Model Number: xEXM-17/C1
Designation: Allied Earth Forces Limited Production 3rd Generation Close Quarters Combat Use EXAMAC System
This Configuration really nails the hard-hitting, ground-pounding look.
The most-used Alto Configuration after the Basic Combat Configuration, the Close Quarters Combat Configuration optimised the Alto for close quarters combat, although that term was used rather loosely as this particular Configuration was deployed to tackle a wide variety of combat situations, close or otherwise.
Featuring heavy armour mounted to key sections of the base Alto frame, enhancements were also made to the machine under-the-hood to improve response rate and efficacy on terrestrial environments with 5-9g of gravity. In particular, the regular head unit was fitted with a combat mask that narrowed vision down to a slit, at once protecting the compound sensor from external stimulus while also focusing computing and processing power to the limited field of vision, much like the monocular sensor found on the Alto [Long Range Combat Configuration]. To compensate for this diminished field of vision in exchange for greater surviability, Close Combat Altos were provided with enhanced radar systems mounted directly into the combat mask, with Commander Type units given additional sensor range from an extra antenna array mounted in the backpack.
Most Close Combat Altos were given desert colour schemes to help with operations in their intended theaters of war, although other specialised palettes such as Spec-Ops and Anti-Armour were also used. Altos had access to a wide range of weapons and equipment thanks to their versatility and interchangeability, but Close Combat Altos were typically equipped with an assault rifle with an underslung grenade launcher, a nano-titanium combat knife or command sword (reserved for Commander Type machines) stored on the left hip hardpoint, a pair of anti-projectile active protection systems mounted on each calf as well as a battle shield mounted on the left arm. The Close Combat Altos could also use the standard-issue submachine gun as well as the beam sniper rifle primarily assigned to the Long Range Alto, albeit not to the weapon's maximum potential.
The assault rifle - itself a modified variant of the standard-issue submachine gun with the Assault Module attached - provided decent firepower in close to mid range combat. A smattering of armour-piercing rounds from the weapon was enough to knock enemy grunts out of commission, although tougher foes required more hits per square inch. Alto pilots favoured firing three-round bursts before following up with a grenade round, killing enemy units with a one-two punch tactic. Recoil dampeners in the Alto's arms and the Assault Module itself allowed the weapon to be effectively wielded single-handed, freeing up the other hand to use a melee weapon. Altos could steady the assault rifle with the free hand in the event that more precise shooting was needed. When not in use, the assault rifle can be stored laterally on the rear skirt armour hardpoint to facilitate the use of the Alto's ultra close combat weapons.
When push came to shove, which happened in almost every combat engagement, Close Combat Altos utilised the handy nano-titanium combat knife. Alto frames possessed strengthened hydraulics in their arm units, allowing for temporary bursts of speed and force. Alto pilots frequently dueled with enemy grunt units, trading melee blows before finding an opening with which to thrust the knife into a critical area to disable the opponent. Knives were also useful to get rid of Roy-Roy mechanical support craft without expending valuable ammo on disproportionate force.
Pilots with Commander Type machines had access to the nano-titanium command sword, essentially a full-length version of the combat knife. While fundamentally similar, usage of the command sword required a more delicate, elegant approach, forcing new Commander Type pilots to eschew their brute force combat tactics so ingrained into their psyche for refined swordplay. However, the damage output from a command sword can be exponentially higher than the best combat knife user, with Commander Types recorded decapitating enemy machines or destroying units outright with well-placed strikes to the power core.
Close Combat Altos were usually deployed in fire teams composed of a Commander Type, 3 Standard Types and 3 Basic Altos. A Long Range Alto provides overwatch to up to 3 fire teams, supporting them with beam fire. In line with standard military combat doctrine, Close Combat Altos and Basic Altos would directly engage enemy grunts and Roy-Roy mechanical support craft, utilising flanking maneuvers and diversionary tactics to encircle and cut off enemy units from the rest of the opposing force. The Long Range Altos would eliminate the stronger units or wound targets heavily enough for the ground-pounding Altos to easily finish off. Commander Types hung around the rear of the formation and provided support fire but would directly engage enemy high value targets such as commander units, squad leaders or supply convoys.
To prolong the longevity of the entire formation during inevitable missile barrages, Close Combat Altos activated their active protection systems in tiered volleys, knocking out projectiles in quick succession while suffering little damage.