- This article is about the BattleMech. For other uses, see Thunderbolt (disambiguation).
|Manufacturer||Blackstone BattleMechs Limited
|Mech type||Inner Sphere BattleMech|
|Communications System||Neil 8000|
|Targeting Tracking System||RCA Instatrac Mark X|
The Thunderbolt started production in 2491 as a planetary-assault 'Mech, and in fact was one of the heaviest 'Mechs capable of being produced at that time. Since then the 'Mech, known affectionately as the T-Bolt, may have had its classification changed as larger 'Mechs were built but thanks to periodic updates it is still feared and respected by many. With its varied arsenal, the Thunderbolt remains one of the best-armed 'Mechs, making it capable of serving in many roles. It is also an incredibly well-armored 'Mech, rivaling or exceeding the amount of armor carried by some assault 'Mechs. One downside to the Thunderbolt though is poor heat management. The Thunderbolt is also noted for featuring an exceptionally roomy cockpit, compared to that of the Atlas or BattleMaster.
The original TDR-1C Thunderbolt was the first BattleMech of Earthwerks Incorporated, produced from their new plant on Tikonov. Despite the Confederation's relative inexperience with BattleMech technology, Earthwerks' Thunderbolt was impressive. The T-bolt set records in time between prototype and production, despite starting from scratch. The Thunderbolt's formidable performance caught the attention of the Confederation's neighbors and made Earthwerks a tremendous success. Within 15 years, Earthwerks expanded anti-spinward into the Free Worlds League, choosing Keystone as the location to produce their upgraded TDR-5S. Olivetti Weaponry on Sudeten also picked up the design following their formation. During the Succession Wars this made House Steiner and House Marik the largest users of Thunderbolts, although they were eager to sell the design to the other Successor States. Thus Thunderbolts remained a traditionally Capellan 'Mech too, at least until the Fourth Succession War and Andurien Wars. The Taurian Concordat was one of the largest users of the Thunderbolt in the Periphery thanks to both Vandenberg Mechanized Industries and Taurus Territorial Industries acquiring and producing the 'Mech from their factories on Pinard and Taurus respectively, with many being sold to mercenary bands.
Both Earthwerks and Olivetti introduced new Thunderbolt variants utilizing lostech just before the Clan Invasion, while the Taurian factories continued to churn out older models. When Sudeten was conquered by Clan Jade Falcon, the Olivetti factory was lost to the Inner Sphere, and, though using outdated technology by Clan standards, it was still producing Thunderbolts into 3054. Several years later, Earthwerks created an update to the aging Thunderbolt in the TDR-9M variant but ran into trouble with Irian BattleMechs Unlimited. Irian had just recently introduced the Tempest as their replacement for the ancient 'Mech and lobbied the League Central Coordination and Command to put a stop to any new Thunderbolts. A legal fight was brewing up when the Word of Blake stepped in and negotiated a compromise: the two designs would fight each other in a combat trial, with the winning design used to supply the Blakist military. The TDR-9M won and starting in April 3067 the Word of Blake began receiving their shipments of new Thunderbolts, followed shortly thereafter by the Free Worlds League Military.
Weapons and Equipment
Because of its eclectic weapons mix, the Thunderbolt does not have just one primary weapon. Its longest-range weapon is a Delta Dart LRM-15 missile launcher mounted in the right torso fed by a two-ton reload bin in the center torso. Next in its long range arsenal is a Sunglow Type 2 Large Laser mounted in the right arm, which provides the Thunderbolt with respectable medium to long-range firepower. As ranges close, the Thunderbolt is able to bring its three Diverse Optics Type 18 Medium Lasers and a Bical SRM-2 missile launcher into play. All three medium lasers are mounted in the left torso while the SRM launcher and one ton of reloads are mounted in the right. Finally for anti-infantry work the Thunderbolt has two Voelkers 200 Machine Guns with one ton of ammo in the left arm.
While an impressive arsenal, the Achilles' heel of the Thunderbolt is its miserly fifteen heat sinks which cannot cope with firing so many heat-intensive weapons. Thunderbolt pilots must take extra care to manage their heat levels lest they shut down or cause their ammo to cook off, and many will prefer to fight within bodies of water to better cool off their 'Mechs. Indeed most commanders will order their Thunderbolts into a water hole at the outset of a battle so that they may fire their weapons more rapidly than normal.
The thirteen tons of armor protecting the Thunderbolt, although no longer the most carried on a 'Mech, is still impressive given the fact many current assault models sport less protection than this ancient design. The thirteen and a half ton fusion engine powering the Thunderbolt gives it a maximum speed of 64.8km/h.
