RX-78-2 Gundam

The RX-78-2 Gundam was a prototype close combat mobile suit developed by the Earth Federation.

It was the most well-known mobile suit to emerge from the Federation’s top-secret Project V, a programme initiated to research and build mobile weapons. The Gundam went on to become the most famous unit in the One Year War and propelled its pilot Amuro Ray to a legendary status.


The Earth Federation begun the secret Project V to develop mobile weapons four years prior to the One Year War, after it received intelligence reports of the mobile suits that the Principality of Zeon was building.

The Gundam was the second prototype from the RX-78 Gundam line.

The first two mobile suits to emerge from the programme, were designed for use between medium and long range. The RX-78-2 Gundam was developed for close-ranged combat to complement them.

The Gundam was assembled under the supervision of engineer Tem Ray in the Federation’s research base in the colony Side 7. When Zeon forces attacked the base, Tem Ray’s son Amuro piloted the Gundam and fought off the enemies. The Gundam was then served on the assault carrier White Base until it was destroyed near the end of the war.

The mobile suit had a learning computer system that allowed it to collect data and adapt to the pilot’s abilities. This allowed it to evolve and improve as its affinity with Amuro increased.

The data from the computer was later incorporated into the Federation’s first mass-production mobile suit, the RGM-79 GM.

Despite its high performance and advanced design, the Gundam was pushed to its limits by Amuro’s astonishing Newtype abilities. This often resulted in its motors and joints being overloaded and burnt out. Federation technician Mosque Han remedied this by upgrading the Gundam with an electronmagnetic coating on its joints before the battle of A Baoa Qu.

The Gundam and the MSN-02 Zeong ended up destroying each other at the final battle of the war at Zeon’s space fortress A Baoa Qu.

It was replaced in UC 0087 by the RX-178 Gundam MK II.


The RX-78-2 Gundam was preceded by the RX-75-4 Guntank and the RX-77-2 Guncannon. These were designed for long-range and medium range combat respectively. The Gundam was developed as a fast close-combat mobile suit to complement them and form an effective fighting force.

New technologies were used in the design of the Gundam. These included beam technology in the form of a beam rifle and two beam sabres, and a learning computer system.

The Gundam was built from lightweight lunar titanium alloy that was lighter and sturdier than that of Zeon mobile suits produced then. The armour was able to withstand machine gun fire with minimal damage.

While its siblings from Project V used the similar armour material, the Gundam was the first to utilise a lighter version. This made it faster and thus ideal for close-ranged combat.

The Gundam was equipped with a learning computer system that allowed it to collect data and adapt to the pilot’s abilities. The system was also able to record enemy data and compute better countermeasures.

The Newtype abilities of pilot Amuro Ray surpassed the limits of the Gundam. Its reaction time fell behind Amuro’s and its joints were often overloaded. An electromagnetic coating was applied to increase the performance of its joints. This coating was first trialed on the RX-78-3 G-3 Gundam and later used on the RX-78NT-1 Gundam Alex.

Like the other units from Project V, the Gundam used the Core Block System that allowed the separation of the Core Block from the upper torso to function as an FF-X7 Core Fighter. This was utilised as an escape system for the pilot.


The RX-78-2 Gundam’s standard weapons were a ranged weapon, two beam sabres and a shield of defence. It had an array of melee and ranged weapons to choose from depending on the requirements of the mission.

Beam rifle

The BAUVA*XBR-M-79-07G (Bauva eXperimental Beam Rifle-Medium Range) beam rifle was the Gundam’s primary weapon. It was the first portable beam weapon to be ever produced. This provided the Gundam with firepower equivalent to a battleship’s beam cannons.

BAUVA·XBR-M-79-07G beam rifle

The rifle used draw its rounds from energy capacitors (E-caps), clips of charged Minovsky particles. Minovksy particles broke down matter at a molecular level, allowing the beam rifle bolts to penetrate even the thickest armour. This meant that a single shot could destroy a mobile suit.

Each E-cap contained 16 shots. This was a significant drawback of the beam rifle. The pilot had to use the ammunitions wisely to make the full use of the limited number of rounds.

380 mm hyper bazooka

The BLASH*XHB-L-03/N-STD (Blash eXperimental Hyper Bazooka-Long range) 380 mm hyper bazooka was a heavy arms designed for the Gundam. It was intended for long-range fire against enemy units.

