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.