Dwarfing even the largest vessels built up to that point, at more than three times the length of the Archangel-class, the Gondwana is the largest military spacecraft ever built. The ship is thickly-armored with laminate armor, making it extremely difficult for anything but the heaviest anti-ship weapons to damage.
Despite its heavy armor, the ship is relatively lightly armed for a vessel of such enormous size, with only eight high-energy beam cannons and eight dual beam cannons, plus a number of CIWS turrets for close-range missile and mobile suit interception. However, its real strength is its ability to support nearly 500 mobile suits, which can be rapidly deployed through its sixteen linear catapults.
After the destruction of both Boaz and Jachin Due during the Bloody Valentine War, the PLANTs were left with no major line of defense in the event of an enemy attack. Steps were thus taken to address this deficiency, one of which was the commissioning of a large, heavy space carrier for ZAFT's mobile suits.
The result was the 1.2-kilometer-long Gondwana, which on its own could carry nearly half of the mobile suits assigned to ZAFT's space fleets. Completed in early CE 75, the Gondwana would first see combat in the initial Alliance attack on the PLANTs following the Atlantic Federation's declaration of war, although at that point it carried only approximately 200 mobile suits, which is less than half of its total 480-unit capacity.
The Gondwana would see no further action except serving as a deployment point for ZAFT forces in a handful of minor skirmishes for the early months of the war, until Operation Ragnarok, when it would serve as a launch platform for orbital drop forces. It would subsequently be assigned to lunar orbit, and then move into station above Daedalus Base following the base's capture by ZAFT in the First Battle of Daedalus, with Chairman Durendal himself onboard. The damaged superweapon Requiem is subsequently repaired, and fired on Durendal's orders at the nearby and much larger lunar base at Arzachel.
The Gondwana, as flagship of the fleet defending the station, participated in the Second Battle of Daedalus, which ended with the vessel's destruction and the death of Durendal. The falling Gondwana would crash into the charging barrel of the superweapon Requiem, destroying it and causing catastrophic damage to the base itself.
Only one ship of this class existed, and after the war no additional ships were constructed.