- This was the original Thunderbolt design produced in 2491 by Earthwerks Limited, built with Primitive Technology, until the introduction of the modern TDR-5S in 2505. The engine, armor, and cockpit were all early generation systems, less effective than later technology. As a result the original Thunderbolt had a top speed of 54 km/h and had to devote more weight to armor. Given its designed role as an assault 'Mech, this slow speed wasn't seen as a problem. Interestingly the weapons mix was the same as on the later TDR-5S that would appear on Succession Wars battlefields.
- Introduced in 2821, the 5D is a radical departure from the 5S. All short-range weapons are replaced by an Autocannon/20 in the right torso supplied by two tons of ammunition. The left torso mounts an LRM-10 with one ton of ammunition, and 14 heat sinks keep the 'Mech ice-cold. BV (2.0) = 1,405
- The so-called "Lost Thunderbolt", the 5L was a downgraded version of the Royal 5Sb Thunderbolt developed by Earthwerks Tikonov in 2823. Built on a more basic standard chassis, the now LosTech ER PPC was swapped for a Diverse Optics Sunbeam ER Large Laser but most of the 5Sb's systems were preserved with only the loss of one double heat sink and the head-mounted Small Laser. Production of the design only lasted a mere twenty-seven years before further technology decline resulted in the 5LS. BV (2.0) = 1,546
- Developed in 2850 as the Second Succession War saw more and more technologies disappear, the 5LS was a downgraded field refit and a factory model of the now impossible to build 5L. While the ER Large Laser and Starfish Small Pulse Lasers were retained, the standard LRM-15 and Bical SRM-2 rack were noticeably less accurate than the 5L's more advanced launchers, but nothing compared to the replacement of the 5L's double heat sinks with fifteen standard models and the heat management issues that resulted. Production of even the "primitive" 5LS would end during the Third Succession War. BV (2.0) = 1,305
- This SLDF Royal variant of the Thunderbolt was introduced in 2753 and uses Star League technology. An Endo Steel chassis provides more space for an updated weapon mix. The LRM launcher receives an Artemis IV fire control system while the SRM is replaced by a Streak SRM-2 launcher. Missile ammunition is protected by CASE. The large laser is replaced by an ER PPC, and a pair of Small Pulse Lasers replaces the machine guns. The medium lasers remain in place. Fourteen double heat sinks keep the MechWarrior comfortable. BV (2.0) = 1,618
- This Star League-era Federated Suns refit of the Thunderbolt removes the LRM-15, machine guns and their ammunition and replaces them with an Ultra AC/5 with two tons of ammunition. For close in work, an extra medium laser is added and the large laser is traded for a Large Pulse Laser. It upgrades the heat sinks to twelve double-strength models. How many of these variants survived past the Star League Era is unknown.
- The 5SE variant of the Thunderbolt was introduced in 2910 for use by the Eridani Light Horse mercenary unit as a raider and reconnaissance 'Mech. Modified for mobility, this variant has had its SRM-2 launcher and the machine guns removed and the LRM-15 downgraded to an LRM-10 in order to add four jump jets, giving the 'Mech a jumping distance of one hundred and twenty meters. The 'Mech has also had two heat sinks added to help dissipate its heat load better. BV (1.0) = 1,180, BV (2.0) = 1,414
- The 5SS Thunderbolt is a Steiner variant introduced in 2930 that depends more on direct long-range fire instead of missiles. The 'Mech carries a Kreuss PPC as its primary weapon in its right arm, replaces the left torso LRM launcher for an SRM-6 and removes the SRM-2 to make room for a Zippo Mark IX Flamer in the right torso. To help with the 'Mech's added heat load, the 5SS variant has twenty one heat sinks. BV (1.0) = 1,077, BV (2.0) = 1,337
- TDR-5S (C)
- A Clan technology retrofit of the original TDR-5S Thunderbolt built in 3050, the Thunderbolt C replaces only the original weaponry - all structural components are unaltered. The standard weapon systems have been replaced with a Clan Large Pulse Laser, a single torso-mounted ER Large Laser, an arm mounted ER Medium Laser and two ER Small Lasers. BV (2.0) = 1,593
- Upgraded with Star League technology in 3049 by Earthwerks Incorporated, the 7M has been re-armored using Ferro-Fibrous armor, reducing the weight of the armor to eleven and a half tons while maintaining the same level of protection. The saved weight has allowed the 'Mech's weapons to be upgraded as well. With an arsenal based on the 5S model, the 7M carries an LRM-15 missile launcher in the right torso, an Diverse Optics Sunbeam ER Large Laser in the right arm, three medium lasers and a Hovertec Streak SRM-2 launcher in the left torso, and a pair of machine guns in the left arm. Two tons of LRM reloads are kept in the right torso while one ton each of Streak and machine gun ammo are kept in the left torso. Additionally, the heat sinks have been upgraded to double heat sinks and CASE has been added to protect against ammunition explosion. BV (1.0) = 1,338, BV (2.0) = 1,495
