’Mech Manual: Shadow Hawk SHD-5M

The Shadow Hawk SHD-5M was introduced by the Free Worlds League in 3048. It made use of newly recovered Star Leage technology to increase the firepower, armor, and jumping distance of the earlier SHD-2H while retaining a similar mix of weapons. During the Clan Invasion, the FWL opened sales of the SHD-5M variant to every other Inner Sphere power and mercenaries. The result is that it could be found throughout the Inner Sphere and Periphery into the Republic era. Even in the Dark Ages, it remains in use by the FWL, Periphery nations, and mercenaries.

Read This First

  • You don’t carry enough ammo, so pick your shots carefully
  • While the SHD-5M is officially a Missile Boat, it can work better to use its mobility to stay at relatively close range of about 6 hexes
  • Be mindful of torso damage, losing any of those three locations takes you out of the fight and they all can explode

Shadow Hawk SHD-5M

  • Role: Missile Boat
  • Tech Base: Inner Sphere (3048)
  • Chassis: 55 tons (Endo Steel)
  • Movement: 5 / 8, XL
    • Jumping: 5
  • Armor: 168
  • Heat Sinks: 10 (20)
  • Weapons:
    • LRM 20 (ammo: 6)
    • Ultra AC/5 (ammo: 20)
    • Medium Laser
    • Streak SRM 2 (ammo: 50)
  • Equipment:
    • CASE
  • Design Quirks:
    • Battlefists
    • Improved Life Support
    • Rugged (1)
    • Ubiquitous
  • Cost: 10,296,857 C-Bills
  • Battle Value: 1,430


The SHD-5M has a good movement profile for a medium ’Mech. On the ground, it can walk 5 hexes or run 8. Unlike earlier Shadow Hawks, it is equipped with enough jump jets to match its walking speed, so it is better able to traverse rough terrain. It can achieve a +3 target movement modifier with either running or jumping.


The SHD-5M carries more armor than the most common Shadow Hawk variants of the Succession Wars, but it isn’t necessarily more durable. Its 168 armor points are 91% of the maximum for its 55-ton chassis. The legs are relatively lighter armored compared to their maximum than its upper body. The biggest durability issue it faces is from its XL engine. That increases the chance of taking critical hits to the engine and means that the loss of either side torso will shut it down.

The SHD-5M carries one ton of ammunition in each of its torso locations. The side torsos have a 9% chance of a critical being explosive ammo while the center torso has an 8% chance. The left torso, and only the left torso, is equipped with CASE so that the ’Mech will not be completely destroyed by its autocannon ammunition exploding, but such an explosion will cause enough engine damage to take it out of any fight.


The Shadow Hawk SHD-5M has an armament built around a pair of long-range weapons. The LRM 20 has a range of 21 hexes, and the Ultra AC/5 comes into play just 1 hex closer. At short ranges of 9 hexes or less, it can add a medium laser and a Streak SRM 2 for additional damage. It’s peak expected damage output is at 6 hexes where the short-range weapons hit medium range and the LRM is just barely inside its minimum range.

Maximum and Expected Damage

The majority of the SHD-5M’s firepower is locked to its forward firing arc. The only arm-mounted weapon is the medium laser in its right arm. That reduces its ability to engage flankers that get into its rear-left arc.

Maximum Damage for Firing Arcs

The SHD-5M is light on ammunition. It’s largest weapon, the LRM 20, can only be fired a half dozen times. The autocannon’s ton of ammo has 20 shots, but when using its maximum rate of fire, it can exhaust that in only 10 rounds. Due to those constraints, it is best for a MechWarrior to preserve their shots for shorter ranges in order to maximize the damage they can do with each shot. On the other hand, the ton of Streak SRM 2 contains 50 shots and only uses ammo when it is guaranteed to hit, so that ammo bin could easily last through several battles.

While the Shadow Hawk SHD-5M is officially listed as a Missile Boat, the lack of ammunition and mixed weapon loadout means a MechWarrior will often be better suited to working like a Skirmisher. They can use its mobility in order to close to an ideal range of 6 hexes and then open fire. That gives them the ability to deal as much of their potential damage as possible with each of the ’Mech’s limited shots. If a target is especially dangerous up close, the MechWarrior can choose to engage at range instead, but at a minimum they should consider firing its autocannon at its slower rate to preserve ammunition when doing so.

Heat Management

The SHD-5M is cool running. Its 10 double heat sinks can handle 20 points of heat each round, but it can only generate 18 points of heat when firing all weapons and jumping its maximum distance. That means that a MechWarrior can safely fire all of their weapons without needing to watch their heat levels.

In the unlikely event that a SHD-5M does become overheated, the Improved Life Support quirk makes that less likely to be a health risk to the MechWarrior even if the life support system has been damaged.

Heat-Adjusted Maximum and Expected Damage


While it is better off keeping its distance, the Shadow Hawk SHD-5M is still an effective brawler. Full arm actuator sets and the Battlefists quirk give it accurate 6 damage punches. The right arm’s medium laser cannot be used in the same round as a punch with that arm, but the punch is likely to be as accurate, deal more damage, and benefit from a more focused hit location table. The SHD-5M’s kicks deal 11 damage.

Cost & Upkeep

The Shadow Hawk SHD-5M is considerably more expensive than the variants it was designed to replace due to making use of newly recovered technology. The Endo Steel and XL engine used in constructive give it a price that is more than double that of the SHD-2H variant that was widely used during the Succession Wars. The Rugged and Ubiquitous quirks can reduce costs slightly in a full campaign. It will generally need to replace both its autocannon and LRM ammunition after each engagement, while the Streak launcher’s ammo bin could last through an entire campaign.

When using the Warchest Point system, these are the expected costs for the Shadow Hawk SHD-5M:

Purchase1,100 SP
Armor Repair55 SP
Structure Repair110 SP
Reload15-25 SP


The plastic Shadow Hawk SHD-2H from the A Game of Armored Combat box set can be used to represent the SHD-5M or any other version of the Shadow Hawk.


More ’Mech Manuals

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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