Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blood & Chrome

The new webcast series starts November 9th.

Of course this means new information about the Cylon War.  New ships and designs means that current information on Colonial Headquarters may have to be retconed, please keep an eye on future posts and updates.

So say we all !

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The miracle of Tylium

Created in the furnaces of dying supermassive stars the rare Tylium mineral ore was discovered about two centuries ago by deep space probes looking for raw materials in asteroids.  The ore was found to have unique properties the most important of which was its very high enthalpy of combustion, far higher than that generated by nuclear fusion.  Due to its complex atomic structure, Tylium ore is easily rendered inert by nuclear radiation.

As fuel Tylium was unparalleled.  It was more efficient than any other method previously used in starship designs.  It gave Colonial ships an substantial range boost.  It allowed the development of rapid long-range fighters and freed ships from the relatively slow sublight ion drives that had been used previously.

As an explosive Tylium also beat the competition.  Only nuclear weapons were more effective.  When used as propellant for KEW guns or missiles it offered greater velocities than magnetic railguns.  When used as warheads it offered a devastating yield without the radiation of atomic warheads.

Tylium opened new opportunities in space travel and greatly improved the fighting capacity of the Colonial Fleet.  It allowed the development of the Battlestar and gave Colonial warriors the tools to meet the Cylons head on and defeat them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Battlestar Profile 021 : BS 101 Heracles Class Battlestar Heracles

Many designs in the fleet are derivatives of Battlestar hulls, the Heracles, which was built shortly before the end of the Cylon War, was actually based on the Charybdis class Gunstar.  Superficially the Heracles resembles the Columbia class, but it is much larger and has six main engines instead of the four seen on the Columbias.

A very potent design, the Heracles was built on the frame of what would originally be the Gunstar Keres.  The modified hull included two retractable flight pods, replacing the two broadside turret galleries, typical of the Charybdis.

The Heracles was in its day, the most heavily armed and armoured Battlestar in service during the Cylon War.  She was paired with Battlestars Thera and Aurora in BG 101.  She fought the Picon rearguard campaign and at one point single-handedly engaged five Cylon Basestars destroying three and damaging two.  She received 3 campaign stars and is still in service today.

Unfortunately the Heracles was an outdated design.  Her huge size meant that she had the second largest crew of any Battlestar save the Titans with up to 9000 crew.  Maintenance is a logistical nightmare and until a complete refit was done after the war, the flight pods were prone to malfunctions and could not always be retracted, though the Battlestar could jump with them extended, they were often damaged in the process.  Attempts to rebuild the Heracles class with fixed pods and reduce the crew requirements were considered, but never implemented.

Plans had been drafted to build twelve Heracles class Battlestars, only four were built, a fifth was laid down, but scrapped when the War ended.  The Delphis and Nike were ultimately scrapped after the war and only the Heracles and Colchys survive to this day.  Some improvements were made over the years and despite their shortcomings the Heracles and her sister have taken a place of pride in the Fleet often acting as ambassadors on goodwill missions.

Heracles has recently been refitted with new computers running the CNP navigation software.  It is expected that this will add at least another decade to her active service.  The Colchys is currently laid up at the Scorpia shipyards awaiting a decision from Colonial Headquarters to upgrade her.  Some have speculated that the Colchys will not be refitted and join the reserve or may even be scrapped.

Commander : Commander James Delos
XO : Colonel Risza Theremin
CAG : Captain Lyta Feros
Complement : 12-14 squadrons of fighters, up to 40 Raptors
Armament : 2 Mjolnir Two heavy forward batteries, 46 Thunderbolt-10 twin turrets, 1180 Artemis CIWS.  14 missile bays.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Battlestar

Battlestars were designed to fulfil both the roles of a battleship and carrier.  As a result most Battlestars follow the same design pattern, a large bow, a main hull from which two or more flight pods extend and an engine section.

The bow contains the CIC, usually at a central point, far away from potential harm.  Around the CIC, we find the various crew areas for bridge officers, Marines and various other crews.  Crew facilities, such as mess halls, sports facilities and recreational zones are also located in those areas.  Further out we find storage areas, backup generators, the DRADIS and sensor clusters as well as the secondary bridge, mainly used for manoeuvring and docking.