- The 7SE variant introduced in 3067 takes the upgrade of the Thunderbolt even further. The structure has been redesigned to use an Endo Steel structure and the 'Mech also uses Ferro-Fibrous armor and double heat sinks to further save weight. The saved weight has been used to focus the role of the 7SE into a long range 'Mech. The 'Mechs maneuverability has been enhanced with four jump jets for a jumping distance of one hundred and twenty meters while the primary weapon is a Gauss Rifle. This is backed up by three Medium Pulse Lasers in the torso with a fourth mounted on the left arm and, finally, the 7SE carries a Guardian ECM Suite to protect against advanced enemy electronics. BV (1.0) = 1,737, BV (2.0) = 1,809
- The 9M was Earthwerks' attempt in 3067 to rebuild the Thunderbolt for the modern era, modifying it to excel at long-range combat. The 'Mech is built using an Endo Steel chassis and has twelve and a half tons of armor, using angled and slopped armor to further increase protection. The 'Mech has excellent maneuverability with four jump jets further enhanced with flight stabilizers built into the design. The 'Mechs primary weapon is an Imperator Automatic Light Gauss Rifle mounted in the right arm. This is supported for long-range combat with an Delta Dart LRM-15 launcher in the right torso and three Diverse Optics ER Medium Lasers in the left torso for close combat situation. One ton of Gauss slugs and two tons of LRM reloads are protected by CASE in the right torso. Finally the cockpit itself was changed, based on feedback from a number of Thunderbolt pilots who felt they were sitting out in front of the 'Mech. The more open cockpit of the 9M was moved over to the left torso, which also helps protect the pilot from flying shrapnel in case the Gauss rifle explodes. BV (1.0) = 1,500, BV (2.0) = 1,648
- This field expedient refit emerged during the Jihad in 3072. It uses an experimental Bloodhound Active Probe to find enemy forces, a Guardian ECM Suite to blind them, and a Light PPC, Large VSP Laser, three ER medium lasers, and a Streak SRM-6 to destroy them. Two leg-mounted B-Pods prevent battle armor infantry from getting too close, and a C3 Slave allows this T-Bolt to coordinate its fire. BV (2.0) = 1,635
- Using some of the newest technology available in the Federated Suns, the 9NAIS was built in 3067 by NAIS on an Endo Steel structure and utilizes an XL Engine for power, giving it a ground speed of 86.4 kph. The 'Mech is armored with twelve tons of armor for protection and has an entirely updated weapons payload. The primary weapon is a Rotary Autocannon/5 which can fire at six times the normal rate of fire. Supporting it are three ER medium lasers and a Streak SRM-6. The lasers and rotary autocannon are linked to an advanced Targeting Computer. Finally, for added protection against enemy electronics, the 'Mech has a Guardian ECM suite. BV (1.0) = 1,637. BV (2.0) = 1,864
- Based on the older 5SS model, the 9S was built in 3050 by Olivetti Weaponry using off-the-shelf structural components and armor after extensive changes delayed production. The 'Mech is armed with a Defiance 1001 ER PPC in its right arm as its primary long-range firepower. This is supported at closer ranges by an TharHes Maxi SRM-6 in the left torso along with the original three medium lasers. While retaining the left arm machine guns, in the right torso it carries a pair of Zippo flamers and a SureFire 444 Anti-Missile System along with one ton of AMS ammo. BV (1.0) = 1,244, BV (2.0) = 1,494
- The 9SE variant of the Thunderbolt was introduced in 3050 as the Eridani Light Horse's update to the 5SE, based primarily around an energy weapons arsenal and maneuverability. The 'Mech is armed with an Magna Longbow-10 LRM-10 missile launcher for long-range combat. For close to medium ranges, the 'Mech carries a Thunderbolt-12 Large Pulse Laser and three Diverse Optis Type 18 medium lasers. Of note is the shifting of the missile launcher and its one ton of reloads from the right-side torso to the left. The additional mobility of the 9SE comes from its four Hildco Model 12 jump jets, originally manufactured in the St. Ives Compact, giving it a jumping distance of one hundred and twenty meters. BV (1.0) = 1,355, BV (2.0) = 1,439
- This 3082 variant uses an Endo Steel chassis and maximizes the amount of armor protection available. It relies on various PPC's for its main weaponry, mounting a Heavy PPC, Light PPC, and Snub-Nose PPC on the same chassis. The LRM and SRM systems have been replaced by a single MML-5, and an ER medium laser completes the weapons loadout. A Light Fusion Engine allows the 10M to reach a top speed of 64 km/h, and four jump jets allow this T-Bolt to move through tight terrain. BV (2.0) = 1,727
