RL-1 60mm Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW)
|A Veritech pilot uses the RL-1 to close a door.|
Because of the nature of the war the newly renamed RDF expected to fight—that is, against alien humanoids greater than six times human height—the need was seen for a weapon usable by an individual infantryman against these giants. While no completely ideal solution was found, the creation of a magazine-fed Light Anti-Tank Weapon was one of the most credible. Built with the ergonomics of a submachine-gun in mind, the RL-1 became standard issue among Valkyrie and Destroid pilots, to use in self-defense should the pilot be forced to flee his mecha. Against the Zentraedi, the RL-1's M821 HEAT projectile delivered the equivalent damage of an exploding .45 caliber round would on a human-sized target—making it very effective in stopping the individual soldier.
Nonetheless, the RL-1 was never seen as a 100% satisfactory solution to the David-vs-Goliath problem. As compact as it was, it was still a bulky, unwieldy weapon for a pilot to carry around—but in order to be sufficiently small for an individual pilot to carry at all, it sacrificed the power to take on greater threats than an unarmored Zentraedi soldier. It was less effective against a Zentraedi in body armor, and against even relatively flimsy mecha such as the Regult-class battlepod it was completely ineffective (barring a lucky hit on a joint or armor seam). Also, the gravity-fed nature of the magazine made the weapon unusable after the first shot in zero-G. Although the RL-1 was better than nothing, the best solution to defeating a Zentraedi outside of one's mecha was never to be caught outside of one's mecha.
Although a small complement of RL-1s was carried by the REF on the Pioneer mission, they never saw widespread use after the first Robotech war. They were replaced in the REF's arsenal by the heavy single-shot RL-2 and the light magazine-fed RL-6 rocket launchers, whose projectiles were specifically designed to defeat small mecha rather than giant aliens.
Go to RDF 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