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|Manufacturer||Bowie Industries  |
Vandenberg Mechanized Industries
Gorton, Kingsley & Thorpe Enterprises 
|Mech type||Inner Sphere BattleMech|
|Communications System||Neil 9000|
|Targeting Tracking System||RCA Instatrac Mark XII|
The origins of the Archer date back to 2458 when Earthwerks Incorporated debuted a prototype known as the ARC-1A Archer. The design was created at the request of Terran Hegemony's HAF for a new "heavy fire support BattleMech" and took nearly 9 years to finalize. This was in part due to the design team; a combination of former HAF MechWarriors, field technicians, and general officer consultants and the company's engineer team led by Supervising Engineer Linn Tommi squabbling over theoretical and practical issues. The complex engineering proposal brought before the HAF included complicated, hard-to-repair stabilization equipment and advanced, computer-slaved sensors, meant to make the Archer the most accurate BattleMech in existence. However, the final prototype abandoned these requirements in favor of a more sturdy, blocky, and heavily armored frame still familiar today. It was so successful that it remained the Hegemony standard for more than a decade and a half until advances in technology allowed Earthwerks to produce a more efficient model.
Introduced in 2474, the ARC-2R Archer became one of the best-known and most widely-used BattleMechs available. A contemporary of 'Mechs such as the Thunderbolt and the Banshee, the Archer's primary role was fire support, though early in its combat career it was considered an assault 'Mech capable of long-range brawling, and it was used in a variety of other roles. More than 100,000 Archers were produced between its introduction and the start of the First Succession War, with tens of thousands of its variant models produced over the centuries. Though many were destroyed or dismantled for spare parts, they remained a common sight in the Great House armies, with six different factories producing new Archers throughout the Succession Wars.
The recovery of the Helm Memory Core had a profound effect on the development of the Archer. New variants were produced which utilized rediscovered lostech, giving the venerable 'Mech a few new tricks to surprise its opponents. By the time of the Clan Invasion, most of the major manufacturers had switched over to building these new variants for the Free Worlds League, Federated Commonwealth, Free Rasalhague Republic, and Wolf's Dragoons; only Vandenberg Mechanized Industries continued to build original ARC-2R Archers for the Taurian Concordat. Newer, more advanced variants of the Archer continued to be developed as technology progressed in the years since.
Weapons and Equipment
The Archer's primary weapons were a pair of Doombud LRM-20 missile launchers with four tons of ammunition, enough for two minutes of continuous fire. The ammo was split between the side torsos. When the design was still relatively unknown, some Archer drivers were known to keep their missile bay doors closed in order to fool the enemy, but this trick has since lost its effect. For close combat situations, the Archer carries four Diverse Optics Type 18 Medium Lasers. Each arm is equipped with a laser, with the other two mounted on a centrally-located turret above the cockpit, giving them a clear field of fire to attack targets behind the 'Mech. Though not a particularly adept hand-to-hand combatant, the Archer's oversized battle fists serve it well in close combat and allow it to easily pilfer supplies when taking part in a raid.
The Archer was well protected by thirteen tons of armor and had a cruising speed of 44.1 km/h. However, it suffered from a poor heat management system, with just ten heat sinks to remove waste heat; an Archer firing both LRM launchers and its lasers would quickly start to overheat. The Archer also suffered in part for being for being so common; most enemy pilots were very familiar with the design's capabilities, and how to exploit that to their advantage. The most unique feature of the Archer compared to other humanoid 'Mechs was its cockpit placement, located beneath the central torso. Although giving the MechWarrior a unique battlefield perspective, this placement didn't provide any additional protection as it sat below the torso armor belt, which shielded the Gyro and engine from enemy fire.
