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.

Supportstar Profile 20 : Odyssey Class Tanker Almaron

Based on the flexible Archeon cargo transport the Odyssey class was a modified version capable of carrying a detachable Tylium fuel tank.  This allowed a much faster turnover rate as the fuel tanks could be filled up and loaded onto the Odyssey.  Only five tankers were made for use during the Cylon War and were primarily used to refuel ships equipped with Vulcanus engines, which required a specially refined Tylium fuel.  Since less than a quarter of ships in the fleet had such engines, the Odyssey, alongside other tankers were quite adequate in serving their needs.

Well armed as a tanker, it carried ten single barrel barbettes in the forward section and over a 120 CWIS batteries to defend against enemy fighters.  Additionally the Odyssey had a small flight pod on the Starboard side holding several service craft and small tankers in addition to a squadron of Python fighters for added defence.

Though often hunted down by Colon forces the Odyssey suffered only a single combat loss.  Of the four surviving vessels , three were scrapped after the war and one remains in the reserve, should older Vulcanus-equipped ships be sent back to active duty.

The Almaron, named for a region on Caprica, famous for its ancient tar pits and oil reserves was actively used to combat the drought on Aerilon shortly after the Cylon war and saving millions of lives.  Converted to carry water the ship made 25 runs, delivering millions of JP's of water from Aquaria.  The effort involved people from all over the Colonies and is considered one of the major events bringing the Colonies closer together.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Colonial Heavy Liner

Based on the older and highly popular Colonial Clipper Liner, the Heavy Liner is a common sight across the Colonies.  The second generation multi-deck widebody allows it to transport large numbers of passengers cheaply and effectively.

A versatile design, the Heavy Liner can be found in a nearly unlimited range of configurations, ranging from hyper-luxurious private yachts and low-cost carriers to military transports and science exploration vessels.  Primarily designed for rapid passenger transit (usually under 24 hours) between planets, the Heavy Liner is much smaller than most passenger cruisers, and usually lacks private cabins though sleeping seating is usually provided.

Though referred to as a Liner, this vessel is technically an FTL passenger transport and the designation Heavy comes from the fact that it can land on a Battlestar's flight pods and being the largest craft capable of doing so rather than dock with it, as would be the case with larger vessels .

The multi-deck configuration allows for a maximum range of options between passenger and cargo transport.  The private yachts often include swimming pools, pyramid courts and even zero-g rooms.  Many can dock with small craft such as shuttles to transport passengers and goods.

More than seven thousand Heavy Liners have been built to this day, making it one of the most profitable ventures by Colonial Shipyards and making it one of the most familiar spacecraft commonly seen.

The Military version includes improved wireless and electronics and are most commonly used as personnel transports and to transfer light cargo.  Though not designed for combat use, a number have been equipped with CWIS turrets for defence against enemy craft.  Because it can make planetfall, the Liner is also used by the Colonial Marines as a transorbital transport capable of delivering 250 troops and up to six light vehicles.  The gunship configuration, carrying an impressive arsenal of guns in its cargo bays and capable of laying down a withering barrage of firepower against ground targets.  The current version mounts 12 x 23mm rotary cannons, 6 x 40mm cannons and 4 x 105mm cannons and are capable of concentrating this firepower into an area the size of a Pyramid field.  Because these weapons use ordinary propellant they cannot be used in space.

Originally the Colonial Government had a fleet of eight Heavy Liners to be used by the President and Cabinet Members, in recent years all but two have been retired by President Adar to distance himself from his predecessor's spendthrift. Chartered Liners are used when the need arises.  The Liner carrying the President is always referred to as Colonial One even as a charter.  The remaining Liners currently in service include extensive cargo and passenger space in addition to offices, sleeping quarters and a fully staffed kitchen.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Colonial Raptor

Designed shortly before the Cylon War the Raptor is one of the most enduring designs in the entire Colonial Fleet.  Extremely rugged it has consistently outperformed all designs meant to replace it over the years and has been upgraded to incorporate the latest technology.

The original Raptor was designed as a light scout and transport.  To this end it is equipped with sophisticated DRADIS and has its own short-ranged FTL drive.  Over the years the Raptor began to replace the ageing Firehawk and Hydra Electronic Airborne Warning (AEW) craft, incorporating the DRADIS antenna into the Raptor's lower wing, making it much less conspicuous.

The versatility and ruggedness of the Raptor means it has become invaluable to Colonial Fleet operations and its roles have been expanded to include the following tasks :

- Scouting and IFF Advanced Warning operations for Viper squadrons
- ECM and electronics warfare platform
- Missile carrier and gunship
- Search and Rescue and Medevac missions
- Light Shuttle and Combat Operations Craft

Though slow and vulnerable compared to the swift Viper, the Raptor has many weapon hardpoints, mounting missiles, rockets, bombs and guns, making it into an effective light gunship and missile carrier.

An lengthened version with a larger cargo bay is used exclusively by the Colonial Marines as a combat transport and adds extra armour and ballistic lining to protect the crew and features a pair of remote controlled door guns.

Several craft were developed to replace the Raptor, but none could match the versatility and combat readiness percentage of the Raptor.  The proposed Advanced Operations Craft is the latest attempt to produce a craft that will completely replace the Raptor.  The AOC, in addition to multiple internal and external hardpoints will feature a modular cargo bay, allowing the craft to simply swap one modular element for another and increase versatility, while allowing more specialisation with each module than was previously possible on the Raptor.

Should the AOC fail, a rumored Super-Raptor has been hinted at, slightly larger and partially based on the Marine version, this Raptor could extend the five-decade lifespan into a century or more.

