The Columbus-class was a line of transport ship produced by the Earth Federation. These were built as supply ships but were converted into fighter carriers, and later into mobile suit carriers.
The Columbus-class ships served as supply ships for the Earth Federation prior to the One Year War. When the war broke out, many of these ships were converted to serve as fighter carriers for the FF-4 Toriares and FF-S3 Saberfish spacefighters.
After the Earth Federation started mass producing mobile suits late in the war, many Columbus-class ships were converted to carry and resupply mobile weapons from the GM and Ball lines. Some were modified to transport the Public-class gunships into battle.
During the New Desides rebellion of UC 0088, Columbus-class transport ships were used by both the Earth Federation and New Desides forces. A modified Columbus-class ship was used as a control ship for both Solar System superweapons.
The Columbus-class ships remained in service until as late as UC 0096 where they were deployed during the Laplace Incident.
The Columbus-class transport ship was designed to supply the Earth Federation fleets in space. These transport ships had a pair of large cargo bays for transfering large quantities of supplies. When the One Year War broke out, this capacity made the Columbus-class ships ideal for transporting spacefighters and mobile suits.
As the Earth Federation already had many of the Columbus-class transport ship in service, it was easier to refit them rather than to design and manufacture a dedicated mobile suit transport ship. However, being modified from their original purpose meant that these ships performed poorly. They had no armaments and had to be accompanied by an armed escort.
The underside of the Columbus-class ships were refitted to allow multiple GM units to refuel and resupplier quickling in the field.