Uniforms of the SLDF
- Did You Know? - Fan made TRO 3028 is better than the originals!
- BattleTech Technology - Today!
- Someone did the math on how many 'Mechs you kill in MechWarrior 3
- A chat with MechWarrior Online Champs: Empyreal's prtNspz - Full Interview
- Unstoppable: A chat with MechWarrior Online Champs, Empyreal's prtNspz
- Read more →
The Uniforms of the SLDF were not only meant to identify the branch of service, rank and unit the soldier belonged to, but also foster esprit de corps. There famous stories of soldiers going to great lengths to protect their portable clothes-care machines to ensure their uniforms would not stay dirty, while the most shameful thing a soldier could do would be to commit a crime while wearing their uniform. In response citizens of the Star League gave soldiers in uniform great respect, and took to copying elements of their uniforms into business suits, jackets and dresses in what fashion designers called the "Trooper Look." Pieces of SLDF uniforms would survive after the organization's demise in the uniforms of the five Great Houses.
The olive-drab dress uniforms of the Regular Army accentuated the wearer's branch of service rather than their rank, counter to the tradition that officer uniforms be grander than enlisted personnel. Over a thick shirt was worn a half-jacket of the same color, while knee-high leather boots covered the pants legs. Gloves, usually matching the boots, were worn when outdoors, along with a standard cap. The rank patch was worn on the right shoulder, while service ribbons and campaign stripes were worn on the left and the Cameron Star placed over the left chest. A World Sash was worn, coming across from the right shoulder down to the left hip, which signified the soldier's world of origin. Officer sometimes replaced this with a School Rag to represent from which military academy they graduated. The sash also held the unit insignia near the top. Officers of the SLDF Royal units were allowed to wear ceremonial swords, originally blunted daggers at first, which towards the end became more ornate and even more lethal.
SLDF Marines wore a dress uniform practically identical to those of the Regular Army, but were colored dark blue with red highlights. Marine Honor Guards, charged with protecting Star League diplomatic missions, wore a slightly different uniform when on duty, and included additional equipment such as a stun baton.
Dress uniforms of the Star League Navy included a knee-length white coat with gold pipping worn over purple pants and shirt. The standard naval cap, as well as the two Cameron Stars on the coat's high collar, were also purple. Gray gloves completed the outfit, though they were only worn for outdoor ceremonies. Naval Honor Cords, awarded for actions and for years of service, were worn on the left shoulder and draped across the chest. For most the rank patch was worn on the left shoulder, though admirals wore cuff stripes, with each strip equivalent to a general's star. A cloth cummerbund wrapped around the waist, known as the School Rag, was colored to show from which naval academy the officer graduated. Officers from the Terran Hegemony were allowed to wear a ceremonial sword and belt over the cummerbund; while the sword's length stayed the same throughout the Star League's reign, the hilt style changed often.
The uniform of SLDF Regular Army MechWarriors utilized many advanced technologies which were lost following the Succession Wars. Over a synthetic, heat-resistant tan shirt and shorts was a cooling jumpsuit which used a synthetic coolant three times as effective as water in removing heat. The jumpsuit was normally plugged into the 'Mech but also included an emergency pump and heat exchanger on the belt. Tubing in the MechWarrior's shirt connected to hookups in his cuffs which could connect to gloves and keep his hands cool. The jumpsuit also prevented "Hotfoot" by extending down the front and back of the legs and around the feet. Properly worn, the uniform was airtight with its own air supply. The rank patch was initially worn near the throat on the helmet pad, though over the years this position changed.
The neurohelmet was also smaller and lighter than 31st century models and could perform many more functions, thanks to a biofeedback neural apparatus that was much more sensitive and did not require contact with the wearer's scalp. Such was the sensitivity of the helmet that many warriors chose to fight with their visor and windows blackened, relying totally on the sensor information fed directly into their brain.