Scorpia Fleet Shipyards

One of the major hubs of the Colonial Fleet is Scorpia.  The vast orbiting yards account for nearly half the Fleet's manufacturing and berthing capacity.  The original yards were built nearly a century ago as part of Scorpia's military expansion thanks to the mineral rich half-ring that orbits the planet, the fragmented remains of a moon.  Originally hidden inside the debris, the Shipyards allowed the Scorpians to secretly build a fleet in her bid for independence from Leonis.

Once Scorpia gained her independence the facilities were quickly expanded and became a major deterrent to Leonese ambitions to recapture this Colony.  After the signing of the Articles of Colonisation and the outbreak of the Cylon War, the shipyards were incorporated into the Colonial Fleet and became a major staging area for the Fleet.  Attacked several times by the Cylons the Shipyards were either hidden inside moon fragments or sufficiently scattered that they could not easily be knocked out.

After the War many Colonial shipyards were closed and consolidated with others leading to Scorpia becoming one of the key bases.  This decision was mostly economic and many in the Service protested that the Shipyards would be a prime target for Cylon attacks and could potentially cripple the Fleet if they were able to launch a surprise attack, but after many years of heated discussion Fleet Heaquarters asserted there would be sufficient time to respond to an attack and that the Shipyards would not require additional defences or special measures.  Recently, an investigative reporter team from Leonis uncovered a possible corruption scandal involving Scorpia, but these allegations have so far been denied by the current administration.  This new development puts further strain on the already unpopular Adar.

The Shipyards have been expanded and include the largest docks in the Colonies, capable of tending to the massive Titan Class Battlestars and other heavy ships.  The Shipyards are protected by dozens of Viper squadrons and several Battlestars are on patrol duty at any time.  About a third of the reserve fleet is also berthed in the Shipyards, maintained to standards of basic readiness, manned by skeleton crews.  The Shipyards also manufacture new ships and several Mercury, Nova and Valhalla class Battlestars are currently being built.  The Scorpia Shipyards have long prided themselves in having the best safety record among the Colonies and were able to rebuild the heavily damaged Battlestar Cyrannus in less than three days, just in time to participate in the Battle of Cosmora Archipelago where her Vipers destroyed two Basestars, though the Cylons were able to destroy the entire Fourth Fleet, with the exception of Admiral Kronus' flagship, Battlestar Rycon.

The shipyards are a boon to the Scorpian economy, but also have given rise to crime, prostitution and drug use in certain areas.  Religious and political groups are putting pressure on the Scorpian government to put an end to this and keep Fleet personnel segregated in orbit without direct access to Scorpia proper.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Freedom Series

As the Cylon war grew in intensity the Colonial Fleet found itself fielding a mix of advanced Battlestars, supported by an ecclectic mix of older Colonial ships, many of them Pre-Battlestars such as Destroyers and Carriers.  Many such ships were not designed to operate alongside Battlestars and the newer generation of ships, they proved to be problematic, slow and using different parts and supplies they became a logistical nightmare for the Colonial Fleet.

In an attempt to produce more capable vessels a number of ship classes were based on modified Battlestars.  This had the advantage of offering new ships based on a proven hull and capable of operating with Battlestars and keep up the pace.  A major drawback was that by sharing the same design, they often drained resources that might have been used to build more Battlestars.

In order to fix this problem, the Freedom class was proposed.  Orignally designed as a modular vessel capable of operating alternatively in the role of a Gunstar, a Strikestar or even as a light Battlestar, the cost and complexity killed the modularity, but designers retained the main hull and built variant designs.  Cheap and simple to build the Freedom Class soon became a familiar sight in Battlestar Groups.  Many had one or more Freedoms operating under various roles.

Though versatile and easy to build the Freedom was not without weaknesses.  The designs were spartan at best, built quickly and cheaply they were poorly armoured compared to Battlestars, despite attempts to use them as light Battlestars, they were vulnerable to concentrated attacks.  The Gunstar variants proved equally vulnerable.  It was as Strikestars and Skirmishstars that the Freedom came into its own.  The CIWS "Flakstar" proved a very effective design and many light Battlestars ended up being used as Escortstars, another role in which they excelled.

Their limited build quality meant that most Freedoms were scrapped after the war.  The better hulls were refurbished and a limited number still serve with the reserve.  The pressures of the Cylon War abated, the Colonial Fleet did not prolong this practice and most post-war vessels were dedicated designs.  Several attempts were made over the years to produce an updated version but with little success so far.

The Freedom also generated a very heated post-war debate, launched by a book written by the famous historian Casper Gamelyn, who contended that the Freedom class had proven itself to be superior and that Building more Battlestars was a critical mistake that kept the war going on for far too long.  Though some of his points have been refuted by official sources over the years, the book "Fleets of the Ebon Sea, a concise history of the Cylon War" has a number of followers, notably politicians who have used the book to justify budget cuts and reforms, demanding that most Battlestars be scrapped in favour of a larger number of smaller vessels.

Freedom Series Vesta Class Light Battlestar
The Vesta was the first attempt to build a light Battlestar using a Freedom hull.  The resulting design proved mediocre at best.  Unlike the long flight pods of Battlestars, the Vesta had five landing bays perpendicular to the ship's axis, with the fighter launch tubes mounted directly underneath it had a faster recovery rate than many such designs, but their short length precluded the "swarm" landing the longer flight pods allowed, greatly increasing recovery times, leaving the poorly armed Vesta vulnerable to enemy attacks.  With only four main gun turrets and a limited CIWS, the Vesta was not able to fight on the line as the Battlestars.  After several losses they were retired from service and were used as Escortstars, a role they were much suited to.

