-class MSC-07 ‘Albion’, and would now use this experience as a basis for the design of a totally new type of mobile cruiser.

As the AEUG’s ultimate goal was to completely cleanse Space and the Earth of the Titans, there would also be a need to conduct assaults on the Titans’ bases and strongholds.   Some of these included Grypps (the former Side 7), Luna II, and even possibly Jaburo, all of which would require a great an element of surprise as possible, with the assaults conducted either with a single ship acting alone, or as small as possible of a mobile force being ideal.  (Moreover, the AEUG was not capable of a large fleet action.)    Naturally, the ship must be capable of transporting a reasonable number of Mobile Suits as well, which meant that the abilities of the Pegasus-class were a perfect fit for the envisioned role of this new ship.

However, regardless of the level of Mobile Suits available, first a budget for warship construction was needed, as the amount provided by AE itself was painfully small.  Brigadier General Brex Forrer, stationed at the Federation General Staff Headquarters, with the assistance of AEUG sympathizers within the Federation Government, was able to utilize the funding allocated for Jupiter Shuttle construction for the construction of the Argama.  The details of this project were not disclosed to the Brigadier's comrades within their meetings, and indeed the Brigadier himself did not know much, in order to better able to push the budget through before an accounting audit could occur, which made the Brigadier's position in the highest levels of leadership crucial.

Thus #1 ship began development at L2's Sweetwater Colony, under the guise of a 'Jupiter Shuttle'.

Argama class Overview

The Argama class aimed to improve on concepts proven in the One Year War by the White Base class, and also the shortened constuction and cost saving techniques that were learned during the construction of the Albion.   Additionally, open type catapults were included in the design to allow a stronger outer hull, usage of less materials, and a decrease in overall ship mass.  The centralized Mobile Suit Deck was an important part of the design, which was designed under the premise of not only increasing defensive capabilities, but effectively allowed the ship to maintain the overall capabilities of the White Base while also increasing mobility.

The size was was consciously planned to be in the 300 meter class as to allow support from AE's dock ship 'La Vie En Rose', and required a minimum crew of approximately 200.    However, with a number of Mobile Suits and various types of Mobile Suits on board, and taking damage control considerations in mind, it was hoped to have more than 300 crew members on board.  The Space Warship dilemma, is that not only is it physically difficult to replenish personnel and supplies in the first place, but this is compounded by the fact that there are also not many qualified personnel or frequent opportunities to resupply, as the personnel and supply situation in a rebel force is quite different than a regular army.

As a result, the #1 ship (Argama) was believed to typically operate with even fewer crew members than the minimum complement.   Even with a three-watch shift system in place, most crew members had to fulfill multiple roles, which limited their ability to take offensive actions.  As the extended periods the crew would be spending in low gravity environments was also a concern, a solution was urgently needed.

Originally, it was assumed that the Argama class would operate on the Earth's surface as well, and that it would operate as a Mobile Suit carrier ship during ground attack operations.

However, the high output Minovsky Craft system not needed for a space-only ship, and the necessity of having a artificial gravity habitation block for extended space operations meant that the construction costs would be 50% higher than the Grey Phantom type ships.  Additionally, while the Minovsky Craft and heat resistant plating which allowed the White Base class to perform atmospheric reentry without additional equipment were included, a Ballute system was also installed as a backup.

This meant that in order to precisely preserve the capabilities of the White Base class, considerably higher costs would be incurred.

As previously mentioned, the Argama was designed with the intention of serving as an iconic flagship for the AEUG and its primary means of deployment, and would continue the legacy of the White Base class.  For these reasons, Brigadier Brex proposed that the name 'White Base' be used for the ship, but ultimately Chairman Melanie named it the 'Argama'.   Upon commissioning in February 0087, the #1 ship took its place as the AEUG flagship and plunged straight into the Grypps conflict.

In order to help the crew tolerate long duty periods on the ship, the Argama possessed specialized habitation blocks which would rotate around the central section when not in combat, providing artificial gravity.  The Minovsky Craft system installed on the ship is supposedly used to negate the rotational momentum.

#1 Ship, "Argama"

Completed in approximately a year and a half, the Argama was almost immediately deployed into combat when it was launched.   

The Argama was supplied with three of the just-rolled out RMS-099 Rick Dias, and while still undergoing familiarization and training, took part in the AEUG's first combat operation at Green Oasis, where it deployed in a reconnaissance by force.

The crew predominantly had combat experience from the One Year War, and with many others having experience from being stationed in Earth orbit following the war.   Bolstered by the brand new ship and the main force of Mobile Suits, morale was very high, which allowed to become highly proficient in operating the new ship in a short amount of time.   At this point, the ship was not even completely fitted out, and crews initially had serious doubts regarding their ability to maintain the ship.   However, though round the clock training and the rapidly unfolding conflict, operational procedures were quickly established.

The captain, Lt. Colonel Henken Brekkener, was an experienced Salamis light cruiser commander, with Brigadier General Brex also onboard.  The Mobile Suit corps was lead by the obvious choice, the One Year War Veteran Captain Quattro Bajina, and formed around a core of veteran Zeon soldiers.

The Argama would deploy in support of  this initial reconnaissance mission, conducted in the Titans stronghold Green Oasis (Side 7) in response to information that a new Gundam was being developed. 

