|A young Resistance fighter on Invid-occupied Earth fires an RL-6...|
|...but is unprepared for its intense recoil.|
|Type||:||Short range anti-mecha missile.|
|Service history||:||2022-2028, SC Ground Forces.
2022- , REF Army and Marines.
|Propulsion||:||Rocket booster and sustainer engine.|
|Guidance||:||Combined LLLTV and active radar.|
|Max speed||:||750 kph.|
|Platforms||:||RL-6 missile thrower (Cyclone compatible).|
The Tarantula is a small, but still fast and accurately guided missile that was developed in concert with the RL-6 shoulder-mounted missile thrower in the early 2020s. Smaller and lighter than the RL-2, the Tarantula and RL-6 represented a compromise between warhead size and rate of fire that promised to pack a comparable amount of firepower into a more easily portable package.
|A Resistance fighter on Invid-occupied Earth fires an RL-6 at an Invid Shock Trooper.|
The Tarantula was meant to give foot soldiers a better fighting chance against enemy mecha than its predecessor, the RL-1. Rather than the RL-2's larger missile, which could carry a more substantial and effective warhead, the Tarantula was given a small incendiary warhead, and enough speed to enable the missile to penetrate into the target before detonating. The resulting, very hot fire would then wreck the mecha. What the warhead might have lacked in explosive power, it made up in numbers; with the capacity to fire six rockets per launcher in quick succession, a squad equipped with RL-6 launchers could fill the air with dozens of rockets in a matter of seconds.
With the lack of a workable anti-mecha energy rifle at the beginning of the Pioneer mission, the RL-6 was issued to REF infantry divisions in fairly large numbers. It also saw limited use in the Southern Cross as a stop-gap until their own energy weapons were developed. The introduction of the FAL-2 and Gallant rifles reduced the REF infantry's dependence on the RL-6 as its primary anti-mecha weapon, but it continued to play an important part in infantry strategy.
Toward the end of the 2020s, the introduction of the Veritech Cyclone ride armor offered a new role for the RL-6 launcher. The Cyclone's augmented strength and stability meant that even soldiers who had trouble with the RL-6's recoil when fired from the shoulder could wield the launcher one-handed without difficulty—and the Cyclone's targeting computer could link up with the RL-6's integral sight for improved guidance as well. The RL-6 was often issued as the standard weapon for the Bartley-model Cyclone, to make up for its lack of internal munitions.
|A Bartley Cyclone rider fires her RL-6. Note the color-matched muzzle tip.|
In its use with Cyclone infantry, the RL-6 was issued with a set of assorted muzzle tips that matched the available paint colors of the Cyclone motorcycles. This assisted Cyclone platoons with many identical weapons in keeping track of which weapon belonged to which soldier. Infantry-issue launchers usually had a dark grey muzzle tip.
As one of the easier heavy weapons to find in Mars Division shuttle wreckage and old Southern Cross fortifications, the RL-6 was fairly common among the anti-Invid Resistance movement on Earth. It was used both with and without Cyclones, and was valued for its lightness and man-portability as much as for its extreme effectiveness against any Invid mecha up to the Gamo Pincer Command Unit. That it did not rely upon Invid-detectable protoculture was another point in its favor. Many of the launchers remain in civilian hands, though Tarantulas have become harder for civilians to obtain since the end of the Third Robotech War.
The RL-6 and Tarantula remain in service with the REF, particularly among Cyclone-mounted infantry divisions; however, the increased availability of energy weapons and the less-vulnerable Invid mecha designs produced by the end of the Third Robotech War have reduced its role.
Go to REF Infantry Missile Index.
Go to the Robotech Reference Guide Home Page.
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 Rob Morgenstern
Copyright © 1997 Robert Morgenstern, Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen
Last Updated: Saturday, December 13, 1997 4:25 PM