Gibson Federated BattleMechs - (Free Worlds Defense Industries)
|Mech type||Inner Sphere BattleMech|
|Communications System||Datacom 50|
|Targeting Tracking System||Dynatec 1122|
The Cicada was introduced amidst rising tensions in 2740 by HartfordCo Industries in an attempt to capitalize on the growing need for BattleMechs. At the time Bergan Industries had cornered the market in light recon 'Mechs with their Locust and HartfordCo's only prior experience was building communications and targeting systems. Nevertheless the company designed their 'Mech to compete directly with the Locust by making it just as fast but twice as large, allowing the Cicada to carry slightly better weaponry and give it an edge in physical combat, all while keeping costs down. The Star League was sufficiently impressed that they agreed to a limited contract with HartfordCo for a small number of Cicadas, using them to replace many Locusts lost in fighting along its border regions. The 'Mech's only major issue was faulty heat sinks, although these were eventually replaced in many models with modular sinks.
With their base of operations and only Cicada factory located on Bryant, HartfordCo was among the many victims of the fall of the Star League and the onset of the Succession Wars. Although the factory was destroyed, there were a number of built Cicadas in storage on Bryant and its relative position compared to the five Successor States meant the planet was the target of many raids. Thus the Cicada found its way into all of the major House armies, where in service to the Successor Lords, the 'Mech earned a positive reputation. Unfortunately this also meant its expectations sometimes exceeded the design's actual capabilities, and, with no new models being produced, the Cicada's numbers began to dwindle. By the end of the Fourth Succession War the 'Mech was in danger of going extinct.
The discovery of the Helm Memory Core allowed Free Worlds Defense Industries to save the Cicada by restarting production of the 'Mech from their newly-refurbished production line on Gibson. The great majority of these newly-built Cicadas went to the Free Worlds League Military, particularly federal units, which was in desperate need for recon 'Mechs after the loss of so many machines during their long battle with Andurien. The chassis was also the perfect platform to apply much of the now-recovered lostech and the improved CDA-3M was introduced shortly before the start of the Clan Invasion. New Cicadas were supplied to the Federated Commonwealth and Draconis Combine as part of an agreement to combat the Clans, and as reports filtered in from the front more variants of the 'Mech were produced. Following the ComStar Schism the Word of Blake relocated to Gibson and an increasing number of Cicada production was redirected to the Word of Blake Militia, which quickly rivaled the FWLM as the largest Cicada user. As such the 'Mech was found on both sides of the Jihad.
Weapons and Equipment
The Cicada is armed with two Magna Medium Lasers and a single Magna 200 Small Laser, the two heavier lasers on either side of the torso and the third placed in the center. These weapons give the Cicada independence from logistical support lines when necessary, in exchange for a weapons loadout that has a higher than average amount of excess heat. They also give the Cicada sufficient firepower for taking down its intended target, other lighter 'Mechs, and are well protected within the armored torso. Unfortunately their placement also gives the lasers a limited firing arc, producing a blind spot an enemy can exploit if they get behind the Cicada.
The four tons of armor on the Cicada is the same amount as found on the Locust, although most of it is concentrated in the torso. This leaves very little in the vestigial "wing" arms or in the legs. Speed is the Cicada's chief defense, which it achieves thanks to its Pitban 320 fusion engine which accounts for over half the weight of the 'Mech. Original CDA-2A Cicadas produced by HartfordCo used the Hartford J15 B Communications System and Hartford S1000 Targeting-Tracking System, while new ones introduced by FWDI used their own proprietary technology.
The Cicada carries ten standard heat sinks. However the original HartfordCo models were discovered to wear out and fail to perform as expected after extended use, If not replaced they would operate at only sixty percent capacity, leading to serious overheating during combat. Although most Cicadas had their heat sinks replaced with more reliable modular models, some still used the defective models, illustrated disastrously in a much-publicized battle on Oriente between the Free Worlds League and the Capellan Confederation. Still it was not until 3029 that the FWLM ordered all Cicadas, in both federal and provincial service, to be upgraded.
