Combat Frame Data: MC4I-03

MC4I-03 Manticore
MC4I-03 Manticore

Technical Data

Model number: MC4I-03
Code name: Manticore
Classification: mass production long-range indirect fire support/air defense artillery/C4I combat frame
Manufacturer: BEC Olympus
Operator: Martian Colonial Government/SOC
First deployment: CY 32
Crew: 1 pilot/gunner, 1 dedicated electronics specialist/assistant gunner, and 1 onboard Gremlin AI 
Size: Length: 58.3m, Width: 32.8m, Height: 26.6m with legs in standard configuration
Weight: dry weight 112 metric tons, full weight 187 metric tons
Armor type: high-tensile steel/ceramic composite
Powerplant: plasma fusion reactor, max output 866 KW
Propulsion: x4 legs, top ground speed 100 kph
Sensors: x2 sensor array, 1 fore and 1 aft, coordinate with x2 Hunter Hawk ISR drones
Fixed armaments: x4 magazine-fed missile pod, can fire x15 Multiple Target Class Ground Missile or x3 Heavy Anti-Material Long Range Guided Missile simultaneously; x2 anti-vehicle laser, output rated at 400 KW; x6 antipersonnel laser, output rated at 50 KW
Special Equipment: x2 electronic warfare array; x3 MT-18 Hunter Hawk Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform; Gremlin cyberwarfare AI system

General Notes

The Manticore is a 2-crew, quadrupedal combat frame designed for long-range indirect fire, anti-air, and C4I roles. While a decent opponent in its own right, the Manticore truly excels when paired with other CFs. Few enemies can stand up to a withering hail of long-range missile barrages, malicious jamming and hacking attacks, and close-in assault from dedicated combat frames.

To perform its varied mission role, the Manticore is designed to fire one of 2 types of ammunition: The first, the Multiple Target Class Ground Missile (MTCGBM) is a smaller missile capable of holding conventional high explosive, high explosive/armor piercing, red phosphorus, conventional nuclear fission, and plasma fusion warheads. It is a shorter ranged missile with an effective range of about 120 km and is meant for use against soft targets or when needed to break through particularly strong point defense through overwhelming volume of fire. The second missile type, the Heavy Anti-Material Long Range Guided Missile (HAMLRGM) is longer ranged than the MTCGBM with an effective range of about 500 km. The HAMLRGM can hold high explosive cluster munitions, nuclear fission, plasma fusion, or antimatter warheads and is primarily intended for use against heavily armored opponents or fortifications.

The MC4I-03 is equipped with 4 magazine-fed missile pods, each of which is capable of firing up to 15 MTCGBMs or 3 HAMLRGMs simultaneously. The CF carries enough ammunition to fire 4 full salvos before needing to be reloaded: this includes the ammunition carried in the pods themselves (so each pod and associated magazine can hold 60 MTCGBMs or 12 HAMLRGMs). The magazine feeding mechanisms are capable of selecting specific ammunition from each magazine and cross-loading compatible ammunition types between magazines. Each pod can fire 3 MTCGBMs per second, or 1 full salvo every 5 seconds: alternatively, they can fire 1 HAMLRGM every 4 seconds, or 1 full salvo every 14 seconds.

The missiles can be guided by the pilots or programmed with target parameters and trusted to hit the targets on their own. This feature can enable the Manticore to fire on multiple targets simultaneously or fire volleys at aircraft squadrons with the knowledge that the missiles will select their own optimal attack profiles. This second feature makes the Manticore invaluable in an anti-air role. Enabling manual control, on the other hand, can reduce the effectiveness of enemy countermeasures (in the hands of a skilled gunner).

The Manticore is also armed with (2) 400-kilowatt lasers and (6) 50-kilowatt lasers. These are primarily for point defense, though the 400-kilowatt lasers can be used against enemy vehicles. That said, it is a particularly foolish pilot who expects his lasers to do his killing for him.

