The finest achievement in stealth systems developed in 2630 by the original Star League, the Null Signature System is capable of shielding a BattleMech's presence from all but visual detection.
First appearing on the SLDF's EXT-4D Exterminator and the later Spector, while the Chameleon Light Polarization Shield masked their visual presence, the Null Signature System cloaked their heat output and electronic emissions. While the system is engaged, the 'Mech is more difficult to track at anything other than short range, with the Beagle Active Probe and its unbranded Clan equivalent unable to locate a hidden unit with its null signature system engaged. Only the modern and experimental Bloodhound Active Probe can penetrate the null signature masking.
Like many pieces of advanced technology, the Null Signature System and the 'Mechs that carried it became LosTech during the malestrom of the early Succession Wars. Outside of the Word of Blake, all modern examples of the Null Signature System in the Inner Sphere are either experimental prototypes such as that carried by the Werewolf or exceedingly rare surviving examples from the original Star League, with the Capellan Confederation the Successor State closest to recreating the system. While not yet able to produce a bolt for bolt, circuit for circuit replication, with typical Capellan ingenuity House Liao has developed a stop-gap solution suitable for mass-production, the so-called Stealth Armor. Integrating the heat baffles and required components directly into specially designed armor plating, when linked with a Guardian ECM Suite Stealth Armor replicates its benefits (and disadvantages).
While the Clans retained the peak of the Terran Hegemony's military technology, the tenets of Clan honor find such stealth systems dishonorable and ceased research and production of the Null Signature System.
The null signature system features heat baffles that mask the 'Mech's heat sinks and reduce its infrared signature. However, the baffles restrict the normal venting of heat, meaning the 'Mech generates an additional 10 points of heat while the system is active. The null signature system also incorporates a phased-array sensor system and a sheathed directional communication beacon. Therefore, a 'Mech with this system may not mount any special Targeting and Tracking Systems (including Targeting Computers, C3 equipment, and C3i equipment) or a Satellite Uplink system.
The null signature system does not weigh a significant amount, but does take up one critical slot in each of the BattleMech'* *** locations except for the head, for a total of seven critical slots. A critical hit to any of these slots will disable the entire system.
The Chameleon Light Polarization Shield is a BattleMech stealth system developed by the Terran Hegemony in 2630 alongside the Null Signature System.
The Chameleon system was designed to make a 'Mech invisible to the naked eye. By using a primitive mimetic system, the outline of the 'Mech carrying it was broken up, blending into the surrounding terrain. The Chameleon was very effective because unlike the Null Signature System it worked against sensor systems and visual observation.
As one of the key technology advances of the Terran Hegemony and Star League, the Chameleon LPS was jealously guarded. It was never deployed in large numbers, appearing only on one variant of the Exterminator used by the Star League Defense Force Royal Divisions. (The Chameleon may have been installed on one or more versions of the Spector, or retrofitted into 'Mechs used by the SLDF [color="#ba0000"]Special Armed Services[/color] units however.) ComStar used the few Chameleon LPS systems they had to develop the Mimetic Armor used by the Purifier Adaptive battle suit. Later, the Word of Blake would use the technology of the Chameleon LPS, Null Signature System, and Stealth Armor to develop their Void Signature System.
Though several Exterminators equipped with the CLPS were a part of the Exodus, the Clans saw it as a dishonorable tool used by inferior warriors and mothballed it.
The Chameleon Light Polarization Shield can only be mounted in BattleMechs. It doesn't weigh a great deal but is bulky, taking up six critical slots. The CPLS can be integrated into the chassis of an OmniMech, but cannot be pod-mounted. When activated, it generates 6 points of heat. It also makes the 'Mech harder to hit: At Medium range an attacker gets a +1 to hit penalty while Long range attacks get a +2 to hit penalty. As it was designed at the same time as the Null Signature System the CLPS can be used in conjunction with the Null Signature System. (In this case all bonuses and penalties stack together.)
As the precursor technology to Stealth Armor and Void Signature System, the Chameleon LPS uses a completely different design philosophy and mechanism that is incompatible with those systems. (The primary difference is that the CLPS doesn't require a Guardian ECM suite to function.) Therefore units mounting a CLPS cannot be used in conjunction with Stealth Armor or a Void Signature System.
Edited by Long Draw, 17 April 2012 - 08:50 PM.