Oerlikon Contraves M-400 Arbalist Missile System


ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Robert Morgenstern, with Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen

edited by Tim Wing


  • M-400 Arbalist reference file

Designation: Oerlikon Contraves M-400 Arbalist Armored Mobile Surface-to-Air Missile Launcher System

I. Dimensions.

  • Length: 6.5 meters
  • Width: 3.0 meters
  • Height: 3.7 meters
  • Weight: 18 metric tons, dry.

II. Type.

  • M-400A: Three man crew lightly-armored six-wheeled mobile surface-to-air missile battery.
  • M-400B: Three man crew lightly-armored six-wheeled theatre ballistic missile system.
  • M-400C: Three man crew lightly-armored six-wheeled theatre ballistic missile system.
  • M-400D: Three man crew lightly-armored six-wheeled large erectable, steerable missile launcher

III. Service History

Used by the UEDF from 2018 until the Invid Invasion, used in limited quantities by the UEEF.

IV. Propulsion.

  • Engine: 1 turbocharged 6 cylinder multi-fuel engine providing 720 hp
  • Transmission: Automatic shifting for six forward and one reverse gears
  • Power-source: 1 x alternator with backup auxiliary power unit
  • Fuel Capacity: 600 liter diesel.

V. Performance.

  • Maximum speed: 80 kph
  • Maximum range: 544 km

VI. Electronics Suite.

Radar tracking:

  • Radar tracking is provided by a dedicated radar control station such as the 2204 Janissary.

Optical tracking:

  • Thomson DOS-2500 multi-band motion-stabilized digital spherical camera system, for medium range 360 degree, elevation traversable infra-red imaging, optical and ultra-violet band detection and tracking.
  • Thomson LT-3 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator.

Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS):

  • Elettronica Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
  • OlDelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR)
  • Westinghouse ALQ-198(V) active radar jammer
  • Chaff/smoke/flare dispensers

VII. Armament.


  • 1 x MMDS-8 8 tube missile launcher contained within a rotating turret capable of 360 degree rotation and up to 45 degree elevation. Fires the Swordfish surface-to-air missile. Maximum range for the Swordfish is 64 km.



  • 1 x HMDS-8 Theatre Ballistic Missile Launcher (TBML) mounting a single surface to surface, long range, ballistic missile.


  • 1 x HMDS-10 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) mounting ten General Dynamics/Euromissile Derringer long range ground attack missiles.


  • 1 x erectable Bloodhound missile launcher capable of up to 55 degree elevation. Various warhead and guidance options for surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missions.

VIII. Armor.

The armor of the M-400 is composed of a metal composite for maximal resistance to penetration and thermic explosive damage. The armor stops all small arms fire, provides fair protection against heavier infantry weapons, such as a 12.7mm machinegun round, and poor resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round. Armor is slightly weaker than the standard high speed aircraft skin.

The M-400 provides full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using an overpressure crew compartment environment activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The internal consumables supplies can provide atmosphere for one week maximum.

IX. Development.

The M-400 was designed and manufactured by Oerlikon Contraves in the post war period. This vehicle’s strength was its flexibility of payload. It could be equipped for ground artillery by loading a payload of rockets in the launchers, or it could be used for air defense with surface-to-air missiles, or it could be used for intercontinental or orbital bombardment with the erectable launcher. These vehicles were popular with the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) due to their low cost and ease of maintenance.

This mobile rocket artillery piece is capable of launching an array of rockets/missiles that can be a rude surprise for a flotilla of mecha, especially when a number of M-400s are coordinated in the attack as is usually the case. This provided the Southern Cross with sufficient offensive capabilities without relying upon more expensive platforms such as the SDR series of Destroids.

The M-400D Bloodhound variant is capable of local fire control, but most often is remotely controlled by an M2204 Janissary Battlefield Surveillance Radar Vehicle (BSRV) or remote fire control base. Generally, the M-400 is deployed in fire batteries of five launchers supported by a platoon of soldiers.
m-400-arbalist-4Unfortunately, the Bioroid Skysleds were far more maneuverable than these missile platforms and their ion cannons could easily penetrate the armor of the M-400. As such, not many of these vehicles survived the Second Robotech War.

The UEDF command experimented with an unmanned AI variant of the M-400 that was centrally controlled by an M2204 BSRV. This provided the command staff with significant combat resources without sacrificing troops in the moderately protected mobile launcher.

The UEEF Tactical Corps used a number of these vehicles to supplement their ADR and SDR Destroids in the air defense role. Most of these vehicles saw little combat and were retired due to the cost of maintaining the logistics supply line.



Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (R) is the property of Big West Advertising, Tatsunoko Studio and Ammonite studio. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: Kogawa Tomonori, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Miyo Sonoda, Hiroshi Ogawa, Hirotoshi Ohkura and Takashi Ono; Brian Manning

Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized in this publication. 

Images from – This is Animation #10 The Southern Cross or some Unspecified Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross OSM, Robotech Masters Saga Sourcebook (March 2009) and The Robotech RPG Book Four: Southern Cross (September 1987)

Content by Robert Morgenstern, Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen, edited by Tim Wing

Copyright © 1998, 1997 Robert Morgenstern, Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen; 2016 Tim Wing



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *