The Minerva class battleship was the first warship built by ZAFT after the first Bloody Valentine War. The ship was designed as a naval space vessel and has carrying space for at least 11 mobile suits including the Impulse. Visually, the Minerva resembles a combination of the Archangel and Eternal from the first war. It is however actually designed to resemble the space whale, Evidence 01, which was recovered by George Glenn. The first ship of the class, the Minerva, carried the hull classification code LHM-BB01, designating it as both a transatmospheric mobile assault ship (like the Archangel) and a battleship. The Minerva was commanded by Talia Gladys, a veteran ZAFT ship commander who was decorated in the Bloody Valentine War for meritorious conduct. Talia Gladys, Athrun Zala, Heine Westenfluss (deceased), and later Shinn Asuka and Rey Za Burrel were members of ZAFT's elite FAITH detachment.
The lead ship, meant to carry the new Second Generation Gundam units, was launched prematurely on October 2, CE 73, with the Impulse, two ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warriors (one painted in Lunamaria Hawke's personal red colors), one ZGMF-1001 ZAKU Phantom (painted in Rey Za Burrel's personal white colors) and two ZGMF-601R GuAIZ Rs. After its launch, the Minerva followed the Phantom Pain battleship Girty Lue, which had stolen three of the new Gundams. During the first battle between the two ships, two GuAIZ Rs were destroyed. Later, the Minerva tried to prevent the fall of Junius Seven on Earth by shattering the large a fragment with its positron cannon. During this incident, it again battled Phantom Pain as well as several Coordinator extremists. After descending down to Earth, the ship entered the territory of Orb.
When the Second Bloody Valentine War broke out, the Minerva left the country and headed for the Carpentaria Base, although it was forced to battle the Earth Alliance forces ouside Orb's territory. In Carpentaria, one of the ZAKU Warriors was replaced by the prototype ZGMF-X23S Saviour and one of the GuAIZ Rs was later replaced by a ZGMF-X2000 GOUF Ignited. After leaving Carpentaria, the ship headed towards the Gibraltar Base. On its way, the Minerva fought the EA and its allies of the Orb Union several times, which caused severe damage to the ship and its mobile suits. It was also forced to fight the Archangel several times, who always intervened in the battles. This caused PLANT chairman Gilbert Durandal to order the Minerva to destroy the ship, which they however didn't accomplish, although Shinn was able to destroy the ZGMF-X10A Freedom. Afterwards, the Minerva finally reached Gibraltar, where it received the new ZGMF-X42S Destiny and ZGMF-X666S Legend. It was also at this base that Athrun defected.
The Minerva later took part in the battles at Heaven's Base and Orb, until it headed to space to capture the EA's superweapon Requiem on the Daedalus lunar base. The ship then took part in the battles against the Three Ships Alliance. During the last battle of the war, the ship was heavily damaged during the battle near the Mobile Space Fortress Messiah by the Archangel and Athrun Zala's ZGMF-X19A ∞ Justice . Even though most of the crew survived, the captain Talia Gladys would die inside Messiah alongside her former lover Gilbert Durandal, and ace pilot Rey Za Burrel.
Lots of villains wanted to destroy the Minerva to make the name for themselves, but irony the Archangel needed help from two mobile suits to help them while in a true one to one fight the Archangel would have lost.