Rags to Riches or To the Stars or Bust
The Stinger was a light BattleMech built in 2479 as a direct competitor to the Wasp. The second-ever mass-produced recon ‘Mech, the Stinger was put into service alongside the Wasp due both to the Terran Hegemony’s needs for scouts and to the similarities in their design. In fact the two were so similar that General Mechanics filed suit against Earthwerks for copyright infringement. After twenty years of back-and-forth legal actions, during which Stinger production continued unabated, GM eventually dropped the matter due to the rising costs of pursuing the lawsuit.34 The Stinger would go on to become the second-most produced ’Mech in the Inner Sphere after the Wasp.9 More than 200,000 were built between the time of its introduction and the end of the Amaris Civil War, serving with the Great Houses as a valuable scout and raider. Though lacking the armor and armaments to contend with larger ’Mechs, its speed and maneuverability made the Stinger a hard foe to hit.
The Stinger’s sheer proliferation saved it from the ravages of the Succession Wars, though in testament to the destructiveness of that era only 5,000 Stingers were estimated to still be in service by 3025. The ‘Mech also found itself pressed into the role of trainer to make up for the decreasing number of still-working Chameleons.34 Common everywhere except within the Draconis Combine and Free Rasalhague Republic, Earthwerks was still the largest producer of the ’Mech during this time, building them at factories on Keystone and Calloway VI. For many years the second-largest Stinger producer was Coventry Metal Works out of Coventry, but in the time leading up to the Clan Invasion they were overtaken by Taurian Concordat manufacturers, in particular Vandenburg Mechanized on New Vandenburg and Illiushin and Pinard Protectorates’ on MacLeod’s Land, as CMW shifted production focus to the Commando. Other major manufacturers in the Periphery included Majesty Metals on Canopus IV and Alliance Defenders on Alpheratz.
While a prolific ’Mech like the Wasp and Locust, there were never many variants of the Stinger produced. Only Earthwerks utilized the recovery of lostech to introduce an updated version of the ’Mech, the STG-5M, in 3050.10 A more revolutionary change took place some years later when the Taurians, inspired by their collaboration with the Capellan Confederation on a revitalized Wasp variant, decided to do the same to their stockpiles of Stingers. Lacking sufficient facilities to mass-produced the advanced material needed for this upgrade, the Taurians received assistance from the Word of Blake to kick-start their program in exchange for a large number of Stinger and Wasp ’Mechs. Plans for advanced Stingers would eventually be shared with Detroit Consolidated and Hellespont Industrials.
Weapons and Equipment
The Stinger carried a light weapons load, with an Omicron 3000 Medium Laser mounted in its right as its primary weapon. The laser was backed up by two LFN Linbald Machine Guns on the right and left forearm, with one ton of ammo stored in the center torso. While insufficient for fighting against most ‘Mechs, this loadout made the Stinger a nightmare for troopers, and it remained one of the best anti-infantry ’Mechs until the introduction of the Firestarter. The iron sights of the machine guns also proved beneficial when the ’Mech became a trainer, as MechWarriors were often forced to rely on them during training. This served to improve many pilots’ motor skills, which proved useful in other areas such as using their hand actuators to manipulate objects.
The low heat output of the weapons also posed no challenge for the ten heat sinks the ’Mech carried, such that overheating was almost never a problem. Its cruising speed of 63.4 km/h was supplemented by six Jump Jets split between the left and right leg, propelling the Stinger up to 180 meters in a single bound. Three tons of armoring on the Stinger was considered average for light ’Mechs, which is to say a few good shots could cause serious damage. One unpopular aspect of the Stinger however was its incredibly cramp cockpit for anyone of average size. A MechWarrior had to literally squeeze herself into the control seat and would often need help just to get back out.