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Developed by the Ghost Bears, a new class of Autocannon, now being called Heavy Autocannons, parallels Clan Star Adder’s development of Heavy Lasers. The Heavy Autocannons boast frightful damage potentials, but uneven combustion of the propellant in the shells leads to inaccuracy over distance and limits the weapons effective range. They can also be hazardous to use. The weapons firing mechanism is prone to overheating and then jamming with sustained fire. Also, the propellant in the shells is a gel that is unstable at high temperatures. The primary difference between Heavy Autocannons and other Autocannons is in the shells fired by the weapon. Using extremely high explosive charges and cutting edge clan advances in armor defeating shell design; Heavy Autocannon shells do more damage than other shells of the same weight and size. However, during initial tests the extra explosive force of these rounds quickly destroyed the cannons they were fired from. The need for an Autocannon design with a reinforced barrel and more robust firing mechanism was obvious, but attempts to modify existing clan Autocannons all proved unsatisfactory. Eventually the Ghost Bears took a step backwards. Having observed the flexibility of standard Autocannons among the Inner Sphere nations, Ghost Bear scientists began studying the nearly extinct clan version of the standard Autocannon. Eventually, they managed to reinforce the standard design enough to survive sustained fire of the new rounds.
The current classes of heavy autocannons are available:
Heavy Autocannons have a chance to jam if fired on consecutive rounds. On the first round a Heavy Autocannon is fired it will not jam. However on the second consecutive round, a to-hit roll of 3+ is needed to avoid jamming. A to hit-roll of 5+ is needed on the third consecutive rounds, a 7+ on the fourth, 11+ on the fifth and the weapon automatically jams on the sixth consecutive round. The to-hit roll required drops one number for each round it is not fired. If the weapon jams, the shot automatically misses, though ammunition is used as normal, and the weapon cannot be fired again during the game. Heavy Autocannon ammunition also explodes more easily due to a high internal heat levels. Treat Heavy Autocannon ammunition like Inferno SRM ammunition for the purpose of Heat Scale Avoid rolls. Heavy Autocannons may not use special ammunition.