For 20 years, the standard "battle taxi" of the Systems Alliance Marines was the M29 "Grizzly" Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). While excellent in long-term planetary campaigns, the Grizzly's bulk and weight made it unsuitable for rapid deployment across the Alliance's expanding sphere of influence. To fill this increasingly important role, the M35 "Mako" IFV was designed to fit in the small cargo bays of Alliance scouting frigates. The M35's small size and low weight allow it to be easily deployed to virtually any world.
Since Alliance marines may be required to fight in a variety of planetary environments, the Mako is environmentally sealed and powered by a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell. For deployment on low-gravity planetoids, it is equipped with micro-thrusters and a small element zero core, which can be used to increase mass and provide greater traction.
The "eezo" core can also be used to reduce mass, allowing the Mako to be safely air-dropped. This allows frigates to deploy their shore parties while limiting the ship's exposure to defensive anti-aircraft artillery. When used in conjunction with thrusters, mass reduction allows the Mako to extricate itself from difficult terrain.
The Mako's hull is covered with laser detection arrays, which forewarn the crew of enemy laser-guided ordnance. Ground-penetrating radar allows detection of anti-vehicle mines and other subsurface anomalies. These will be brought to the attention of the crew by the vehicle's micro-frame computer system.
Several combat support vehicles using the Mako's basic chassis are manufactured for Alliance surface garrisons. These include a recon drone controller, a mobile air defense platform, and the M38 military ambulance nicknamed "Moby" because it is painted white during peacekeeping operations. Shipboard Marines exclusively use the tactically flexible and heavily armed base model.