Heavy Mech (60 tons)
In its intended role as a fire-support vehicle, the Rifleman excels. The Garret D2j targeting system and Imperator autocannon are a deadly accurate combination, especially against airborne targets. The Rifleman frequently acts as an anti-aircraft platform to provide air defense. In other roles, the Rifleman fares less well. Its limited supply of ammunition renders it ill suited to participate in prolonged engagements. Light armor and a lack of hand and lowerarm actuators leaves it vulnerable in close combat with other ’Mechs. Like the D2j, the Garret T11-A communications system is an exceptional piece of electronics, but its distinctive wing-shaped antenna tends to draw enemy fire, which disrupts communications in Rifleman units.
House Davion possesses the largest concentration of Riflemans, and the machines have seen action all across Davion territory. Colonel Hezekiah Walden’s tactics on New Rhodes III during the First Succession War remain a classic example of how to use the Rifleman. With House Kurita’s offensive driving on New Avalon, New Rhodes III became the site of some of the fiercest fighting of the campaign. With the vital spaceport of Polis under threat, Colonel Walden deployed his ’Mechs on the heights overlooking a strategic pass. Advancing Kurita BattleMechs came under accurate and sustained fire from Walden’s Riflemans. Faced with mounting losses, the Combine spearhead was forced to fall back. The successful defense of Polis marked the turning point of the entire campaign.
During the Third Battle of Harrow’s Sun in 3020, the Rifleman was employed in its anti-aircraft role—keeping Kurita fighters at a respectful distance while the Davion siege of the city of Mura progressed.
Conceived of as a medium fire-support platform, chronic overheating problems plagued the RFL-1N Rifleman following its debut in 2505. The RFL-2N corrected some of the issues, but the engineers at Kallon Industries thought they could do better. In 2770 Kallon unveiled the heavier RFL-3N Rifleman. Exchanging lasers for an autocannon, this version was manufactured for the Star League in quantity.
Combat losses and an increasing inability to replace the ’Mech forced the Successor States to deploy the Rifleman as a frontline combat machine. Even today the RFL-3N is regularly found serving with backwater militia, mercenary commands, and even House Regulars at the bottom of the supply totem-pole.