An E-frame is a mecha suit worn by infantry that features Exosquad.
Exo-frames were created by the humans of the Exosquad Universe in their effort to terraform and colonize Venus and Mars and to protect themselves from any possible aggression from outside of the Solar System. They can be thus divided into two main categories — peaceful and military models, but since the series primarily described the Neosapien War that followed the Second Neosapien Revolt, nearly all E-frames shown in the series were battle machines. Another distinction is that between human (Terran) and Neosapien E-frames.
Originally, all E-frames were humanoid exoskeletons (hence the name) but after several decades of extensive development, non-humanoid "E-frames" vehicles based on the same technologies have been introduced. Basically, by the time of the Second Neosapien Revolt, all machines steered directly by one or two pilots were considered Exo-Frames, regardless of their type, purpose or design: walkers, tanks, space fighters, bulldozers, etc.
A common feature of all E-frames is a sophisticated neural interface that backups "normal", manual steering: each pilot had to undergo surgical implantation of a "cyber socket" to the back of one's neck that allowed direct control over the E-frame via a "cyber jack". Since the brain patterns of humans and Neosapiens are slightly different, E-frame interface has to be reconfigured depending on the genetic race of the pilot. All E-frames are powered by fusion packs. Civilian fusion packs generate much less power than military ones, while the latter are (if intelligently applied) a potentially devastating explosive.
After Professor Algernon joined the Exofleet, some of his inventions were implemented into the Able Squad's E-frames, making them truly unique (so-called Algernon Upgrade).
Their size and functionality varied greatly — from ultralight infantry body armor to peaceful terraforming machines to monstrous amphibian heavy assault models.
To this category belong all E-frames used by the Exofleet, as well as their allies — the Pirate Clans (although they only had space fighters before the alliance) and the Homeworlds Resistance. In fact, many of the E-frames used by the Pirate Clans clearly were modified Neosapien E-frames, since the Pirates managed to capture a plenty of them during the battle to free Jonas Simbacca who had been kidnapped by the Neosapien General Typhonus.
- "Falcon" Aerial Attack E-frame #AA-500. Designed specifically for atmospheric combat, "Falcons" were often considered the best E-frames in the entire Exofleet because of their impressive maneuverability and weaponry. Many exosquad leaders including Lt. / Wing Cmdr. J.T. Marsh (as well as Eve Hanley, the second leader of the Earth Resistance Force) made "Falcon" their E-frame of choice. Marsh's personal Algernon Upgrade was a devastating Solar Pulse Cannon, a wide-area energy attack capable of evaporating anything hundreds of meters ahead, including solid rock.
- "Wraith" Spy / Logistics Field Communications E-frame #SLR-345. The most fragile and complex E-frame of the Exofleet, the "Wraith" was an integral element of any exosquad because of its powerful communication and surveillance systems. It requires a lot of skill and training to master #SLR-345, so if it wasn't for Alec DeLeon's abilities, the Able Squad would have been blind and deaf. DeLeon's Algernon Upgrades were an Electronic Disruption Field Generator and an Advanced Flight Recorder, a device capable of blending pilot's mind with the E-frame navigation computer and even storing the pilot's personality.
- Reconnaissance E-frame #TB-024. Less durable and smaller compared with most E-frames, #TB-024 has often been considered an oversized Jumptroop armor suit. Lt. Nara Burns used one of these after her promotion to the leader of the Able Squad.
- Rapid Assault E-frame #RA-678. One of the few two-seat E-frames in the Exofleet, this frame was optimized for ground combat and equipped with an impressive weaponry and battlefield surveillance devices. Lt. Nara Burns and Marsala shared one of these before Burns' promotion. Their Algernon Upgrade was a cloaking device (Even for Algernon, it is impossible to mount one on an object any smaller).
- Field Repair E-frame #PO-024. This E-frame wasn't primarily designed for combat and was therefore less maneuverable and sturdy than others. However, for an expert technician and pilot like Lt. Maggie Weston this frame was an optimal choice, allowing her to fix her allies' damaged E-frames in combat. Weston's Algernon Upgrade was a Chain Lightning Cannon firing a beam of electrical energy that ricocheted from target to target and even bent around obstacles. Many fans[who?] have noted that the configuration and coloration of this frame is reminiscent of the Power Loader from Aliens.
- Field Sergeant E-frame #LD-029. A perfect E-frame for a perfect soldier like Rita Torres, #LD-029 possessed an extensive amount of firepower as well as a lightsaber-like Laser Strike Blade capable of cutting through any material. Torres' personal Algernon Upgrade was an Armor Piercing Charge Emitter, which turned the large hand of her E-frame into a powerful battering ram.
- Ground Assault E-frame #BD-100. Specialized for ground combat, this E-frame had an enormous raw firepower but was very difficult to navigate in the atmosphere and space. Also, because of its high fire rate, a #BD-100 pilot has always had to consider the possibility of running out of ammo in the middle of a fight. For these reasons only the pilots with the most experience and the steadiest nerves dared to use it. Wolf Bronsky's personal Algernon Upgrade was a Multiple Warhead Plasma Grenade Launcher.
- Exofighter Space E-frame #CR-001. One of the few "flight-only" E-frames in the Exofleet, #CR-001 was incapable of ground combat, so its functions were primarily space and atmospheric reconnaissance and battle. Kaz Takagi was the only member of the Able Squad to use one of these and his #CR-001 was upgraded with a Holographic Decoy System that confused the enemies and left them open to an attack.
- The toy versions of E-frames were the subject of a law suit. The decision concluded that
- Playmates made a conscious business decision that it could proceed with the development of its EXO-SQUAD toy line after it had been given access to the BATTLETECH designs without the necessity or cost of obtaining a license from FASA. After extensive and undoubtedly costly litigation this business decision has been found by this Court not to violate FASA's legal rights. Nevertheless, this Court believes that the facts of this case do not warrant the imposition of any costs upon FASA for seeking to vindicate its legally protectible rights. This case is dismissed with prejudice with both sides to bear their own costs.