The Aratech 84-X Biker Advanced Recon Commando Speeder Bike
Notorious for its portrayal in Revenge of the Sith to mercilessly gun down Stass Allie, the BARC speeder has established itself as an essential part of the late-war Loyalist arsenal. A subtle appearance is when Yoda, Mace and Obi-Wan are escorted by two BARC Speeders while travelling by gunship to the Republic's staging area, where Yoda joins up with his forces to be deployed to Kashyyyk.
An upgrade to the 74-Z following a motion in the Senate calling for a more powerful, more stable and overall safer speeder bike to be used by the Grand Army of the Republic's Reconnaissance and Cavalry corps', after a malfunction in a 74-Z caused the death of several well-known and respected Jedi. This motion was opposed by a committee representing a ring of high-ranking officers (including Major Kendal Ozzel and Admiral Wilhuff Tarkin) who thought that the proposed design was inefficient and too costly and that the loss of the Jedi was attributed to poor maintenance on their own part and not the supposed failings of the 74-Z model. Despite their best efforts in their opposition, the motion was passed but Loyalist forces would rather be supplemented with the newer model instead of it completely replacing the old one. Years after the Great Jedi Purge, the same committee that opposed the motion to introduce the BARC speeder would motion for a complete return to the trusted and cheaper 74-Z model.
The 84-X Biker Advanced Recon Commando speeder was first outfitted to be used exclusively by ARC troopers. Over time, it would enter service with the rest of the army alongside the older 74-Z. Built around a larger chassis with better armor and a substantially more powerful armament, the 84-X severely outclassed the Separatists' Single Trooper Aerial Platform in every aspect, safe for maneuverability.
It's very hard to find references for the performance of this vehicle, but there is one thing that stood out while watching Episode III and that's that the BARC speeder COMPLETELY WASTES the 74-Z on a direct hit. Its engine also seems larger and it seems to commit an overall higher percentage of its volume to its propulsion systems, so all in all I'd imagine the BARC speeder to be at least as fast as the 74-Z, if not considerably faster. It also seems to omit the ability to carry a passenger, exchanging flexibility for comfort and stability. In terms of armor strength, that's anyone's guess but it's not that weird to think it's been improved at least slightly. While I aim to have the STAP slightly outperform the 74-Z, the BARC will definitely outperform the STAP to mirror the wartime arms race of WWII and the evolution of the Loyalist arsenals. It will however serve as an addition rather than a replacement, and will be more expensive to field.
This showcase marks the end of the Light Recon Showcases. So now that the scouts have duked it out, it's time to move our troops into position for the main assault. Up next week: A look at the logistics of The Clones of War, Troop Transports!