A recon and strike BattleMech developed during the Golden Age, the Shadow Hawk is a powerful fusion of maneuverability and firepower. With long-range missiles and class-5 autocannon for ranged combat and SRMs and lasers for close in work, the Shadow Hawk outguns many BattleMechs in its weight class. Jump jets enhance an already speedy BattleMechs ability to bring its guns to bear and keep better-armed enemies at range. A superior BattleMech for commanding a reconnaissance company or serving as a spotter for heavy and assault lances the Shadow Hawk is a proven and capable design that has served with distinction for five centuries.
The Shadow Hawk as mentioned above carries a varied, but effective, mix of weapons. Primary among them is the Armstrong J11 Autocannon 5. This weapon as well as the Holly LRM 5 launcher provide the Shadow hawk with good long range striking capabilities. When the Shadow Hawk closes to shorter ranges it can bring to bear its Holly SRM 2 launcher and its Martell Medium Laser which can generally finish off most 'Mechs of its own weight class or smaller that might have survived the mixed autocannon and LRM fire.
- SHD-2K - The 2K Shadow Hawk dramatically overhauls the chassis by replacing all original armaments, save the LRM 5, with a Donal PPC and extra heat sinks. This House Kurita specialty became one of the deadliest units of the Succession Wars.
- SHD-2D - The 2D looks to increase the close range capabilities of the Shadow Hawk in a great cost in armor. The 2D reduces the armor protection by five tons and adds a second SRM 2 launcher and an additional Medium Laser
- SHD-2D2 - The 2D2 is an upgrade of the 2D Shadow Hawk. This upgrade of the 2D upgrades the SRM 2 launchers to Streak models and carries a total of 6.5 tons of armor. Otherwise it is identical to the 2D Shadow Hawk
- SHD-5D - The 5D Shadow Hawk 5D is a newer Davion upgrade to this design. The 5D utilizes the new Rotary Autocannon 5 and also carries two Medium Lasers and a Streak SRM 4. In addition the 'Mech uses an Endo Steel chassis carries 9.5 tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor with CASE.
- SHD-5M - The 5M Shadow Hawk is the first complete overhaul and upgrade of the design. The chassis has been upgraded to Endo Steel, the engine is an extralight version, and the weapons load has undergone an almost complete renovation. The 'Mech uses double heat sinks, carries 10.5 tons of armor with CASE and is armed with an Ultra Autocannon 5, LRM 20 launcher, Streak SRM 2, and a Medium Laser. In addition the jumping distance is now a full 150 meters.
- SHD-7CS - The 7CS is an electronics heavy high tech upgrade of the Shadow Hawk. The 'Mech carries an Ultra Autocannon 5, LRM 15 launcher mated to an Artemis IV fire control system and two Extended Range Medium Lasers. This is all linked to an improved c3 computer. The 'Mech has 10.5 tons of armor, is built with an Endo Steel chassis, and uses an extralight engine.
- SHD-7M - The 7M Shadow Hawk uses one of the newest technologies available in the Free Worlds League. The 'Mech is built using an Endo Steel chassis with 10.5 tons of standard armor with CASE. The 7M carries a Light Gauss Rifle, LRM 15, Streak SRM 2, and a Medium Laser.
- Shadow Hawk IIC and Shadow Hawk (C) - The SLDF took several examples of the Shadow Hawk with them on their exodus. The Clans eventually upgraded several of the old SHD-2H 'Mechs with clan technology creating the Shadow Hawk (C) and eventually completely redesigned the Shadow Hawk and made the Shadow Hawk IIC
Grayson "Death" Carlyle piloted a Shadow Hawk during the death of Carlyle's Commandos and the infancy of the Gray Death Legion, he and this particular chassis proved itself over and over again during the liberation of Verthandi in 3024.