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A Mobile Anti-Air (MAA) vehicle (aka Anti-Air Artillery, Triple A, Air Defense) is a self-propelled artillery piece that is used to repel or defeat enemy aircraft using cannons or guided missiles. Although land-locked and much less mobile than aircraft, it can make use of nearby terrain to supplement its armor and specialized weapons.
Though not designed for use against ground armor or infantry, MAA vehicles can defend themselves against infantry or supplement a ground attack. Certain vehicles can also damage ground armor.
Mobile anti-air vehicles first appear in Battlefield Vietnam, with two seats for a driver and gunner. They are only lightly armored, and thus highly vulnerable against tanks.
In Battlefield 2, the driver now operates the anti-air weapons, while the passenger uses his own kit.
Battlewalkers replace the anti-air role formerly filled by wheeled or tracked vehicles. As the game's iconic vehicle, they appear on all maps in all available gamemodes except Infantry-Only.
While the driver's weapons are designed for ground attack, the gunner can use an air-facing autocannon and guided EMP missiles. The walker's bipedal movements make aiming difficult for the gunner, so the operator should remain stationary when possible and alert at all times.
Battlewalkers have very durable armor, and can hold their own against tanks at close range using anti-armor swarm missiles. However the same missiles are inaccurate at long range, giving tanks the advantage. Underneath the walker body, friendly infantry can take cover from air, while enemy infantry can attack weak points with any weapon.
Battlefield: Bad Company series
The BMD-3 Bakhcha AA is the only mobile anti-air vehicle that appears in the Bad Company series. It is only usable in certain singleplayer missions, and on a few maps in BFBC2's multiplayer.
Mobile anti-air vehicles in Battlefield 3 are single-seat vehicles initially equipped with a high RPM air defense weapon. MAAs can inflict significant damage against distant air vehicles with sufficient target leading, and can often destroy closer threats in one burst.
Anti-air missiles and other gadgets must be unlocked through progression. Aside from weapons, anti-air vehicles can unlock most other gadgets available to ground vehicles. MAAs can also unlock Air Radar, allowing them to more easily find distant air targets.
Anti-air vehicles can inflict damage against other armored vehicles, albeit at a very slow rate. In a direct conflict, an MAA user can potentially disable a main battle tank before being itself destroyed, or destroy a disabled vehicle with sustained fire.
It is less effective against dismounted infantry, but can quickly suppress them. Despite the high volume of fire, only shots along the bore axis (represented by the center dot on the operator's reticle) are counted for damage. Against infantry, a single AA "hit" inflicts only light damage. This can lead to situations where infantry caught in the open successfully evade an attacking MAA.
On PCs, MAAs appear on the larger Conquest maps (Caspian Border, Kharg Island,Operation Firestorm, and Wake Island 2014), and on Noshahr Canals and Wake Island 2014 in Rush. On consoles, MAAs appear on Rush for the 360 and on Conquest for the PS3.
Light anti-air vehicle
The Endgame DLC added light anti-air vehicles based on each faction's light armored transport. By default, they possess Anti-Air Missiles, Rocket Pods, and a missile warning system. They do not gain unlocks via progression.
Ammo for the two weapon systems is "shared", with each pair of unguided rockets being exchangeable for a single anti-air missile. The system takes time to ready itself each time the gunner position is occupied, and automatically stows itself when the position is vacated. Thus, two occupants can utilize the vehicle more effectively than a single soldier.
The unguided rockets are much more powerful than those available for air vehicles, being able to critically damage or destroy other ground vehicles in one salvo. They have a slight drop over distance, and are comparable in speed to air vehicle rockets.
Compared to light transports, the light AA vehicles are more maneuverable, but otherwise have similar damage models, with open doors greatly compromising the vehicles' integrity.
Mobile anti-air vehicles return in Battlefield 4. Compared to Battlefield 3, MAA's are much more effective against aircraft and close-range infantry. They still have few options against other ground vehicles, but may gain the ability to use Zuni Rockets.
With more ways to travel by water, the MAA's ability to travel on water is more prominent than in Battlefield 3. Aim while afloat is affected by the vehicle's slight rocking motion.
- In Battlefield 3, the Mobile AA vehicle portrayed on the Service Star 1 and 5 dog tags is an M163 Vulcan.
- In Battlefield 4, the soldiers will sometimes call the Mobile Anti Aircraft "an enemy tank", instead of the correct "Anti Aircraft" term.