During this period, the Titans were recruiting a number of Earth-born pilots, and with the completion of the Titans' battleship Dogos Gear (TL: I like this spelling over Dogosse Giar), were deploying many of these pilots to the Lunar city of Granada to create a new Gundam corps.  This Gundam Corps was being assembled with the intention of threatening the Spacenoids back into submission.

Captain Quattro's AEUG MS force had confirmed the existence of the new Gundam, and with the objective of destroying or, with a little luck, capturing the new unit, infiltrated Green Noa 1 and 2, which ultimately became the first incident in what would be called the Grypps conflict. 

In April 0087, the AEUG Headquarters considered two plans: to capture either Grypps or Jaburo, and ultimately decided to capture Jaburo with the support and reinforcements from the Anti-Federation Karaba operating on Earth.  However, the descent of the Argama to Earth's surface at this time was not part of this original plan. Wtih 2/3s of AEUG's MS forces committed to this operation, this meant that the Argama, remaining in space, had to maintain the the front lines in space by itself.   The Titans' Operation Apollo* would be launched soon afterwards, and the Argama succesfully deployed forces to Side 2's bunch 25 in order to stop a poison gas attack.   Additionally, Lt. Colonel Bright Noa, the One Year War captain of the White Base became the Argama's new Captain, effectively recreating the legendary White Base, with Captain Henken transferring to the Irish-class Radish.

(*Operation Apollo: In August UC0087, The Titans, with the assistance of a Republic of Zeon fleet, occupied the Lunar city of Von Braun.  Von Braun was under the control of the Titans for approximately one week before the AEUG was able to retake it.   Following the loss of Von Braun, the Titans attempted to drop a colony on Granada, but thanks to the actions of the Argama, this was avoided.)

As the Grypps conflict progressed, it was discovered that 'Captain Quattro' was none other than Zeon Zum Daikun's son Casval Rem Daikun (aka Char Aznable), who then made the famous 'Dakar Declaration' to the Federation Assembly.   

With the reentry of the Zeon Remnant forces and the asteroid Axis into the Earth Sphere, a three-way conflict between the AEUG, Titans, and Axis emerged.  The subsequent seizure of the Grypps 2 colony laser meant that the destruction of the Titans' fleet in Operation Malestrom was ultimately realized, though with great sacrifice.

Following the Grypps Conflict, the battle continued against the Axis forces lead by Haman Kahn, who was aiming to take control the Earth Sphere, taking advantage of the chaotic situation at the time.

Though the AEUG had succeeded in restoring sovereignty to the Earth Federation Government and Military, with the assassination of Brigadier General Brex and the disappearance of the new AEUG figurehead Char Aznable, the organization was in poor shape.  The Argama at this time only carried the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam and MSA-005 Methuss as combat forces, and was forced to take impress civilians as temporary crew members at Side 1's Shangri-La colony.   The MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam and restored Gundam Mk II and Hyaku Shiki would later be supplied to the ship, and their battle opposing Axis would continue.

In August UC 0088, Axis would take on the name of 'Neo Zeon', and absorbing the remnants of the Titans forces, would occupy the Federation Capitol at Dakar.   The Argama, pursuing Haman Khan's Neo Zeon main fleet, would finally descend to Earth.

However, Haman Khan succeed in intimidating the top levels of Federation Government, which ultimately led them to avoid engaging the superior Neo Zeon forces. effectively handing control of the Earth Sphere to Haman.   After failing to stop the colony drop on Dublin a short time later, the Argama cruised to the Norway headquarters of Karaba, and, lacking the ability to send the ship back into space, most of her crew and equipment was transferred to the Naheel Argama in order to continue operations.   

After handing the Argama over to Karaba, it continued to be used operationally on Earth, and was also used to test some of Karaba's experimental Mobile Suits.  By the end of the First Neo Zeon War, it was handed over to the Federation Forces, and continued to be used on Earth's surface.

#2 Ship "Pegasus III"

The #2 ship, named the "Pegasus III", is wrapped in even more mystery than the #1 'Argama', and not a single detail is known about her construction location or date, however it is believed to have been constructed on Earth, not in space.   In February 0088, it was launched into space from Baikonur base with four escorts, and after rendezvousing with the floating dock Penta at L3, proceeded to the asteroid Pezun.

At this stage, the AEUG had been integrated into the Federation Forces, and the Pegasus III was assigned as the flagship for Task Force Alpha, which was assembled to suppress the the Titans-aligned Anti-Federation Organization 'New Decides'.   New Decides put up heavy resistance, and though reinforcements for Task Force Alpha were expected to arrive the following day in the form of Fleet Detachment X, this fleet ultimately defected to New Decides and joined forces, worsening the situation.

This made the assault on Pezun extremely difficult, but the Pegasus III pressed its attacks, and New Decides ultimately self-destructed Pezun.

Following this, New Decides involved the citizens of the Lunar city Ayers in their resistance, and Task Force Alpha pursued the rebellion to the Moon, and suppressed it there.

The following month, New Decides received a large Mobile Armor from Neo Zeon, and intending to conduct an orbital bombardment of the Federation General Headquarters, began attacking towards Lhasa.  The Pegasus III, after retaking the low orbit space station Penta from New Decides, destroyed the giant Mobile Armor 'Zodiac', preventing it from falling onto Lhasa, finally completing its mission.

Source: Mobile Suit Master Archive Zeta Gundam, GA Graphic, 2012


  1. I thought this blog had died a year ago! It sure feels nice to have you back on the saddle, White Rider.

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