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|Mech type||Inner Sphere BattleMech|
|Chassis||Kallon Type IV|
|Communications System||Garret T11-A|
|Targeting Tracking System||Garret D2j|
The definitive anti-aircraft 'Mech, the Rifleman was first fielded in 2505, making it among the earliest 'Mechs ever built. Designed as a medium fire-support platform, the Rifleman was plagued with a variety of problems since its debut and was ill-suited as a front-line combatant. However, its combination of long-ranged weaponry, including rapid-fire autocannons, and its excellent targeting and tracking system ensured it would remain a viable battlefield unit through half a millennium of combat.
Kallon Industries built the first RFL-1N Rifleman for the Star League Defense Force, but chronic overheating problems forced a return to the drawing boards, with an improved RFL-2N introduced fifty years later. Kallon's engineers still believed the 'Mech suffered too much from overheating, and tried to fix the problem with the definitive RFL-3N by replacing some of its heat-intensive energy weapons with autocannons. Although a marked improvement, the engineers were still not satisfied with the end result and tried to produce a 'Mech which would address the issues of heat management, protection and endurance which continued to plague the Rifleman. Their response, the JagerMech, featured several improvements over the older 'Mech but did not wholly replace it, instead complementing it whenever the two served in the same unit together.
With the collapse of the Star League and start of the Succession Wars, the Rifleman was scattered amongst the militaries of the Successor States. House Davion fielded the largest concentration of Riflemen and used them to good effect in their battles with House Kurita. Unfortunately, combat losses increasingly forced many Riflemen to be deployed directly on the front-lines, where their deficiencies in close combat against similar-mass 'Mechs was apparent. After the recovery of the Helm Memory Core, rediscovered lostech was used in an attempt to improve upon the venerable Rifleman, with manufactures deploying a number of new variants around the time of the Clan Invasion.
By the time of the FedCom Civil War, new prototypes of Rifleman variants were still being worked on, but the aging 'Mech had since acquired a poor reputation due to its weak protection and bad heat management. The 'Mech experienced something of a revival though when Kallon's factory on the moon Talon was subjected to a blockade by the 7th FedCom RCT, disrupting production of the newer JMS-7 JagerMech. The company brought up their experimental RFL-8D Rifleman to full-scale production as just a temporary measure, but the improved 'Mech wound up being fielded by both Loyalist and Allied forces during the civil war. Additional variants were introduced since then, with both the Free Worlds League and Word of Blake making use of advanced Riflemen during the Jihad.
Weapons and Equipment
The Rifleman's focus on fire-support and anti-aircraft work dictated a heavy load of long-range weapons to the exclusion of everything else. It carried a particularly heavy battery of two Magna Mk. III Large Lasers paired with two Imperator-A medium autocannons, one of each mounted in each arm. Two Magna Mk. II Medium Lasers were split between the side torsos to provide backup. One ton of autocannon ammunition was carried in the center torso, enough for short, sharp engagements but not enough for extended periods of combat. The 'Mech's ten heat sinks were grossly inadequate for constant fire, but in an anti-aircraft role, the Rifleman was expected to have time to dissipate heat while the target aircraft turned for its next pass.
The Rifleman suffered from a miserly amount of armoring - just seven and a half tons total - with its rear torso particularly thin. It also lacked hand or lower-arm actuators, hampering it in a melee confrontation, and was not particularly fast, with a cruising speed of 43.2 km/h. When operating in its intended role of providing overwatch for other 'Mechs, these deficiencies were not terribly noticeable, and it could still overpower lighter opponents by dint of its size. These drawbacks did mean that a commander would only commit his Riflemen in a head-on confrontation with heavy enemy forces as a last resort.
An exceptional piece of electronics, the Garret D2j targeting-tracking system allowed the Rifleman to maintain an accurate lock on swift-moving aerial targets and achieve excellent accuracy. The Garret T11-A was equally impressive as a communications system, although its distinctive wing-shaped design tended to draw the enemy's attention...and their fire.
