After the first round of weapon testing, the decision of the review committee is to widen the remit of the tests. Noted expert witnesses point out that missiles were left out of the equation, and those new emergent technologies from deploying ultra-autocannon 5s, and LB10-X autocannons show great promise on the battlefield.

So another round of static firing tests are set up, this time comparing battlemechs with SRMs, LRMs and two new contenders.

Again the trial will be over 36 shots at short, medium and long range. To allow the test results to be compared with the first round results, all battlemechs will be given 21 tons to allocate in for their choice of weapons and heat sinks, but all weapons must carry 35 rounds of ammunition, to be the same as the autocannon 20 ammo limits from the first test.

The SRM2 weighs 1 tons and generates 2 heat points. Therefore our battlemech can carry 5 SRM2s for 5 tons and be heat neutral.

This leaves 16 tons, but the calculation is complicated by the requirement to carry 35 rounds for each one. Each ton of ammo weighs 1 ton for 50 shots. The initial 5 SRM2s will need 175 rounds, which is 3.5 tons. So what we have left is not 16, but 12.5 tons to spend. Each remaining SRM2 will cost 3 tons each, to remain heat neutral. We can therefore have 3 more SRM2s and 2.5 tons of ammo, for a total of 11.5 tons. We have 1 ton left over for a spare heat sink, so that the battlemech runs at -1 heat point per turn.

So this battlemech has 8 SRM2 launchers.

The SRM4 weighs 2 tons and generates 3 heat points. Therefore our next battlemech can carry 3 SRM4s for 6 tons and have 1 spare heat sink.

This leaves 15 tons, to spend on our requirement to carry 35 rounds for each launcher we have. Each ton of ammo weighs 1 ton for 25 shots. The initial 3 SRM4s will need 105 rounds, which is 5 tons leaving 20 spare shots over. What we are then left with is 10 tons to spend. Each remaining SRM4 will cost 5 tons each, to remain heat neutral. So we can have 2 more SRM4 and 1 ton of ammo, for a total of 10 tons, because we have that spare free heat sink that comes with the engine. This means that that the battlemech runs heat neutral.

So this battlemech has 5 SRM4 launchers.

The SRM6 weighs 3 tons and generates 4 heat points. Therefore our final SRM battlemech can carry 2 SRM6s for 6 tons and have 2 spare heat sinks.

This leaves us 15 tons, and each ton of ammo weighs 1 ton for 15 shots. The initial 2 SRM6s will need 70 rounds, which is 5 tons leaving 5 spare shots over. What we are then left again with is 10 tons to spend. Each remaining SRM6 will cost 7 tons each, to remain heat neutral. So we can have 1 more SRM6 for 7 tons to remain heat neutral, have and 2 tons of ammo, which with our spare ammo adds up to 35 shots. This adds up a total of 9 tons, and we will fill out the last 1 ton with an extra heat sink. This means our battlemech runs -3 heat point per turn.

So this battlemech has 3 SRM6 launchers.

The LRM5 weighs 2 tons and generates 2 heat points. Therefore our first LRM battlemech can carry 5 LRM5s for 10 tons and generate 10 heat points.

This leaves us 11 tons, and each ton of ammo weighs 1 ton for 24 shots. The initial 5 LRM5s will need 165 rounds, which is 7 tons leaving 3 spare shots over. What we are then left again with is 4 tons to spend. Each remaining LRM5 will cost 4 tons each, to remain heat neutral. As there is only 4 tons left, 1 more LRM5 with 2 tons of ammo will generate 2 heat points per turn. This means our battlemech runs 2 heat point per turn hot, therefore it will fire all 6 LRM5s for 4 rounds, and take 1 rounds to cool down.

This battlemech has 6 LRM5s launchers.

The LRM10 weighs 5 tons and generates 4 heat points. Our next LRM battlemech can carry 2 LRM10s for 10 tons and have 2 spare heat sinks.

This leaves us 11 tons, and each ton of ammo weighs 1 ton for 12 shots. The initial 2 LRM10s will need 70 rounds, which is 6 tons leaving 2 spare shots over. What we are then left again with is 5 tons to spend, which is not enough to buy a launcher and ammo, so we take 5 extra heat sinks because we can. This means our battlemech runs -5 heat point per turn.

So this battlemech has 2 LRM10s launchers.

The LRM15 weighs 7 tons and generates 5 heat points. This battlemech can carry 2 LRM15s for 14 tons for 10 heat points.

