The M-42 Thunderclapper Heavy Hovercycle was a personal armored hovercycle commonly used by the Army of the Southern Cross, though it was also used by several other organizations throughout the universe.
Following the success of the popular M-32 Flashclapper Light Hovercycle, the military leaders of the Southern Cross wanted a version that could survive on the active battlefield. Due to the susceptibility of the hovercycle to collateral damage, an armored version was devised that also provided an extensive sensor suite for a vehicle of its size.
The heavy hovercycle was the mainstay form of rapid transportation on the battlefield for the Southern Cross troops. The additional armor and electronics support made these vehicles popular with the reconnaissance forces of the Southern Cross, who frequently had to conduct their duties under fire and needed a vehicle that could survive. The small size and extensive sensor package make this an effective scouting vehicle.
Many of these cycles were destroyed in the wars with the Robotech Masters and Invid. Due to their mix of speed, armor and sensors, these vehicles were sought after by resistance fighters as an effective mode of transportation.
The M-42 was made up of advanced ceramic/composite materials able to withstand penetration from most small grenade and shell fragments. It provides good protection against small arms fire, and poor resistance to heavier infantry weapons, such as the 12.7mm machinegun round, as well as from fragments and near misses from higher caliber weapons. The pilot was unprotected.