Freedom Series Centaur Class Light Battlestar
The Centaur replaced the limited landing bays with a pair of large flight pods that could not only accept fighters, but a number of smaller vessels.  A very effective design it suffered the same weakness as the Vesta.  Poorly armed and armoured it wasn't a match for Cylon attacks and was used mostly as an Escortstar.  A number were used to guard the Colonies and were involved in fighting off Cylon raids and invasions, but often paid the price in blood.  Though often referred to as a Battlestar, and used as such on occassion, they officially were considered Escortstars.

Freedom Series Dragon Class Light Gunstar
Based on the successful Tiger Gunstar the Dragon carried a pair of foward batteries in addition to 4 KEW turrets.  The long range of the forward batteries allowed them to harass Cylon Basestars, but their armour and defensive weaponry was inadequate to fight off the inevitable counter-attack.  Later in the war a new jump in jump out tactic was developed, but the inaccuracy of jumps often meant a number of course adjustments to bring the main weaponry to bear on target, exposing the ship to attacks.  Though successful on occasion, several Dragons accidentally jumped in the middle of a Cylon Basestar formation and were destroyed.  The remaining ships were used as heavy escorts for supply convoys.  Most were scrapped after the war or used for training purposes.

Freedom Series Drosera Class Skirmishstar
One of the most successful applications of the Freedoms was the "Flakstar".  Mounting nearly 700 CIWS and three rapid fire KEW turrets the Drosera could lay down a formidable flak field and protect nearby vessels from attack.  More Droseras were built than any other Freedom design and most Battlestar Groups had one or more in their lineup.  A small number still serve with the reserve today.

Freedom Series Arachne Class Missilestar
Another succesful design the Arachne was a potent missile carrier.  Able to stand off the enemy it used an unusual method of attacking Cylon ships.  By firing a spread of unguided missiles at shorter ranges, it evaded Cylon jamming and hijacking.  Using a similar method to the jump-in, jump-out method pioneered by the Dragon series it would jump in the middle of a Cylon formation, fire missiles in all directions and jump before attacked.  While few Basestars were destroyed in such a manner it often broke Cylon formations, leaving them vulnerable to be picked out by Battlestars and Gunstars.

Freedom Series Baal Class Strikestar
Mounting ten heavy KEW turrets, a squadron of fighters and a heavy CIWS array, the Baal was a cramped, but powerful ship.  Mounting an armament more suitable for a Gunstar, the Baal was used as an escort and patrol ship guarding the Colonies and outposts, freeing up more powerful ships for service on the Line.  Relatively few Baals served in Battlestar Groups, most operating independently or in small groups.

Freedom Series Meleager Class Gunstar
Mounting a substantial arsenal the Meleager was not a very succesful design and few were produced.  Many were used as escorts and on one occasion a single Meleager engaged a Cylon Basestar attacking a convoy.  The Pausinias damaged the Battlestar forcing it to retreat, but was crippled in the exchange.  With atmosphere venting and with failing engines the survivors brought her into the shipyard.  Crews sent in to inspect the damage found an unexploded nuclear bomb which would have torn the ship apart if it had detonated.

Freedom Series Argos Class Tanker
Though originally designed as a warship the Freedom series produced a very effective tanker.  Faster than other existing types it could operate alongside Battlestars and reduced refuelling time, leaving the Group less vulnerable to attack.  The Argos class is credited for allowing the Colonial Fleet to operate deep into Cylon space and bring the fight to the enemy.

Freedom Series Scorpion Class Heavy Missilestar
The Scorpion class was built on the Arachne Class.  Capable of firing the heaviest ordonance in the Colonial Arsenal the Scorpion was built for heavy assaults and planetary bombardment.  Several were built in the anticipated attack of the Cylon homeworld and carried E class "planetbusters" with a yield of 200 megatons each.  The Armistice meant they were never used, but two still remain in the reserve fleet and eight more have been mothballed should they ever be needed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Battlestar Profile 018 : BSG 11 Atlantia Class Battlestar Atlantia

To many the Atlantia Class Battlestars are powerful symbols of the Colonial Fleet.  No other Battlestar class was involved in more battles or destroyed more enemy ships.  Laid down only a year before the Cylon war the Atlantia came at a critical time, forcing the Cylons to make their move at a time where their strength may not have been optimal to defeat the Colonies in one single coordinated attack.

Though the Galactica was laid down first, delays in building and logistical problems forced the designers to switch all their attention to the Atlantia and Acropolis first, making the former the lead ship in her class.  Work continued on both ships when the war broke out.  Since Galactica was in a more advanced state of completion work resumed on her to rush her into service and Acropolis became the fourth in her Class.

The Atlantia was the flagship of the Colonial Fleet until the introduction of the larger Longbow class, which featured advanced wireless technology.  She served under three Admirals until the First battle for Caprica and was scheduled for a refit to bring her up to the standards of the Columbia Class, but she was vital to the war effort and stayed on the line until she was destroyed in combat at the Battle of Croton.  Unlike later ships, the Atlantia did not feature a separate advanced command post or command wireless, which lead to some friction between the ship's Commander and Admirals who preferred to micro manage the situation.  Indeed Commander Bragga offered his resignation shortly before Croton, which was refused, going down with his ship, alongside Admiral Tepec.  Ironically Tepec held Bragga in high regard and commended him for promotion before leaving for Croton.

The loss of the Atlantia came as a blow to the Colonial Fleet, newer ships had assumed the duties of flagship, but the loss was felt by most, many commanders had served on the Atlantia or alongside her and a ceremony was held after the war to commemorate her, with nearly 25 Battlestars paying their ceremonial tributes.  Another notable fact is that she was the first Battlestar to be equipped with Mk II Vipers.

Commander : Commander Jules Bragga
XO : Colonel David Callan
CAG : Major Tula "Bogey" Sarmation
Complement :  4-6 Viper Squadrons and up to 25 Raptors
Armament : 24 Thunderbolt 2B twin turrets, 514 Balista CIWS, 12 missile bays.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Supportstar Profile 19 : Seaba Class Tanker Thebes

The Seaba is a large tanker designed to support Battlestar Groups, providing them with extensive Tylium fuel reserves.

Built halfway through the Cylon War, the Seaba class replaced a hodgepodge of different designs, many of them predating the Colonial Fleet.  With the emphasis on the rapid production of Battlestars, the Service found itself handicapped by the lack of suitable support vessels and a crash program to build a more capable tanker was issued, especially when the Colonials began offensive operations deep inside Cylon space.

The Original design for the Seaba was to include a cargo capable version, but this was scrapped.  The only prototype was put into service and served as a fighter tender for Battlestars and was also used to ferry ground troops for the liberation of Aerilon.  It was scrapped after the war.

The Seaba Tanker proved to be a successful design with seven large Tylium tanks and complete refining facilities.  It has four fuel booms allowing it to service up to four vessels at one time, greatly reducing refueling time.  The original design featured landing bays for craft carrying raw Tylium, but these were abondoned for fear that a crash might have catastrophic results.

Thanks to its refining capabilities the Seaba is nearly completely self-sufficient, relying only on small mining craft to transfer the ore onto the ship.  Accompanied by a tender, the Seaba can support up to a dozen or more Battlestars nearly indefinitely as long as it has access to Tylium ore.

Designed to operate alongside Battlestars the Seaba is equipped with powerful engines and can keep up with all but the fastest ships in the fleet.  Despite a good defensive array of some 300 CWIS the Seaba proved vulnerable to attack, especially when the Cylons began to single them out because of their strategic importance.  In order to avoid attack the Seaba's are often lightly escorted to avoid drawing attention and follow a special procedure that allows them to escape detection.  Using a complex coded system the Seaba will often jump to a specific meeting point and wait for a limited amount of time.  If the expected vessel is late the Seaba will jump to new coordinates.  In order to avoid being tracked the Seaba has four drives and keeps them nearly permanently spinning, being able to jump in seconds.  Great care is taken to establish jumping coordinates as quickly as possible, several jumps in advance.  Seaba crews are famed for their navigational skills.

The standard procedure would be to plot several jump points before making the actual jump.  In case of trouble the Seaba can nearly instantly jump to an alternative jump point and then proceeds to another jump point, sometime even jumping to a third jump point, which should allow the Seaba to escape most tracking vessels.

The Thebes was built shortly after the Armistice and is still in service today.  Unlike many ships in the fleet she was never updgraded with networked computers and plots jump points using dozens of computers and nearly 60 crew, working a breakneck speeds to plot jump points.  As a result navigators that have served on the Thebes are considered to be among the most reliable and efficient bridge officers in the Service.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Battlestar Profile 018 : BSG 20 Fox Class Battlestar Fox

The Fox class is sometimes referred to as a "pocket" Battlestar.  Cheap to produce and run, the Fox has all the features of a regular Battlestar, a feat achieved by a serious re-thinking of Battlestar design.  Capable of carrying up to 4 squadrons of fighters, the Fox has 9 main double turrets, four of which serve as forward batteries, but can be reconfigured to fire broadsides if necessary.

Although much smaller than many Battlestars in service, it uses a unique computer node system which dramatically reduces crew requirements.  Each nodes is a small bank of networked computers.  A special master system assigns tasks to various nodes, adding or removing systems as required.  This system allows tasks be spread out between as many units as required and reducing computer idle time, which often occurs in more dedicated systems.  As a result the Fox has 20% less crew than vessels of comparable size, but still maintains a full complement of pilots, marines and flight personnel.  An unfortunate side effect of this system has been the very difficult integration of the new CNP program used by the Colonial Fleet, which required the attention of Professor Baltar himself.

Another unusual feature are the engines, mounting only a pair of thrusters, the Fox is still remarkably fast thanks to a hybrid system of conventional systems and the Vulcanus engines used during the Cylon War.  The thrusters use regular tylium fuel, but a special injection chamber gives the Fox a potential turbo boost, increasing speed if necessary.  This system so far has proven to be reliable, but other ships have yet to use this design.  Thanks to her short length the Fox is quite nimble and has a short turning circle.

The Fox class is popular with their crews, though maintenance and the somewhat cramped conditions are often a source of crew fatigue.  As a result Foxes are mostly used for system defense and rarely operate along the Armistice Line for extended periods.  Another potential problem are the thrusters, with only a pair of them, any damage could seriously harm mobility or even cripple it, though designers have assured that the thrusters are heavily armoured and are not easily knocked out.

The Fox is the lead Battlestar of her class.  She suffers from a few minor flaws that have been ironed out in subsequent ships, though she is planned to be refitted within the next three years.  The Fox is considered a lucky ship having escaped two collisions with other Battlestars.  A crash with a fuel tanker resulted in only minor damage to the left flight pod.

