An OmniMech is a (sub-)type of BattleMech that does not feature a fixed weapon configuration, but instead has the ability to replace or change its loadout with modular OmniMech-compatible Omni-pods. Omni-pods can be a wide range of weapon systems and even a limited selection of structural components. Therefore, the capabilities of an OmniMech are only limited by the amount of pod space it possesses (both in mass and bulk), and reconfiguration time.
Based on the modular replacement system of the Mercury BattleMech, OmniMech technology was developed by a team of Clan Coyote scientists led by Scientist Richard (Remer) with the assistance of Clan Sea Fox. In 2854, their collaboration resulted in Clan Coyote's Coyotl, the first true OmniMech. The Coyotl's OmniMech technology provided far more flexibility than the famous ease of replacement of the Mercury's semi-modular Hessen IX small lasers. Clan Coyote and Sea Fox had evolved the technology to allow complete reconfiguration of the weapon systems and certain structural components of an OmniMech within hours.
Prototype OmniMech design was hampered by several major problems in targeting, stability, and construction. The OmniMech gyro had to adapt to large structural changes in the center of mass of the 'Mech. Without specialized software and extreme increases to physical tolerance, the OmniMech would not be as stable as a conventional BattleMech. Changing loadout quickly also required the OmniMech battle computer to accept "snap and go" software for its targeting and tracking system. Likewise, the frame of the OmniMech could not waste space and mass for the physical interfaces of interchangeable equipment. Only standardized, specially constructed OmniMech components could be utilized on the OmniMech's frame. Richard (Remer) and his team required six full years to solve these complications before prototype OmniMechs began combat trials, and another 1.5 years before the Coyotl entered full service.
OmniMech utility resulted in revolutionary changes on the battlefield. An OmniMech was more tactically and strategically flexible than any BattleMech before, allowing Clan Coyote (and to a lesser extent, the demurring Sea Foxes) to choose the capabilities of a machine depending upon the requirements of a particular mission. The major limitation to this flexibility was the mass of the chassis, which constrained the speed, armor and pod space of the Coyotl. This was quickly addressed with the introduction of at least three more first generation OmniMechs, each a different drop weight.
The first generation OmniMechs were largely overlooked until 2859, when Clan Coyote equipped nearly all of its Alpha Galaxy with OmniMechs. Due greatly to their OmniMechs, Clan Coyote became dominant on the Clan battlefield and quickly expanded within the Kerensky Cluster. By the time Clan Jade Falcon won the prized technology in 2863, Clan Coyote's OmniMechs had been nearly unstoppable on the battlefields of the Clan Homeworlds for almost a decade. By the end of the next calender year, six more Clans possessed the technology. The final Clan to adopt OmniMech technology was Clan Ghost Bear, who took the technology from Clan Hell's Horses in 2873.
A completely unintended consequence of their advanced gyros, OmniMechs could also be used extensively as infantry transports. In 2868, Clan Wolf began fielding Battle Armored Infantry, based on environmental suits used by Clan Goliath Scorpion in the seas of Dagda. First demonstrated on the field against Clan Nova Cat, battle armor revitalized infantry in 29th Century Clan warfare and accelerated the propagation of the new Elemental warrior phenotype developed by Clan Hell's Horses. Though several types of battle armor were tested, the classic Elemental battle armor, a blend of speed, anti-Mech capability, protection and firepower, prevailed during development in 2867. However, Elementals are only capable of 90-meter leaps and are nearly one ton in mass. Without dedicated troop transports or longer-ranged weaponry, battle armor could only be used effectively as fixed defenders against experienced adversaries. Rather than utilize conventional Combat Vehicles for deployment and redeployment, designers realized the specialized gyroscopes of OmniMechs could allow a star of Elementals to mount in the field. By refitting and retrofitting OmniMechs with handholds, OmniMechs could perform as dedicated infantry transports. This concept was taken to its logical conclusion within six years of the initial Wolf-Nova Cat trial, when Clan Cloud Cobra began production of the Fire Moth.
The OmniMech's ease of repair, rearmament, and weapons loadout modification allowed Clan MechWarriors to quickly return to the battlefield, and kept the Clans moving at an amazing pace during the Clans' invasion of the Inner Sphere. But the Clans' obvious technological advantage resulted in a rapid response from Inner Sphere weapons manufacturers. While not able to replicate the advanced construction materials of the invaders, the Inner Sphere was able of reverse engineer OmniMech technology from captured or crippled machines. Thanks to the pristine examples gained from the Battle of Wolcott and several galaxies worth of salvage in the aftermath of the Operation Dragonslayer, the Draconis Combine led Inner Sphere OmniMech development. Just five months after Dragonslayer, as the Com Guards fought the Clans on Tukayyid, the Draconis Combine introduced the first Inner Sphere OmniMech, the Raptor, in May 3052.  By 3058 the Combine had eight separate OmniMechs in production with licensed versions being built in the Lyran Alliance and the Free Worlds League. By 3067 every Successor State had their own OmniMechs in production.
