The demi-suit is a development of the mobile suit and the powered suit, bridging the performance gap between the two. Demi-suits are usually considered 'jack-of-all-trades' units, capable of serving and integrating properly with infantry or armoured/mobile suit units. They can handle weapons that are at least partially effective against mobile suits, and are small and light enough to go after powered suits and infantry in all but the most built-up areas. Though they lack any form of protective field, they are mostly immune to infantry small arms, and their size and light weight gives them enough of a concealment and maneuverability advantage to make them difficult targets for MS weaponry in the appropriate terrain.
Currently in use with American Federation forces, the Mastiff is a versatile, cost-effective demi-suit. This late-generation model, manufactured by FMC, is a popular example of a demi-suit which uses a 'saddle'-type operator's compartment. The pilot straddles a special saddle in an erect position, with his legs stretching down into the demi-suit's upper leg sections. While this imposes limits on the waist's range of traverse, it does reduce the space occupied by the operator, which allows for thicker torso armour. The operator's legs fit into an 'active harness' which permits the demi-suit to mimic his leg movements even with neural inductance controls deactivated. The arrangement also makes possible a disposal system for liquid wastes. Many pilots also consider saddle-type accommodations more comfortable than the unavoidably cramped 'bobsled'-type arrangement.
The Mastiff is intended for operations within a gravity field. It lacks maneuvering thrusters, and possesses but three thrusters, one in the backpack and one in each calf. It is primarily used for assisted leaps, jumps and landings. Operations in zero-G would require additional thrusters, propellant and batteries mounted to its hardpoints, as it is powered by an air-breathing high-speed turbine and high-capacity storage batteries.
The Mastiff's head unit possesses a mast-mounted sensor. It is a slim, telescoping cylinder, lying horizontal, that rotates upward and extends to act as a periscope for observation and targeting while the demi-suit remains concealed. Sensors are also mounted on the shoulders and elsewhere to compensate for loss or blockage of the main sensors in the head unit, such as when large, bulky weapons occupy the shoulder hardpoints.
This particular example appears to be equipped for anti-MS work. Its primary weapons are the hypervelocity missile pod and the 25mm hypervelocity coilgun. Both rely on kinetic energy to penetrate armour and are thus pretty useless against soft and area targets. With this payload, a demi-suit has a good chance of inflicting serious damage to a mobile suit at close ranges (and even of knocking out a light MS), especially when organized as an ambush team in close country. For soft targets, it relies on a pair of 6mm 'suppressors,' small-caliber coilguns capable of sustained automatic fire. Held in the hand is a 35mm coil-launcher using multi-purpose ammunition developed and manufactured by Olin. The projectile is a powerful, proximity-fused explosive charge encased by a shell made of Olin's own 'Glacium' memory alloy. Upon detonation, the ogive forms an EFP with sufficient velocity to penetrate light vehicle armour. Each portion of the pre-segmented sleeve reverts to a flechette airfoil shape traveling fast enough to penetrate infantry hardsuits about half of the time within a 5 meter radius. Mounted on the shoulders are active defense arrays in the form of gimbal-mounted directional mines, effective against infantry and incoming missiles. Upon detonation, these mines also produce a dense smoke formulated to block and interfere with major portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Not shown is the cutter bar wielded by the left hand; this is used for clearing away brush and foliage.
Edit: Inspired in part by Masamune Shirow's Landmates.
I've thought about these types of mechs (size) and my most logical solution has been to exclude the pilot from inside - to have them operate by remote control (nearby APC style vehicle perhaps) and with advanced AI incase anything goes wrong with the connection.
Storywise, though, I intended demi-suits to be proof against infantry small arms and light weaponry only; infantry rocket launchers and anti-materiel rifles are enough to take them down, if the shooter knows what he's aiming at.
I have a hard time finding a proper place for mechs in a realistic futuristic scenario. There are uses (like urban) but a tank would cost just a fraction and be so much more dependable and, probably better in combat with it's low profile and intense firepower. Comments?
MBT's of the current generation usually devote about 1/10 to 1/6 of their total weight to armour. The original M1 had about 6 tons' worth, but this has increased as subsequent M1 variants got heavier. A2 SEP's weight didn't change, but the substitution of Steel with Titanium in some sections allowed the designers to make portions of the armour thicker. They also played around with the armour distribution on the tank.