Commander : Commander Alden Thorson
XO : Colonel Ilyra Tessan
CAG : Captain Riven "T-Bone" Walker
Complement : 2-4 squadrons of fighters, up to 8 Raptors
Armament : 4 double forward batteries, 5 twin turrets, 350 StarSweeper III CIWS.  8 missile bays.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Colonial Fighters

Colonial Fighters are the backbone of the Colonial Fleet.  Born out of a centuries old tradition they are the cutting edge of technology and a vital element in the Battlestar design philosophy.

Viper MK I

The Mark I Viper was a revolutionary design when first introduced.  It had superior capabilities over most other existing fighters, especially in dogfighting, but had a number of weaknesses that caused it to be phased out in favour of the MK II.  Most notably the jam prone twin 23 mm cannons proved to be too light to deal effectively with Cylon Raiders.  Despite these limitations the MK I remained in service for most of the Cylon War, only to switch to the reserve in the final years of the war before being scrapped.  Another weakness were the landing skids that tended to break during combat landings.

Viper MK II

The Viper truly came into its own with the coming of the Mark II, faster and more reliable it carried heavier 30mm cannons that were more than capable of holding their own against Cylons.  They were the main fighters for most of the Cylon war and in the immediate post war years.  A handful remained in service with the reserve and the Orbital Guard as target tugs and ECM craft.  Most surviving examples have been transferred to the soon to be dedicated Galactica museum.

Viper MK III

The Viper Mark III was a two-seater trainer variant of the Mark II.

Viper MK IV
The Viper MKIV was a radical departure of the original Viper design.  Nearly twice the weight of the original, it was a heavily armed and armoured design, mounting powerful but unreliable engines, requiring a lot of maintenance.  A popular joke at the time claimed that the MKIV was designed to defend Batllestar flight decks against attacks from the inside.  heavily armed with a pair of wing mounted 30mm and two fuselage mounted 23mm it was designed to attack enemy Basestars and also suitable for ground attack and support as a fighter bomber.  Though only marginally less maneuverable than the other Viper designs they suffered heavy losses against Cylon Raiders, most were taken out of service after the Cylon War.  (Model by Alfred Wong

Viper MK V

The Mark V relied on the experience gained during the war to make further improvements to the design, most notably increased crew survivability and protection. They are currently used by the Reserve as the main line fighter.

Viper MK VI

The Mark VI was a near complete overhaul with radical changes which meant that it was only 20% compatible with the previous Vipers.  The resulting fighter was the first to step away from wartime avionics and to more advanced technology, but still protected from Cylon jamming and infiltration.

Viper MK VII

The Mark VII is the latest in the line of fighters and possibly the final version before the Viper is replaced by the FSSF (Future Space Superiority Fighter).  The Mark VII includes all the most advanced features seen on the latest generation of fighters, including increased stealth, a high visibility cockpit and an extra dorsal fin mounted cannon for added firepower.  The MK VII is well liked by pilots thanks to its advanced fly by wire system and advanced electronics.


The Python was a result of corruption in the Colonial Gouvernment in the days before the Cylon War.  Built by the same company that produced the Avalon Class battlestars, the Python was sold as being cheaper and more suitable for the Avalon than the Viper.  Despite a lawsuit, the outbreak of the war forced the Service to take the Python into service where it performed adequately.  The Python was withdrawn from service after the war and the surviving Avalons were converted to carry Vipers, some Pythons were purchased by private security companies and used as escorts for many years after the war.  Armed with eight 20mm cannons it had more than adequate firepower, but lacked the superior maneuverability of the Viper to bring this firepower to bear.

Cobra heavy fighter

The Cobra heavy fighter is unique in the Colonial fleet for being the only fighter equipped with a Jump Drive.  The Cobra can therefore operate independently from other vessels, though it has a limited range.  They are sometimes posted in orbital stations or ground-based, making use of booster rockets to achieve orbit.  The Cobra has a two man crew and mounts a multibarrel 30mm cannon.

Dagger Light Bomber

The delta shaped Dagger was an early stealth design, suitable for infiltration using low level flight and passive flight trajectory.  Although it was extremely fast it lacked maneuverability and was vulnerable in combat, mounting only a single 23mm cannon.  It had six hardpoints, but size limitations lead to it being withdrawn from service in favour of the Scimitar.

Scimitar Heavy Bomber

The Scimitar is the current multi-role attack Fighter, capable of bombardment, anti-ship operations and ground support.  It trades speed and maneuverability for heavy armour and mounts a pair of 37mm heavy cannon and an impressive 16 hardpoints.

Tempest Fighter

The tempest never served with the Colonial Fleet, but was in service with several Colony Air Arms.  A number of Mercenary Tempest squadrons served during the Cylon war and a good number remain in use today.  The Tempest is a dated, but solid spaceframe and suitable as a multi-role fighter bomber.  Bult primarily as a dogfighter it has been able to soldier on thanks to this feature as then more modern missile-armed fighters were rendered obsolete by Cylon technology.  The Tempest was originally armed with six 13mm heavy machineguns, but most were upgraded with 20 to 30mm cannons.

Banshee Fighter

More modern than the Tempest, the Banshee was a high speed space superiority fighter.  Designed as a dedicated missile platform it was equipped with an advanced DRADIS system linked to the HAWK long range missile system, but lacked guns.  Advances in ECM, especially Cylon jamming was the downfall of this design.  The last models soldiered on, armed with gun pods until the middle years of the Cylon War.

Battlestar Profile 017 : BSG 177 Nightstar Class Battlestar Nightshade

One of the smallest Battlestars in service it is also one of the newest, the Nightstar is primarily designed for rapid intervention and surgical strikes.  Designed to strike deep into enemy territory, the Nightstars are lean vessels, devoid of the extended supply and manufacturing facilities found on most other Battlestars.  Although outclassed by many other ships, they carry a substantial supply of nuclear weapons to deal with any enemy threat.

