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- This article is about the power armor. For other uses, see Nighthawk (disambiguation).
|Weight Class||Power Armor (Light)|
|Tech Base||Inner Sphere|
|Introduced||Reintroduced in 3065|
|Top Speed||10 km/h|
|Armor Type||Standard Stealth|
The Nighthawk Mk. XXI is a Power Armor (Light) [PA(L)] design and the progenitor of modern battle armor. The original Nighthawk was based upon exoskeletons originally used for commercial purposes during the Star League. It took fifteen years and twenty prototypes before the SLDF finally perfected the design that would eventually be produced. A working prototype was first introduced in 2718, which was followed by two years of field testing and, finally, full production, entering service with the Special Forces Command. Nighthawk numbers were never large as the SLDF wanted them to be, partly to keep its existence a secret, as the suits were given to the Special Armed Services troops known as the Blackhearts and their deployment was never public knowledge. While plans were made for a design of the Nighthawk to reach SLDF Royal units, the Amaris Civil War and the fall of the Star League prevented that version from entering full production.
When Jerome Blake took control of Terra a few Nighthawk suits were uncovered, which ComStar would use to outfit their own commando units following the creation of the Com Guards. However ComStar did not have the capability to produce new Nighthawk suits, and attempts to duplicate the design led to the creation of the inferior Tornado. Several Nighthawk suits were eventually discovered on Karbala by the Gray Death Legion and most of them were turned over to the NAIS for study, but it would take the Word of Blake, following their schism with ComStar and in conjunction with the Free Worlds League, to overcome the technical challenges and begin production of new suits on Terra in 3065. ComStar quickly began producing their own new Nighthawks on Tukayyid, sharing their output with the Second Star League, until the factory was destroyed in 3067. With the start of the Jihad the Word of Blake also supplied Nighthawk suits to Protectorate Militia infantry units to increase their capability while retaining most battle armor for frontline units; however it would take ComStar many years to restart production on Arc-Royal, with spotty production still seeing it reserved for covert operations. It was also around 3071 that Niops Association found among their old Star League records plans for Nighthawk suits and began production of both the Mk. XXI and Mk. XXII to fend off belligerent Periphery neighbors.
The Nighthawk itself is little more than a heavily-armored Sneak Suit with an integral ECM suite. While it only has 120kg of armor, enough to stop a couple bursts from a Support Machine Gun, its protection against small arms was considered excellent. The armor plating has stealth capabilities similar to an IR/ECM sneak suit, enabling Nighthawks to move undetected and making them more difficult to target if they are fired upon. The suit is also quite mobile, with integral jump jets allowing it to leap up to ninety meters at a time, and it comes equipped with an Extended Life Support system.
Weapons and Equipment
Though the Nighthawk has no integral weapon systems, it does utilize two Armored Gloves, enabling the trooper to wield infantry-scale weapons with no loss of dexterity (which during the Star League era was typically the Mauser 960). Though the gloves are not very powerful, they are useful when a squad makes anti-'Mech attacks and allow them to utilize the handholds on OmniMechs to travel into battle mounted.
- Mk. XXII
- Developed in 2749. The Mk. XXII was prototyped for use by the SLDF Royal Divisions, unfortunately the Amaris Coup prevented it from seeing standard production until the Niops Association began building them around the start of the Jihad. It sacrifices the ECM for an autoloading grenade launcher in the left shoulder. BV (2.0) = 11 (without an anti-personnel weapon), 9, 63
- Prior to the introduction of the BattleMech design Nighthawk in 2009, the name Nighthawk was already used in German products for the Gray Death Scout armor.
Original Nighthawk from Combat Equipment
- Technical Readout: 3075, pp. 12-13, "Nighthawk MK. XXI PA(L)"
- MUL online entry for the Nighthawk
- Combat Equipment, p. 44, "Nighthawk Power Armor (Light)"
- Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - The Cutting Edge, p. 7
- TechManual, p. 254, "ECM Suite"
- MUL online entry for the Night Hawk Mk. XXII varinat
- Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - The Cutting Edge, p. 8
- MUL online entry for the Night Hawk Mk. XXX varinat
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Old is the New New, p. 6