The RGM-79RN GM Raven was a limited production, special purpose variant of the RGM-79 GM and was deployed during the Universal Century era's One Year War by the Earth Federation Army's 2nd Mobile Suit Composite Group ("Night Lords"), a special unit with particular training in airborne assault operations. It first appeared in the Mobile Suit Variations EX: UC Generation design series.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
Near the end of the One Year War, the Earth Federation Forces' (EFF) endeavored to produce mobile suits (MS) and mobilized its industrial power. This was part of an unusual plan to simultaneous develop experimental MS and begin their mass production. This resulted in an increase of the range of inconsistent specifications and non-standard parts of EFF MS. Despite the advances made by the mobile suit since the earliest years of the EFF's military mobile weapons, the concept of a specialist assault MS was almost universally ignored until November U.C.0079, and nowhere more so than in the Earth Federation (EF)'s Earth-based military force, The Earth Federation Army (EFA). Spurred by events in Jaburo and encouraged by the Earth Federation Space Force's (EFSF) early experience with MS, the EFA accepted proposals in November 30, 0079 for a heavily armed, flight-capable assault MS, to which the RGM-79RN was submitted by the Federation Forces' highly-classified Enigma Phantom Skunkworks project. The army seemed unable to agree specification priorities on this highly ambitious design, but eventually work was started on the development of the "GM Raven." Conceived as a form of high-altitude assault for the EFA's operations in the Southeast Asian front, the GM Raven was an imaginative weapon of considerable power when operating in dense jungles clear of anti-air fire. Their task was mainly to provide support for EFA soldiers and the capture of enemy military installations, for which they carried a variety of armament combinations.
Based on the overall frame of the Earth Federation's newly rolled-out RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom, The GM Raven was physically comparatively small - one meter shorter than the GM Sniper Custom, however the GM Raven's height-to-breadth ratio made for better stability and maneuverability in atmospheric flight, while still retaining provision for carrying gear externally. It was fitted with numerous hardpoints used for mounting external weapons, armor, and equipment. The Raven was adapted to carry the specialized YFU-01A "Corvus" flight-unit which housed high-performance turbojet thrusters with 2D thrust vectoring nozzles and stabilizer wings that considerably improved the MS' maneuverability, allowing it to sustain flight. The flight-unit was connected to the backpack and fed directly from the generator. The Raven featured a slightly widened center waist and thrusters mounted on its legs in order to maintain balance and altitude during flight. The powerful leg thrusters allowed the GM Raven to jump to a height of up to 300 meters. In air combat, It was somewhat tricky to fly and unforgiving of handling mistakes, particularly during complex maneuvers. Because the Raven was meant to be operated only on Earth, space-use life-support systems for the pilot were omitted during the design phase. The legs had been drastically redesigned; being fitted with electromagnetic shock absorbers which provided additional balance when landing, aerodynamic laminar-flow coverings and had wider-track feet for improved stability on the ground.
The GM Raven was equipped with a 180mm Gun/Launcher nicknamed the "Ambassador Gun", an improved version of the 180mm cannon first seen on the Gundam Ground Type, for which a range of ammunition was developed, including anti-vehicle and anti-MS rounds and proving capable of destroying the Principality of Zeon army's Zaku II from the air with a well-placed shot. The all-purpose backpack stored the IRAMM missiles used with the 180mm cannon, a pair of beam sabers, and equipment racks that allowed the Raven to be rigged for low-velocity airdrops from large transport-planes.
Other straightforward modifications included the adoption of passive infra-red sensors, a laser-range and solid-state digital ballistics computer, and a thermal jacket for the 190mm gun barrel, to minimize distortion caused by uneven heating or cooling. These modifications considerably raised the expenditure on the unit, making the Raven an extraordinarily expensive machine to produce. A modified torso section was necessary to accommodate a 115mm machine cannon for close-range situations and to reduce the machine's infra-red signature, at the same time, however as a result, the cockpit became somewhat cramped for the pilot (This was also to prevent the pilot from flailing around when the GM Raven engaged in high-speed air maneuvers). Flying controls were operated via the computer system, in a form of digital "fly-by-wire" similar to that used in modern fighter jets. All data pertinent to the MS' operation and weapons were held in the computer and supplemented with an advanced fire-control system, accessible to the pilot via Visual Display Unit, however, this system was often wholly ignored by the veteran pilots of the "Night Lords" who preferred analog controls.
A prototype, which was initially designated RGM-79RN-0, was first tested in December 3 and subsequent development units had 1,090-kW power-plant. Despite being quite different in character from anything that had gone before it, it proved satisfactory enough in the fire-support role and gained favorable response from test establishments. Designers were working on a modified design to facilitate production, and in December 8, U.C.0079, the first RGM-79RN was completed, being identifiable by its high-gloss black finish. Named "GM Raven", the RGM-79RN entered service in December 12 and was first deployed in Sumatra by the 2nd Mobile Suit Composite Group. Due to high manufacturing costs, just 6 of these mobile suits were produced, but a beam-rifle equipped version failed to reach service.
Powerful and fast, the GM Raven was certainly a handful for its pilots, but proved a devastating weapon in the assault role. An upgraded version, the RGM-79RN-2B/NS GM Raven "Spectre", with improved generator output, extra weapons and redesigned wing surfaces, was rolled-out during the last week of hostilities and proved even better than the RGM-79RN. Although attempts were made to mass-produce the unit, development was ultimately halted and design effort was concentrated to the more cost-efficient RGM-79V GM Night Seeker.