- This Dark Age era variant carries an ER Large Laser and ER PPC in its arms for long range sniping, while 14 double heat sinks provide enough cooling to fire these weapons on the move. An LRM-15 with 16 salvos supports the direct-fire weapons, while three ER Medium Lasers come into play at 360 meters. It uses a Light Fusion Engine to provide power, and carries four jump jets. An Endo Steel chassis frees weight for CASE, equipment, and weaponry. BV (2.0) = 1,766
- Introduced in 3067, the 10SE is built around new technologies. The 'Mech has an Endo Steel chassis and is armored with twelve and a half tons of armor. The use of MASC gives it superior maneuverability capable of bursts of speed up to 86.4 kph and four jump jets gives it a jumping capability of one hundred twenty meters. Finally, the 'Mech's arsenal includes an ER PPC and three ER medium lasers which are linked to a Targeting Computer and an LRM-10 launcher. The 'Mech uses a Guardian ECM suite to help defend against advanced enemy targeting and communications systems. BV (1.0) = 1,630, BV (2.0) = 2,008
- A newer variant of the Thunderbolt first built in 3069, the 11SE uses some of the newest technologies available in the Inner Sphere thanks to the modern Earthwerks facilities on Keystone. The 'Mech is armed with a new Ceres Arms Thrasher Snub-Nose PPC that is excellent for close range combat with a short range of two hundred and seventy meters and has an effective range out to four hundred and fifty meters. The 'Mech also has a Doombud MML-7 launcher which is capable of firing both LRM and SRM ammunition. For close combat, the 11SE has three Diverse Optics ER Medium Lasers. This variant has added mobility by adding improved jump jets that allow it to jump up to one hundred and eighty meters. The lasers and PPCs are linked to an advanced Targeting Computer and the 'Mech has a Guardian ECM Suite to defend it against enemy electronic warfare systems. BV (2.0) = 1,754
- This 3070 refit uses an Endo Steel internal structure and eleven and a half tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor. These weight savings allowed the design to use a Compact Engine and Heavy-Duty Gyro. Offensively, an ER PPC provides long-range damage, while four medium pulse lasers deal accurate damage up close. These weapons can overwhelm the ten double heat sinks, so Triple Strength Myomer is included to help speed the 'Mech up. It also uses four jump jets for added maneuverability and a Guardian ECM Suite which wreaks havoc on enemy electronics. BV (2.0) = 1,803
- Apparently a variant on the 9NAIS, the 60-RLA was first spotted in 3072 and adds enough jump jets to vault up to 150 meters at a time. Like the 17S, the RLA also uses eleven and a half tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor and Triple Strength Myomer. Both arms have hands and lack weapons, but are able to take off an enemy's head with the TSM activated. In order to build up this heat, it mounts a pair of Snub-Nose PPCs, three ER medium lasers, two medium pulse lasers, two small lasers, and a small pulse laser. Twelve double heat sinks dissipate some of the heat these weapons build. BV (2.0) = 1,975
- TDR-5S-T Thunderbolt Tallman
- The personal ‘Mech of Bremond DMM commander Leftenant-General Mary Tallman during the DCMS's Third Succession War invasion of Galtor III, only the large laser remains, with the rest of the standard weaponry replaced with a brace of four medium lasers in each side torso. The remaining weight and space is devoted to eight additional heat sinks. BV (2.0) = 1,447
- TDR-10M Thunderbolt Ilyena
- Used by the lance commander of Lamenkov's Liability, this Thunderbolt removes the Snub-Nose PPC of the original TDR-10M and replaces it with a C3 Master computer and an additional Light PPC in the left torso. In every other respect, it is a standard TDR-10M. BV (2.0) = 1,616
- TDR-10M Thunderbolt Tsakalotos
- This custom Thunderbolt refitted by Salazar Tsakalotos uses the standard TDR-10M as a base. Equipped with Stealth Armor and a Guardian ECM, it's much harder to hit than a standard Thunderbolt. The weapons have also changed: A Plasma Rifle replaces the Heavy PPC, and to cover the 'Mech's rear an experimental Small Variable Speed Pulse Laser is mounted in the head. For anti-infantry work the Mech carries a flamer in the right torso. A medium pulse laser is also fitted in place of the ER medium model used in standard Thunderbolts, and it keeps the Snub-Nose PPC, Light PPC, and MML-5 of the original TDR-10M. To make room for this equipment, the 'Mech's jumping range is reduced to 90 meters. BV (2.0) = 1,856
- Maeve Wolf: The clone (and later successor) of Jaime Wolf of Wolf's Dragoons, piloted a Thunderbolt upgraded with Clan technology during the Dragoons' Civil War. During that time she fought and killed the figurehead leader of the usurpers, Alpin Wolf; grandson of Jamie Wolf.
