First introduced by the Federated Suns in 3067, a Small Cockpit is a special cockpit for BattleMechs. By reducing the weight and support equipment the small cockpit only weighs two-thirds as much as a standard cockpit. It also frees up room in the 'Mech's head, so larger equipment can be mounted there. These advantages are offset by the reduced life support equipment and the generally cramped conditions that are forced on the MechWarrior.
Despite these limitations, shortly after the Federated Suns introduced the concept both the Word of Blake and Lyran Alliance had copied the small cockpit. The Celestial series OmniMechs used Small Cockpits. In 3070, Word of Blake engineers created a small cockpit for AeroSpace Fighters as well.
In game terms, it weighs only two tons, saving a ton. It also does not need the second critical hit slot for life support, so bulkier equipment can be mounted there. The downside is that a +1 modifier to piloting skill checks is assessed due to the cramped quarters for the MechWarrior. On rare occasions 'Mechs equipped with small cockpits have been unfortunate enough to lose their remaining life support systems while in less than ideal conditions—such as while the 'Mech was submerged or in the vacuum of space—resulting in the death of the MechWarrior inside.
- TechManual, p. 211, "Small Cockpit"
- Technical Readout: 3075, p. ??
- Tactical Operations, pp. 300-301, "Cockpit Systems"