Advanced Recon Commandos, also known as Advanced Recon Clone troopers or simply ARC troopers, were elite forces of clone troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars.
During the early stages of the clone army's development, Jango Fett and his Mandalorian military advisors advocated the creation of clones capable of handling covert missions too delicate for the standard units. To achieve the desired results, the Kaminoans did not apply the standard behavior correction and enhanced the Prime Clone's genetic sample to increase physical prowess.
The first attempt at genetic alterations failed, resulting in the Null-class ARC troopers. Having learned their lesson, the Kaminoans succeeded in their second attempt, generating the first 100 ARC troopers, designated Alpha-class.
After completing standard flash training and accelerated growth, these clones were placed under the direct tutelage of Jango Fett. Under Fett's strict discipline they learned to use their fierce independence, innate creativity and physical superiority in combination with their training in advanced weapons and vehicles to become one-man armies. After completing their training, the ARC troopers were locked in stasis on Kamino until they were required.
Two months after the Battle of Geonosis, a Confederacy assault on Kamino prompted their early activation. As droid detachments closed in on Tipoca City, Prime Minister Lama Su, activated the ARCs and authorized their deployment to hot-spots across Kamino in a last-ditch effort to save the planet's precious cloning facilities. The ARCs worked with a force of Jedi to repel the droid forces.
Following the First Battle of Kamino, the ARCs were integrated into the Grand Army of the Republic. As the ARCs took their place in the larger world, they developed distinct personalities due to their unaltered nature; some gave themselves names, others formed relationships outside the GAR. Once integrated, ARCs worked as solo operatives or in small squads led by ARC captains, either performing self-contained missions or supplementing larger GAR operations.
The ARC tradition did not end with the death of Jango Fett in 22 BBY. Following his escape from Rattatak in early 20 BBY, Alpha-17, one of the earliest ARCs, returned to Kamino to train the second generation clone commanders as Fett had trained him. These commanders, like Bacara and Cody, adopted the individualized practices of the ARCs and brought a new sense of creativity to the GAR.
Created early in the war, ARC troopers wore Phase I armor with command pauldrons and kamas. As such, they used the standard color striping to indicate rank. All known ARCs were either blue-striped lieutenants or red-striped captains.
While each mission profile required different loadout, ARC troopers were commonly armed with the Westar-M5 heavy repeating blaster, ARC trooper assault rifl, DC-17 hand blasters, and fragmentation and reverse-polarity pulse grenades. When heavier firepower was required, ARCs donned specialized armor to bear the weight of reciprocating quad blasters, PLX-1 missile launchers, or Z-6 rotary blaster cannons.
ARCs received training that gave them access to vehicles which usually requires a specialized clone trooper to operate. To enhance ground range and mobility, ARCs made use of the BARC speeder, named for the Biker Advanced Recon Commandos who used it. For small squad operations, Advanced Recon Commando pilots piloted LAAT gunships to drop units behind enemy lines. Advanced Recon Commando heavy gunners used heavy weapons.