PBA-5 "Pioneer" Main Battle Auto-Armor
PBA-5 "Pioneer" Main Battle Armor (also known as the Mark 5) is, as the name implies, the fifth iteration of the original combat-ready dieseltech auto-armor invented in the Free Faces League in 9925 AR. A storied and venerable piece of military hardware descended from the humble utility skeleton, the Pioneer is an otherwise unassuming and straightforward suit of auto-armor in comparison to other lines of suits in the Manifold Sky.
TacticsThe Pioneer is an uncomplicated model of auto-armor meant for line endurance. It serves as a heavy defensive bulwark against faster, more nimble opponents. Pioneer pilots generally like to occupy chokepoints and pin down enemy detatchments with sustained fire. As the heaviest elements in an infantry unit, Pioneers take the role of heavy shock troops and defensive anchors. As lighter elements within an armored unit, Pioneer pilots use their superior mobility to make sorties against the enemy while Fortresses maintain rear and flank defense.
The Pioneer has a somewhat undeserved reputation for its ancient, massive dieseltech powerplant. Coalition forces do not seek to disabuse the public of this notion, as it makes any potential Voxelian agents mis-assume that the Pioneer is sluggish and ungainly on the battlefield. In truth, a wartime partnership with Data Engines Limited has led to the drastic reduction of the Mark 5's power plant's mass in relation to all previous models.
Weapons & Armament
The Pioneer is doctrinaire in its loadout, typically fielding a BX-9 "Smokestack" Automatic Scattergun or a 18mm grease gun (sized up for use as a crew-served weapon). Operators from Craterhold sometimes carry "Salamander" Exhaust Whips to deal with infantry, while operators from the Commonwealth of C or its native Free Faces League prefer JH-AA "Lance" Heavy Jackhammers to better deal with armor in melee.
Armor and defense
In keeping with the Coalition Defense Forces doctrine of stalwart defense, the Pioneer features staunch ablative armor. While the Mark 4 used the monolithic armor plating common in combat auto-armor, the Pioneer features an additional layer of metal-ceramic scales designed to fragment in order to dissipate kinetic energy instead of deforming. These scales are of a uniform shape for ease of manufacture and replacement, granting the Pioneer extended endurance on the front.