Sunday, October 25, 2009

Starship classes

Battlestar : Battlestars are the main ships of the line in the Colonial Fleet.  They carry a heavy armament and a large complement of fighter squadrons as well as a full complement of Marines and ground combat vehicles.  As a result Battlestars can act simultaneously as battleships, carriers and mobile operation bases.  Battlestars are designed to operate independently from other ships for extended periods.  Smaller Battlestars are meant for reconnaissance, deep strikes and providing support to other ships.  Larger Battlestars are often fleet command ships and carry one or more wings of fighters and different types of other craft such as assault ships, bombers, attack shuttles and gunships.  The largest Battlestars are sometimes referred to as Warstars.  Flagship Battlestars are sometimes referred to as Novastars.  The term Battlestar is an abbreviation of Battlestarship.

Gunstar : Foregoing fighter facilities for extra guns, they are designed to destroy enemy capital ships using their often formidable firepower.  Lacking fighters they are usually paired with Battlestars and Escortstars or are used to defend shipyards and other facilities.  The largest Gunstars are often referred to as Dreadstars.  There are two main types of Gunstars, the first type is armed with powerful forward guns and engages the enemy head on, while the second type carries its heavy armament along the ship sides to deliver broadside salvoes at the enemy, hence the term "Broadside Gunstar", they can also be referred to as a Meleestar.

Missilestars : While most ships in the fleet have missile bays of some kind, the Missilestar is designed to provide a versatile missile capability to any flotilla.  Missilestars rely on their heavy missiles to engage enemy ships or ground targets.  Warheads vary from conventional Tylium to nuclear anti warship weapons.  They also carry anti-fighter and anti- missile, providing critical extra flak facilities to protect other ships.  The ability of Cylons to jam and hijack missiles has greatly slowed development of missiles in the Colonial Fleet.

Strikestar : Strikestars are smaller than most Battlestars and Gunstars.  Most have a limited fighter capacity, mostly for defensive purposes, and lack the heavy armour of Battlestars.  They are primarily used as Battlestar escorts or for patrolling in areas that do not warrant the deployment of a full sized Battlestar.  Strikestars are the most likely to see service on a day to day basis, reserving Battlestars for major military operations.

Escortstar : Early Battlestars lacked extensive fighter repair facilities.  Light carriers and tenders were used to provide a fresh supply of fighters and other craft to keep the Battlestar fully operational.  With the advent of larger, more advanced Battlestars with their own fighter production capacity, the need for Escortstars has somewhat diminished, but they are still vital to replenish stocks in times of war when losses may exceed a Battlestar's repair facilities.  In times of peace Escortstars are sometimes used as patrol ships relying on their fighter squadrons to survey a sector.  Escortstars were not meant to engage other capital ships and only have limited defensive weaponry.

Skirmishstars : These light support craft are the mainstay of the Colonial Fleet and the Orbital Guard.  They are the most likely to deal with pirates, smugglers and other problems.  They also escort convoys and supply vessels as well as Battlestars.  Most Battlestar Groups will have several of these ships providing escort and recon duties in some cases up to dozens of craft.

Stealthstar : The term is applied to both small craft and larger ships.  Stealthstars are designed to have a minimal dradis signature and rely on passive data acquisition.  They are meant for infiltration and information gathering rather than combat.  Some smaller Battlestars such as the Valhalla and Nightstar class have limited Stealth capability.  Small craft Stealthstars are used in a similar manner, while their size allows them to pass off as space debris.

Other, sometimes older terms have been used in an informal manner over the years in and outside of the Service.  This was more prevalent in the early days of the Colonial Fleet and the Cylon War when many older vessels were still in service and new Colonial ships with a similar profile would be named as such.

