(X)Y-69 Black Widow prototype hexapodal stealth mecha platform undergoing testing at Yucca Flat Proving Ground, Frenchman Lake, Nevada
[Undated declassified DOD photo; mid-21st century]
Developed by the U.S. Air Force in cooperation with the Department of Naval Warfare, this unusual stealth hexapod was initially designed as an anti-Archon standoff weapons platform for the Mars War. In the early days of Temple exploration, the means by which the Guardians were activated and sited on their opponents was unknown. An active dopplered radar sense was implied by early instrument readings (later proved to be radiation leakage from the Temple powerplants), and minimal-RCS (radar cross-section) stealthed mecha were developed in response.
The Black Widow was simply a proof-of-concept testbed for a number of emerging technologies. While it employed the angular, faceted surfaces of earlier stealth systems, its servos and actuators were insulated by a flexible polymer buffering layer and covered by a sophisticated elastic RAM (radar absorbent material), dampening the machines radar signature and lending it an oddly muscled appearance.
Although it was discovered that the Temple Guardians did not employ active radar before the 69 entered production, its testing established a sound design that was later utilized for the U.S. Marine Corps Assassin Bug nuclear standoff mecha, deployed effectively on Mars in the 2060s. The stealthed aspects of the original Black Widow were again examined during the Flea War era, when the U.S. and Europe considered the benefits of stealthed weapons for infiltration of the Flea-producing Hellmouths.