AeroSpace Fighter pilots wore a unique flight suit, combining the functions of a coolant suit and G-suit, which was built with a semi-exoskeleton design. The exoskeleton, made of a now-forgotten plastic-steel alloy, protected the pilot's chest, back, arms and legs by absorbing the shock of a blast without inhibiting her movements. Small motors in the exoskeleton also gave the pilot extra strength when needed in order to perform high-speed maneuvers. The pilot's gloves took the place of conventional controls which, along with a specialized neurohelmet, allowed slight movements, gestures and even neural impulses to control the craft.
The neurohelmet, while being large and cumbersome, also allowed the pilot to fight in Complete Tactical Neuro Presentation mode. CTNA mode, using sensors embedded in the fuselage of SLDF fighters, replaced the pilot's cockpit with a virtual reality view that gave the sensation of flying without a fighter. The pilot had an unobstructed view in all directions and could look through several visual spectrums including infrared and ultraviolet.
SLDF pilots rarely cared about the niceties of rank. Those who did wore a rank patch typically affixed them to the exoskeleton somewhere near the shoulder.
Crewmen in the Regular Army's combat vehicles wore similar protection as that enjoyed by MechWarriors; their olive-drab cooling suit was comparable, though not as extensive, as that worn by MechWarriors. Tank, hovercraft, APC and self-propelled artillerymen wore a standard field jacket over the suit, while some also wore shoulder pads which protected both the neck and shoulders. The uniform also included half-gloves and a holster and ammo pouch for a sidearm. Rank patches and unit insignia were worn on the left shoulder.
Helmets worn by armor crews performed almost all of the same functions as that of 31st century neurohelmets, connecting to cameras and sensors located on the vehicle's chassis to help with navigation and location of enemy targets. The helmets also contained a communication system for use in the heat of battle.
Uniforms worn by infantry were of a thin, light material and included a legless step-through jacket in camouflage colors. Rank and unit patches were worn on either shoulder of the jacket. When operating in the field infantry wore a small backpack which carried their sleeping bag and personal items, as well as a powerful battery for laser weapons like the Mauser 960.
The Infantryman's helmet was far above and beyond those worn by troopers of the 31st century. Fully enclosed, it provided an excellent field of vision which, through voice commands, could switch between several vision modes, including infrared and Electronic Emission (EE). The three panes of the helmet's visor were made of a clear, bulletproof polymer that polarized to a silver tone to protect against lasers. The helmet also linked with the soldier's weapon to project an accurate sight onto his visor.
Technical and support personnel wore uniforms similar to the infantry, though they did not wear the camouflage jacket and replaced the helmet with a simple cloth cap. Technician uniforms also included strands of lead to protect against radiation and hooks for carrying tools.
Uniforms for both officers and enlisted personnel were designed for safety and efficiency. A khaki jumpsuit, with white coloring along the right side, was worn over a high-collar gray flannel shirt. It also had the Cameron Star stitched onto the left shoulder strap, while thick purple boots prevented foot and leg injuries. The rank patch was worn on a white knitted cap, known affectionately as a Cameron Dome Warmer.
On the left wrist was worn a Communications Device, which allowed the user to communicated with other members of the ship's crew; the devices worn by officers could communicate with each other over secure command channels. The device also collected medical information from sensors woven into the jumpsuit and could transmit this information to a medic's computer during emergencies. Additional functions included the storage and playback of audio programs, such as step-by-step instructions for performing a complex task.
Navy Engineers wore a uniform that also doubled as a spacesuit, made of several layers of insulating fabric and fluid-carrying tubing to keep them warm, though it weighed only a few kilograms more than normal uniforms. The uniform's high collar hid the helmet ring, which would connect to a helmet equipped with lights and a camera. The belt included a portable air supply and hook-ups to connect to a maneuvering unit, which held a larger air supply and allowed for more mobility when operating outside the ship.
- The Star League, p. 110
- The Star League, p. 127
- The Star League, p. 111
- TechManual, p. 178