The prow of the Battlestar is often one of the most heavily armoured areas as it can be turned to face the enemy, especially by Battlestars equipped with forward batteries.  Heavily compartmented, with crew facilities and stations often located in the deepest parts of the ship, Battlestars can take a large amount of damage before their ability to function is impaired.

The main hull contains storage areas and bunk rooms for pilots and flight crew as well as engineering personnel.  In the earliest Battlestars, pilots would bunk together as this was said to reinforce their "esprit de corps".  In recent years some Battlestars put pilots in small staterooms, shared by 2-4 pilots in an attempt to give them a small measure of privacy.  The main hull often features ammo stores for the turrets.  The ammo stores are buried deep inside the ship and ammo is brought to the guns by a series of elevators, these heavily reinforced constructions act as firewalls and prevent accidental detonation of ammo from spreading to other parts of the ship.  Walkways and small trains connect the hull to the rest of the ship.  The main hull often had to accommodate the machinery that would allow the flight pods of older Battlestars to retract before a jump and also provide passage points to transfer spacecraft from one pod to the other if this is deemed necessary.

Flight pods contain one or more magnetized landing decks, elevators, repair and maintenance facilities and fighter launch tubes.  Most pods have weapons mounted on them and maintain their own separate ammo storage facilities.  Despite their size flight pods have limited space and the various crews are often at odds with each other when it comes to space allocation.  The flight decks are important as they allow fighter crews to land very quickly when a Battlestar is about to jump.  Without this deck, landings would take far too long, a dangerous prospect in a combat situation.  Because of the need to move fighters and equipment around, flight pods are often poorly compartimented, making them vulnerable when attacked.  Modern Battlestars have emergency bulkheads that close only when the situation becomes critical.  Older Battlestars often had to do without such safeties with a tragic loss of life in most cases.

The engine section contains the massive thrusters, generators and jump coils that allow Battlestars to fight and function in deep space.  The massive thrusters are kept running by a small army of technicians, some of which bunk in the engine section, ready to perform maintenance at any time.  A vital part of the the Battlestar's systems are the jump coils, most Battlestars will have at least two, though a few may have up to four coils, allowing them to jump even if other coils have discharged or are offline.

Many Battlestars are built from standardized components shared with other ships, cutting down costs and allowing for more variation in design without sacrificing production capacity.  The Atlantia class was famous for sharing its basic hull design with many different ships such as gunstars and missilestars.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Battlestar Profile 020 : Starslayer Class Gunstar Daemon

The Daemon is one of the most recent Gunstars to come into service.  Bristling with guns, the Daemon concentrates a lot of firepower in a compact package.  A distinctive feature is the lack of Fighter capacity.  Aside from a number of shuttles and Raptors, the Daemon must rely on the fighter cap of other vessels to protect her.  Indeed the Daemon is designed to operate in Battlestar Groups with other ships providing support so that the Daemon can concentrate on her main job.

This lean design is surprisingly well armed and can deliver both devastating broadsides and attack head on with its twin heavy KEW guns, an updated version of the ones mounted on the Atlas class Battlestars.  The powerful engines make her one of the fastest ships in the Fleet able to keep up with almost any ship currently in service.  The compact design also makes her very nimble with a very small turning circle.

Because she doesn't require extensive internal facilities, the Daemon has fairly spacious crew accommodation and could be called luxurious compared to some older ships in the fleet.  Most crew members have their own staterooms or share one with their stationmates.  As is common practice in the fleet the Marines do bunk in a dormitory, as this is believed to further their camaraderie and fighting spirit.

The Daemon was commissioned several years ago and has been operating mostly with BSG 62 under Admiral Cain who is a firm believer in a show of force along the Armistice Line to deter any possible Cylon aggression.

Her commander is Dianna Gelta, a veteran of the Service and daughter of the highly decorated Lydia Gelta, who distinguished herself during the Cylon War. Though a classmate and very close friend of Cain, she failed to match the Admiral's meteoric career, but has remained a strong supporter of the Admiral and her policies.

Commander : Dianna Gelta
XO : Colonel Dirk Sandurz
Complement : 4 Raptors, 4 Shuttles
Armament : 2 Mjolnir II heavy forward batteries, 7 Victory 33 twin turrets, 50 Victory 22 twin turrets, 18 Victory 18 twin turrets 620 Raiden Type 212 CIWS

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Second Cylon War (Part I)

The Second Cylon War began with a massive surprise strike against the Colonies by the Cylons.  Nearly all Colonies were attacked at the same time, a quarter of the fleet was destroyed in the early hours and civilian losses ran into the tens of millions.

