Friday, November 20, 2009

Battlestar Profile 009 : BSG 13 Orion Class Battlestar Merope

Built as a heavy Battlestar from the ground up, the Orion class were a welcome relief for the Colonial Fleet, due to their firepower and twice the standard fighter capacity of the Atlantia class.  The much larger flight pods allowed it to carry nearly twice the standard complement of Vipers and added extended repair facilities and increased storage thanks to the rounded bulges at midship and rear.

Despite being fitted with powerful engines, the Orions were somewhat slow though the problem wasn't as bad as that of the Longbow class.  This did force Orion Commanders to stand off against Cylon Basestars relying on their long range firepower and fighter CAP.  The larger Lightning turrets offered greatly increased firepower over the old Atlantia class.  The turrets were also spaced much further apart than on previous classes, preventing them from being knocked out by a single hit.  The Orions lacked a forward battery though provisions were made for upgrades, but never carried through.  Though they used the then standard retracting pods, the Orions could perform an emergency jump with their pods extended.

The Merope was the last ship of her class to be commissioned.  She served admirably in several major operations and earned a number of commendations for her distinguished service.  But tragedy was to strike on the very day of the sixth anniversary of her commission.  During a routine jump with her Battlegroup, she was seen jumping out, but never arrived at the intended destination.  She had previously suffered some minor damage, but none seemed related to the incident.  Long range listening stations scattered across Colonial space failed to pick up any emergency message since.  There are those who believe that the ship either jumped far behind the red line and was left stranded or simple disintegrated during the jump.  Some still hope that some day a wireless message will reach a Colonial Outpost and reveal her location or her final fate.

Commander : Commander Rich Glaser
XO : Colonel Robert Henderson
CAG : Major Erik Sagis
Complement :  6-8 Viper Squadrons and up to 30 Raptors
Armament : 22 Lightning 40 twin turrets, 780 Tauran-Picon CIWS, 12 missile bays.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Battlestar Profile 008 : BSG 97 Nova Class Battlestar Columbia

The pride and joy of the Colonial Fleet, the Nova class are possibly the most advanced ships in the fleet.  Sleek and smooth of line, they have a reduced Dradis signature.  Designed as fleet flagships they are a much desired assignment for any Colonial crewmember.

The Nova is considered to be the first fourth generation advanced Battlestars and the template for future Battlestar development.
Unlike most current Colonial Ships, she uses the Vulcanus type engines previously used on the Avalon and Valhalla classes.  The Vulcanus engines give superior thrust for a reduced size and mass, but require extensive maintenance and a special enriched Tylium fuel that is more costly to produce than ordinary Tylium used in conventional engines.  These drawbacks forced the Colonial fleet to rely on the cheaper and reliable thruster clusters seen on most ships today.  A number of breakthroughs had been made in the years since, making them once more acceptable for the Colonial Fleet.  Some speculate that future Battlestars and other warships may use these powerful and compact engines once further developments are made.  Design problems caused the original vessel of her class, the Nova, to suffer considerable teething problems which were resolved in the second ship, the Atlantia, which was launched first.  Despite these problems the Novas have performed beyond expectations so far.

The Columbia is named after the Battlestar that was destroyed shortly before the Armistice in recognition of her service.  Most Novas are named after famous Battlestars.  The design is very flexible, allowing the internal space to be reconfigured according to mission needs with features such as Marine troop transport, full hospital facilities, space for up to 12 combat squadrons and a fully equipped Strategic Command Center.  Combining the latest in computers, communications and ECM the Nova is perfectly equipped to command a Colonial Battlefleet and their firepower is only rivaled by the largest Warstars.

Commander : Rear Admiral David Cullen
XO : Colonel Rick Callis
CAG : Major Lillian Rosa
Complement :  10-12 Viper Squadrons and up to 60 Raptors
Armament : 4 Forward Batteries, 6 Thunderbolt Heavy Turrets, 56 Thunderbolt Medium Turrets, 24 missile bays.

