|Manufacturer||Clan Steel Viper|
|Safe Thrust||2.5 g|
|Max Thrust||4 g|
|Armament|| 2xGauss Rifles|
14xER Large Lasers
6xLarge Pulse Lasers
21xER Medium Lasers
4xMedium Pulse Lasers
|Armor||66 tons standard|
|Escape Pods/Life Boats||4/0|
|Heat Sinks||175 Double Heat Sinks|
|BV (1.0)|| 11,188|
Clan Steel Viper engineers developed the Mercer-class DropShip after their ejection from the Inner Sphere by Clan Jade Falcon. To show that they were still a force to be reckoned with, the Vipers planned an assault on their long-time enemies, Clan Snow Raven. Knowing the Ravens would challenge any landing attempts they made, the Viper Khans realized that they needed a heavily armed and well protected 'Mech transport. The Viper Khan's concern was simple: The massive naval forces of the Snow Ravens would rip through a standard fleet of Union-C DropShips, destroying 'Mech Trinaries before they even hit the ground.
With this in mind, the Mercer was developed to move a full Trinary into position, while maximizing the armament and protection mounted on the hull. Ultimately the 'Mech storage capacity was reduced to a single Binary, but the armor protection mounted on the Mercer was maximized. In the Viper's attack on Lum, the Mercer performed well, delivering it's cargo of 'Mechs to the ground while still fighting off the Snow Raven forces. While ultimately unsuccessful, the assault on Lum disrupted production for two months.
The Snow Ravens were able to seriously damage at least two Mercer-class DropShips. It is unknown if they will repair these vessels or begin production of them.
Most of the Mercer's armament appears to be geared at fighting AeroSpace Fighters and other DropShips. The Pulse Lasers and LRM's with Artemis IV fire control systems improve the odds of hitting fast moving targets, while the Streak SRM-6 launchers won't fire until they have a target lock. For long range direct fire support, the Mercers mount a large array of Extended Range PPCs and Extended Range Large Lasers. Firing into every arc, these weapons can damage opponents regardless of distance. To provide additional firepower, the nose mounts a pair of Gauss Rifles. These long-range, low heat weapons will inflict serious damage on any DropShip or AeroSpace fighter foolish enough to get in their path.
One thing that has baffled some Inner Sphere observers is the lack of LB-X Autocannon. These weapons typically allow for a higher hit probability against fast moving targets like AeroSpace Fighters. Though they may be an "inelegant" weapon, the Clans traditional disdain for using DropShips in combat would seem to negate that problem.
The primary cargo bay on the Mercer is devoted to storing a Binary of Clan OmniMechs. This includes the 'Mechs and maintenance facilities to maintain them. The second bay contains ammunition, spare parts, and consumables for the Mercer and her 'Mech cargo. Almost 600 tons of cargo room allow the Mercers in the Steel Viper touman to remain operational.
The Mercer entered service in 3065 and has only seen one conflict. As such it is too soon to expect any variants to appear. The Snow Ravens may create their own version of the Mercer based on the ships they damaged and destroyed in the recent Viper attack on Lum.
- online date for the Mercer
- AeroTech 2 Record Sheets, p. 232
- Record Sheets: 3067 Unabridged, p. 317
- Technical Readout: 3067, p. 190, "Mercer DropShip Profile"