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|Manufacturer||Kali Yama Weapons Industries |
|Mech type||Inner Sphere BattleMech|
|Communications System||Irian Orator-5K|
|Targeting Tracking System||Wasat Aggressor Type 5|
|“||A poor man's Atlas||”|
The Orion was built in 2456 as the first true heavy BattleMech. Originally designed for the Terran Hegemony to maintain its dominance and built on Hesperus II, the Orion is a dependable workhorse design that can handle almost any combat role, thanks to its mix of long and short-range weaponry and its respectable armoring. After the K model was introduced in 2525 the 'Mech first saw combat during the Reunification War and continued to serve the Star League and its Member States for the next few centuries. Perhaps its most famous role was as the personal 'Mech of Aleksandr Kerensky during the Amaris Civil War, and it was while piloting his Orion that the general kicked down the palace doors to take the Usurper prisoner.
The inspiration for the Orion's beginnings is said to be a direct result of Operation Prometheus when the Terran Hegemony realized they would no longer be the sole user of BattleMechs. Work began shortly after with the HAF requesting machines suited for various combat roles and the Hegemony's military leadership were soon accepting proposals for competing designs almost simultaneously. With other designs already underway, it would be General Mechanics winning a contract for a proposal that would ultimately become the Hegemony's premier heavy attack BattleMech: the Orion. Ironically, GM had actually unveiled a prototype as early as 2453, but the HAF, while interested at the time, were dismissive as it did not meet the High Command's requirements for speed and armor, and its armament was considered too lackluster for a front-line war machine. GM had returned to the drawing board in the following years, further refining their design by settling for a smaller, less powerful engine to free up weight for additional weaponry. It would not be until GM's third prototype - the ON1-H which mounted a newly developed class-10 heavy autocannon, that the HAF would finally approve the design one year following Operation Prometheus in 2456. Following the successful introduction of the prototype, the HAF immediately pushed General Mechanics to produce as many Orions as possible. The armed forced of the Hegemony quickly assigned them to BattleMech regiments in whole companies at a time, adding to their growing ranks of Mackies, Banshees, and later Archers and Griffins.
After the fall of the Star League Kali Yama Weapons Industries took over production of the Orion, building new models from their factories on Kalidasa. This left the Free Worlds League as the only producer of new Orions during the Succession Wars, although the other Successor States were capable of building spare parts to repair their 'Mechs, and meant the Free Worlds League Military was the largest Orion user. When Kali Yama merged to create the Kali Yama - Alphard Trading Corporation Orion production was started up on Kendall as well. The League's dominance in new Orions began to change during the Clan Invasion when the Successor States met on Outreach and agreed to work together to combat the Clans. Kali Yama/ATC was among those companies which agreed to sell war materiel, including the Orion, to the other States undergoing Clan attacks. In spite of the design's age it still finds itself utilized extensively on the modern battlefield and new variants continue to be produced.
Weapons and Equipment
The Orion has a varied weapons mix. The 'Mech's primary long-range weapon is a KaliYama Death Bloom LRM-15 launcher mounted in the left torso along with two tons of reloads. While an accurate weapon useful against both land and air targets the system's control cables travel through a narrow area in the shoulder. This area is potentially subject to excessive heat, which can cause either the weapon or actuator to shut down. For intermediate ranges, the Orion carries a KaliYama Class 10 Autocannon/10 in its right torso with two tons of ammo. For centuries the ammunition feed to the cannon suffered regular jamming unless pilots loaded nineteen salvos instead of the full twenty in the ammunition magazine. This defect was eventually solved in the 3030s by Norse-Storm BattleMechs, although the fact that the weapon's placement limits right-arm movement and can be knocked out of alignment if accidentally struck couldn't be helped. Finally, for close-range combat, the Orion has an Irian Weapons Works Class 4 SRM-4 launcher in the left arm fed by a one-ton bin in the left torso and two Irian Weapons Works Medium Lasers; one in each arm. Six tubes surround the left-arm laser although only four of them are used to launch SRMs; the bottom two instead serve as hook-up points for connecting with Coolant Trucks.
Carrying fourteen and a half tons of armor gives the Orion superior protection to most other heavy 'Mechs, with its chest and rear torso being the most and least protected respectively. Combined with an average cruising speed of 43.2 km/h the 'Mech is a challenging opponent. Only ten heat sinks mounted in the engine leaves the Orion vulnerable to overheating but experienced pilots know to avoid this issue by alternating weapon firings. Technicians love the Orion, because its spacious interior makes performing repairs and maintenance far easier than many other 'Mechs; this is also the reason for the design's longevity.