Battlestar Profile 007 : TF02 Tiger Class Strikestar Lion

Although Battlestars could engage and destroy Cylon Basestars quite effectively it often took quite a while to batter down enemy defenses, leaving the Battlestars exposed.  Needing extra firepower, the Colonial Fleet looked into building a new class of ships, far more powerful than the old pre-war destroyers.  In order to save time and increase interchangeability with other ships, the Tiger class Strikestars were built on the same hull as the Atlantia Battlestars.  Mounting four Exaction 4096mm KEW in retractable side mounted pods it could deliver punishing damage to Cylon warships.  The front firing configuration meant that the ship was not as exposed to enemy fire as other ships firing the more conventional broadsides.

After some initial success Strikestars became priority targets for the Cylons, even going as far as ignoring Battlestars to destroy the Strikestars first.  Designed initially to escort Battlestars, the Tigers would need an escort of their own, usually CWIS Skirmishstars and Escortstars providing additional CAP.  Later in the War Tigers were paired with a Battlestar, in the Lion's case, the Cybola.

The Lion fought in many battles, including First and Third Caprica and the liberation of Tauron.  It suffered heavy damaged and was rammed 29 times by Cylon Raiders, a record that stands to this day.  Still in service nearly a decade after the war, she suffered a critical structural failure during a jump and was converted into a storage hulk until it was scrapped several years later.

Of the seven ships originally built, five were destroyed in combat. Only a single Tiger class survives today.

Commander : Commander Callum Haynes
XO : Colonel "Fighting Joe" Joe Perez
Complement :  Up to two shuttles and 4 raptors
Armament : 4 Exaction 4096mm KEW, 18 Thunderbolt 1 twin turrets, 460 CIWS

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Battlestar Profile 006 : BSG 29 Triton Class Battlestar Trident

In the closing days of the Cylon War, a new generation of Battlestars was created in the hope to stem the tide and overwhelm the Cylons with increasingly more powerful ships.  The Triton is one of the most radical and controversial designs in the fleet, attempting to fulfill several different roles in a single Battlestar.

Despite their size and firepower, the Poseidon class were never used as command ships, most admirals using the aging Longbow and Gauntlet Battlestars as their flagships.  The Triton attempted to resolve this by including a Strategic Command Centre (SCC) for use by higher ranking officers, leaving the CIC to handle ship operations without interference.  While highly suitable as command vessels, the Triton class also mounts a fearsome arsenal of heavy guns on her flight pods, rivaling that of the larger Gunstars.

Logistically, this posed several problems.  The presence of so many guns requiring large ammunition supplies reduced the available storage space for fighters in the flight pods.  Designers incorporated storage space inside the ship's main hull, but problems with the cargo elevators meant that the Tritons had a much slower fighter launch and recovery rate than other Battlestars.  Some Commanders have tried to solve this by reducing the ammunition storage to ease the flight pod congestion, their rationale being that command ships should stay out of close combat anyway.  Another problem was the combined recoil of the guns causing structural damage to the flight pods as a result the batteries were fired in sequences to reduce damage.

The Trident was the command ship of Admiral Taris and flew many diplomatic and goodwill missions in the colonies during the troubled and politically unstable  post-war years.  She was considered an unlucky ship, having suffered several fires, an engine explosion and accidental decompression of most of the starboard flight pod.  It was during maneuvers in an attempt to engage a pair of Skirmishstars that she veered off course to simulate her attempt to dodge enemy fire and collided with the Artemis, an Atlas Class Battlestar.  Many hundreds of crewmembers died as the two ships collided and broke up.  The high loss of life as well as commanding officers and Admiral Taris was a serious blow to the image of the Colonial Fleet.

The Triton Class is currently being replaced by the new Nova Class Battlestars as command vessels.  A major overhaul of the design has been suggested, replacing the troublesome flight pods with more conventional ones and foregoing most of the heavy firepower.

The general layout and design of the ship inspired designers of the Mercury class.

Commander : Commander Silas Gale
XO : Colonel Mikael Green (KIA)
CAG : Major Donna "Spitfire" Qassi (KIA)
Complement : Up to 8 squadrons of fighters, up to 40 Raptors
Armament :