Dragoons of the Seven Snakes
The Spider was the first BattleMech produced by Newhart Industries and designed as a light reconnaissance and attack ‘Mech to be used by Star League Defense Force Special Operations forces such as the Blackhearts. Beyond exceeding all of the SLDF’s minimum requirements Newhart had actually designed the Spider before receiving the Star League’s request for proposals and were ready to begin production immediately, factors which helped the company win the contract very quickly. In terms of maneuverability the Spider has a ground speed comparable to a Locust and can out-jump either the vaunted Wasp or Stinger light ’Mechs. Built with top-of-the-line reliable parts, sophisticated reconnaissance equipment and an energy weapon payload which allowed for extended operations without resupply, the Spider was a great success. While not produced in large numbers it could be rapidly manufactured and so served up through to the end of the Star League.
Newhart’s Spider factory on New Earth was destroyed in 2776 as part of the Amaris Civil War and very few Spiders ended up in the hands of the Successor States when the Star League dissolved. As their numbers began to dwindle during the Succession Wars, entire offensive operations were conducted simply to secure spare parts for these ‘Mechs. So rare was the Spider that Wolf’s Dragoons were notable for having large numbers of them, including an entire lance of just Spiders. This trend towards extinction was finally reversed when the Free Worlds League was able to secure the schematics for the Spider. In a deal with Nimakachi Fusion Products Limited, the company was given exclusive control of the ’Mech’s technical specifications in exchange for building them for the Free Worlds League. Nimakachi began building new Spiders from their factory on Tematagi and later expanded their facilities on Lapida II to produce them as well, resulting in the Free Worlds League and Draconis Combine having the largest number of Spiders in active service.
Weapons and Equipment
The Spider carries a very light armament of two Aberdovey Mk III Medium Lasers mounted in its center torso next to the fusion engine. While more expensive than the common Martell lasers mounted on other ’Mechs they are of superior quality and require very little maintenance. Waste heat generated by the lasers are handled by the standard number of ten heat sinks mounted in the fusion engine. Three and a half tons of armor provide some measure of protection, although most Spider pilots agree that speed is the best defense. The unique armor alignment on the front of the Spider is what gave the ’Mech its name. This spiderweb pattern is further emphasized by a bright red fiberglass sealant in the seams between armor plates.
The Spider carries a grand total of eight jump jets, four each in the left and right torso, giving it an incredible jumping distance of 240 meters. Cutting-edge components, the jump jets can pivot the ’Mech in mid-flight while still reaching its original landing point thanks to advanced computer tracking. This ability for the Spider to “twitch” in the air gives it greater protection as even the most advanced targeting computers can have a hard time acquiring a lock.
The O/P communications system and targeting-tracking system are fully integrated in the Spider, meaning both verbal communications and sensor readings can be transmitted back to headquarters. This advanced computer set-up even includes an entertainment system for those long, lonely nights on recon duty. It also has a serious drawback, in that the system combined with the head’s armor layout leaves no space for a proper ejection system: the pilot must manually reach the lower hatch on their own in order to exit the ’Mech. Many Spider pilots therefore practice quickly exiting the ’Mech during their downtime, especially those variants which carry vulnerable ammunition liable to cook-off.
Manufacturer: Newhart Interstellar Industries Limited, Nimakachi Fusion Products Limited, Krupp Armament Works
*Production Year: 2650
Cost: 2,984,540 C-bills
Mass: 30 tons
Chassis: Newhart 1200
Armor: Durallex Light
Engine: Pitban 240
Communications System: O/P 500A
Targeting Tracking System: O/P TA 1240
Heat Sinks: 10
Speed: 129.6 km/h
Jump Jets: Pitban LFT-10
2x Medium Lasers
Center Torso: 2E
Easy to Maintain
Poor Life Support