The Nightstar generally favours speed and mobility over firepower and is equipped with the latest in Jump drives allowing this Battlestar to make several jumps in rapid succession, making it hard to track down and able to strike enemy targets in a guerilla-type fashion.

Despite its size, the Nightstar's extensive automatisation and small crew, living conditions are more spacious than expected, though no square cm of the ship is left idle.  Able to carry up to four squadrons in wartime, the number of fighters is reduced under normal conditions to keep maintenance levels to a managable levels since the repair facilities are somewhat limited and could be swamped by larger numbers.

As for armament, the Nightstar is lightly, but adequately armed with 9 turrets, two of which act as forward batteries.  Two more light forward batteries in the flight pods give it a firepower boost.  The missile silo holds 12 warheads capable of firing class D and C warheads.  Like the Valhalla class the Nightstar can fire smaller missiles through its turrets.

The Nightshade is the second ship of her class and has the distinction of having had four commanders in her brief career.  Commander Hague died when a fighter collided with his Raptor transport.  Commander Thark died of a freak electric accident in his stateroom, while Commander Regan was killed by a mentally unstable bridge officer, though fourteen people were injured, Regan was the only fatal casualty.  Finally Commander Bennington suffered a fatal stroke only three months after taking command.  The current Commander, Bennington's former XO, Commander Carter has managed to survive longer than any of his predecessors and hopes he has broken the chain of bad luck surrounding the Nightshade and put her reputation as an unlucky ship to rest.

Commander : Commander Magnus Carter
XO : Colonel Kara Shamak
CAG : Captain Silas Falk
Complement : 2-4 squadrons of fighters, up to 10 Raptors
Armament : 2 double forward batteries, 7 twin turrets, 300 Derlam CIWS.  12 missile bays.

The Sword of Ares

The Sword of Ares was the codename for what could have been the largest warship in the Colonial Fleet.  Designed as a command vessel it was supposed to be twice as long as the Titan class and nearly ten times the mass.  It would have had four massive flight pods and two docking bays each capable of handling a Battlestar the size of a Mercury class.  The armament was to be composed of eight 5080 mm forward batteries and nearly 100 heavy quad turrets.  Fighter complement would have been a hundred squadrons, easily as much as the then entire Colonial Fleet transport capacity combined.

Design work started during the Cylon War and the Sword of Ares went through several upgrades to incorporate the latest technological developments.  Over the years it became a running joke that when the Sword of Ares was finally completed it would become a single-ship fleet since the Colonies could only afford one anyway.

When the Titans were built it seemed that the way was clear for the Sword of Ares, but rising costs and the end of the War meant that the project was dead in the water and further development was halted.

The only part of the Sword of Ares to be completed was the kilometer long 5080mm forward gun which was secretly tested in a classified system, bombarding a small moon with shells the size of a Colonial Heavy Liner.

Plans to convert the gun into a defense station were dropped and the weapon was scrapped, save for a single barrel ring which is now on display at the Picon East Peak Military Academy.

Strikestar Profile 016 : Donar Class Strikestar Horsa

The Donar class were launched in the decade following the Cylon War and were designed to be the biggest, meanest Strikestars in the fleet, rivalling many Battlestars and Gunstars in sheer firepower.  This arsenal comes at a price.  While the front is heavily armoured, the middle section and engines carry much less protection, leaving them vulnerable to attacks from that direction.  Lack of space also means that it has a small landing pod and a slow fighter recovery.

Designed to attack head on with its powerful array of gun turrets and a devastating main battery, this ship is capable of carrying up to four combat squadrons in times of war, but most standard complements only feature two.  The weapons layout is such that the weapons are well-protected against enemy attacks, but does limit their field of fire.  The twin top heavy turrets can be raised and lowered to give them a wider field of fire in all directions and add extra punch to the forward batteries.

Equipped with massive thrusters the Donar is a swift vessel and hight suitable for intra-system operations.

The experience of the Colonial Fleet during the Cylon War pushed designers to cut few corners in designing the Donar.  It is regarded as a powerful ship, capable of taking on anything but the most fearsome opponents.  As a result the Donar class are one of the few Strikestars that operates in Battlegroups usually paired up with an Escortstar and several Skirmishstars.  Most are deployed on the Armistice Line as rapid intervention squadrons.

The Horsa is one of the newer ships in her class and was the first ship in the Colonial fleet to be upgraded to the CMP program and thoroughly tested in daily use.  She is also famous for being the first ship to come to the rescue of the Leviathan liner when it collided with an asteroid, preventing a major catastrophe and the loss of thousands of passengers, many of which were steerage passengers from Aerilon seeking a new life on Caprica.

Commander : Commander Jonah "Skip" Fedkin
XO : Colonel Dale Adams
CAG : Captain Roshanna Shivak
Complement :  2-4 Viper Squadrons and up to 4 Raptors.
Armament : 1 Thunderbolt 44 forward battery.  3 double Dratech 221 retractable heavy turrets, 31 Dratech 111 double medium turrets.  220 quad Artemis CIWS, 12 missile bays.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Colonial Weapons and Armour

Kinetic Energy Weapons (KEW)

The mainstay of the Colonial Fleet's firepower is made up of KEW's in the form of gun turrets and forward batteries.  The use of Tylium propellant has kept KEW's competitive with other weapons such as railguns and energy weapons.  Their ability to fire both anti-ship weapons and flak rounds has kept the KEW in the front line to this day.

