Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Battle Armor - BH-18 "Waddle" Combat Walker
Lost Prototype Combat Armor
Powered Armor (Light), or PAL Suits are armored combat suits based on a light exoskeleton chassis. Their role in modern warfare is as a sort of very heavy infantry and they typically are intended to operate in support of conventional infantry forces.
The first true powered armor suit was employed towards the end of the Golden Age of the Star League as an advanced stealth unit for use among their elite special forces. Since that time, various different versions were constructed and tested, but the Battle Armor – Nighthawk Mk XXI PA became the most successful and capable version, and was accepted as the standard.
The BH-18 “Waddle” Combat Walker was an experimental model of powered combat armor, that first debuted for testing in 2711, under great secrecy and silence. Roughly humanoid, it was used as a testbed for developing various technologies that eventually found their way into the “Nighthawk”, particularly its myomer/servo assemblies and the HUD interface. The vehicle was eventually abandoned, and its research was shelved to concentrate on more advanced prototypes.
Tech Base : Inner Sphere
Chassis Type : Humanoid
Weight Class : Power Armor (Light)
Maximum Weight : 750 kg
Swarm/Leg Attack/Mechanized/AP : No/No/Yes/No
Notes : Cost – 350,000
Chassis : (100 kg)
Motive System : (30 kg)
Ground MP – 2
Jump MP – 0
Left Arm (Basic Manipulator)
Right Arm (Basic Manipulator)
Armor : Prototype Stealth (4 Slots) : (500 kg)
Armor Value : 5+1 (Trooper)
Weapons and Equipment :
Grenade Launcher (RT – 10) : (50 kg)
Anti-Personnel Weapons Mount (LA) : (5 kg)
Improved Sensors (Body) : (65 kg)
Notes : Military Comm, IR Scanner, Night Vision, Rangefinder, Ultrasonic Detector (5 kms range). Requires HC Micro Power Pack (3 PPH). +1 to Perception, AV 8 vs Flash.
As the forerunner to the successful “Nighthawk Mk XXI”, the BH-18 “Waddle” Combat Walker was the product of several years of intensive research, that did not end with its creation. Though much of the basic technology was in place by the time this suit was developed, there was a great deal more needed to develop the technology further, primarily in its miniaturization and power relays. The package would not be complete until 2718 with the final acceptance of the “Nighthawk XXI” as the standard Powered Armor (Light) of the Star League Defense Force.
Compared to the “Nighthawk XXI”, the BH-18 “Waddle” is ungainly and lightly armed, but its armor is capable of protecting the pilot from small arms and other typical infantry weapons. It cannot stand long against BattleMechs or combat vehicles.
The unit’s strength lies in its remarkable ability to avoid enemy sensors. Designed for tactical scout missions in heavily monitored environments, the BH-18 “Waddle” relies almost exclusively on radiation-suppression systems (resisting radar, infrared, and even acoustic sensors) to achieve its goal of blending in with overall ground clutter, and using variations on conventional stealth techniques. The vehicle mounts impressive sensing and recording equipment, ranging from passive heat sensors to sensitive magnetic-anomoly detectors. The ability to position such sophisticated intelligence-gathering equipment deep within enemy-occupied territory was deemed enough to justify its staggering costs.
Beyond cutting-edge when first developed, the powered stealth armor was unique and found nowhere else in the Inner Sphere. Armor protection on the BH-18 “Waddle” was considered substandard, mobility was limited and its firepower was far below what was required for its operator’s missions. The suit quickly gained its moniker of a “Waddle” by its operators, marking its ungainly gait and severe chafing given to its pilots. It would take a few more years of testing before it was scrapped, though its components proved invaluable in further development of the “Nighthawk” program.
Despite its sub-standard performance and failings, its sensors and stealth capabilities make it a force to be reckoned with. There is nothing else like it presently employed in the Inner Sphere. It represents an outstanding scout suit that can infiltrate enemy lines and gather intelligence like no other unit can. While not the single most powerful unit in existence, it delivers a powerful punch against armored troops and light vehicles from hidden locations and just as quickly can fade into the background once more.