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Designed to mitigate the effects of an armor breach, Armored Components are built with stronger materials, additional armor protection, and increased compartmentalization. Nearly any component carried by a 'Mech can be replaced with an armored version. Units with Armored Components can stay on a battlefield much longer, ignoring damage that would cripple other 'Mechs. A 'Mech with an Armored Hip Actuator, for example, wouldn't immediately lose a leg if hit by weapons fire. A Hollander equipped with an Armored Gauss Rifle wouldn't suffer through a catastrophic capacitor failure.
Though popular with the few MechWarriors who have used them, the increased weight of Armored Components and the expensive machining and construction processes needed to produce them means that most of these systems remain in the experimental stage. The Free Worlds League started developing the system in 3059, and by 3061 they had mounted it on several prototype units. The Diamond Sharks have copied the system.
An Armored version of nearly any item that appears on a BattleMech's Critical Hit table can be created. Only ammunition bins, CASE systems, and "roll again" systems like Endo Steel and Ferro-Fibrous Armor cannot be made in an Armored Component version. The Armor used to make an Armored Component must be integrated into the manufacturing process, therefore OmniMechs may not mount Component Armor as a pod system, unless the additional item mounted in the pod comes with armor. OmniMech-fixed equipment may not add Component Armor as a pod system. For example, changing the torso configuration in a 'Mech with an unarmored engine from one component to another, such as a MRM to a LRM, the pod cannot include engine armor in that pod. The engine is a fixed component in all configurations, armored or not armored.
Armored Components have the same weight as their unarmored counterparts, plus 0.5 tons for every critical slot the equipment occupies, with the exception of the cockpit which requires one ton to armor. An Armored PPC for example would weigh 8.5 tons (7 for the PPC, plus 1.5 tons for the three critical slots the PPC uses). This weight armors every critical slot the system occupies. To indicate that a component is armored, place a circle to the left of the appropriate critical slot(s). When hit by a critical hit the Armored Component isn't destroyed, but the circle is filled in. If the same critical slot is hit a second time, the armored component is destroyed per the normal rules for critical hits and crossed out completely. Should an Armored Component explode in a location protected by CASE, the CASE system functions normally.
If a Hip or Shoulder Actuator is an Armored Component and hasn't taken a critical hit, the 'Mech ignores a "Limb Blown Off" result on the Critcal Hits table. This roll does destroy the armor carried by the actuator however, and a second "Limb Blown Off" result will remove the limb. Shots that result in a Head Blown Off result are not affected by Armored Components.
In addition to their base cost, Armored Components cost 150,000 C-Bills per critical slot. An Armored Component has a Defensive Battle Value of 5% of the protected item per slot. If the item lacks a Battle Value, then the value is 5 points per slot.
- Tactical Operations, p. 283, "Armored Components"
- Tactical Operations, p. 282, "Construction Rules"
- Tactical Operations Errata, "Armored Components"
- Tactical Operations, p. 405, "Heavy Weapons And Equipment Construction Data"
- Tactical Operations, p. 380, "Advanced Weapons And Equipment - Armored Components"