The lack of an atmosphere and the high velocities created by Tylium propellant made for a weapon that was just as effective as a railgun, and the many types of warheads were more versatile than energy weapons.  KEW's also proved to be much less affected by Cylon countermeasures than missiles and energy weapons which were greatly diminished by the use of Cylon glitterjam gel that could scatter the beam of an energy weapon.   Another advantage against smaller ships is that a kinetic impact can throw a ship off course, spoiling its aim.  Additionally, KEW's deliver most of their energy to the target, unlike undirected explosions that tend to follow the path of least resistance and lose most of their energy in spectacular pyrotechnic displays.

KEW's come in many sizes from 7.9 mm point defence guns on shuttles, to the fearsome 4096 mm weapons found on the Tiger Gunstars.  In the early days of the Colonial Fleet KEW gun turrets were classified from 1-20+ as a rating for gun and firepower, but technological improvements has made this redundant as smaller weapons with high rates of fire and improved velocity are now more effective than much larger weapons with a slower rate of fire.  Ships like the Atlantia had 12-rated gun turrets, but the 15-rated guns on the Mercury class are nearly twice as effective and on par with the 18-rated guns of the Charybdis class.

Main batteries do not follow the rating system as they would in many cases rate three digits.  Designed originally for Gunstars, they were integrated into Battlestars and Strikestars since such as the Mercury Class and the Atlas Class, though as a rule Gunstars still carry the biggest sticks in the Fleet.


Missiles are powerful weapons, but their reliance on guidance systems made them vulnerable to Cylon hijacking.  Though most Colonial ships still carry missiles, their development was long stalled as new control algorithms and security measures were implemented.  But the lingering fear that the Cylons could jam and control missiles remains.

Although missiles are the main deployment system for nuclear weapons as a major anti-ship weapon in the Colonial arsenal, their vulnerability to jamming and the limitations of nuclear weapons detonated in space combined with the heavy protection of most Battlestars has made them less than effective weapons.  Attempts to make a directed focused nuclear weapon has met with mixed results so far.

Nuclear weapons in space do not generate fireballs as in an atmospheric environment, indeed the effectiveness of nuclear weapons diminishes rapidly with range and a detonation beyond a kilometer is unlikely to do much damage to a ship nearby.


Most Colonial ships and Battlestars in particular are heavily protected against enemy threats.  This is achieved through a series of spaced out "sandwiches" made from different materials selected for their resistance against certain types of attack.  The outer layer is usually a thin, but extremely hard shell designed to shatter and fragment incoming projectiles.  The inner layers are designed to absorb energy in many ways through a weave of ablative materials capable of vaporizing when hit by explosives or energy weapons, thus reducing its effect.  Gels and semi-liquids provide extra protection, slowing down or breaking up plasma jet type impacts and stopping many forms of hard radiation.  These gels also harden when impacted by high velocity projectiles. This amalgam is repeated several times depending on the area being protected.  Extensive compartmentalization and multiple redundancy systems allow Battlestars to shrug off multiple major impacts.  And should attacks still be able to penetrate the many layers of protection, the outer areas of the ship are usually less sensitive such as cargo storage or other non-critical areas.

Older Battlestars used ribbing to break up incoming fire and prevent it from hitting the armour head on.  Many newer ships still include this ribbing, but have an extra outer layer of ablative material.  Highly sensitive areas such as the CIC, engine room and jump drives are often encased in their own armoured cocoon.  Some of the newest Battlestars such as the Nova class are even more decentralized than previous ships and could survive being blown apart thanks to backup generators, life support and secondary combat stations.  The Titan class was designed to lose most of its external and superficial structure without affecting the main workings of the ship thanks to an Atlantia-sized internal shield containing all vital systems.

Pre-colonial ships often lacked such protection and would even go as far as depressurizing the ship, requiring crew to wear protective suits, but this prevented decompression problems when the hull was punctured.

Active defense

In addition to armour, ships have extra protection both electronic and physical.  ECM systems can jam and disrupt enemy weapons and DRADIS.  On older Battlestars CWIS batteries are used to defend both against enemy missiles and fighters in collaboration with the ship's main batteries, creating the so-called "flak field", areas of heavy fire that will destroy or disrupt incoming enemy weapons such as missiles.  Even projectiles may be thrown of course and strike at an unfavorable angle.  Newer ships used their own non-networked CWIS arrays that allowed for a more selective level of protection.  Each array with its own DRADIS system is given a defensive sector, that is overlapped by other arrays.  When enemy ordnance is spotted the array will engage the target automatically using a series of defensive firing patterns designed to stop any secondary or multiple projectile attacks.

Another form of active protection are decoys such as flares and chaff.  Given that Battlestars are hard to miss targets they rarely use decoys, but fighters and Raptors use them to put enemy missiles off their track.

The Cylons developed their own answer to energy weapons in the form of "glitterjam" a quickly expanding gel with a very high reflective and vaporization level that could absorb most of the energy of a directed energy weapon.  The metallic particles also acted as chaff, disrupting targeting DRADIS.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cylon Warship Intelligence Briefing

This briefing is classified for all Colonial personnel except for class four and higher as well as Colonial Security agents.

