Afek Light Low-Tech 'Mech Scoots Picture

The Samson taught TME Industries' Redneck Engineering design team that one really could not make low-tech combustion-powered BATAVs anything like BattleMechs for reasons as much psychological as physical. Taking this to heart, their next project was the light-class Afek, named during a period of confusion where the Redneck Engineers couldn't decide whether they were naming members in their bipedal tank line after elements of Abrahamic mythology or mythological hunters and heroes in general. The Industrialists' planned to use the Afek to return to the sensibilities of the Nimrod while avoiding or ameliorating the flaws of both the Nimrod and the Samson.

From the very beginning, the core of the effort behind the twenty-five ton vehicle was its legs, which ended up visually dominating the end product. The hip philosophy returned to the twin-turret design of the Nimrod while the feet were a compromise between the hydraulically augmented and highly flexible Nimrod and the sturdy Samson. Like all compromises, the result wasn't quite perfect; in both simulation and test the Afek turned out to be a much smoother ride than either of the previous two BATAVs but only achieved this at the cost of having its joint machinery highly exposed. While sufficiently hardened to prevent damage from terrain, the ankle joints were conveniently placed with regard to enemy infantry. TME hoped that the Afek's role as a mobile scout and its cruising speed of fifty-five kilometers per hour would deter the average soldier with a satchel charge, and basic human psychology tended to validate this hope.

If the Samson's torso was too big in some ways, the Afek's torso was too small. Still technically an Omni chassis, the Afek's designers intentionally avoided the massive internal bays of the Samson to prevent the sorts of crew safety issues the larger BATAV had and to keep the Afek's profile low and sleek. Unfortunately, this required several very tight squeezes to route the universal power leads necessitated by Omni standards and reduced accessibility to many of the Afek's spaces, increasing the time and effort necessary to maintain the machine. While maintainers could simply crawl through the (cold) Samson, major subassemblies of the Afek actually had to be disassembled to allow anyone to get into important components of the engine or power generator. The engineering decision to use double-strength coolant similar to the Nimrod only exacerbated this problem, as piping penetrations forced the structural elements to grow in various user-unfriendly directions.

The Afek's capabilities as a scout were mediocre at best. Its Prime variant was also its Energy variant, as it lacked the payload tonnage to mount low-cost autocannon; a scout about as fast as a SHD-series Shadow Hawk but armed with just a medium and a small laser lacked the mobility to fulfill the scout role or the armament to fulfill the harasser role thanks to the inefficiencies of mounting energy weapons on a combustion-powered vehicle. The only other standard variant was the Thresher with eight machine guns, for what little utility that would ever have. Combined with only four tons of armor, the Afek simply was not survivable even compared to standard combat vehicles, much less BattleMechs; both competitors could usually outrun, outgun, and outlast the Afek. The only customers for the Afek were Periphery worlds with exotic environmental conditions that made conventional vehicles untenable without expensive and weighty environmental sealing. On these worlds the Afek made a passable patrol and police BATAV, but its underwhelming capability ensured that it failed even as a deterrent to invasion.
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