- The first production version of the Rifleman weighed fifty tons and used primitive technology. Each arm carried a single large laser and medium laser. It was protected by eleven and a half tons of Primitive Armor and used a Primitive Engine to reach a top speed of 64km/h. Though it served in the Reunification War, this version of the Rifleman was usually used by militia and second line forces thereafter. BV (2.0) = 931
- Introduced in 2556, this version replaced the primitive components with standard armor and engine. The freed space and weight allowed engineers to fit in sixteen heat sinks. The large lasers were removed from the arms and replaced by PPCs, while two more medium lasers were added, one in each side torso. Production of this model continued until the RFL-3N was introduced. BV (2.0) = 1,093
- The second of two variants designed by Hanse Davion and debuting in 3026, the 3C removes the large lasers and autocannon/5s in order to mount a pair of Autocannon/10s in their place and add an extra ton of armor. Two tons of ammunition for the larger autocannons were carried in the right torso. BV (1.0) = 860, BV (2.0) = 1,066
- RFL-3N (C)
- A Clan-tech retrofit of the standard Rifleman, the Rifleman C was used by Clan Jade Falcon second-line garrison forces during the invasion. This field modification removed all Inner Sphere weaponry, without altering any structural components of the original RFL-3N, and instead carried two Clan-tech Large Pulse Lasers and LB 5-X ACs split between the arms. BV (2.0) = 1,335
- The 4D was the first of two variants designed by Hanse Davion; introduced in 3021, it was intended to compete with the heavier Warhammer. It replaced the autocannon/5s with PPCs and removed the medium lasers, using the freed-up weight to mount an five extra heat sinks. In spite of the extra heat sinks, this model suffered from significant overheat problems. BV (1.0) = 869, BV (2.0) = 1,173
- A recovered-technology version of the RFL-4D, the 5D was introduced in 3050 for the Federated Commonwealth. Based on the earlier 4D, it replaces the PPCs with ER PPC models and restores the original model's medium lasers to the side torsos. A 240-rated XL engine was used to free up weight for the mounting of seventeen double heat sinks and an increase in armor protection to nine tons. Production of this model was taken up by Kallon Industries on Talon, Trellshire Industires on Twycross and Red Devil Industries on Pandora. BV (1.0) = 1,115, BV (2.0) = 1,395
- The 5M is another product of the Gray Death Memory Core technology boon, built by Kallon Industries at Thermopolis for the Free Worlds League. Introduced in 3049, it retained the same energy weapons as the original 3N but replaced the standard autocannons with Imperator Ultra models; though the ammunition load remained a single ton, it was moved to the right torso and protected by CASE. Twelve double heat sinks were mounted and another ton of Kallon Royalstar armor was carried. The free weight for all these changes was created by the use of an Hermes 240 XL Engine. One thing which wasn't replace however were the Garret comms and targeting systems. BV (1.0) = 1,062, BV (2.0) = 1,227
- This production model of the 6X introduced in 3069 replaces the Small Lasers with a head-mounted C3 Slave to aid it in targeting. It leaves everything else except for the autocannon intact. They are replaced with a pair of Mydron Snakekiller Light Autocannon/5s in each arm. Each arm is fed by three-ton ammunition bins, each of which are protected by CASE. The large ammunition bins allow a variety of ammunition types to used. BV (2.0) = 1,274
- Besides the 8D model the 6X was another experimental design by Kallon's Talon plant, intended as a fast-response anti-aircraft 'Mech and introduced in 3063. Its top speed was increased to 87 km/h through the use of a larger XL engine and its chassis replaced in favor of an Endo Steel model. It carried dual LB 10-X autocannons with four tons of ammunition, paired with ER Medium, and ER Small Lasers. BV (1.0) = 1,275, BV (2.0) = 1,464
- A "Project Phoenix" model built by Vicore Industries and introduced in 3066, the 7M was intended to act as a long-range sniper unit. It was armed with two Light Gauss Rifles, six ER Medium Lasers, a Small Laser, and a Guardian ECM Suite. Both the Blakists and the Free Worlds League used this Rifleman to provide protection to their command units. BV (1.0) = 1,166, BV (2.0) = 1,521
- This variant was produced during the Jihad as a field refit kit. Using an Endo Steel chassis, XL Gyro, and XL engine allowed designers to increase the top speed to 97 km/h and include six jump jets. Light Ferro-Fibrous armor protects the 'Mech, while each arm mounts a Light PPC and Snub-Nose PPC. BV (2.0) = 1,645
- The definitive "Project Phoenix" model, the 8D is intended as more of a line unit. It mounts two Mydron Model RC Rotary Autocannon/5s with six tons of ammunition split between the arms, a pair of Bright-Blossom ER Medium Lasers also mounted in either arm, eleven double heat sinks and twelve tons of Kallon Royalstar armor, the heaviest of any known Rifleman variant. Until the arrival of the 7X, it was also the only known Rifleman variant to mount jump jets, with two in either leg for a total jumping distance of 120 meters. To carry all this additional weight, the 8D uses a Kallon Type XV Endo Steel chassis and Hermes 240 XL engine, although it still mounts the same excellent Garret electronics. BV (1.0) = 1,664, BV (2.0) = 1,777
- The Rifleman 9T is armed with a pair of Light PPCs backed up by a pair of Light Autocannon/5s for medium range sniping. These are backed up by a pair of ER Medium Lasers for close combat. All of the 'Mech's weapons are linked to a Targeting Computer for increased accuracy. The 9T also uses Stealth Armor, making it much harder to hit at long range. BV (2.0) = 1,546
- RFL-C 2
- This version was produced for Clan Jade Falcon by Red Devil Industries in 3083. Using an experimental XXL Engine and Improved Jump Jets to provide mobility, the chassis is protected by Ferro-Fibrous Armor. Each arm mounts an ER Large Laser and Improved Heavy Medium Laser. BV (2.0) = 2,150
- RFL-X3 Rifleman MUSE WIND
- The Rifleman MUSE WIND was an Experimental Technology|experiment to combine Clan and Inner Sphere equipment in a production 'Mech. An Inner Sphere produced chassis, XL Engine, XL Gyro, double heat sinks, and Jump Jets form the core of the 'Mech. The Ferro-Fibrous armor that maximizes protection comes from the Clans, as does the weaponry: Each arm mounts a HAG/20 and the torso-mounted medium lasers are Clan Medium Pulse Lasers. The HAG ammo is protected by an Inner Sphere CASE system. BV (2.0) = 2,012
These variants were introduced in various apocryphal sources, and thus far have not appeared in any canonical media.
