- "To fight monsters, we created monsters of our own."
- —Raleigh Becket describing the idea behind the Jaegers
The Jaeger Program (or Jaeger Project) was a project that focused on the development of massive mobile weapons called Jaegers in response to the Kaiju threat. It was funded by the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and the United Nations.
On September 15, 2014, Dr. Jasper Schoenfeld attended a world conference in Seoul, South Korea, which had been called to discuss how to solve the increasing threat of the creatures known as "Kaiju". When the question of what to do was poised by liaison Stacker Pentecost, Schoenfeld took the opportunity to present his idea for the Jaegers at the conference.
With the financial approval of the United Nations, the Jaeger Program and the formation of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps were underway. Though the cost would initially make the PPDC hesitant to continue funding it, the aid of Stacker Pentecost proved helpful in helping convince the PPDC's higher ups of continuing to support the program in the face of its costs when he risked testing the effectiveness of the Pons System without total assurance of its safety.
Brawler Yukon, a Mark-1 Prototype Jaeger, was first tested January 30, 2015 by United States Air Force Captain Adam Casey. While the concept was sound, the idea that a single human could pilot a Jaeger was proven unfeasible when the neural load sent from the Pons triggered a seizure that killed the USAF Captain.
The following month, when the second test run appeared to approach imminent failure, Dr. Caitlin Lightcap, the creator of the Pons System, used the Pons from the observatory tower overlooking Lieutenant Sergio D'onofrio's test run and connected with his mind through the Drift. The immediate connection created a viable means by which the human mind could carry the burden of the neural load with the assistance of another.
- Main article: Jaeger
Following the success of the Pons, the defeat of Karloff in Vancouver paved the way for the first series of Jaegers, Mark-1s; produced in the PPDC Proving Grounds on Kodiak Island. The Mark-1s were produced under a short time frame of several months to properly counterattack the Kaiju.
As a result, a flaw in the design of the Mark-1 Jaegers, a lack of radiation shielding, left the pilots exposed to radiation poisoning and at risk of developing cancer-related illnesses. Four of the five Jaegers produced after Brawler Yukon were sent to Russia, China and Japan where they would act as first line of defense against invading Kaiju emerging in those locations.
Mark-2 and Mark-3 Jaegers presumably addressed the issue of shielding pilots from radiation. Later, the first three Mark classes were eventually phased out for digital technology in Mark-4 Jaegers like Crimson Typhoon and the Mark-5 Jaeger, Striker Eureka.
Both types present less of a risk to the pilot itself outside of combat against Kaiju. However, the evolving size and strength of the Kaiju taxed the financial abilities of the United Nations' means to fund the Defense Corps. and continue funding the construction of Jaegers.
Base of Operations
- Main article: Shatterdome
The Defense Corps. established its first Shatterdome in Hong Kong, China in 2015; followed by seven more constructed through the years of 2016 and 2019 in Lima, Sydney, Tokyo, Vladivostok, Russia; Los Angeles, Panama City and Anchorage. The downfall of the Jaeger Program in the span of five years led the closure of the seven Shatterdomes built after Hong Kong's.
- Main article: Jaeger Academy
A Jaeger Academy was created to train personnel who volunteered or enlisted into the program for various positions that included becoming a Ranger. The academy was closed in conjunction with the end of the Jaeger Program.