The workhorse of mercenary bands throughout the galaxy, the Mantis is a two-man, vectored-thrust aircraft that excels in close air support roles. Highly modular in construction, the Mantis can be reconfigured as a low-altitude gunship, a fighter, a high-altitude bomber, or even a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane that can engage enemy craft around a planet or space station. The only role that the Mantis cannot perform is that of a true deep-space fighter, as it has no FTL drive.
First rolled off the assembly lines in 2170, the Mantis remains in service in dozens of armies across the galaxy. It is most commonly used as air support in pitched ground battles, in a configuration that sports two pods for Inferno PKRs (Precision Kill Rockets) and a chin-mounted M350 mass accelerator cannon. Its kinetic barriers, thermal decoy system, and electronic countermeasures suite make the Mantis far less vulnerable to surface-to-air attacks than previous generations of aircraft. Like most modern planes, the Mantis uses an element zero core to ease the load of the engines with a mass effect field, allowing it to take off vertically or hover in place using minimum fuel. This also gives it far greater range and speed than the helicopters and jump-jet aircraft that once filled its niche -- a Mantis can take off from Baton Rouge, reach Moscow in a few hours, fly a ground attack mission, and return home before having to refuel.