- "Persuader" 60mm KMP-7/U Gatling-style cannon
A type of large, hydraulically-driven six-barrel rotary gun that is standard on most EFF mobile suits. They are positioned on the MS' head, to the side of the main camera sensors, so that the barrel opening's are directly pointing at the head's center line. Although they have a high firing rate, these weapons are inaccurate and ineffective against mobile suit armor. They are primarily used as anti-personnel weapons and are often used to shoot down incoming rockets or missiles.
- NFHI·GNE-type.12/ 190mm Gun/Launcher
An upgraded version of the clip-fed 180mm cannon, The 180mm cannon Gun/Launcher was all round more capable weapon and could fire conventional APFSDS and HEAT rounds as well as a infra-red line-of-sight guided missile capable of subduing MS that were so well armored as to be invulnerable to conventional solid ammunition of the time. The sub-calibre kinetic energy round, which left the muzzle at a scorching 2300 meters per second, could penetrate thick armour at a range of 5000 ft. The gun was physically larger than the old 180mm cannon, and the gun's size also limited the ready ammunition supply to just 6 rounds.
- AMS-90S IRAMM infra-red guided anti-MS missile
In the Universal Century , where the Minovsky Particle (M-particle) is seen in every facet of mobile suit combat, precision guided weapons are rendered useless due to the interference of the M-particle with the operations of electronic circuitry. As a result, the IRAMM was developed as a tactical infrared-homing anti-mobile suit missile designed to be launched singly from the 190mm gun/launcher. The target-detection equipment within the missile senses infrared rays emitted by the hot exhaust of an MS and locks onto this source by it's computer mechanism, which continues to track the target while giving commands to the missile control system. It is 45-pounds and used solid fuel for propellant, with a range of roughly 15 miles.
- RNS·10-05/G-00122 shield
A solid shield designed to be smaller than those featured on the RGM-79 GM, this was done to make the GM Raven more aerodynamically stable in flight. Incorporating composite alloys and material, this shield is effective against ammunition from conventional weaponry such as the Zaku II's 100mm machine-gun, however, it is ineffective against beam weapons. The shield is mounted on a forearm hardpoint, and can be jettisoned to avoid becoming dead-weight for the pilot.
- "Divider" 115mm NS·GR-Type.40/ machine cannon
A powerful auto-cannon which fired a round almost twice the volume of the 60mm gatling guns. The "Divider"'s high power allowed it to penetrate the armor of tanks, as well as some MS with a concentrated volley. An inherent problem with the design was the low rate of fire. The "Divider" was place in a fixed installation complete with feed system and drum on the GM Raven's chest, situated to the left of the cockpit. Four of these weapons are mounted on the YFU-01A "Corvus" flight-unit, with additional ammunition and radiation-shielding equipment for the fire-control systems.
- B.Sa-G-05 beam saber
Stored on the backpack, The beam saber is standard equipment for Federation mobile suits. The beam saber is most often used for close range combat or as an emergency weapon once all other ammunition has been depleted. This particular variant features an larger I-field shell via improved miniature electromagnetic field device, thus creating a larger "blade". However, the energy drain on the E-cap is more pronounced, and cannot be used for longer than thirty minutes before the I-field dissipates.
- "Provider" 90mm KMP-12/O Gatling-type rotary cannon
A heavy and powerful Gatling-type rotary auto-cannon that comprises twelve percent of the GM Raven's weight, it is mounted on the Raven's left forearm and was designed as an anti-MS weapon. Although the caliber of the "Provider" is lower than that of the "Divider" 115mm machine cannon, the "Provider" is considerably more lethal. It is extremely accurate and delivers deadly armor-piercing rounds at a high rate of fire, but overheats quickly. The "Provider" fires destructive shells that incorporate a depleted uranium penetrating core and was lethal against most mobile suits used in the late U.C. 0070s.
- NS-RN·MR95-90mm GM Rifle "Special"
Basically an up-scaled version of the classic bullpup machine-gun used by modern-era infantrymen. Based on the design of the GM Rifle, The GM Rifle "Special" is a semi-automatic weapon modified to use the same type of ammunition as the 90mm "Provider", however, it fires them at much lower velocity and rate. Unlike the "Provider", The GM Rifle "Special" had the advantage of using the fresh ammo clips the GM Raven carried once the gun's magazine was spent. It was an unreliable weapon prone to constant jamming.
- YFU-01A "Corvus" flight-unit
The YFU-01A "Corvus" flight-unit is a development of the Corvette Booster. Emulating the concept of older VTOL aircraft, The Corvus' two powerful turbojet engines allow the heavy GM Raven to lift-off at a gross weight of 75.0 metric tons over a range of 1,500 miles. With its nozzles rotated vertically downward the Raven lifts off the ground supported by jet reaction. As height is gained the nozzles are rotated progressively rearward until the Raven is moving forward fast enough to generate adequate lift. A moderately swept wing and special under-wing canards give the all-important speed range necessary, proving the essential control speed required for the ground assault role. The aerodynamic features of the "Corvus" allow the GM Raven to take-off on a sortie from most land terrain. Auxiliary boosters mounted on the legs augment the output of the thrusters. The Corvus had armament comprising of four 115mm "Divider" machine cannons.
The specially trained 2nd Mobile Suit Composite Group of the 23rd Special Operations Armored Division was the only unit to use the RGM-79RN, with twenty-nine confirmed ground victories being achieved by the group. The greatest exponent of the "Raven" was Major Frederick Seigen, whose personal tally consisted of two Zaku Is, four Zaku IIs and four Magella tanks destroyed far exceeded any other. While unconfirmed, reports indicate that at least one RGM-79RN is destroyed in battle by a Zeon prototype MS in December, U.C.0079.
- The concept of the GM Raven was partly inspired by the Northrop P-61 Black Widow, a WWII night fighter.
- The images used are of the [Thttp://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/kit/rgm-111-nr.htm RGM-111 type NR Hardygun Night Raid].