posted on Oct, 3 2009 @ 06:49 AM
For mechs to be viable, you need a situation where tracked and wheeled vehicles, regardless of how cleverly suspended they are, aren't mobile enough,
that's profitable enough to warrant many millions of dollars of research and development, but doesn't warrant just buying an off-the-shelf
helicopter. I don't really think such a situation exists. Giant stairs in caves?
Most people are content to either not go places they can't drive logistics vehicles to, build roads, fly in, or walk, along with pack animals.
Both in and out of combat, logistics are important. You aren't going to get a ride from a tow truck back down the side of a mountain that's
impassible to regular vehicles. Nor are you going to be able to bring fuel up there without a walking fuel truck. If you can do these things with a
helicopter, you may as well just send a helicopter. They're simpler machines, and are a highly mature technology. I would fully expect similar
maintainence and fuel consumption figures between helicopters and mechs.
People think mechs might be good in urban warfare. I don't understand why. Being tall and having less all-around armor per weight due to higher
exposed surface area can't be a good thing. lightly armored tracked and wheeled vehicles are at least boxy enough to easily cover with slat armor for
blocking outdated rockets. Without thick armor or other passive defenses, crappier rockets start getting more deadly. So do medium cannons, like
30-60mm automatic cannon. Light tracked and wheeled vehicles at least have the advantage of a low silhouette and dismount infantry to protect and look
ahead for them, while tanks have the low silhouette and enough armor to survive.
The dismount infantry is also very important. Vehicles are only deployed in cities to support infantry. Besides direct fire support, their main job is
to transport and evacuate infantry. So it kind of helps if your vehicle is pretty much a box full of infantry. This seems to me like it'd be harder
to do effectively with legs. maybe some kind of bizarre spider contraption, but that doesn't seem like it'd be worth the expense just so it can
cross some road blocks. You're really better off focusing on getting good combat intelligence, and keeping around some combat engineering vehicles to
clear the roads if it's absolutely necessary, and you can't just find a better route.
Urban combat is all about infantry, since they're the only unit small enough to go through the rooms of all the buildings. If you had the technology,
load bearing exoskeletons carrying extra armor would be great for that, but as soon as you stop fitting through doors is when your armor isn't useful