The DES-2B “Desantniki” is a unique concept, albeit one never proven to be useful or successful. Designed by one of Bergan Industries‘ less successful design boards in the 2950’s, the Desantniki is built on a variation of the ubiquitous Locust chassis, albeit a larger one. It is a mech which is designed to transport a full platoon of jump infantry, and then provide fire support for the infantry after they debark. The theory was that formations of battlemechs would be able to bring their own infantry support; this infantry could then screen the mechs from attack by infantry in urban environments and other close terrain. Even the designers of the Desantniki admit that the mech is “an answer looking for a question”, so the mech has never been in more than limited production. The name “Desantniki” is Russian, and refers to the ancient practice of having infantry ride on the outside of tanks as they moved to battle. The troops would then dismount and move immediately into the fight. This certainly was a delightful way to fight.
A platoon of jump infantry is carried in the two “cargo bay” sections of the left and right torso. Each bay carries fourteen troopers who are able to exit the mech through hatches at the rear and top of the bay, or through a zip-line hatch at the bottom. Firing ports are included for the troops, which are able to fire to the rear and side arcs of the Desantniki. The bays can also be used to carry cargo or evacuate casualties, but loading and unloading a mech in the field can be difficult unless the vehicle squats down low.
The Desantniki’s weapons are designed to suppress enemy infantry, or to destroy the light battlemechs usually tasked with dealing with infantry. It is underarmed and armored for a mech of this size, and should not be used as a medium mech normally would. The Desantniki’s armor is adequate to the task of getting its complement of troopers in and out of the fight, but not for a stand-up fight. It is both fast and mobile, having jump jets capable of propelling the mech long distances. This presents a serious problem for the onboard troops, as they can be seriously injured if unsecured in the troop bays when the Desantniki jumps.
Various plans for ambulance and resupply versions have been discussed, as well as a “fire support” version carrying LRM’s or autocannons. Since these roles are nearly always filled by conventional vehicles or existing mech designs, no variants have actually been factory produced. Some of the few operators of the Desantniki have made individual changes. Perhaps the only variant showing promise is a “Mobile HQ” variant serving the same role as the Mobile HQ Truck. This variant has attracted interest from a couple of large mercenary units, leading Bergan to discuss putting the “Desantniki” back into production.