Musai-class

The Musai-class was a line of light cruisers produced by the Principality of Zeon.

History

When the Principality of Zeon initiated its mobile suit program during the One Year War, it developed the Musai-class light cruiser concurrently to create a spaceship designed to transport mobile suits. This allowed the Zeon scientists to design the ship while keeping in mind the added flexibillity of having an attached complement of mobile suits.

These cruisers quickly replaced the Chibe-class heavy cruisers as the backbone of Zeon’s space fleet. The Musai-class design was improved upon using data gathered from the ships that were deployed in battle. The upgrades were partly forced by the increase in mobile suit size that dictated a need for larger hangars. The first was the Musai-class Late Production Type, followed by the Musai-class Final Production Type.

After the war, Axis updated the design into the Musai Kai-class cruiser.

The most notable Musai-class cruiser was the Falmel commanded by Char Aznable.

Musai-class light cruiser "Falmel"

Musai-class light cruiser Falmel

Design

The Principality of Zeon developed their mobile suits and the Musai-class light cruisers concurrently so that the capabilities of the mobile suits complemented the spaceship. The most important aspect of this relationship is how the mobile suits and cruiser worked as a unit in both offence and defence. The mobile suit squadron attached to the cruiser provided the ship with short range fire power, specifically anti-aircraft and anti-mobile suit defence. This meant that the Zeon engineers could invest resources on longer range weaponry while omitting close range weapons.

Musai-class light cruiser from MS IGLOO

Musai-class light cruiser from MS IGLOO

However, such a design meant that the cruisers relied heavily on their mobile suits for defence. If the mobile suits were drawn too far away from the cruisers, the ships would be left exposed and vulnerable. Zeon’s focus in developing the long-ranged armaments of the Musai-class ships resulted in them having superior ranged fire power that it came to be known for.

The Musai-class cruisers could carry and maintain three mobile suits in its hangar. It was equipped with a Komusai re-entry shuttle that had space to store two additional mobile suits. By carrying two extra mobile suits, the Musai-class cruisers were able to match the strength of the Earth Federation Pegasus-class assault carriers.

Bridge of Musai-class light cruiser "Falmel"

Bridge of Musai-class light cruiser Falmel

Armaments

The Musai-class light cruiser was armed with mega particle guns and large missile launchers for long-range attacks, and small missile launcher for anti-aircraft and anti-mobile suit measures.

Mega particle guns

Three twin mega particle gun turrets were mounted at the top of the cruiser in a staggered manner. Due to their placement, the guns had limited firing angle. However, since they were meant to be use for long range attacks, this limitation was less of a concern. The turrets were able to concentrate their fire on a single point, to greatly increase the damage dealt.

Large missile launchers

There were two large missile launchers built into the hull of the Musai-class cruiser just below the lowest mega particle gun turret. These launchers were used for ship-to-ship attacks.

Small missile launchers

The cruiser had ten small missile launchers built into the hull above the large missile launcher. These were used for closer range bombardment or as countermeasures against enemy aircraft or mobile suits.

Behind the scenes

Kunio Okawara was the original mechanical designer. Hajime Katoki designed the version seen in Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO.

Appearances