BLASH·XHB-L-03/N-STD hyper bazooka

Although it dealt heavy damage, the hyper bazooka had a slow rate of fire and limited number of rounds. Each ammunitions clip carried only five rounds. The hyper bazooka comes with one round loaded in the barrel before the Gundam launched.

It was more practical to use the hyper bazooka against slower targets to fully utilise the limited ammunitions while dealing maximum damage.

60 mm vulcan guns

A pair of fire-linked 60 mm gatling vulcan guns were mounted on either sides of the Gundam’s head.

Each vulcan gun was loaded with 400 rounds of ammunition and fired at a rate of 1,600 rounds per minute. It was used primarily against light-armoured support units. Sustained fire from the guns could damage mobile suits and were often used in close distance combat.

Beam sabres

The Gundam was the first mobile suit to be equipped with beam melee weapons. It used two sabres that were docked in the backpack for recharging when not in use.

The beam sabres used an I-field to contain Minovsky particles within the shape of a blade. Minovsky particles broke down matter at a molecular level. This meant that the beam sabre could cut through almost any material.

Minovsky particles were channelled into the sabre through an E-cap attached to its hilt. The E-cap recharged with Minvosky particles from the Gundam’s reactor when the sabre was stored in the backpack dock.

Power output of each beam sabre was rated at 0.38 megawatts.

Beam javelin attachment

The beam sabres could take the form of the beam javelin. The sabre hilt extended into a long pole and three beam prongs emitted at its tip.

Beam javelin

Beam javelin

Gundam hammer & hyper hammer

The Gundam hammer was a flail-like ranged melee weapon. It was a large spiked ball attached to a chain and was swung or thrown to deal damage.

Gundam hammer

It was later upgraded into the hyper hammer for use in space. Vernier thrusters were mounted on the ball to propel it in zero-gravity. This increased the force of the impact and it dealt heavier damage. The ball could also alter its path before impact, increasing accuracy and allowing it to trick the enemy.

Hyper hammer


The Gundam used the RX*M-Sh-008/S-01025 (Renpou eXperimental Medium Shield) shield for defence. Renpou means Federation in Japanese. When not in use, the shield was stored on the Gundam’s backpack.

RX·M-Sh-008/S-01025 shield Gundam Evolve version

The shield was able to block most ballistic and explosive projectiles. It was also effective in melee combat. It had a viewport that could be sealed with an internal blast plate.

During atmospheric re-entry by the Gundam, the shield was used to deflect heat from it and to protect the Gundam from the heat as well.

Known pilots


First generation

Second generation

RX-78 variants

First Strike Weapons System (FSWS) variants

Behind the scenes

Kunio Okawara was the original mechanical designer.

Super Napalm

The Gundam was seen in the second episode of Mobile Suit Gundam using the Super Napalm. It was the only episode that the weapon appeared in. The Super Napalm was a projectile fired from the beam rifle that caused whatever it hit to be engulfed in flames. The weapon did not appear in any other episode and it was usually not mentioned in source books

The weapon appeared in the Playstation game SD Gundam G-Generation F, the Game Boy Advance game Super Robot Wars, the Playstation 3 game Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme vs and Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation, in which it was attached to the beam rifle.


In the original Mobile Suit Gundam animation, the Gundam was assigned the G-Fighter as a support unit during Operation Odessa. The two G-Fighter units were designed to utilise the Gundam’s modular system to allow it to switch roles during combat.

The Gundam was assigned two G-Fighter units as support. These leveraged on the Gundam’s modular system and allowed it to switch roles during combat. It could take the form of an assault bomber, the G-Armour, or the close combat support tank, the G-Bull.

However, Yoshiyuki Tomino felt that the G-Fighters did not fit into the real robot genre that he envisioned for the series. This led to their omission in the compilation movies.

Novel discrepancy

In the Mobile Suit Gundam novels, the RX-78-2 was destroyed during an ambush in Texas Colony at the end of the first book instead of during the Battle of A Baoa Qu . Amuro then piloted the RX-78-3 G-3 Gundam until his death at the end of the novels.

The Gundam appeared in a scene in Mobile Fighter G Gundam clinging to a rocket.