The MSZ-006A1 Ζeta Plus A1 (Z Plus A1) is one of Mobile Suit Zeta Plus
featured in the Photo Novel Gundam Sentinel. He will also be present in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and in Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative.
The MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam Transforming Mobile Suit developed by the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) was initially considered far too complex and expensive for mass production. But Karaba, the ground ally of the AEUG, takes note of the effectiveness of the Zeta Gundam and redesigns it to create the mass production type MSK-006 Zeta Plus (later redesigned as the MSZ-006A1). As this machine is exclusively intended for use in the atmosphere, its spaceflight systems and atmospheric entry features are eliminated. However, its cost-performance ratio and flight capabilities are superior to those of the Zeta Gundam.
Instead of the flying armor used by the Zeta Gundam, the Zeta Plus is equipped with variable geometry backpacks similar to those of the MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki. These wings improve the flight characteristics of Waverider form, giving it a cruise range of hundreds of miles, and in Mobile Suit form they can be used for AMBAC maneuvering rather than just becoming dead weight. The Zeta Plus is also equipped with two beam cannons in the side armor, which are connected directly to its movable frame so that power supply and fire control can be carried out without using the hands of the MS.
60mm Vulcan Gun: Two 60mm Vulcan Guns are mounted on the sides of the Zeta Plus's head. Having low power but high rate of fire, they are mainly used to intercept approaching enemies, missiles, etc. The Zeta Plus has an extended head, allowing it to carry 80% more ammo for its Vulcans than the Zeta Gundam.
Thigh Beam Cannon: A pair of beam cannons are mounted on the thighs of the Zeta Plus A1 and are usable in Mobile Suit Mode and Waverider Mode. They have a nominal power of 2.4 MW.
Beam Saber: A common close combat weapon, it uses Minovsky particles held in place by an I-Field to form an effective cutting surface that can cut through most materials without an anti-beam coating. The Zeta Plus A1 has a pair of sabers stored in the upper thigh cannons.
Shield: A custom shield used by the Zeta Plus A1, it not only protects the Mobile Suit against physical and beam attacks, but also serves as a nose unit in waverider mode.
Beam Rifle: A custom, handheld firing beam weapon used by the Zeta Plus A1, it has the same level of firepower as the original Zeta Gundam. It is powered by a replaceable e-pac and can be used in MS mode and Waverider mode.
Beam Rifle - ReZEL version: As part of the Federation's efforts to standardize equipment, the Zeta Plus A1S still in operation in UC 0096 had their Beam Rifle changed to the model used by the RGZ-95 ReZEL. This Beam Rifle model has the ability to emit a beam blade from its barrel's exit muzzle, allowing it to act as a long beam saber for melee combat.
The first Zeta Plus A1 was deployed in November to CU 0087, and the new machines were assigned to Karaba units such as the 18th Tactical Fighter Aggressor Squadron (18TFAS) based aboard the Garuda-class carrier Audhumla. These machines were painted gray for low visibility missions, but had a different color scheme for demonstration. The demonstration colors were also known as "GM coloring" with a two-tone scheme of red-orange and white. Rumor has it that one of these colorful machines was used by legendary ace pilot Amuro Ray in his role as commander of 18TFAS.
As of UC 0096, an unknown number of Zeta Plus A1s remained in service, with a few units stationed at certain Federation ground bases such as Cheyenne Base. During Bright Noa's investigation of this base, two Zeta Plus A1S Guardians were immobilized by Tri-Stars Team RGM-96X Jestas and RGM-96X Jesta Cannon.
In UC0097, a Zeta Plus A1 was deployed in defense of the Metis Collegiate Colony on Side 6 alongside an RMS-099 Rick Dias and an RMS-106 Hizack. After its comrades were destroyed in battle, the Zeta Plus A1 indiscriminately attacked the Neo Zeon and Luio & Co. forces to force them out of the colony. Despite its age, the Zeta Plus A1 took out several Jesta units, an AMS-129 Geara Zulu, and even fended off the Fair Lady III "Jet Stream Attack", but it lost the ability to transform into Waverider mode in the process. After damaging two of the Fair Lady III's three AMX-009 Dreissen, the Zeta Plus A1 was finally destroyed by Birgitte Knudsen's Dreissen.
Did you know?
In Episode 7 of the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn OVAs, a Gustav Karl's cockpit monitor shows a Zeta Plus A1 ally mistakenly as "Zeta Plus C1".
In the PlayStation 4 game, Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation 2, the Zeta Plus A1 uses the MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki's beam rifle instead of its own custom rifle.
In the Gundam Narrative manga, the Zeta Plus A1 is called Gundam by the Fairlady III.