Battlemech - Flea
Focused on speed and firepower, the lightly armored Flea was an extremely rare sight until the arrival of the Wolf's Dragoons mercenary unit, with the design experiencing a revival as an inexpensive recon and anti-personnel militia 'Mech.
Initially called the TRP-1 Trooper when it was introduced as the Free Worlds League's first light scout BattleMech in 2475, the design was so heavily flawed that it took twenty-five years before all the issues were corrected, with a new name selected to escape the bad press. While produced on and off until the early Succession Wars, excessive losses of the lightly armored design led Earthwerks to switch its production line to manufacturing heavier designs. This changed with the arrival of the Wolf's Dragoons, who brought with them a large number of Fleas and reached an exclusive production arrangement with Earthwerks that resulted in the company opening new lines to replenish the Dragoons' losses in the Fourth Succession War. With multiple lines on Asuncion, Bernardo and Victoria, after letting the Dragoons' exclusivity clause lapse, Earthwerks started selling the easy to manufacture, easy to maintain 'Mech by the DropShip load across the Inner Sphere.
Originally produced exclusively for the Dragoons until the Capellan Confederation acquired the design's blueprints via a Maskirovka raid during the 3040s, the post-Helm Memory Core FLE-17 variant is based on the older FLE-15 model. Retaining the design's maximum speed of 97.2 km/h, the addition of an Endo Steel chassis frees up weight for a MASC system that allows the 'Mech's speed to be pushed up to 129.6 km/h in short bursts. The increase of speed is required to ensure survival on the modern battlefield, as the FLE-17 is only clad in a pitiful three tons of Livingston Ceramics armor plating.
Description provided by Sarna.Net
An original Flea model, the FLE-4 is built on a standard chassis and has a maximum speed of 97.2 km/h. The 'Mech was armed with a Martell Large Laser, allowing it to attempt to keep any heavier 'Mechs at a stand-off range if they attempt to engage. The 'Mech carries two Martell Small Lasers for close in work as well as a Olympian Flamer for anti-infantry purposes. The cost of its relatively heavy weaponry and high speed is its two tons of armor, half that of even the venerable Locust and the reason why the 'Mech was discontinued.
Entering production in 2519 the FLE-14 Flea was an attempt to create an ultra-light BattleMech. Weighing a mere fifteen tons, it could arguably be regarded as a different 'Mech design. It was capable of a maximum ground speed of nearly 150km/h, with an average cruising speed near 90km/h. This variant also had a 120 meter jump capability. Its weapons and armor however were very light: Only a ton of armor protected the unit, and the single Medium Laser mounted in the right arm was barely enough to make it a viable battlefield unit. Intended to replace the Wasp or Stinger scout 'Mechs, the FLE-14 was definitely quicker but the low armor protection and limited jump range made it vulnerable. In fact, a Small Laser could inflict heavy damage on the unit. As a result it was pulled out of production once its shortcomings were revealed.
Another early variant, the FLE-15 features a more common light 'Mech offensive payload with two Martell Medium Lasers as its primary weapons. For close combat and anti-infantry work, it mounts two Martell Small Lasers, two Sperry Browning Machine Guns and a Olympian Flamer. Lighter weapons allows it to carry an extra ton of armor over the FLE-4.
This dedicated anti-infantry variant is designed for urban defense, and is not for use against other 'Mechs. Each arm has four Light Machine Guns and a Machine Gun Array. It also utilizes a Flamer that can threaten combat vehicles as well as infantry. A single Rocket Launcher 10 provides a one-shot damage potential against armored targets. The 19 has proven popular with Periphery nations and mercenary units.
A Capellan infantry support variant, the 20 strips a half ton of armor to mount two ER Medium Lasers and a Light PPC. The loss of armor is not seen as a risk, since it is replaced with Stealth Armor, along with the required Guardian ECM Suite.
In MW:PR 3051 the Flea is suited for recon missions, and acts as a great anti-infantry unit. The Flea is a fast, but lightly armored mech, so it is essential to keep it moving when behind enemy lines.