This leaves us 7 tons, and each ton of ammo weighs 1 ton for 8 shots. The initial 2 LRM15s will need 70 rounds, which comes to 9 tons, but the battlemech can only carry 7 tons, which is 56 rounds. Therefore our battlemech runs heat neutral, but can only fire 28 shots.

So this battlemech has 2 LRM15s launchers.

The LRM20 weighs 10 tons and generates 6 heat points. Our final LRM battlemech can carry 1 LRM20 for 10 tons and have 4 spare heat sinks.

This leaves us 11 tons, and each ton of ammo weighs 1 ton for 6 shots. The LRM20 will need 36 rounds, which is 6 tons, leaving 3 spare shots over. What we are then left again with is again 5 tons to spend. Cleverly the designers argue that they should be allowed to add an LRM 5 as it shares the same ammo and all. The referees agree. Another LRM 5 cost 2 tons, generates 2 heat points, and will require 2 tons of ammo to fire. This adds up a total of 4 tons, and we will fill out the last 1 ton with an extra heat sink. This means our battlemech runs -3 heat point per turn.

So this battlemech has 1 LRM20 and 1 LRM5 launcher.

Now for the final two contenders in this round we will arm one with ultra-autocannon 5s, and the other with LB10-X autocannons.

So, ultra-autocannon 5 weighs 9 tons, and generates 1 heat point every time it fires normally, and double that when in ultra mode. Our model will not jam, as it has been lovingly prepared by the crew, and is straight out of the special lab. So it will generate 2 heat points per turn and fire 2 shots everytime.

It will therefore need 8 tons of ammo for 80 shots, which will leave 10 shots over. This comes to 17 tons, leaving 4 tons over, which will be taken in heat sinks, and therefore it will run at -12 heat points per turn.

So, LB10-X autocannon weighs 11 tons, and generates 2 heat points every time it fires. It will need 4 tons of ammo for 40 shots, which will leave 5 shots over. This comes to 15 tons, leaving 6 tons over, which will be taken in heat sinks, and therefore it will run at -14 heat points per turn.

Again we will run three test firings at short 3 hexes, medium 6 hexes and long range 9 hexes.

For the cluster hits we will add up damage by discarding one double-one die roll, one double-six die roll, and one natural seven roll for 33 results. We again assign all of these to the missed shots from our previous thought experiment, giving the benefit of any doubt surrounding missed shots just like our first round of tests.

The LRM battlemechs were allowed to fire at 7 hexes, because they argued that was short range for them, and the PPCs were allowed to do this. ;-)

The results of the short range-firing test are as follows:

8 SRM2 fires 33 times for a total of 752 points

5 SRM4 fires 33 times for a total of 870 points

3 SRM6 fires 33 times for a total of 720 points

6 LRM5s fires 29 times (in a 4:1 pattern) for a total of 564 points

2 LRM10s fires 33 times for a total of 416 points

2 LRM15s fires 28 times (ammo limit) for a total of 536 points

1 LRM20+LRM5 fires 33 times for a total of 524 points

UAC5 fires 33 times for a total of 330 points

LB10-X fires 35 times (hits more at -1) for a total of 350 points

The results of the medium range-firing test only required the SRM launcher mechs to fire as the results for the LRMs and autocannons remains the same, and are as follows:

8 SRM2 fires 26 times for a total of 574 points

5 SRM4 fires 26 times for a total of 660 points

3 SRM6 fires 26 times for a total of 588 points

The results of the long range-firing test only required the SRM & LRM launcher mechs to fire as the results for the autocannons remain the same at 9 hexes, and are as follows:

8 SRM2 fires 26 times for a total of 400 points

5 SRM4 fires 26 times for a total of 450 points

3 SRM6 fires 26 times for a total of 588 points

6 LRM5s fires 26 times (in a 4:1 pattern) for a total of 510 points

2 LRM10s fires 26 times for a total of 332 points

2 LRM15s fires 26 times (ammo limit) for a total of 496 points

1 LRM20+LRM5 fires 26 times for a total of 366 points

While I would concede that the use of SRMs to generate critical hits is a good strategy, the 7 medium lasers still deals 1155 points at 3 hexes, 910 at 6 hexes, and 525 at 9 hexes. And this is why the medium laser still rocks the boat, and shows that there are some serious imbalances in the BattleTech when using tonnage to balance sides.

Disclaimer: All posts are condensed & abbreviated summaries of complex arguments posted for discussion on the internet, and not meant to be authoritative in any shape, or form on said subject, T&CA, E&OE & YMMV.