From MechWarrior Online:
- RFL-LK "Legend-Killer"
- MWO's apocryphal take on Gray Noton's infamous "Legend-Killer" plays to the rumors it used LosTech, outfitted with an 240-rated XL engine and built on an Endo Steel frame to free up the weight to swap the classic RFL-3N's AC/5s for LB-X Autocannon/10s fed with three tons of reloads. With the RFL-3N's Large and Medium Lasers retained, the remaining weight saved after the LB-X autocannons goes towards an extra half ton of armor while a swap to double heat sinks gives it unexpected endurance in the arenas.
- RFL-DB "Dao Breaker"
- Featured as a custom Solaris VII 'Mech the "Dao Breaker" is configured to carry twin class 5 Autocannons, twin Large Lasers and twin Medium Lasers.
- Rifleman II - Known as the Rifleman II, the RFL-3N-2 was an upgrade fielded by the SLDF Royals, adding twenty tons to its overall mass.. BV (2.0) = 1,543
- Rifleman IIC - One of the 'Mechs the SLDF took with them when they left the Inner Sphere was the Rifleman. The Clan variant is five tons heavier and mounts four Large Pulse Lasers, jump jets, and an active probe. BV (2.0) = 2,122
- Rifleman III - A Rim Worlds Republican design, this was a prototype Assault BattleMech which was equipped with stealth system and Gauss Rifles. Only a single unit was produced, which was forgotten in course of time after the liberation of Terra.
- Jagermech - The Jagermech was created by Kallon Industries to fix the design flaws that plagued the Rifleman.
- Gray Noton - Arguably the most famous Rifleman pilot in the Inner Sphere, the almost unbeatable Noton won an unprecedented seven Solaris VII Championships in the early 31st century, earning both him and his Rifleman the nickname of "Legend-Killer". While undoubted highly skilled, Noton's success even against much heavier assault 'Mechs led to rumors that he actually piloted a LosTech equipped Rifleman or even a heavier and advanced Rifleman II that he discovered in the Periphery during his time as a mercenary.
- Conner Rhys-Monroe - 32nd Century MechWarrior & Former Knight of the Sphere, Senate Alliance political/military leader.
- John "Gentleman Johnny" Clavell - A MechWarrior in Wolf's Dragoons Black Widow Company, though he later switched to a Firefly.
- Davis McCall - An early-mid 31st Century MechWarrior with the Gray Death Legion who piloted an RFL-3N until it was destroyed fighting the Clans.
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 189, "Fronc Reaches"
- MUL online date for the Rifleman
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 293-294, "RFL-3N Rifleman"
- Combat Operations, p. 121
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 473
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 82
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 4 p. 5, "RFL-1N Rifleman"
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 88
- Technical Readout: 3050, p. 150
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, p. 38
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 4, p. 22
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 134
- Combat Operations, p. 127
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 472
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 111
- The Battle for Twycross, pp. 46 & 48
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 121
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 136
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 474
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 137
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 111
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 138
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 113
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 139
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 250
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 114
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 140
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 115
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 141
- Combat Operations, p. 130
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 116
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 251
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 142
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, p. 27
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 118
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 119
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 143
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 120
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 122
- Experimental Technical Readout: Davion, p. 5
- MechWarrior Online Rifleman Sale Page
- MechWarrior Online Solaris-7 Sale Page
- Technical Readout: 3075, p. 169
- Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - Age of War, p. 30
- Experimental Technical Readout: Gunslingers - Basic Info on the Rifleman III.
- Story of the Legend-Killer
- Solaris VII: The Game World - Player's Book, p. 17 "MechWarrior's Guide to the Game World Solaris VII - The Great Ones - Champions of Solaris"
- Combat Operations
- Experimental Technical Readout: Davion
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 4
- Field Manual: 3145
- MWDA Novel: Fortress Republic
- Master Unit List
- Story of the Legend-Killer
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged
- Record Sheets: 3050
- Record Sheets: 3067
- Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - Age of War
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades
- Solaris VII: The Game World
- MWDA Novel: Sword of Sedition
- Technical Readout: 3025
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: 3055
- Technical Readout: 3075
- Technical Readout: 3085
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix
- The Battle for Twycross
- Total Warfare Style Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades
- Historical Turning Points: New Dallas