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Name: Standard 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.
What became the standard LAM design emerged less than a decade after the LAM project began, when LexaTech Industries delivered the first fully functional LAM based upon the Stinger BattleMech, followed shortly by the Harvard Company’s Wasp LAM. Outclassed by this innovation, Allied AeroSpace swiftly abandoned their bimodal Shadow Hawk LAM in favor of the Phoenix Hawk LAM.
Standard LAMs operate in three modes: BattleMech, Fighter, and a special “AirMech” Mode that is a hybrid of both.
Inner Sphere Data (BattleMechs)
WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT COMBAT AND CONSTRUCTION TABLE
|Prototype Date: ||2683|
|Production Date: ||2688|
|Extinction Date: ||3085|
|Recovery Date: ||—|
TT = Total Unit Tonnage WSC = Total cost of the unit’s Weapons, Equipment, and Internal Structure RULES LEVEL PROGRESSION TABLE