- The Kell Hounds Colonel Christian Kell was a notable Thunderbolt pilot during the Red Corsair affair.
- Gotterdammerung - Lyran Commonwealth variant intended to replace the Thunderbolt featuring heavy ferro armor and Torso-Mounted Cockpit.
- Thunderbolt IIC - Jade Falcon's Post-Jihad revision of the Thunderbolt.
- Image differences - The (original) Thunderbolt variants and artwork from 3025 were part of the Unseen 'Mech designs. The Thunderbolt was Reseen in 3067 with new variants using revised artwork. By 2016-2017, Catalyst Game Labs introduced a new image for the earlier Thunderbolt, essentially replacing the original unseen art work from TRO:3025 & TRO: 3050.
- Replacement Art - The Thunderbolt unseen appearance was replaced by new image. This art first appeared in the Second Succession War (Sourcebook). The replacement image like other other unseen art work replacements have been given the label of "Classic" image vs Unseen image name. Reseen label is still used for the remodeled Thunderbolt and others introduced in 3060s Project Phoenix.
- In German products the unit's proper name was perfectly translated to Donnerkeil. The model code was changed accordingly to DNR-5S.
TDR-5S Thunderbolt from from Second Succession War
Unseen TDR-7M Thunderbolt from TRO:3050
TDR-10M Thunderbolt from TRO:3085
Model of Thunderbolt from MWO
- Era Digest: Age of War, p. 11 and p. 22
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 90
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 295
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 479
- A Guy Walks Into a Bar on Solaris VII...
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitive Volume III, p. 7
- MUL online date for the TDR-5S Thunderbolt
- Technical Readout: 3050, p. 160
- Objective Raids, p. 60
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, p. 32
- Record Sheets: Succession Wars, p. 183
- MUL online entry for the TDR-5D variant
- Second Succession War, pp. 116-117 "Rules Annex - Technical Readout - TDR-5L/5LS Thunderbolt"
- Record Sheets: Operation Klondike, p. 45
- Era Report: 2750, p. 129
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 480
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 481
- The Battle for Twycross, p. 48-49
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 148
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 134
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 135
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 136
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 138
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 137
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 139
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 140
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 142
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 255
- Record Sheets: 3145 New Tech, New Upgrades, p. 148
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 143
- Tinker, Sprinter and "Angry"
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 144
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 145
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 147
- Historical Turning Points: Galtor, p. 20
- BattleTech Dossiers: Lamenkov's Liability, p. 18
- BattleTech Dossiers: Salazar Tsakalotos, p. 6
- Natural Selection p. 317
- BattleMech Manual, p. 95 Design Quirk Table - Thunderbolt Entry.
- BattleMech Manual
- BattleTech Dossiers: Lamenkov's Liability
- BattleTech Dossiers: Salazar Tsakalotos
- Era Report: 2750
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 3
- Historical Turning Points: Galtor
- Master Unit List
- 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
- Record Sheets: Succession Wars
- Record Sheets: Total Warfare Style Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades
- Second Succession War (Sourcebook)
- Technical Readout: 3025
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: 3085
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix
- The Battle for Twycross
- Tinker, Sprinter, and "Angry"
- Zabiha Nostra's Dossier from counterassault release of MWDA
- Republic Knight of the Sphere Kristoff Erbe's Dossier from Death from Above release of MWDA
- Dragon's Fury Jing Smith's Dossier from Death from Above release of MWDA
- Spirit Cat's Youree Nova Cat's dossier from Liao Incursion release of MWDA