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Name: Bimodal Land-Air BattleMechs
Type (Category): Core (Other)
Reference: Interstellar Operations (p. 105)
The Land-Air BattleMech (or Land-Air ’Mech—abbreviated as LAM) began with the radical request of SLDF Admiral David Peterson, then-commander of the SLDF, for Terran Hegemony manufacturers to create a series of BattleMechs that could both fly and function as light ground units. Allied AeroSpace, Inc. won the first bid and soon debuted its Shadow Hawk bimodal LAM, but only a handful of these early convertible BattleMechs were built before competitors perfected the standard threemode LAM that survived into the Succession Wars.
Although LAMs went on to form a prominent component of all SLDF divisions, they were more expensive to maintain than conventional BattleMechs, and required extensive cross-training to use effectively. Combined with limited upgradability and a high rate of attrition, few remained after the Liberation of Terra. Once the Successor States had annihilated their navies in the early Succession Wars, a growing emphasis on ground-based combat relegated the LAM to a battlefield curiosity that few commanders could effectively employ or afford to risk. By the Fourth Succession War, the best academy for LAM pilots took fully three times as long as the worst State MechWarrior academies to churn out qualified pilots. Worse, the depredations of the Succession Wars reduced LAM manufacturing to a bare trickle by the time of the Clan invasion, leaving fewer of these machines available to graduates each year. Pilots failing to earn LAM assignments found themselves mediocre MechWarriors or aerojocks compared to their peers and frequently died in combat without ever piloting a real LAM in battle.
When Clan Nova Cat destroyed the last LAM parts factory on Irece it marked the end for the struggling LAM. Though some Clans (notably the Jade Falcons) experimented with a dual-cockpit version for their own forces, and the Word of Blake’s short-lived Spectral LAMs demonstrated a renewed interest in the concept, the hybrid machines never returned to widespread use.
The Bimodal LAM actually represents the first attempt at BattleMech-to-fighter conversion technology. Only one of these LAM types—the Shadow Hawk LAM—ever entered production, and only a few walked off the assembly line before competing manufacturers perfected the three-mode LAMs that would become the standard that survived into the Succession Wars.
Bimodal LAMs have only two modes of operation: BattleMech mode and Fighter Mode.
Inner Sphere Data (BattleMechs)
WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT COMBAT AND CONSTRUCTION TABLE
|Prototype Date: ||2680|
|Production Date: ||2684|
|Extinction Date: ||2781|
|Recovery Date: ||—|
TT = Total Unit Tonnage WSC = Total cost of the unit’s Weapons, Equipment, and Internal Structure RULES LEVEL PROGRESSION TABLE
ALPHA STRIKE WEAPON CONVERSION TABLE
Special Unit Abilities
Bimodal Land-Air ’Mech
The special unit abilities described here are intended for use with the Alpha Strike rule system:
Bimodal Land-Air ’Mech (BIM)
A BattleMech with this special has been built to convert between BattleMech and aerospace fighter modes of operation. The numeric value (in parentheses, followed by the letter “a”), is equal to the unit’s Safe Thrust value. For example, the SHD-X2 Shadow Hawk LAM, with its Safe Thrust of 4, would receive the BIM(4a) special.