Model Number: bEXM-15/J
Designation: Bryon Army Limited Mass Production 3rd Generation EXAMAC System for Close Combat
Similar to its cockroach-inspired colour scheme, the J-Type Portanova is fast, agile and hard to kill.
As the war between the Allied Earth Forces and the Bryon Army dragged on, new and improved combat machines were brought to the fore. Taking advantage of their EXAMAC Systems' versatility and flexibility, both sides developed specialised armour and weapon components for the Alto and the Portanova to tackle an increasing variety of mission types. While research and development of 4th generation EXAMACs was ongoing, these new equipment significantly prolonged the longevity and utility of the existing 3rd generation systems, contributing to the war effort.
One such design for the Portanova was the Close Combat Type equipment, a set of armour and weapons with strong insectoid vibes and design references. In fact, captured and translated Bryon combat data indicated that this particular set of equipment was based on Earth's cockroach, specifically the blattella asahinai, an extremely hardy species of the terran pest that is also capable of flight.
Focused primarily on battles up close and personal, the design of the Close Combat Type armor is smooth and rounded, almost techno-organic so as to not impede the movements of the Portanova. The chest and shoulder armour (and attached combat shield) provided the Portanova with additional layers of armour able to withstand up to mega particle blasts. The faceplate - complete with bug-like antenna - optimised the Portanova's target acquisition system for close combat, prioritising targets within 50 metres of the EXAMAC. This was particularly important as Close Combat Types were usually assigned as protective escorts to 4th generation Cielnova units, especially the Command & Control Types.
Close Combat Type Portanovas received a significant upgrade in terms of weaponry, eschewing the standard Bryon Combat Rifle for a 120mm submachine gun, a 260mm light gatling gun as well as its signature weapon the Type-4 spiked mace. Intended to be a heavy bruiser, Close Combat Portanovas favoured the spiked mace and its emphasis on raw damage, a single glancing blow powerful enough to cripple or outright destroy a regular Alto. The weapon was light enough to be wielded one handed, freeing the other for the submachine gun, allowing Close Combat Type Portanovas to launch combination assaults. The light gatling gun was only used as a last resort, typically to cover the retreat of Cielnova units while its Portanova escorts held their ground until the machines could move no more.
Type-J Portanovas could also be equipped with a two-handed Claw Spear, a massive weapon shaped like the mandibles of a metallic insect. This weapon was usually used in base assault or mop up operations, when protection of Cielnova units were less of a priority. Although unwieldy and sometimes awkward to use, seasoned Portanova Riders were able to turn the Claw Spear into a deadly cyclone of death and destruction, with some reported cases of EXAMAC decapitations. Claw Spears were also useful in capture operations, the claws able to hold hapless enemy EXAMACs in a near-invincible vice-like grip.
As per its terran inspiration, the Close Combat Type Portanova was equipped with powerful jump jets to quickly cross terrain. While not full-fledged flight units used by Commander Type Portanovas, the jump jets allowed for short bursts of intense velocity, very useful for quick troop movements or to close in the distance with enemy units. Close Combat Type Portanovas were known to boost towards enemy Alto formations, knock out the commander unit and quickly retreat, making use of its knee-mounted boosters for even greater escape speed.
While largely relegated to bodyguard duty for the Cielnova corps, the Close Combat Type Portanova nonetheless carved out a near-unkillable reputation for itself on the battlefield.