The modular construction allows MechWarriors to customize their machine's weapon loadout to suit their own skills and preference, and suit specific tactical or environmental needs as required. Where a BattleMech of comparable weight is designed and built for a specific role, a OmniMech can serve as a direct-fire combatant one day, and a missile boat the next. A single 'Mech that can perform the role of four frees up significant logistical space during a campaign. 
Though not solely created for modular weapon loadouts, the OmniMech design greatly aids repair and construction as well. If a weapon pod is damaged, it can be quickly detached and replaced with another while the original is undergoing repair. If certain weapons or ammunition are unavailable, alternates can be easily substituted. Once their modular weaponry and equipment is removed, the empty bays generally provide larger spaces to access and repair the base chassis. Damaged components such as arms and legs can be easily replaced in half the time it takes for common BattleMechs, and often with less experienced technicians able perform such tasks.
The technology also greatly aids salvage, even if an enemy OmniMech is virtually destroyed, an intact OmniPod can be detached and reattached to a functional Omni just as quickly and easily as it was factory fresh, maximizing the Clan's overriding drive to avoid waste. While Inner Sphere and Clan technologies are generally incompatible with each other with regard to repairs, this does not apply to OmniPods, with Inner Sphere OmniMechs able to mount Clan pods and Clan Omni's able to equip Inner Sphere pods interchangeably. This is due to Inner Sphere Omni technology being reverse engineered from Clan designs, as opposed to being separately developed.
Despite their flexibility and maintenance benefits, OmniMechs have distinct limitations in regard to cost and logistics.
OmniMechs are not fully modular. An OmniMech's structural components: its engine, internal structure, armor and any equipment installed on the base chassis of OmniMech are "hard-wired" and cannot be modified outside of a total redesign of the 'Mech.  While customization of these components is theoretically possible in the field, it is avoided as it hard-wires all the 'Mechs components and effectively transforms it from a OmniMech into a standard BattleMech. While they can be considered structural components, the lower-arm and hand actuators are themselves pod-mounted and easily removed to provide additional pod-space in the arms. However the mounting points for them are also utilized by larger bore weaponry such as Gauss Rifles, Autocannons and PPCs and so must be automatically removed to carry these weapon types an OmniMech's arms, hampering the close-combat abilities of these configurations. 
With further regard to costs, even OmniMechs constructed from standard materials are more expensive than comparable BattleMechs of similar weight to both construct and field. While the initial invasion gave the impression that Clan toumans consisted solely of OmniMechs, even they can only afford to outfit their front-line units with them, with their so-called second-line forces generally fielding more cost effective standard BattleMechs, albeit utilizing superior Clan technology.
The modular attachment points to mount OmniMech weaponry and equipment (equipment constructed in an OmniMech Pod) renders such equipment incompatible with standard BattleMechs. Even for identical classes and brands of equipment, only the ammunition can be used interchangeably. Adding or removing the Pod connections is possible but adds additional time to repairs. If weaponry and equipment are mounted on an OmniMech without an OmniPod, this equipment is fixed. For mixed units of BattleMechs and OmniMechs this adds an artificial separation and duplication in supply chains and logistics for spare parts.
 See Also
- ↑ Technical Readout: 2750", p. 16
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Era Digest: Golden Century, p. 22
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 41
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 59
- ↑ Field Manual: Warden Clans, pp. 40-42, "Birth of the Titans" & "Crusade of the Valiant"
- ↑ Field Manual: Warden Clans, pg. 79
- ↑ Field Manual: Crusader Clans, p. 135
- ↑ Field Manual: Crusader Clans, p. 54
- ↑ Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade, p. 40
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade, p. 44
- ↑ Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 112
- ↑ Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 114
- ↑ Technical Readout: 3050, p. 225
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 Technical Readout: 3050, p.7
- ↑ Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade, p. 120 "RTX1-O Raptor"
- ↑ Technical Readout: 3058, pp. 78-95
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Era Report: 3062, p. 105 "Museum Technica - Production Directed - OmniMechs"
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Strategic Operations, p. 182 "Maintenance, Salvage, Repair & Customization - Clan/Inner Sphere Incompatibility/OmniPods"
- ↑ TechManual, p. 53 "BattleMech Construction - Step 2: Install Engines and Control Systems"
- ↑ TechManual, p. 57 "BattleMech Construction - Step 5: Add Weapons, Ammunition and Other Equipment"
- ↑ Technical Readout: 3055, p. 92