|Manufacturer||Defiance Industries of Hesperus II|
|Chassis||Chariot Type III|
|Communications System||TharHes Calliope ZE-2|
|Targeting Tracking System||TharHes Ares-7|
The Zeus was first built by the Lyran Commonwealth in 2787, just as the First Succession War began. Built at the request of Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces commanders for a new light-assault 'Mech designed to engage the enemy at long range and perform hit-and-run attacks, the Zeus is fast enough to keep up with most heavy 'Mechs, and with a sturdy frame, eleven tons of armor and a versatile weapons array, is equally capable of defeating them. Its use of reliable, low-maintenance and easily-modified systems at a time when most 'Mechs were built with cutting-edge technology also proved fortuitous, allowing the Zeus to be produced long after those advanced components had become Lostech.
On the drawing board three years prior to its introduction, the first two prototypes of the Zeus would receive their first "test run" when they were forced to fight off an assault on the Hesperus II factory by the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery. As the enemy broke through Lyran lines, the two 'Mechs were called up to assist, and through sheer novelty and long-range firepower, forced the Kuritans to pause. This allowed additional reinforcements to push DCMS forces back. While successful in holding off the attack, these prototypes were noticeably more advanced than the production model and armed with a PPC, which proved erratic and unreliable during the battle. The cause of this behavior was later discovered to be insufficient shielding which created wild magnetic interactions between the weapon and the Zeus's engine. To ensure the Zeus was delivered to the front-lines quickly it was decided to replace the advanced energy weapon with the simpler autocannon.
The 'Mech would first appear in significant numbers when the 15th Lyran Guards recaptured the planet Sakhalin, and through the course of the Succession Wars the Zeus had a long and storied history within the Commonwealth, becoming a well-respected assault 'Mech. After the end of the Third Succession War advances had allowed engineers to mount a PPC on the Zeus again, with the resulting ZEU-6T model becoming the standard during the Fourth Succession War and later the War of 3039. The design also won high praise among mercenary units, none more so than Zeta Battalion of Wolf's Dragoons.
The Zeus would face resistance by some units of the former AFFS following the creation of the Federated Commonwealth, whose "Davion pride" prevented them from making use of the 'Mech despite its superiority to many of their own machines. Likewise as the FedCom military increasingly took on a Davion flavor many Lyran commanders were insistent that their pride and joy was too valuable to give up, and so prodded Defiance Industries to produce new models which made use of newly-recovered Star League Lostech. The debut of the ZEU-9S Zeus would see production of the previous variants discontinued and examples of this signature Lyran 'Mech shipped to all corners of the Commonwealth as a symbol of the new alliance. By the time of the FedCom Civil War though, the majority of Zeus 'Mechs were in Lyran hands, with many of those given to Davion units having been relegated to rear-guard duty or sold to mercenaries. New variants would continue to be produced for the LAAF and, following their capture of Hesperus II in 3070, the Word of Blake Militia.
Weapons and Equipment
The prototype Zeus carried a PPC, but the most common, best-known variant of the Zeus, the ZEU-6S, mounted as its primary weapon a Defiance Type J Autocannon/5 mounted in the left arm, backed up by a Coventry Star Fire LRM-15 in the right arm for engaging enemies at long ranges. The missile launcher's placement, set around and back from a central core, was a unique way to protect the weapon while allowing the Zeus to use that arm as a bludgeon in hand-to-hand combat; the complicated arrangement also made the launcher prone to failure without regular maintenance. Both were fed by a ton of ammunition each, a source of concern among some pilots who preferred more shots from the LRM-15, though others noted by the point it ran dry the armor was probably compromised and an empty missile bin was less likely to explode. The Thunderbolt A5M Large Laser, mounted in the left torso and used to engage enemies at intermediate ranges, was also a unique challenge for Defiance. Whereas a typical barrel-type large laser wouldn't fit in the compact space, the company used their rare knowledge of fiber optics to design a smaller though no less effective weapon. Finally two Defiance B3M Medium Lasers, one mounted in the center torso and one in the left facing rearwards, were used for close-in work. This combination of weaponry made the Zeus a 'Mech that was deadly at any range..
