Savannah Johnson was considered a veteran MechWarrior with the Locust BattleMech and had racked up many kills when she was selected to fight a mock battle against a hovercraft prototype for evaluation by Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces in 3025.
This battle was the final test, after three weeks of grueling testing for a new screening or recon force vehicle that House Steiner was soliciting had left only two vehicles for consideration. Samuel Lewis, president of S.L. Lewis Inc., piloted his prototype hovercraft. Over the course of a day, Lewis consistently won all trial engagements against Johnson, darting behind her 'Mech while his own vehicle could barely be targeted because of its speed. Johnson remained cool until after her 12th defeat; after her 15th defeat Lewis began to taunt her and question her abilities. During the 17th battle she snapped and turned the mock battle into a live-fire duel that she lost as well, surviving the destruction of her Locust through auto-ejection when its ammunition stores exploded from a hit.
The as-yet unnamed hovercraft was named Savannah Master by Lewis following the trial, and the LCAF immediately ordered 1,000 units. It would go on to become a staple recon vehicle throughout the Inner Sphere and Periphery.
In later years, it was suggested that the now-famous procurement exercise and Johnson's defeat may have been staged, as LCAF training regulations prohibit carrying live ammunition in a training exercise.
- While the original write-up only establishes that the Savannah Master was designed between 3024 and 3026, the Master Unit List establishes its inception year as 3025
- Technical Readout: 3026, p. 6; reproduced verbatim in Technical Readout: 3026 Revised, p. 10
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 10