Battlestar Profile 005 : BSG 8 Atlantia Class Battlestar Athena

The Athena is one of the most famous of the early Battlestars.  During the first Battle for Caprica, the Athena jumped into the middle of a furious melee involving several Battlestars and a massive Cylon assault force.  Her sudden appearance shocked the Cylons long enough for Colonial forces to regroup and defeat the Cylon armada.  After her tour on the line, she was sent to drydock and completely upgraded to a Columbia Class configuration with full hull plating, improved FTL engines and refurbished armament.

A highly decorated ship, she accompanied Admiral Murata's fleet for the assault on the main Cylon shipyards.  Unfortunately Murata fell into a Cylon trap.  The loss of 9 Battlestars is still remembered as the Blackest Day of the Fleet.  The destruction of the Athena could not be confirmed and she remains listed as Missing in Action, presumed destroyed.  Some have suggested that she was captured by the Cylons and used to work out new methods to destroy Colonial Battlestars.  The loss of the Columbia in the final hours of the war is seen as possible proof.

The name of Athena is still used by some in the Colonial Fleet as a rallying cry, much in the same way as the Kobol.  In honour of her heroic past a newly laid down Mercury Class will bear the name and carry on her tradition.

The Athena follows the design patterns of the Atlantia and Columbia classes.  Several improvements made to the Athena were retrofitted to older Battlestars.

Commander : Commander Maximilian Brenner
XO : Colonel Lara Ithares
CAG : Major Ferenc Draco
Complement : Up to 6 squadrons of fighters, up to 25 Raptors
Armament : 24 Thunderbolt 2 twin turrets, 514 Balista CIWS, 12 missile bays.

Battlestar Profile 004 : BSG 107 Valhalla Class Battlestar Aegir

The Aegir is the 17th and final vessel of her class.  Designed as an advanced light Battlestar, suitable for reconnaissance and deep strike operations, stealth, speed, range and sophisticated electronics were put before firepower and fighter capacity.

The Valhalla came at a time where every new Battlestar class was bigger than the previous one.  The enormous cost of running such leviathans began to weigh heavily on the Colonial budget, especially when memories of the war began to fade and politicians turned their attention to areas neglected during the conflict with the Cylons.  The Valhalla was a radical change of design policy and allowed new, carefully selected electronics, protected by the latest in firewall technology, giving this class capabilities not seen since before the Cylon War.  Lower maintenance costs appealed to beancounting bureaucrats overseeing the Fleet budget, while new weapons and design gave good results for the military.  One notable feature of the Valhalla are her dual purpose guns, capable of firing conventional ship to ship missiles or class A tactical nukes.

The Aegir is the last of her class to be commissioned, she set the final standard to which most Valhalla will be upgraded in the coming years.  Many improvements are now used in the latest Nightstar Battlestars.  She was one of the first ships to receive the new CNP program, resulting in significant navigational improvements.  Other improvements include a redesigned ammunition storage, simplified engine maintenance and better fuel efficiency.  The advanced technology makes the Aegir a deadly ship, without having to rely on raw firepower.  This well-rounded package has made it a popular ship only third to the Mercury and Nova Class.

Commander : Commander Julius Donner
XO : Lieutenant-Colonel Armand Di Lorenzo
CAG : Captain Paul Bathory
Complement : 4-6 squadrons of fighters, up to 10 Raptors
Armament : 35 Harpoon-series K dual purpose twin turrets, 14 Avenger light twin turrets, 120 Phalanx B CIWS, 6 missile bays.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Battlestar Profile 003 TF 12 Charybdis Class Dreadstar Tiamat

This heavy Dreadstar features sleek compact lines designed to show its heavy armour and massive guns to the fullest.  This intimidating design was meant to be the Colonial Fleet's main Basestar destroyer.

The Charybdis class was upon her introduction, larger and more heavily armoured than any other ship in the Fleet, including the Battlestars.  It featured a fearsome arsenal of KEW turrets arranged in two broadside arrays for a total of 64 heavy turrets.  Originally designed to carry up to four squadrons of fighters, albeit in cramped conditions, most Charybdis use this space for more ammunition storage, especially on extended missions.  The landing bay located in the front of the ship also makes landings during combat quite hazardous.  Usually assigned to a Battlestar Group for combat operations it rarely is found without her own powerful escort of Skirmishstars and auxiliary craft.