- The original Archer prototype built for the Terran Hegemony in 2458 with Primitive Technology. It was slower than the successor ARC-2R variant with a top speed of 54 km/h with the inclusion of a 255 Primitive Engine. Its loadout was somewhat similar, with the frame housing a pair of LRM-20's and 4 tons of ammunition, but only mounted two Medium Lasers, one in each fully-articulated arm for close-in defense. The inclusion of large armored access panels in the 'Mech's rear made reloading the limited ammunition stores easier. It was also protected by 16 tons of Primitive Armor. At the time, it was praised for its reliability and ease of maintenance, although in combat produced far more excess heat than the machine could handle if all weapons were fired - a similar issue carried over to the later Archer. BV (2.0) = 1,269
- The 2K Archer was a modification built for the Draconis Combine in 2856, designed to increase its direct firepower capability and give it more staying power on the battlefield once it had run out of ammunition. The 'Mech replaced the LRM-20 launchers with two FarFire 15 LRM-15 launchers and removed all of the medium lasers along with some armor. They used this extra weight to add a Large Laser in each arm, and two heat sinks. Besides its use with Combine forces, this variant became common among the KungsArmé following its formation. BV (1.0) = 977, BV (2.0) = 1,356
- Equipped with Star League technology, the 2Rb variant of the Archer was built for SLDF Royal units starting in 2752. Built on an Endo Steel internal structure, this variant dropped one of the rear-firing medium lasers and one ton of ammunition to equip the LRM-20s with Artemis IV fire control systems and CASE. The 2Rb also used ten double heat sinks to keep the 'Mech cool. BV (2.0) = 1,705
- ARC-2R (C)
- A Clan-tech retrofit of the standard Star League Defense Force ARC-2R Archer and intended for second-line and solahma troops, the Archer C replaced all Inner Sphere weaponry with their Clan counterparts without modifying any structural components. The Archer C mounted a pair of LRM-20s, capable of launching Swarm LRM munitions, and a quartet of ER Medium Lasers. BV (2.0) = 1,721
- The 2S was another modification made to allow the Archer to defend itself more easily against an enemy that managed to close range with it. Built for House Steiner in 2915, the 2S replaced the LRM-20 launchers with two LRM-15 launchers and used the saved weight to add two SRM-4 launchers, carried in either side torso along with one ton of ammunition per launcher, giving it additional short range firepower. BV (1.0) = 997, BV (2.0) = 1,393
- The 2W, introduced in 3010, was similar to the 2S model but increased its close range firepower in a different manner. Like the 2S, it mounted a pair of SRM-4 launchers but carried just one ton of ammo for them, and it retained the LRM-20 launchers. Instead the two rear firing medium lasers were removed and armor protection was reduced by three tons in order to make these modifications. This was the trademark subvariant used by the Wolf's Dragoons, which they produced in the assembly plant aboard their space station Hephaestos until its destruction in 3028. Note: It was once stated by Jaime Wolf that all of the Dragoons' Archers were of this variant, but this is unconfirmed.  BV (1.0) = 932, BV (2.0) = 1,338
- An upgrade using rediscovered Star League technology, the 4M was built built on Calloway VI by Earthwerks in 3049 for the Free Worlds League. It used an Earthwerk Archer II Endo Steel chassis to free up weight for a number of improvements. It carried an additional half-ton of Maximillian 100 armor and utilized ten double heat sinks for added heat dissipation capabilities. The 'Mech also upgraded its twin Doombud LRM-20 launchers by adding Artemis IV fire control systems to the launchers and incorporated CASE to protect the four tons of missile ammo. BV (1.0) = 1,539, BV (2.0) = 1,705
- Built by the GKT Enterprise factory on Satalice for the Free Rasalhague Republic, the 5R was introduced in 3050 and bore similarities to the 2K model of the Archer. It carried a pair of FarFire LRM-15 launchers but mounted two Victory Nickel Alloy ER Large Lasers, one in either arm, in place of the medium lasers. It also linked Artemis IV fire control systems to the launchers and utilized twelve double heat sinks to improve waste heat dissipation. Despite being built around an Endo-Steel chassis, these improvements necessitated a decrease in armor protection by two tons. BV (1.0) = 1,319, BV (2.0) = 1,672
- The 5S variant of the Archer, built out of Defiance Industries' massive Hesperus II complex in 3050, was the official variant for the Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth. The 5S upgraded the engine to an Edasich Motors 280 XL Engine, cutting the engine's weight in half while retaining the same speed profile. The 5S also reduced the LRM-20 launchers to LRM-15s. This saved weight was used to add two Coventry T4H Streak SRM-2 launchers, one in each arm and fed by two tons of reloads in the side torsos. They also upgraded the four medium lasers to Medium Pulse Lasers. Finally, the 'Mech carried a Doering Electronics Glowworm Narc Missile Beacon launcher in its left torso along with one ton of ammo. This allowed the Archer to tag enemy units with a beacon so that friendly 'Mechs could more easily hit the unit with their own missile weapons. All of the ammunition carried by the 5S was protected by CASE. BV (1.0) = 1,122, BV (2.0) = 1,353