BEC's Olympus Mons factory equipped the MC4I-03 with 2 electronic warfare arrays (combination transmitters and sensor nodes) at either end of the hull. The mech is also meant to be paired with 3 MT-18 Hunter Hawk Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms. The MT-18 is a stealth drone with a high loiter time that can act as a spy platform or directed signal relay point. In combat, the Manticore will rely on its MT-18s to acquire targeting data while keeping its own position concealed.

The robust capabilities of the Manticore’s C4I suite necessitate the use of an additional crewmember to act as battlefield coordinator, transmitting vital information to other mechs that do not have the advantage of a direct link to an “eye in the sky”. This is the main advantage of the Manticore: on its own, it could be countered quickly enough by most other CF types. When supporting other units, it acts as a tremendous force multiplier.

The same is true of the Manticore’s onboard Gremlin cyberwarfare AI system. This devious, if highly limited, AI is designed to hack into anything with an open connection and compromise its functions. Shutting down coolant systems, locking up limbs in the middle of battle, spoofing sensors, even (the gold prize) causing a reactor meltdown or detonating ammunition still in its racks. Any way the Gremlin can cause something to go wrong, it will do its level best. While an enemy CF or cyberwarfare complex will find a Gremlin’s attack irritating on its own, the otherwise minor disruptions suddenly become lethal in the middle of a pitched battle.

Paper-thin by combat frame standards, the Manticore’s armor plating at its heaviest point could stand up to a direct hit from a 25mm gun. This is somewhat ameliorated by the angling of the armor, increasing the likelihood of a glancing hit. The magazines and reactor also have their own internal, if also thin, armor belts. Still, in a direct engagement against even a light CF, the lifespan of the average Manticore could be measured in seconds.

The Manticore is capable of about 100kph on reasonably flat terrain, anywhere between 40 and 60kph on mountainous terrain. When operating at top speeds, it has a very wide turning radius. It can accelerate and decelerate fairly quickly for something so large: about 10 seconds to get up to full acceleration.  BEC didn’t cut corners when it came to speed since CY 40 counter-battery radar can lock onto projectiles and calculate a launch point within seconds. The best defense of an artillery unit is to be somewhere else entirely by the time a counter-volley has been fired.

Designed for the thin atmosphere of Mars, the Manticore has no jump jets of any kind. It might not be able to fly, but neither will anything else within range.

Thanks to our third awesome Build-a-Mech backer for this dangerous and sexy mech! Did you miss out on the campaign? No problem! Pick up the original martial mecha thriller Combat Frame XSeed, and get caught up in time for the third book's launch.

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  1. One of these days, I want to design a proper electronic warfare mech...

    1. I'd love to see what you could do with an unlimited budget in this universe.

    2. It's a marvelous idea, and I'd love to see what you come up with.

      And there's always more BAMs with the following books.

      For the rest, I hold that the Systems Overterrestrial Coalition must be destroyed.

  2. I was hoping for a CF data sheet to cleanse the palate of the existential dread of the past few posts.

    Nice and inventive! The first mass-produced BaM, and glad to see someone doing that. Artillery/indirect fire support (with most CFs functioning as Armor, and a few as Cavalry).

    The Gremlin is a wonderful touch.

    To the reader who came up with all of this, I salute you!

    For the rest, I hold that the Systems Overterrestrial Coalition must be destroyed.

    1. It's not the Last Mass Production BAM coming....

    2. Sweet. Looking forward to it.

      Looking forward to mine as well.

  3. BAM 3 here. Glad that people like it! I had a blast working with Brian and ArtAnon on this one.

    I wanted to make a long-range support combat frame, and I wanted to give Mars a combat frame of its own. The concept started as a bipedal IDF platform and kind of spiraled out from there.

    Can't wait to see what the rest of the BAMs look like.

    For the rest, I hold that Mars must establish itself as an independent state.

    1. I'm delighted you enjoyed the BAM experience.

      You may get your wish before D.J.