- One of the two original models of the Zeus, it was similar to the 5S with an LRM-15/Artemis IV combination and an extended range large laser, but was equipped with an ER PPC. The use of Ferro-Fibrous Armor increased the 'Mech's protection and seventeen double heat sinks kept the entire machine cool. BV (2.0) = 1,729 
- Advancements after the Third Succession War led to the 6T model which carried as its primary weapon a Parti-Kill PPC. This weapon had the same effective range as the AC/5 and did twice as much damage, but also created a great deal of excess heat (partially mitigated by two additional heat sinks). The 6T was otherwise identical to the 6S and would go on to become the standard model, as well as serving as a base for the later 9S and 9T models. BV (1.0) = 1,170, BV (2.0) = 1,436
- Prototyped in 2922 as an experiment in logistical support, the 6Y kept the AC/5 in the right arm, but replaced the LRM-15 with a single LRM-10 launcher and a single Binary Laser Cannon was installed in place of the large laser. The missile downgrade was an attempt to alleviate the one problem in the Zeus' otherwise headache-free design, and indeed field refits had shown that the ten-tube launchers were easily adaptable. The addition of the little-loved binary cannon was a combination of two factors: fears that the slow-to-produce Thunderbolt laser was becoming Lostech and an attempt to give the Zeus a long-ranged and powerful energy weapon minus the side-effects caused by its original PPC weapon. Unfortunately the heat produced from this weapon caused catastrophic failures in the surrounding myomer bundles. Engineers attempted to redesign the left torso to better dissipate heat, and eventually resorted to placing the cannon on an over-shoulder mount in the right torso, but in the end they couldn't solve the problem. Defiance went on to produce this variant in limited numbers before abandoning the project.
- The 9S was an upgrade using Star League technology, debuting in 3048. It replaced the standard heat sinks with double-strength models, the eleven tons of standard armor for the same weight in Glasgow Limited Primo Ferro-Fibrous plating, and added CASE to prevent ammunition explosions. It carried as its main weapon a Defiance 1001 ER PPC in its left arm, retained as back-up for long-range combat the Coventry Star Fire LRM-15 launcher and replaced the Thunderbolt large laser for a Cyclops XII ER Large Laser. For close combat, the 9S replaced the two medium lasers for Defiance P3M Medium Pulse Lasers. BV (1.0) = 1,419, BV (2.0) = 1,639
- The 9S2 was a modified version of the 9S. The armor and twelve double heat sinks of original were retained, but the engine was changed to an XL. A Gauss Rifle took the place of the ER PPC while the right arm carried a pair of LRM-15s. Though the Cyclops XII extended range laser was kept, the medium pulse lasers had to be removed to provide enough space for the modifications. BV (2.0) = 1,769
- The 9T variant of the Zeus was introduced in 3062 just prior to the civil war and carried the 6T to its next logical step. The 'Mech was built with a Light Fusion Engine and carried thirteen and a half tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor. As its primary weapon, the 6T carried an ER PPC, backed by an LRM-15 launcher with an Artemis IV fire control system for greater missile accuracy and twice as much ammunition capacity. Also, for long-range combat, the 9T carried an ER Large Laser, while for close combat the 'Mech was armed with two Medium Pulse Lasers and an ER Medium Laser. Deployment of the 9T was limited, first by fighting for control of Hesperus II during the civil war, then by the outbreak of the Jihad. BV (1.0) = 1,480, BV (2.0) = 1,835
- This variant was produced by the Word of Blake following their seizure of Hesperus II during the Jihad. Rolling off assembly lines six months after the planet's capture, it was armed with a pair of Heavy PPCs, supplemented by an ER large laser, four ER medium lasers and fourteen tons of ferro-fibrous armor. These new additions were made possible by the inclusion of an XL Gyro and Light Fusion Engine, while seventeen double heat sinks were included for heat management. BV (2.0) = 2,075
- Dual Cockpit refits: The Lyran Commonwealth (and later the Lyran Alliance) fitted some Zeus 'Mechs with Dual Cockpits. The dual-cockpit versions were usually either a ZEUS-6S (with one medium laser removed to make room) or a ZEU-9S (with one less heat sink).