I also don't subscribe to such low weights for something about 12 meters tall.
I've actually given the question of tank vs. humanoid vehicle a lot of thought. Quoting from my own background material:
Mobile suits were first developed during the ‘slowboat’ era of interstellar travel as a multipurpose vehicle capable of planetary exploration, exploitation, construction and defense. With space at a premium in even the largest colony generation ships, fleets of specialized vehicles were simply an unaffordable luxury. Subsequent UN and privately funded research arrived at the humanoid bipedal form as the most flexible and versatile form for such a vehicle. Using modular construction techniques, the MS could be easily configured for a particular role then be adapted to another role in a matter of minutes. Advances in the development of compact power supplies were to prove instrumental in the construction of a practical MS.....
In the case of AA, it's not really a question of tactical effectiveness, but logistics. Also, it's eminently useful to have vehicles capable of transitioning between two environments (such as zero-g and the simulated gravity in the interior of an O'Neill colony) with little or no preparation rather than wait for the transports to bring in a more appropriate vehicle. These, coupled with historical inertia and other factors, results in an emphasis on MS by manufacturers and most militaries.
Tanks and other vehicles of more conventional layout do exist in AA, of course. I'll have to post up my 'flowtank' concept designs one of these days.
9cm with a 25mm automatic gun? Imagine such gun emplacements (anti Mobilesuit).
So the M1A2 only has about 10 tons of armor? That's quite surprising. What the heck is it that weighs soo much? When thinking about that, it's hard to imagine something large and walking being any lighter, or of it is, would be fragile as heck. Hmm. Tricky business.. What of the tanks of that era then? They would be seen as specialized vehicles and being as rock solid and capable to carry large loads, they would have incredibly powerful main weapons, and a super fast targetting system to match, wouldn't they? And be far, far cheaper than the mechs, and not having to fear that much from them either at longer ranges (then again, there's those bastard anti tank missiles..)..
With today's tanks, all the equipment simply adds up, especially with tanks using 120mm cannon. The weapon dictates the turret size, and the turret size determines hull size, and the increased size requires more armour to maintain a certain level of armour protection, so on and so forth in a domino effect.
AA 'Flowtanks' have coilguns that are roughly equivalent in power to that of a typical medium MS. This is mainly due to the limits to their total weight, imposed by the type of propulsion used. Flowtanks are basically lifting bodies which operate as either ground-effect or wing-in-ground effect machines, which also puts limits on armour thickness. Their main weaponry is housed in a modular turret which puts limits on recoil distance, unlike MS with the greater recoil distance afforded by arm-wielded weapons. Since the turret usually has to bear secondary weapons in addition to the main gun, its traverse & elevation rates aren't superior to that of a mobile suit. The mobile suit can match this because it can traverse at more than one point simultaneously. The tank also has to expose its turret to fire from concealment, while a mobile suit doesn't have to expose anything more than its arm, a smaller target, to fire a hand-held weapon.
With the jamming & countermeasures available, the only really reliable targeting system is still visual acquisition, thus there is a great emphasis on optronics. This, and the widespread use of exotic armour types and active defense systems also limit the effectiveness of ATGM's. Targeting is as much a matter of a steady hand and sharp eyes as it is anything else.
Flowtanks were designed as cheap, fast vehicles which do not warrant the power and expense of MIUC fusion reactors and Trinary Drives. Since the absence of MIUC reactors precludes the use of beam weapons and I-field barriers, flowtanks, despite heavy armour, are vulnerable to the M-P beam weaponry present even in light MS. In fact, infantry with plasma tubes pose a significant threat all by themselves. When the appropriate terrain and transport space are available, a number of armed forces use flowtanks in the role of light cavalry or as flanking forces for their MS spearheads. Properly sited, they are also useful in the defense because of their low silhouette. Flowtanks are quite common in frontier systems, where their lower tech base, low costs and the lack of MS opposition make them quite popular, even though they usually require two crewmembers.
how do you come up with those great descriptions?
I thought that when I saw its rifle
but as always great job