compiled overview of the 90ton Akuma 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:

The Phoenix Programs created a massive demand for new and refurbished Battlemechs to equip the new units being formed. In addition to the sweeping initiative to create OmniMechs, Theodore Kurita issued a general call to manufacturers to start producing more cost-effective Battlemechs, both in initial investment and upkeep costs. Independence Weaponry, well known for their heavy and assault Mechs, responded with the AKU-1X Akuma, a low-cost alternative to their own Atlas-K. With a price tag comparable to the original Atlas-D, the Akuma also shares many components with the older design. By creating a broader demand for the same set of parts, Independence Weaponry reduced the overall cost for both units.

The primary cost-cutting measure employed in the Akuma’s design was to make the Akuma smaller and lighter than the Atlas. The reduced weight and resulting smaller fusion engine represented a significant savings. In spite of its smaller size, however, the Akuma maintains the same ground speed and comparable armor protection. In addition, the Mech’s head is adorned with a massive mask, giving it the frightening appearance of the mythical demon for which it is named. The Akuma’s fearsome appearance is intended to distract or startle the enemy long enough for the Combine MechWarrior to get in the first shot.

The Mech’s armaments are an array of advanced weapons that work most effectively at short and medium ranges. Though the Mech is slow compared to others in its class, its intended use for defense or in slow advances against static or dug-in opponents, keeps its low speed from being a design flaw. Central to the Akuma’s arsenal is a large rack of medium-range missiles, a newly developed weapon that delivers massive firepower while costing relatively little to maintain and reload. Despite their inherent inaccuracy, their low cost and the enormous damage these missiles can do has made them increasingly popular.

Two racks of Streak missiles provide a short-range backup to the MRMs. As the Streaks cannot fire without a lock-on, not a single shot of their expensive ammunition is wasted. Some observers consider the Imperator Code Red LB 10-X autocannon an extravagance, but most experts point out that it provides needed long-range firepower and has performed remarkably well for years on the Wolf Trap medium BattleMech. Arm-mounted lasers provide reliable backup weapons in case the Akuma runs out of ammunition.

The Akuma’s key long-range weapon is the Lord’s Light 2 extended-range particle beam cannon, mounted in a reinforced housing in the 'Mech’s left arm. Though such an expensive and advanced weapon seems out of place on a "budget" Mech, the Lord’s Light 2 turned out to be a bargain. The Procurement Department began receiving requisitions for older-model PPCs from units assigned PNT-10K Panthers, whose pilots complained about the Mech’s inability to deal with the heat build-up created by firing the new PPCs. Most Panther pilots stripped the newer weapons out in favor of older, cooler-running versions. This left the DCMS with a growing stockpile of extended-range PPCs, which they eventually sold to Independence at a cut-rate price to aid with the development of the Akuma. In the larger 'Mech, equipped with double-strength heat sinks, the new model PPCs were well received.

As the Akuma is barely out of the prototype stage, few have been deployed and even fewer have seen combat. The Ryuken-Go recently received a lance of the new machines, which saw action barely a week after the new machines arrived on Pesht in repelling a Smoke Jaguar raid. The new 'Mechs performed well, successfully defending their assigned station from a Star of medium Jaguar OmniMechs without suffering any casualties. Current plans call for all key frontline units to receive thrifty Akumas within the next six months.

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