- Zeus Leonidas
- The personal 'Mech of Hauptmann-General Leonidas Brannock, commander of the 4th Skye Guards during their assault on Glengarry, the Zeus Leonidas was based on the ZEU-9S. It carried an Artemis IV enhanced LRM-20 and a Gauss Rifle (each with two tons of ammunition) in place of the PPC and LRM-15. The rest of the weapons remained the same. It also carried an extra heat sink, bringing the total to twelve. To make room for this equipment the Leonidas used an XL Engine. BV (2.0) = 1,878
These variants were introduced in various apocryphal sources, and thus far have not appeared in any canonical media.
From MechWarrior Online:
- ZEU-SK Skokomish
- While there are no indications the MechWarrior known as Sealth piloted anything other than a standard variant, in MechWarrior Online the Skokomish Hero 'Mech features extensive changes in both weapon loadout. Built around an XL Engine and Endo Steel chassis, MWO's Skokomish retains only the left-arm AC/5 and center torso Medium Laser of the ZEU-6S, instead carrying paired SRM-6's in the right-arm supported at range by a left-torso mounted PPC and twin LRM-10s. Thirteen Double Heat Sinks and two tons of reloads each for the autocannon, short range and long range missile launchers make it a deadly combatant. Sealth's famed agility is replicated via technological means - MWO's Skokomish being fitted with MASC.
- Frederick Steiner's preferred 'Mech was the Zeus, Steiner both an excellent pilot and expert tech of the staple of the Lyran military. 
- Nondi Steiner, former commanding General of the LAAF, piloted a Zeus earlier in her career. 
A Zeus in the Battle of Coventry
A Zeus of the Tamar Jagers
A 3rd Lyran Guards Zeus leads an assault
MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries version of the Zeus
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 160
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 92
- Record Sheets: 3039, p. 178
- Technical Readout: 3025 Revised
- Technical Readout: 3050, p. 164
- Introductory Record Sheets, p. 22
- Record Sheets 3039 Unabridged, p. 249
- Record Sheets 3039 Unabridged, p. 250
- Experimental Technical Readout: Succession Wars, Volume 1, p. 8
- Master Unit List: Battle Values, p. 174
- Record Sheets: 3050 Unabridged (Inner Sphere) p. 233
- Record Sheets: 3050 Upgrade, Inner Sphere, p. 136
- Historical Turning Points: Glengarry, p. 15
- MechWarrior Online "Resistance Heroes Sale Page"
- House Steiner Sourcebook, p. 154 "Personalities - Frederick Steiner"
- Operation Audacity
- Experimental Technical Readout: Succession Wars, Volume 1
- Historical Turning Points: Glengarry
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth)
- Introductory Record Sheets
- Master Unit List: Battle Values
- MechWarrior Online Resistance Heroes Sale Page
- Operation Audacity (novel)
- Record Sheets: 3025/3026
- Record Sheets: 3039
- Record Sheets: 3050
- Record Sheets: 3050 Upgrade (Inner Sphere)
- Record Sheets: 3067
- Technical Readout: 3025
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: 3050 Revised
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade
- Viktor Hannan's Dossier from MechWarrior: Dark Age's Death from Above
- Kevin Nostra's Dossier from MechWarrior: Dark Age's Death from Above
- Joel Nguyen's Dossier from MechWarrior: Dark Age's Fire for Effect
- Stefani Ehli's Dossier from MechWarrior: Dar Age's Fire for Effect