Full-Head Ejection System
Traditionally BattleMechs have used an Ejection Seat to remove MechWarriors from an exploding 'Mech. Though this technology is well-understood (having been available on pre-spaceflight Terra) the Lyran Commonwealth identified several problems: First the 'Mech was a total write off. Second a MechWarrior who used an ejection seat to leave the 'Mech was vulnerable in hostile environments. Third a MechWarrior could be seriously injured by the ejection process, with sharpened "glass" and metal in the cockpit stabbing and scraping the MechWarrior as they rocketed past the damaged cockpit framework. When the Lyrans introduced the Hatchetman in 3023, it carried the Full-Head Ejection System as a possible solution to these problems.
The advanced Full-Head Ejection System was designed to turn a 'Mech's head into a single-user "escape pod". This escape pod provided protection from hostile environments like the vacuum of space or crushing pressure underwater. The MechWarrior was also safe from injuries inflicted by damaged components as they were no longer being thrown past sharp edges at high rates of speed. Instead they remained strapped into their command chair, and the whole head went with the MechWarrior as they left the damaged 'Mech. The system also allowed techs to reconnect the ejected head unit onto recovered Hatchetman bodies, returning them to service more quickly. The system proved so successful on the Hatchetman that the Wolfhound would also use the system, as would several "Phoenix Project" upgrades. Though the original system only allowed the head to launch if the Mech's torso was upright, later versions overcame this limitation and allowed the system to operate in any orientation. After the Clans invaded and saw the system, they adapted it for their own use. By 3052 it was available to Clan MechWarriors.
A Full-Head Ejection System is designed as an integral part of a 'Mech's head, and therefore takes up no more room than a standard Ejection Seat. The drawback is that the system is closely tied to the standard life support equipment and any critical damage to that system will trap the MechWarrior on the 'Mech, unable to eject. The MechWarrior is also jolted around quite a lot as the Full-Head Ejection System activates, rendering them more likely to suffer concussions, contusions, and broken limbs than a standard Ejection Seat. When compared to the possibility of bleeding to death underwater, however, many MechWarriors prefer the Full-Head Ejection System.
The Full-Head Ejection System is Advanced Rules technology and can only be carried by BattleMechs and IndustrialMechs. When launched a MechWarrior takes a single point of damage automatically from the relatively rough ride. If the Mech is underwater when the Full-Head Ejection System is actived, the head simply floats to the top of the water and remains stationary like a standard displacement-hull boat. On land, if the 'Mech is prone when the head is ejected, the MechWarrior can choose which hex (in a 12 hex radius) in the front firing arc he wishes to land in. If a Piloting Skill Roll (with a -3 modifier) is successful the head lands in the selected hex. Otherwise the head scatters 1d6/2 hexes as per an artillery shell. If a 'Mech is upright when the Full-Head Ejection System is active, the MechWarrior follows all the rules above, but can choose any hex in a 12 hex radius.
Once activated, the 'Mech that carried the Full-Head Ejection system is considered to have a Head Blown Off damage roll, and is considered destroyed for the remainder of the scenario. An ejected head can be re-attached to the 'Mech that launched it or be jury-rigged onto another Mech.
A Full-Head Ejection System costs 1,725,000 C-Bills.
- Tactical Operations, p. 310, "Full-Head Ejected System"
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 48, "HCT-3F Hatchetman"
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, pp. 24, 26, 30
- Tactical Operations, p. 407, "Heave Weapons And Equipment Construction Data"