- The original primitive Orion 'Mech as it was first commissioned lacked an LRM launcher and used an Autocannon/5 in place of the AC/10. A massive 360 engine allowed the 'Mech to obtain a maximum speed of nearly 64.8 km/h, however there was not enough saved weight to mount additional weaponry besides two Medium Lasers, one in each arm. In addition it only mounted 14.5 tons of armor, and ultimately would be considered too lightly armed and armored with the prototype dismissed as a candidate for production. BV (2.0) = 973
- Built by General Mechanics, the ON1-H was the third known primitive prototype of the Orion 'Mech that was eventually accepted for mass production in 2456. While slower than the first iterations, with a top speed of only 54 km/h (the same as that of a Mackie or Banshee), due to the inclusion of a smaller 275-class engine, the additional weight saved allowed the designers to mount far more firepower. A newly developed Class-10 Prototype Autocannon was installed and two tons of ammo in place of the AC/5. This was backed up by two 5-tube Long-Range Missile launchers with one ton of reloads in the left torso for striking enemies at range and a short-range SRM-4 missile launcher and a ton of ammunition installed in the left arm for close-in defense. It was also heavily protected by 21 tons of armor. A minimal amount of heatsinks, however, could cause build-up of heat within crippling levels, but could be avoided by competent MechWarriors. BV (2.0) = 1,199
- The M variant is an upgrade using Star League technology first fielded in 3049. Replacing the standard engine with a Hermes 300 XL Engine and shaving off a half-ton of armor allows the 'Mech to retain the same speed while mounting a number of upgrades. The LRM-15 has been replaced with an Kali Yama Weapons Industries Type V LRM-20 launcher and the Autocannon/10 has been upgraded to an Kali Yama Weapons Industries LB-X Autocannon/10. In addition a Octagon Missile Magnet Narc Missile Beacon launcher was added to the center torso along with two tons of reloads, while the SRM-4 and the medium lasers have been retained. The use of eleven double heat sinks also solves any problems associated with overheating. This variant was first used in combat during Operation Guerrero when the FWL attempted to liberate worlds previously ceded to the Federated Commonwealth, with it seeing its first use against the Clans during the Jade Falcon Incursion. BV (1.0) = 1,192, BV (2.0) = 1,414
- This is one of the many minor variants of the ON1-M model introduced in 3052. The Narc Missile Beacon is removed to allow a larger SRM-6 to replace the four pack. Both missile racks also have Artemis IV Fire Control System to increase accuracy. Finally, medium pulse lasers are mounted in place of original mediums. BV (2.0) = 1,501
- A third minor variant of the ON1-M also introduced in 3058. The designers removed both missile racks and Narc launcher to make room for Medium Range Missile. In place of the LRM-20 is a MRM-20 while a larger MRM-30 is crammed in the torso where the SRM-4 formerly sat. Enough room is left to add a head-mounted C3 Slave Unit. This variant was much-used by the Draconis Combine. BV (2.0) = 1,501
- A modification along the same lines as the ON1-V introduced in 2901 the VA model removes the LRM launcher, rather than removing armor, to add the second SRM-4 launcher, sacrificing some long-range damage capabilities for superior close-combat capabilities. BV (1.0) = 1,111, BV (2.0) = 1,328
- The 2M is another upgrade of the Orion using Star League technology. Built in 3063 the 'Mech uses an Endo Steel chassis and utilizes ten double-strength heat sinks to save weight and for their greater heat-dissipation ability. For long-range combat, the ON2-M is armed with a Gauss Rifle as well as an LRM-15 linked to an Artemis IV FCS for increased accuracy. For closer ranges, the 'Mech has three medium pulse lasers. The ON2-M is armored with twelve and a half tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor. BV (1.0) = 1,633 (1,624), BV (2.0) = 1,828
- This experimental Orion 3100 variant was introduced in 3075 as "a BattleMech for the thirty-second century"; although its flaws prevented any immediate production it gave Kali Yama valuable experience and a few prototypes were sold. It is equipped with an experimental Extended LRM-10 and Improved Heavy Gauss Rifle. Three tons of ammunition feeds the LRM launcher while the iHGR gets four tons of ammunition. For close in work, this Orion variant has an ER Medium Laser in each arm. To provide room for these weapons, the 'Mech has an XL Engine, standard armor, and standard internal structure, and only the ELRM ammo is protected by CASE. BV (2.0) = 1,849
- This version introduced in 3083 was based on the earlier ON3-MX, although it addresses some of the shortcomings of that 'Mech and shares many of the same features as the ON1-M. Providing a more balanced weapon suite it still carries an Extended LRM-15 with four tons of ammo and an ER medium laser in each arm but instead uses a Grand Slam Gauss Rifle with two tons of ammo in the right torso. It also uses CASE II to protect the ammunition and has a head-mounted TAG system to call in artillery. Initial feedback and advanced orders convinced Kali Yama to switch most of their Orion production lines over to making the ON3-M in 3086, but were soon set back a few years later when pressure from the Republic of the Sphere caused the Federated Suns to cancel their order. The company has seen sold the 'Mech at below-market prices and suffered financial hardship. BV (2.0) = 1,826
- Dual Cockpit refits: The Orion is one of the Free Worlds League's preferred 'Mechs on which to install Dual Cockpits. Standard refits usually install the Dual Cockpit on a ON1-V or ON1-M, requiring the removal one ton of SRM ammunition.
