The Thunderbolt, or TBolt, is a powerful, precision-fired Missile mounted only on a handful of units. Thunderbolts can be guided to a target by TAG Laser, but can have trouble hitting oddly positioned or fast-moving targets as their turn speed is very low.
Two TBolts are capable of devastating most Light Mechs with precise hits to the Rear Torso Armor, and can also heavily damage the majority of Medium and Heavy Mechs. It is also possible to kill the Pilots of Mechs by hitting the Cockpit, although in most cases it is pure luck. TBolts also have significant splash damage, allowing them to deal damage to several Armor components at the same time.
Upon impact, TBolts create large explosions and an intense flash, which can be blinding in Night Vision, and can also cause severe Cockpit shake.
The most effective way to use TBolts is to fire them at Tagged Heavy or Assault Mechs from 1000 meters, allowing the TBolter to avoid most enemy fire. These units are too slow to effectively dodge the TBolt, thus increasing the chance of a hit. One can also unleash a sneak attack by performing a dumb-fire of a TBolt barrage while in passive radar mode, as long as your target is either stationary or moving slowly and can't see you coming.
Air Thunderbolts work a bit differently from their ground-based siblings in that they are very effective against larger, less maneuverable aircraft but deal almost no damage at all to ground assets. In this way, it is best to treat Air TBolts strictly as an air-to-air missile weapon.
Only Inner Sphere units may make use of Thunderbolt launchers.
|Weapon||Min Range||Max Range|| Lock On
| Lock On
||Damage Type||Splash Radius|| Shots
||Raw DPS|| Heat
|| Ammo cost|
First developed by the Federated Commonwealth in the mid-3050s for the Solaris arenas, the Thunderbolt launcher is an offshoot of standard LRM technology. Instead of firing a group of missiles, the Thunderbolt launchers fire a single missile that inflicts as much damage as an Autocannon/5, an Autocannon/10, a Gauss rifle or an Autocannon/20, respectively. This increased damage is made up for by the slightly reduced range and increases to the weapon's heat and weight. The Thunderbolt missile is also more vulnerable to anti-missile systems.
In CBT, Thunderbolt missile launchers cannot use Artemis IV or Narc guidance systems, but operate like LRMs in every other way.
The following Inner Sphere assets equip Thunderbolts: