The MS-05A (YMS-05) Zaku I Early Type was the initial design of the first mobile suit mass-produced by the Principality of Zeon.
Its performance was evaluated by pilots and data collected led to improvement in designs that culminated in the MS-05B Zaku I.
Zeon embarked on an ambitious mobile weapons programme as part of its aggressive militarisation in preparation for war with the Earth Federation.
The MS-04 Prototype Zaku was the first mobile suit to emerge from the mobile suit project of Zeonic Company in February UC 0074. The prototype designs were then refined and developed into the YMS-05 Zaku I Early Type, in August UC 0074. The mobile suit was later designated as MS-05A after it passed the early testing stages.
ZIMMAD, the rival of the Zeonic Company, produced a mobile suit, the EMS-04 Zudah, that was superior to the Zaku I. However, the Zudah disintegrated during a trial. Despite its poorer performance, the Zaku I was selected for mass production as it proved to be more stable than the Zudah.
Regardless, a rumour that politics played a party in the Zeonic Company winning the tender continued to make rounds in Zeon.
Elliot Rem was involved with the development of the Zaku I. Zeon produced 27 Zaku I Early Type in May UC 0079. In November UC 0075, these mobile suits were assigned to new pilots for evaluation. Some of this initial batch of pilots would eventually become famous figures in Zeon. They included the “Blue Giant” Ramba Ral, the “Black Tri-Stars” Gaia, Ortega and Mash, members of the Home Defence Corps, and the Midnight Fenrir Corp.
These pilots highlighted the shortcomings of the Zaku I Early Type and the data collected was used to refine the design into the MS-05B Zaku I.
After its initial limited run, the Zaku I Early Type was succeeded by the Zaku I.
The MS-05A Zaku I was a simplified version of the YMS-05 Zaku I. Expensive and complex features were stripped to make the design suitable for mass production.
The Zaku I Early Type had poor performance, something made more evident after it was outperformed by the EMS-04 Zudah. It was only the disintegration of the Zudah during the trials that convinced Zeon to use the Zaku I as the mass-produced front line unit.
Initial test data was collected and used to improve the Zaku I Early Type. The Zaku I had a redesigned cockpit, a higher-output power plant and redesigned armour.
The standard weapons used by the Zaku I Early Type were a ranged weapon and a Heat Hawk for melee combat.
105 mm machine gun
The electrically-operated ZMP-47D 105 mm machine gun was developed specifically for the Zaku I. It was drum-fed with 100 rounds per drum.
Its use under gravity was initially a cause of concern as it was developed for use in space. There were no issues reported about its usage on Earth.
280 mm bazooka
The H&L-SB21K/280 mm A-N(Anti-ship Nuclear) Zaku bazooka was an artillery armament that fired hull-piercing explosive rounds. It was designed for use against enemy ships.
It could only take one front-loaded round each time. Due to the method of reloading and the low ammunitions capacity, the pilot had to be very tactful in using it. A magazine of four rounds was stored on the side hip armour.
The bazooka was clasped on the rear waist armour when not in use.
The Heat Hawk was a melee weapon designed for the Zaku I Early Type. It was an axe with a super-heated metal blade that could melt armour as it cut.
It was mainly used in close combat or against enemy ships. The Heat Hawk was clasped on the rear armour when not in use.
Behind the scenes
Kunio Okawara was the original mechanical designer.