- ON1-K Kerensky
- The personal BattleMech of Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky during the war against the Usurper. Designers removed the LRM-15 and Autocannon/10 to make room for other equipment, adding an experimental Snub-Nose PPC in the left torso and an Artemis IV Fire Control System for the SRMs. The right torso has a Gauss Rifle in the former location of the autocannon. The medium lasers from the original model are retained. Finally, ferro-fibrous armor and CASE are used for added protection. BV (2.0) = 1,821
These variants were introduced in various apocryphal sources, and thus far have not appeared in any canonical media.
From MechWarrior Online:
- ON1-P "Protector"
- A late 3040's era homage to General Kerensky's custom variant, the "Protector" carries an almost identical weapons loadout, the only notable difference being its use of a standard PPC in the place of the still-lostech snub-nosed version, dropping the CASE and volume of Ferro-fibrous armor carried to free up the weight for the heavier weapon. This variant was designed for MechWarrior Online.
- The Orion has long been favored as a command 'Mech, and was notably the preferred 'Mech of Aleksandr Kerensky. Centuries later, this same 'Mech was found and piloted by Theodore Kurita until its destruction on Marfik during the Fourth Succession War. Sometime after this, the cockpit from this same 'Mech was put on display at a museum on Solaris.
- Paula "Lady Death" Trevaline, famed pirate of the Periphery, piloted an Orion for much of her career. 
- Orion IIC - As the chosen 'Mech of the Clans' revered "Great Father", the Orion bordered on being a Totem 'Mech for Clan Wolf, who produced a IIC version of it. Jealously guarded by the Wolves, this design sports one Gauss Rifle, packed with one LRM-20, two ER Large Lasers and one SRM-4.
- Perseus - With a long history of production and deployment of the Orion, plus the 'Mech's noted spacious design, the Free Worlds League used the design as the basis of their first homegrown OmniMech.
- Though most of the artwork shows that the SRM-4 of the standard variant is mounted in the Orion's left arm, according to the official record sheets and TRO: 3039 it is installed in the left torso. It is unclear if this is intentional or an error that never was fixed.
- While the description of the ON1-C prototype in Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 5 describes that it also mounted an SRM-4, the included Record Sheet does not show this. It is not clear if this was intentional as the profile of the original primitive Orion also describes "three" prototypes. It is possible, but not conclusive, that the SRM-4 version was another test frame of the ON1-C, the first prototype as described, and the included record sheet as the candidate for the second with 3 tons freed possibly for more armor.
An Orion under attack by Elementals
- Field Report 2765: Periphery, p. 11, "Infrastructural Integrity"
- Era Digest: Age of War, p. 11
- Combat Operations, p. 107
- Record Sheets: 3039, p. 160
- Technical Readout: 3039, pp. 152-153
- Technical Readout: 3025 Revised, pp. 100-101
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 5, p. 7 "ON1-H Orion 'Mech Profile"
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 82-83
- MUL Profile for ON1-C includes BV2.
- MUL Profile for ON1-H includes BV2.
- Combat Operations, p. 130
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 83
- Record Sheets: 3050 Unabridged (Inner Sphere), p.199
- Record Sheets: 3050 Unabridged (Inner Sphere), p.200
- Record Sheets: 3050 Unabridged (Inner Sphere), p.201
- Record Sheets: 3050 Unabridged (Inner Sphere), p.202
- Record Sheets: 3039, p. 161
- Record Sheets: 3039, p. 162
- Record Sheets: Upgrades, p. 130
- Master Unit List: Battle Values, p. 132
- Experimental Technical Readout: Marik, p. 5
- Technical Readout: Prototypes, p. 133
- Record Sheets: Prototypes, p. 73
- Technical Readout: 3150, p. 223
- Record Sheets: 3050 Unabridged (Inner Sphere), p.204
- Heir to the Dragon
- Solaris VII: The Game World
- Field Manual: Periphery p. 193
- Combat Operations
- Experimental Technical Readout: Marik
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 5
- Field Manual: Periphery
- Field Report 2765: Periphery
- Heir to the Dragon (novel)
- Master Unit List: Battle Values
- Record Sheets: 3025/3026
- Record Sheets: 3039
- Record Sheets: 3050
- Record Sheets: Prototypes
- Record Sheets: Upgrades
- Solaris VII: The Game World
- Technical Readout: 3025
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade
- Technical Readout: 3150
- Technical Readout: Prototypes