As the Robotech Expeditionary Force prepared to depart on its search for the Robotech Masters, one of its chief concerns was how to fight them when it found them. Veritech mecha were only part of the equation; the REF knew that it was very likely their infantry would face mecha in the field, and a feasible anti-mecha energy rifle design was still years away. Thus, the REF turned to the anti-armor expedient that had served mankind well for most of a century: shaped-charge high explosives. The RL-1 rocket launcher was a good starting point, but it had been designed as a counter to unarmored or lightly-armored Zentraedi soldiers; it lacked sufficient punch to penetrate even the relatively flimsy Regult-class battlepod, let alone heavier mecha.
What the REF needed was a heavier weapon that could penetrate the armor of larger Zentraedi and Tirolian mecha and, if not destroy the mecha outright, still kill the pilot inside. Because of this need, the RL-2 was designed. The warhead size required to penetrate mecha armor necessitated a return to the single-shot reloadable "bazooka" design that had served in human armies since World War II. Resembling the old Soviet RPG 7V, but employing a more powerful and longer-ranged missile, the RL-2 was capable of crippling many Zentraedi mecha with a single shot.
Although the RL-2 was used often and to good effect during the early years of the REF's campaigns, the REF only rarely encountered enemy mecha tough enough to require its powerful warhead over that of the RL-1's successor, the smaller but faster-firing RL-6 rocket thrower. With the introduction of the Cyclone and its RL-6 interface, the RL-2 fell into disuse. Nonetheless, it remains part of the REF's arsenal in case it should again be needed.
The RL-2 was never widely adopted by the Southern Cross, who preferred the easier portability of the RL-6 for troops already burdened with heavy ceramic body armor. The RL-2 was occasionally used by the anti-Invid resistance after the invasion of Earth, but not as frequently as the RL-6.
Go to REF Armor/Weapons Index.
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Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.Content by Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen, with Chris Meadows and Rob Morgenstern