|“||I like the big eye.||”|
—Sgt. Takeo Himura, 5th Mechanized Infantry Corp.
The FRB-7A Cyclops was a mass-produced fast air defense battloid deployed by the Army of the Southern Cross (ASC), and it was featured Robotech: The Masters. It was used heavily in the frontlines during the Second Robotech War.
Task Force Southern Cross (TFSC) Command decided that the large Robotech Defense Force (RDF) Destroids designs were too conspicuous and vulnerable to standoff missile attacks to be fully effective. Also, in urban combat, the huge robots could easily lose small vehicles in back streets that were too small to accommodate the large Destroids. As such, they desired to create smaller and more agile mecha that could better adapt to a variety of operating environments. From this desire, the TFSC battloids first evolved: smaller, more agile, multi-purpose robots (with the aid of the Proteus Group consortium). It was beneficial that the smaller battloids were much cheaper to manufacture, were not dependent on internal weapons fits and did not have to be space capable.
Command recognized a need for a cavalry scout mecha to provide battlefield reconnaissance and forward observation to support the main forces. The Spartas Hover Tanks were too expensive to fill the role completely, the Destroids too big and slow and conventional IFVs were too vulnerable. The Phantom also proved too fragile for close combat observation. As such, the Cyclops was designed to provide a high mobility reconnaissance and patrol battloid for the Tactical Corps Reconnaissance Divisions. These battloids also served as forward observers for the ATAC and other Tactical Corps divisions. They carried no built-in weapons as all internal space was reserved for its sensor suite and to keep the weight down to maximize speed and maneuverability. The Cyclops relied on hand-carried weapons for its offensive capabilities.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
The later Mk. II added the back mounted thruster and hip thrusters to provide the Cyclops with flight capabilities to enhance its range and survivability. In concept, it was closest to a recon version of the Zentraedi Nousjaedul-Ger. The Mk. II could fly long distances, making it more of an effective scout than the VHT-2. Being the lightest armored of the battloids, the Cyclops relied even more on speed and maneuverability rather than damage resistance for survival. Also, being lightly armed, the pilots were less likely to engage in combat when enemy contact was made. Of all of the battloids, the Cyclops faired the best against the Tirolian Bioroids, its speed and maneuverability allowing it to survive where the other mecha were cut down. Regrettably, its armor was too thin to survive a defensive stand against the Bioroids, which is the scenario where most were lost, defending bases and cities from the Bioroid offensives when the other forces were destroyed or unavailable.
The Cyclops's sensor suite was an extremely advanced and versatile design. The TPG-147 pulse-doppler radar had the longest range of any ground radar system of it's day. Rockwell's excellent AVS-10 camera system (the 'Big Eye') gave it infra-red, optical and ultra-violet vision for detecting targets in all weather, day or night. The laser range finder and designator was used to aim it's own gun pods and direct indirect fire from supporting artillery. The Norden BSP-3A packet provided such various sensors as a neural activity sensor. It could detect the unique and very weak electromagnetic activity caused by the functioning of human brains, though only at a short range and against such large targets as full sized Zentraedi.
The armor on the Cyclops was a new development in low-mass composite-materials Chobham plating that became the standard for all Terran mecha. Aside from the respectable protection provided against projectiles, missiles, and other kinetic weapons, this armor was also resistant to plasma globes (annihilation discs), lasers, and to a lesser extent, particle guns, owing to the fact that the armor could flake off and evaporate in layers under fire from such high-energy weapons, taking much of the weapon's energy and converting it into the latent heat of sublimation in the armor. The armor stopped all small arms and heavy infantry weapons fire, provides good to excellent resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round, and poor to good resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the VF-1 Valkyrie's 55mm APFSDS round.
The Cyclops provided full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using a fully-sealed cockpit module activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The cockpit module was also armored and gave the Cyclops the option of operating off-planet on the moon or elsewhere in the system. The internal consumables supplies could provide atmosphere purification for one week maximum on Earth and 48 hours in a hostile environment such as the moon or Mars.
Developed in cooperation with the Proteus Group during the late stages of the Malcontent Uprisings, the Cyclops was the lightest armed and armored Battloid in the United Earth Forces' arsenal. Deployed in significant numbers in specialized Rapid Response units, the Cyclops proved effective in its role as a fast air defense mecha. As the UEF began deploying its defense-in-depth, the Cyclops came to be only second to the Spartas Hover Tank in terms of rapid response. Like all mecha of the Army of the Southern Cross, the Cyclops suffered grievous casualties during the Second Robotech War.
After the war with the Robotech Masters, only a few remained to fight the Invid. Those that did make it into the Invid Occupation proved invaluable to those who actually realized what their sensors were capable of and were able to put them to good use. (i.e. away from combat.) For this reason, several good examples of the mecha exist today, and can be found in the War Museum located at the site of the former Reflex Point Hive.
- The Cyclops makes its first appearance in Episode 21: Half Moon of Robotech: The Masters
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