Many Battlestars found their systems disabled during the fighting, seemingly remotely switched off by the Cylons using a backdoor in the Command Navigation Program.  This vulnerability meant the loss of hundreds of ships in the initial engagement.  Only a handful of Colonial ships had not been upgraded with the CNP, while others were saved by a faulty update, which by sheer coincidence prevented the Cylons from accessing the targeted ships, though many were lost to sleeper viruses and logic bombs later on.

For three days the Colonial fleet fought for the survival of Humanity.  By which time nearly half the Fleet was lost, but the Cylons withdrew with substantial losses and the Colonies struggled to regroup.

One of the first casualties of the war was President Adar.  Many other cabinet members were killed or severely injured, leaving the secretary of the Treasury as the new President.

Within days reserves were called up and tens of thousands of volunteers joined up with the Fleet, reserve ships were hastily rearmed and refurbished and long range patrols were sent deep into Cylon space.

The fact that the Cylons had been able to attack all Colonies simultaneously, meant that they had an increased jump range and that no system was safe from attack.  Extending the safe zone would be the primary concern for the Fleet in order to buy the extra vital minutes to prepare defences in case of another attack.

Meanwhile the Fleet prepared a strike force that would look for the Cylon homeworld and annihilate the Cylon presence once and for all.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Battlestar Profile 019 : BSG 175 Pandemonium Class Battlestar Pandemonium

Designed at the height of the Cylon War the Titan Class Battlestars are the largest and most powerful ships in the Colonial Fleet.  Completed after the Armistice they have often been criticized for being too big and costly, lingering fear of renewed hostilities with the Cylons saved them from the scrapheap, but as time moves on, rising costs and budget cuts are increasingly threatening the Titans.

The immediate post-war trend of increased ship size was reversed nearly three decades ago with a return to  Battlestars of a more moderate size, incorporating advanced technology making them just as potent as their larger counterparts, it seemed it would only be a matter of time before the larger vessels would be a thing of the past, until the introduction of the Nova Class.  Designed as Fleet command ships, the Nova Class, while not as massive as the Titans, it is significantly larger than the Mercury Class, long considered to be the modern mainstay of the Colonial Fleet.

With an eye on the impending demise of the Titans and the need to replace their massive firepower, a new Novastar, the Pandemonium was recently launched for trials.  This highly unusual Battlestar mounts three separate flight pods, allowing the Pandemonium to handle 16 Squadrons of Vipers with room to spare and up to 20+ in wartime conditions.

Another unusual feature is the lack of turrets.  The Pandemonium relies on its fighters and massive forward battery to deal with any threat, backed up by an impressive CWIS array.  The theory being that the forward battery allows the Pandemonium to stand off enemy vessels while offering a lower target profile.  A number of turrets are mounted in the flight pods.

Despite being nearly as long as a Titan, the Pandemonium is much lighter and requires a much smaller crew of around 3500, comparable to the original crew complement of an Atlantia Class Battlestar.

Fleet headquarters are reluctant to give this class the go-ahead, hoping to retain the Titans as long as possible, but they are facing increased political pressure to yield to the Pandemonium.

The Pandemonium has performed well on its initial trial runs.  The flight pod array has been described as unusual, but elegant, giving the Pandemonium a fast, sleek and menacing appearance.  There are some concerns that the relatively limited number of turrets might put the Pandemonium at a disadvantage should enemy ships attack from the sides and rear.  A change in armament is being studied and could be implemented on the next vessel, possibly leading to a completely new class and leaving the Pandemonium as the sole example of her class.

Commander : Commander Warren Langley
XO : Colonel Jordan Vallenor
CAG : Captain Sam Tipper
Complement :  16-20 Viper Squadrons and up to 50 Raptors
Armament : 5 Deathbolt XXX Forward batteries, 3 Starfire rapid fire forward batteries, 2 Broadsword heavy forward batteries.  16 double turrets, 980 Derlam Shield II heavy quad CWIS, 1240 Derlam Shield III heavy double CWIS.  28 missile bays.