The Tiamat is part of Task Force 12, which operates in the Picon-Leonis sector and provides the Honour Guard for the Picon Fleet Headquarters.  Built after the Cylon War, she is a fearsome, but still untested ship having only fired her guns in anger in the orbital bombardment of the Erisian Terrorist Cult compound on Helios Four.

Commander : Commander Harry "Bear" Donal
XO : Colonel Maris Ballastra
Complement : up to 12 raptors. Optional : 2-4 squadrons of fighters
Armament : 2 Mjolnir Two heavy forward batteries, 64 Thunderbolt-10 twin turrets, 1320 Artemis CIWS.  12 missile bays.

Battlestar Profile 002 BS 62 Mercury Class Battlestar Pegasus

In the closing days of the Cylon War, the Colonial Fleet began a program to build a series of very powerful Battlestars.  Derisively referred to as the "bigger is better" period, the post-year wars saw a glut of massive heavily armed vessels capable of carrying more than twenty squadrons.  Rising costs and punishing maintenance requirements forced the fleet to cut back and go for more conservatively sized vessels, incorporating the many lessons learned during the war.  This culminated in the Mercury Class a highly sophisticated Battlestar armed with the latest weaponry, advanced fighters, extensive automation which allowed dramatic crew reduction compared to the earlier Battlestars.

The Pegasus is the second vessel out of seventeen in its class and the second Battlestar to carry this name, the name belonging previously to a Columbia Class Battlestar.  Considered to be the new mainstay of the fleet, assignments to the Pegsus are much coveted by Fleet officers and personnel.  Well armed with a potent foward battery and dozens of KEW turrets it is one of the more powerful ships in the fleet.  A full suite of advanced ECM adds further protection to the already thick skin of the Pegasus.  Carrying up to 12 squadrons of fighters and 60 Raptors, there is little the Pegasus cannot handle.  Pegasus is due to be refitted at the Scorpion Shipyards within the coming year with planned upgrades to the FTL drive, crew facilities and integration into the Colonial Fleet CNP program.  Until then it is conducting long range patrols along the Armistice Line, guarding the Twelve Colonies against renewed Cylon aggression.

Commander : Rear Adm Helena Cain
XO : Colonel Jurgen Belzen
CAG : Captain Cole Taylor
Complement : 10-12 squadrons of fighters, up to 60 Raptors
Armament : 4 Lightning-6 forward batteries, 30 Lightning-5 twin turrets, 620 StarSweeper IV CIWS.  24 missile bays.

Battlestar Profile 001 : BSG 77 Atlas Class Battlestar Iapetus

One of the few Atlas class Battlestars that saw action in the Cylon war, the Iapetus is still part of the active fleet.  During the war she served in Task Force 12 alongside Admiral Kreis' flagship Battlestar Arrow.  She participated in offensive operations in Cylon space and successfully engaged and destroyed a Cylon Basestar during Operation Salamis.

The Atlas class was built around a formidable forward battery and featured extensive flight pods, capable of tending both fighters and larger assault craft.  The Atlas also introduced limited manufacturing capability, a feature now commonly found on many modern Battlestars.  Essentially the backbone of the Colonial Fleet in the immediate post-war years, this class has largely been superseded by the more advanced Mercury class.  Most Atlas class vessels are planned to be retired within the coming decade with 2 ships to be selected for the reserve fleet and 1 training vessel.

Commander : Commander Kim R. Tyros
XO : Colonel Rick Xartes
CAG : Major Tia Pall
Complement : up to 12 squadrons of fighters or 6 Assault ship squadrons and 6 fighter squadrons.  40-60 Raptors
Armament : 2 Mjolnir heavy forward batteries, 50 Thunderbolt VI twin turrets, 580 Balista II CIWS.  24 missile bays.