The standard-issue rifle for the Mobile Infantry in early stage of the First Bug War, the Morita Assault Rifle, is actually the only infantry weapon used prior to the Second Battle of Klendathu. The Morita was eventually replaced with Morita II Assault Rifles and E-pulse 44 Rifle.
The Morita comes in three variants; the standard variant includes an under-slung shotgun.
The second version mounts a scope on the standard rifle and is issued (apparently in very small numbers) to the designated squad marksman.
The third variant is a carbine version which is shorter, lighter and lacks a shotgun. The carbine is given to unit leaders and fleet personnel for use.
Level of TechnologyEdit
The rifle, while it could be considered a reasonably formidable weapon by today's standards, is extremely ill-suited for the type of combat that the MI is engaged in: while it is an effective anti-human weapon, the standard-issue Morita is a poor weapon against Arachnids.
Aside from more radical technologies such as electronic firing systems, mass drivers and energy weapons, the Mobile Infantry eschews even relatively minor upgrades such as caseless rounds (although different Morita variants have been created with scopes and grenade launchers), opting instead for 20th-century ammunition and relatively ineffective under-slung shotguns. However, one of the advantages that the Morita has is its extremely high magazine capacity, which allows a soldier to carry hundreds of bullets unhindered. The Morita can punch a hole through two inches of Titanium, likely due to its long barrel and high-caliber ammunition, but this in turn would produce immensely high recoil and limit its overall usefulness. Another factor for the Mobile Infantry being poor shooters is that the Morita assault rifles and carbines lack basic "iron sights", which affects and reduces their marksmanship skills considerably. This may be why MI come off as such poor shots and take so long to kill Warrior Bugs. Despite these obvious flaws, the Mobile Infantry are still immensely proud of their signature weapon.
The Morita rifle has a "Bullpup" configuration in which the action and magazine are located behind the trigger, increasing barrel length and permitting a shorter weapon, saving weight and increasing maneuverability. The rifle uses 7.62x51mm ammunition (.308 caliber), which explains the rifles' size, range and power. Theoretically, the rounds may be made from more advanced materials such as carbide or composites. The magazines have a 160 round capacity and the weapon itself can be set to semi- or fully automatic fire. The standard add-on is the 8 gauge 3.5" 16 round semi-automatic shotgun. (In the first film there is a brief mention that the Italian arms dealer "Beretta" makes these rifles.)
The weapon performs even worse in practice due to the MI's poor tactics. While they were trained well enough to fight humans, the soldiers were completely unprepared against the Arachnids' wave rushes and thus were forced to respond by forming their own - much less effective considering how heavily outnumbered they were.That said, vague orders ranging from "kill anything with more than two legs" to "find a Bug hole, and nuke it" saw the unfortunate troops running up to a much larger group of Warriors, firing wildly, then running away as they were ripped to shreds. Likewise, defeating larger Bugs required insane daredevil stunts like throwing a grenade into a Tanker's mouth or climbing onto its back. The MI also gave no concern to ammunition conservation (even shooting corpses at times) despite carrying very little ammunition and no reliable backup weapons aside from the much-neglected underslung shotgun. The shotgun is used on only two occasions despite its ability to take down a Warrior with a single shot, while the rifle itself can take at least half a magazine (at least the way it used). Unfortunately during the landing, many of the MI troops forgot to aim for the nerve stems of the Warriors, giving the bugs more time to advance on the MI squads.
Finally, the MI receive no support apart from their nukes and the occasional airstrike, which can be as dangerous to them as to the Bugs. Given the fact that most of the planets in the Klendathu system were extremely rocky, effective use of tanks and other armored vehicles would be limited.
As of Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, set 6 years in the future, MI tactics seem to have improved, along with the new TAS. The MI have adopted the Firing By Rank technique heavily used by 19th century rifle men. This tactic is known to be very effective in holding defensive lines against "wave" style attacks. The first rank fires until ammunition is depleted, then the second rank moves forward and opens fire, the first rank reloads and then moves forward and the cycle continues literally creating a endless wall of fire. This allows MI to actually drive back waves of warriors.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- The full-auto live firing Morita Assualt Rifle in the first movie contained a Ruger AC556k assault rifle in 5.56 mm NATO calibre and an Ithaca M37 12-gauge Pump-Action Shotgun. Semi-auto firing Moritas contained a Ruger Mini-14 rifle in 5.56 mm NATO (A.K.A. .223 Remington) calibre and the Ithaca M37. The live firing Morita Carbines (used by Fleet Troopers and Mobile Infantry Officers) only contained a Mini-14 rifle and no shotgun. The smaller caliber 5.56mm cartridge would be even more ill-suited to fight bugs than 7.62mm ammunition.
- The Morita Assault Rifle is an excellent example of the film's satire — intentional or not.
- Starship Troopers (1997 film, First Appearance)
- Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy
- Starship Troopers (2005 video game)