- Part of a limited run of experimental models in 2840, the 2B variant is a simple upgrade that exchanges the Small Laser and half a ton of armor for a Flamer. This modification makes the Cicada effective against infantry. Despite its small numbers this variant did see combat during the Succession Wars and can be found in Capellan Confederation training academies. BV (1.0) = 523, BV (2.0) = 626
- Part of a limited run of experimental models in 2840, the 3C variant is an attempt to allow the 'Mech to have a much greater reach with devastating results. To do this, it uses a smaller VOX 280 engine, reducing the maximum speed to 118.8 kph. In place of the laser weapons are two Machine Guns in the legs and a Donal PPC in the right torso. Despite its small numbers this variant did see combat during the Succession Wars and can be found in Capellan Confederation training academies. BV (1.0) = 656, BV (2.0) = 771
- The -3F Cicada is one of the most advanced versions of this 'Mech, with upgrades based on combat reports from the front lines of the Clan Invasion, and was introduced in 3052. The chassis has been constructed using Endo Steel and the 'Mech is protected with six and a half tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor. The -3F is powered by an extralight engine and carries a weapons loadout that appears to be a cross between the 2A and 3C models. The primary weapon is an ER PPC, which is backed up by two medium lasers. What's more, the Cicada can now jump up to two hundred and forty meters thanks to the inclusion of eight jump jets. BV (1.0) = 1,202, BV (2.0) = 1,329
- The 3M upgrade of this older BattleMech uses some of the newest technology available as of its introduction in 3049. It uses an extralight version of the same Pitban 320 engine, freeing up extra space to upgrade the small laser to a Small Pulse Laser and adding an Ultra Autocannon/5 to the left torso. The new ballistic weapon is fed by one ton of ammunition stored in the right torso and protected by CASE in the event of an ammunition explosion. The Star Slab armor has also been replaced with Durallex Light, although the amount of protection is the same as in the -3A. BV (1.0) = 664, BV (2.0) = 812
- An upgrade of the -3M introduced in 3070, the -3P uses a slightly smaller 280-rated engine, lowering the 'Mech's top speed to 119 km/h in order replace the autocannon with a Combine-developed Heavy PPC, while the lasers are replaced with four Diverse Optics ER Medium Lasers. Additional armor is added, though not as much as with the -3MA. BV (1.0) = ??, BV (2.0) = 1,502
These variants were introduced in various apocryphal sources, and thus far have not appeared in any canonical media.
From MechWarrior Online:
- MWO's Cicada Hero 'Mech is supposedly a prototype of an advanced Cicada. Outfitted with Ferro-Fibrous Armor, Double Heat Sinks, an XL engine, and Endo Steel skeleton, it still manages to outpace all medium 'Mechs and almost all light 'Mechs, with a top speed of 133.7km/h. Its armament is optimized for short range, with four medium lasers and a pair of SRM-2s fed by an experimental ammo system, giving it a light armament by medium 'Mech standards, but still much better than the older -2A, -2B, and -3C variants. Though the design was highly successful in testing, a combination of the extreme price of production, the relative fragility of the 'Mech, and the difficulty of piloting the 'Mech due to its extreme speed and higher inertia (as compared to comparably fast light 'Mechs) prevented the -X5 from entering production. The few prototype models deployed in combat after testing concluded proved to be a deadly force on the battlefield. Lessons learned with this model were applied to the -3F variant, though the missile capability was dropped due to jamming issues.
- Strider - Luthien Armor Works used the design of the Cicada as the basis for their Strider OmniMech.
Though most of the artwork shows that the medium lasers are mounted in the Cicada's arms, according to the official record sheets and TRO: 3039 they are installed in the side torsos. It is unclear if this is intentional or an error that never was fixed.
Original CDA-2A Cicada from TRO:3025
Cicada in motion from TRO:3050
CDA-3M Cicada from TRO:3050 Upgrade
Token of Cicada from BattleTech, Fourth Edition
CDA-2A Cicada in action from Classic BattleTech Universe
CDA-2A Cicada in combat from CCG
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 118
- TechManual 3025: Revised, p. 34
- TechManual: 3039, p. 118
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 36
- Record Sheets: Upgrades, p. 62
- BattleMech Manual, p. 90 Design Quirk Table - Cicada Entry.
- Technical Readout: 3058, p. 84