- The 5W was an upgrade of the 2W variant, and was produced for the Wolf's Dragoons by Bowie Industries at Alarion. This was done in an orbital 'Mech repair facility which was converted into a 'Mech assembly line. Introduced in 3050, the 'Mech was upgraded with an XL Engine to save weight and used ten double heat sinks for greater heat dissipation. It retained the two LRM-20 launchers but replaced all other weaponry with one TharHes Blue SRM-4 launchers in each arm and a Narc Missile Beacon launcher in the center torso. The 5W was supplied with four tons of LRM reloads, two tons of SRM reloads, and two tons of Narc reloads, all carried in the CASE-protected side torsos. BV (1.0) = 1,128, BV (2.0) = 1,337
- The 6S variant of the Archer was built in 3067 by Bowie Industries using a new Light Fusion Engine, which weighed three quarters of the mass of the original engine. The 'Mech carried two LRM-20 launchers linked to an Artemis IV fire control system, two Streak SRM-2 launchers, and two medium Lasers for close combat. As a defensive measure, the 'Mech had an ER Small Laser mounted in the rear of its head. The variant carried six tons of ammo for the LRM and two tons for the SRM, all of which were protected by CASE. BV (1.0) = 1,480, BV (2.0) = 1,694
- The 6W was a Periphery modification of the Archer built by VMI out of New Vandenberg, which used older rather than newer technology. This variant carried its four medium lasers in its arms and mounted eight Rocket Launcher 20s and two Rocket Launcher 10s. These weapons gave it a powerful one-shot capability or could be used one at a time over an extended period. BV (1.0) = 1,239, BV (2.0) = 1,405
- Built for the Capellan Confederation by Earthwerks in 3067, the 7L variant of the Archer incorporated new Stealth Armor and a Guardian ECM Suite for protection against enemy electronics in addition to making the Archer harder to target. The 'Mech carried twelve and a half tons of Stealth Armor and was armed with two LRM-20 launchers and two ER Medium Lasers. The trade-off for this massive upgrade was that the 'Mech's top speed was reduced to 54 km/h. In an attempt to compensate for this, the 'Mech also had three jump jets mounted, making it capable of jumping up to ninety meters at a time. The 7L was slated to enter the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces' new Shadow Lances. BV (1.0) = 1,612, BV (2.0) = 1,920
- The Archer 7S was an upgrade of the 6S model, and was introduced in 3070. It used Durallex Guardian Heavy Ferro-Fibrous armor with CASE in place of the Endo Steel structure used on the 6S. The 7S had two LRM-20 launchers with Artemis IV for increased missile accuracy and, for close range defense, carried a Diverse Optics ER Medium Laser and a rear facing Magna 200P Small Pulse Laser in addition to the pair of Hovertec Streak SRM-2 launchers. BV (2.0) = 1,658
- The 8M variant of the Archer was built on an Endo Steel chassis and mixed elements of several past variants. Introduced in 3067 by Earthwerks for the Word of Blake Militia, this variant was armed with two Delta Dart LRM-15 launchers linked to Artemis IV fire control systems in either side torso and an ER Large Laser in the center torso for long-range combat. It also mounted three ER Medium Lasers for short ranged support, one in each arm and the third in its head. This made the 8M effective at all ranges and gave it both long-range direct and indirect capabilities. The 8M was protected by thirteen and a half tons of Maximilian 100 standard armor which was better slopped in order to deflect weapons fire more easily. It carried twelve double heat sinks, and had a similar speed profile to the original Archer. Its upper body traversing assembly was improved over the original to better protect its hip actuators and its feet were redesigned to make it a more stable firing platform, whether standing or on the move. Four tons of LRM reloads were split between the side torsos and were protected by CASE. BV (1.0) = 1,377, BV (2.0) = 1,759
- The Archer 9K, introduced in 3071, carried four new MML-5 launchers that were capable of firing both LRM and SRM ammunition. These gave the 'Mech a great deal of tactical flexibility. For long range direct fire capabilities, the 'Mech had three Light PPCs and a C3 Slave that allowed the 'Mech to share targeting data with friendly units. BV (2.0) = 1,391
- This variant used a 210 Light Engine, which dropped the top speed to 54 km/h, but five Improved Jump Jets were added to compensate for this lack of speed. Built in 3076, the standard weapons were replaced by an LRM-15 with Artemis IV FCS and an ER Medium Laser in each torso, and a Light PPC was mounted in each arm. Eleven tons of Light Ferro-Fibrous armor and CASE protected the 'Mech. BV (2.0) = 1,811
- Used by the Word of Blake's Protectorate Militia in 3078, this Archer variant carried a pair of ER Large Lasers and Artemis IV-enhanced LRM-15 launchers, with a maximum speed of 58km/h. For protection, the 9W used an experimental Angel ECM Suite and Void Signature System. BV (2.0) = 2,004
- ARC-4M Ismail
- Personal 'Mech of Lieutenant James Ismail of the Lexington Combat Group's 180th Dragoon Combat Group has been refit for close combat. This is achieved by dropping both the Artemis-enhanced LRM-20s for eight SRM-4 launchers, four per torso, while the two rear facing medium lasers are also removed for two forward facing Medium Pulse Lasers.
