Always known for its versatility, the Shadow Hawk was a
natural choice for a redesign as an Omnimech. After
recent experience upgrading the Earthwerks Thunderbolt,
Earthwerks Incorporated approached the DSC Armory
with a proposed Shadow Hawk upgrade. Earthwerks
supplied the production specifications for the SHD-5M
model to use as a basis for the SHD5-O Shadow Hawk
Maintaining the basic frame of the SHD-5M, the 5-O model
instead capitalizes on the omni capabilities to provide a
more versatile Shadow Hawk. Maneuverability and
protection were basically untouched on the SHD II frame
except for a minor sacrifice in armor load to squeeze a little
extra bit of tonnage out of the armament. Ten tongs of
Maximillian 43 plate protects the SHD5-O, more than
adequate for a mech of its size. It is also powered by the
same Hermes 275 extra-light engine that pushes the
Shadow Hawk 5M to eighty-six kilometers per hour,
respectable speed for a medium battlemech.
The payload is roughly equivalent to that of the SHD-5M,
with the notable exception of the modular nature of the
omni pods. The Primary configuration bears many
similarities to the 5M, yet offers a slightly different profile.
Gone is the standard SRM pack mounting along the head,
instead the tonnage is used to provide extra medium lasers
in the right arm. Most 5-O configurations carry a trio of
medium lasers rather than a single laser that is found on
older models. In the case of the Primary, the medium
lasers are the new Diverse Optics extended-range lasers
shipped from Irian. Replacing the trademark class 5
autocannon is an Imperator Code Red class 10 LBX
autocannon. Carrying twenty rounds in a CASE enclosed
bay, the LBX AC provides for some versatility in ammo
load, allowing the newer model Shadow Hawk to engage
a wider variety of targets. While the SHD-5M has very
good long range capabilities with the large rack of LRMs,
engineers at the DSC Armory felt the tonnage was better
used with the large Imperator autocannon, thus the
LRM-20 rack was downgraded to a LRM-15 rack, though
it is now Artemis assisted.
Configuration Alpha is an attempt to create a model to
interest the Draconis Combine. The Kuritans have always
been partial to the PPC-carrying SHD-2K, therefore the
5-O Alpha mounts an extended-range particle cannon as
its main weapon. Replacing the LRMs are a rack of the
new medium range missiles developed in the Combine.
Rounding out the weaponry are a trio of medium pulse
laser for accurate fire at close ranges.
The Bravo configuration was designed to carry the heavy
hitting Zeus Slingshot gauss cannon into battle. This will
allow the Shadow Hawk to lay down impressive firepower
at extreme ranges. To support this large weapon, the
Bravo carries a smaller missile system, the Guided
Technologies 2nd Generation SRM-6 pack. In addition to
this, the trio of extended-range medium lasers also appear
in this configuration.
Like previous omnimech upgrades, the final configuration,
the Charlie, is a command unit for a C3 network. This
loadout is very similar to the SHD-5M, carrying the Ultra
model AC/5, a LRM-10 rack and a trio of extended-range
medium lasers. This configuration is meant to stand off
and provide supporting fire for the rest of the C3 network,
talks have already begun with the Combine regarding the
5-O's usage as a C3 command unit.
Other variants are currently being tested with the
assistance of the Lyran Alliance and Federated Suns.
The Lyran configuration would likely carry a large-bore
autocannon and little supporting weaponry, while possibly
Federated Suns' configurations would carry the new rotary
autocannons or targeting computers.
The initial production of SHD5-O Shadow Hawks is
eagerly anticipated by House armies across the Inner
Sphere. It is speculated that mercenary outfits will also be
expressing an interest once the fervor over the new
design dies down and the price becomes more affordable.
Production runs have already been scheduled for each of
the major Houses and the Earthwerks plant on Calloway
VI has begun retooling to produce the 5-O. The DSC
Armory plant on Keystone will be retooling within the next
few months in order to fulfill initial orders. When the orders
fall off, it is expected that the Armory will close the 5-O line
and relinquish sole production to Earthwerks.