Blackeagle (cdupchurch@hotmail.com)
Thu, 20 Jul 2000 11:22:28 MST


I think you may have misunderstood my point here. The original statement to
which I objected was that the prototyping philosophy seen in Gundam (build a
kick ass prototype crammed with every piece of gear you can then dumb it
down for mass production types) was a typical Japanese approach. My
original point was that it may be a typical Gundam approach, but it bears no
relationship to the way the Japanese develop technology (military or
otherwise).

Your next response brought up the evolutionary vs. revolutionary development
for military technology. Since your response didn't mention Gundam
specifically, I was responding to this purely on a real life basis. I used
Naval development because Japan produces naval vessels using it's own
designs (rather than building liscenced copies of U.S. equiptment as it does
for aircraft). Also because I happened to have a copy of 'Combat Fleets of
the World' handy as a reference.

In your response (below) you bring up the issue of which real life pattern
of tech development best applies to MS development. Note that I began this
discussion because I thought that the pattern of Japanese tech development
did not fit the Gundam universe.

Now, you assertation is basically that the aerospace model best fits MS
development. I think this is generally right, but not quite the way you
applied it.

Like airplanes, MS are not that well suited to modification. You can up the
power output, add more verniers, change the weapons, but you are pretty much
locked in to the basic stats. However, you use modern examples from the
aerospace development and compare it to MS development in the OYW to CCA
era. During this period, mobile suits are a very new and immature
technology.

Look at the MS-05 Zaku. It was the first combat capable MS. Fielded in
0075, it was considered obselete just four years later. During the war,
development takes place even faster! The Zaku II was fielded shortly before
the war, yet the third generation MS that replaced it (the Gouf and Dom)
were entering service by October. The fourth generation of Zeon MS (Gyan,
Gelgoog and Kampfer) were available by November/December.

The pace stays fast even 10-15 years later. The Hizak was considered a
front line combat machine in 0087, yet it was completely obselete as a
combat unit by 0093.

Compare this stunning rate of development with the modern 20-30 year
generational cycle for combat aircraft. I would submit that a better model
for MS development would be aircraft development in back in the first half
of this centurywhen aircraft technology was as new and immature and MS
technology is in the Gundam universe.

During WWI, the aircraft development proceeded very quickly, much like the
One Year War. After the war, development slowed a bit, but the pace still
remained incredibly high compared to today. During World War II a fighter
more than half a decade old was effectively obselete. This sort of frantic
pace seems to match what we've seen of MS development in Gundam quite well.

A side note on your comment about ship development in the Gundam universe.
I think this fits in quite well with what I have described above, since
spacecraft are a much more mature technology than mobile suits.

Well, I'm looking forward to what you have to say.

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>I think that your analysis of military development is a bit skewed by
>its reliance on a naval analogy. Naval vessels are far and away the
>largest, most expensive and time consuming single vehicles
>constructed by any military force, and as such their development
>usually takes a very different path than things like aerospace,
>cavalry and infantry weapon development. For example you will notice
>in Gundam the rate of ship development does not move at anything near
>the rate of MS development.
>
>It seems to me that MS development is most analogous to aerospace
>development. By that I mean that you can certainly get some minor
>improvements by increasing the power plant, or upgrading the weapons
>systems, but any major performance improvements pretty much
>necessitate a new frame.
>
>Using the aerospace analogy, it seems to me that there are very few
>nations, east or west, that employ an evolutionary model. Sure,
>pretty much every nation has one or two airframes that have proved so
>versatile that the will keep it in service for 20 years or more in
>some role with occasional performance improvements. But as a rule,
>most airforces the world over seek revolutionary solutions for
>mission critical tactical solutions, provided the nation in question
>can afford to research such a solution. The reason for this is that
>any major increase in the maneuverability of an aircraft, almost
>always requires that you redesign the airframe (and usually flight
>control system as well), and once you are redesigning the airframe,
>you might as well undertake a redesign of all the other systems as
>well. This seems to me to be pretty much how MS would work as well.
>To get faster reaction times out of a mech, you would usually have to
>redesign the entire joint structure. By the same token, getting a
>more maneuverable MS would require a new configuration of thrusters,
>verniers, reactors and a new control system. Once you have changed
>all of that, it seems kind of silly to spend the extra engineering on
>figuring out how to shoehorn all this into an existing unit.
>
>All this said, the mobile frame was an attempt to allow evolutionary
>development of MS, unfortunately then the introduction of the
>variable frame pretty much shot that to hell.
>
>I am not saying that revolutionary development is innately superior
>to evolutionary development, what I am saying, is that in some cases
>(such as aerospace) evolutionary development is not particularly
>feasible. For example, if any nation ever fields a capable, field
>serviceable, air superiority helicopter, it is highly unlikely that
>refitting existing helicopters or airplanes will provide a credible
>solution for other nations. By the same token, America's current mini
>remote tank development program, is likely to necessitate
>revolutionary solutions by the other military powers, as their
>introduction, will most likely undermine the basic survivability and
>deployment tenets of all modern tanks.

________________________________
Chris Upchurch a.k.a. Blackeagle
cdupchurch@hotmail.com

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