- Archer Wolf
- This variant of the Archer carried Clan-spec equipment. The arms mounted ER Large Lasers, while a pair of Small Pulse Lasers covered the rear. The LRM-20s were enhanced with Artemis IV Fire Control Systems, and an ECM Suite and AMS protected against incoming fire. CASE was carried in each side torso and fifteen double heat sinks kept the 'Mech cool. BV (2.0) = 2,365
From MechWarrior Online:
- ARC-T Tempest
- Named for Morgan Kell's pirate lover, MechWarrior Online's Archer Hero 'Mech plays to the fan rumors that Kell's Phantom Mech ability was actually just LosTech he recovered from the Periphery before his return in 3006. Identical to the standard ARC-2R in most respects, the addition on an Endo Steel frame frees up the weight for a Guardian ECM suite and two extra heat sinks, all of which are upgraded to double heat sinks boosting the Tempest's endurance.
- Jaime Wolf: It is implied from conjecture that he initially piloted his unit's trademark 2W variant. He lost one such vehicle on Barlow's End in 3026 but continued to pilot Archers (presumably advanced technology versions). He was found dead in his Archer near the end of the Battle of Harlech City on October 18, 3067.
- Morgan Kell: The commander of the Kell Hounds became famous in the legendary Phantom 'Mech incident.
- Alexander Carlyle, son of Grayson Carlyle of the Gray Death Legion, piloted an Archer during the Skye Rebellion of 3056.
- Cranston Snord was known to pilot an Archer before swapping to a Bombardier following the Fourth Succession War.
- The introduction date for the ARC-2R Archer is listed as 2474 in a couple early sources such as TRO:3025 (Original) and TRO:3039 where-as XTRO:Primitives V lists the production date as 2475.
- Objectives: Lyran Alliance, p.29
- Field Report 2765: Periphery, p. 11, "Infrastructural Integrity"
- Technical Readout: 3039, p.296
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 256
- Era Digest: Age of War, p. 11 and 22, state a primitive technology Archer was introduced in 2458
- [http://www.masterunitlist.info/Unit/Details/74/archer-arc-2r MUL online date for
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 499
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 5, p. 6 "ARC-1A Archer 'Mech Profile"
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 92
- Technical Readout: 3050, p. 162
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, p. 44
- MUL Profile for ARC-1A includes BV2.
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 482
- Record Sheets: Operation Klondike, p. 46
- The Battle for Twycross, p. 49
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 161
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 484
- Wolves on the Border
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 485
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 148
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 149
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 150
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 151
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 152
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 153
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 154
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 155
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 156
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 157
- Record Sheets: 3145 New Tech, New Upgrades, p. 149
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 257
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 256
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 160
- Combat Manual: Mercenaries, p. 53 "Lexington Combat Group - Lieutenant James Ismail"
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 162
- MechWarrior Online Archer Sale Page
- Blood of Heroes
- BattleMech Manual, p. 90 Battlemech Quirk Table - Archer Entry.
- ARC-7S Archer Technical Readout
- BattleMech Manual
- Combat Manual: Mercenaries
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 5
- Field Report 2765: Periphery
- Master Unit List
- MechWarrior Online Archer Sale Page
- Objectives: Lyran Alliance
- Record Sheets: 3025/3026
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged
- Record Sheets: 3050
- Record Sheets: 3067
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix
- Record Sheets: 3145 New Tech, New Upgrades
- Record Sheets: Operation Klondike
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades
- Technical Readout: 3025
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix
- The Battle for Twycross
- Total Warfare Style Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades
- Technical Readout: 3085