Though the new type B Basestar was long believed to be the only ship in service with the Cylon fleet, a number of new or previously unseen designs were spotted in the third year of the war.  This briefing is meant to give an overview of the current intelligence available regarding these Cylon vessels :

Type A Battlestar "Plates"

The Type A has not been seen since the end of the first Cylon War.  It is believed no longer to be in service or in reserve on the yet unknown Cylon homeworld.  The twin-saucer design was carried over in the new Type B Basestar.  For more information see Cylon Basestar report TC-452378b and declassified report TC-258789

Type A1 Basestar "Wing"

Long believed to be some kind of experimental research vessel, the A1 has been reclassified as a Basestar following still unconfirmed reports of  the "Sword" type Basestar, believed to be an outgrowth of this original design and influential in the design of the Type B.  It current status is unknown, believed to be a prototype or limited production.  It was first spotted during Operation Razor-Talon.

Type B Basestar "Ypsilon"

The strange alien lines of the Type B caused much confusion in the early days of the war.  It was believed to be an alien design rather than a Cylon one.  The Type B consists of twin Y-shaped hulls connected by a central pylon.  This vessel is capable of rotating the hulls in such a way that the two hulls are aligned, creating a so-called "attack configuration"  The Type B Basestar is similar to the Type A in configuration and designed mainly as a carrier with an extensive Raider complement.  It relies on these Raiders for self defense, lacking KEW guns, being armed with missiles instead.

Type C Basestar "Octopus"

The twelve-armed Type C is a larger and more powerful design of Basestar.  It seems to be mainly a command ship for fleets of around 3-9 Type B Basestars.  The double star-shaped configuration has six arms radiating symmetrically from a pair of hulls connected by a central pylon for a total of 12 arms.

Type D Basestar "Ripper"

The smaller Type D differs from the standard Cylon configuration in its t-shaped winged hull.  The sword-like wings seem to be reinforced for the specific purpose of cutting through enemy ships by ramming them, though this often disables the Ripper in the process, it is not believed to be a standard tactic.  The Ripper lacks the larger fighter complement of the other Basestars, but is well equipped with missiles and very fast.  It is believed the lower hull can be jettisoned in an emergency.

Type E Basestar "Crossfire"

The Type E had been spotted several times, but little is known about this design, twin crossed hulls connected by a central pylon with 8 arms in total, the Type E has never been seen in combat, it has been spotted observing unfolding battles, often jumping away before Colonial Ships had a chance to get close.  The strange behaviour and lack of information about this design has lead analysts to believe this Basestar serves a vital, but yet unknown purpose.

As of yet unclassified Basestars.


This Basestar differs greatly from other Cylon designs in its unique shape and design.  It has not yet been spotted among Cylon forces, the only footage being a four second video from a long distance listening station of the Temple jumping in and out.  Speculation is that it is some kind of support/supply vessel.


Unverified reports exist of a design many times the size of a Type B Battlestar, possibly even dwarfing the Titan class Battlestars.


Unverified reports of a strange glowing vessel passing through several Colonial systems.  Despite attempts to intercept it, the vessel was able to escape at incredible velocities possibly approaching the speed of light.  Currently it is believed to be some kind of long range scout or spy ship.

Unverfied reports of a taurus-shaped vessel similar in size to the Type D, accompanying Type B Basestars were made by deep belt miners.

This four bladed Basestar is believed related to the Type A1 Basestar spotted during operation Razor Talon.

Strikestar Profile 015 : Berzerk Class Strikestar Hrothgar

The Orbital Guard has long provided support and assistance to the Colonial Fleet in addition to their patrolling duties.  Often equipped with a mix of cheap cutters and castoffs from the Fleet, the Orbital Guard was long the red-headed stepchild as far as Colonial budgets were concerned.

This hodgepodge of vessels did little to help the task of the Orbital Guard and the need for their own class of vessels became pressing.

With the pressure of the Cylon war abated, budgets rose and the Orbital Guard was able to commission several new ships.  The largest were the Skei class patrol ships that were suitable for operations against anything short of a Colonial Strikestar.

Because there was little need for heavy armour and weaponry, the Skei was built in modules, connected through a long spinal mount.  The forward section held most of the crew and navigation areas, as well as security forces and hospital facilities.  The central module was designed to carry cargo and hold the CWIS batteries, a landing bay for raptors and other patrol craft as well as one of the ship's two jump drives.  Finally the rear engine compartment held the second jump drive.

The Skei's simple, but efficient design drew the attention of the Colonial Fleet and a Skei was loaned to the fleet for testing purposes.  It was soon found to be a highly suitable light Strikestar with room for major improvements.

The resulting redesign was an advanced, but very powerful ship much closer in design to the fast Battlestar originally envisioned by the designers of the Avalon Class.  The design was so different from the Skei, that it received a new designation as the Berzerk.

The Berzerk is a highly efficient and versatile package of firepower, speed and combat capability.  The ship carries a powerful forward KEW gun for direct firepower.  It mounts 10 dual-purpose quad turrets and 10 heavy rapid Fire CWIS turrets all mounted on the central section as well as 120 light CWIS scattered all over the ship for added protection.  An array of forward firing 32 light missiles and a landing bay capable of handling up to two squadrons of Vipers in addition to four Raptors.

Despite this impressive arsenal the Berzerk lacks armour.  The main sections have been reinforced, but the ship's spine is vulnerable to attack.  The spinal mount and missiles give the Berzerk the ability to stand off larger, more powerful enemy ships in most cases.  In order to boost the defensive capabilities, a number of Berzerks have been upgraded with launchers capable of releasing a fast expanding gel that acts as a screen against hypervelocity weapons, capable of reducing their impact significantly.  The system is still imperfect, but as research continues it is believed it may one day become a substantial extra protective measure for Colonial ships.

Even with these limitations the Berzerk is often commanded by younger fleet officers selected for their aggressive style of command, favouring their firepower to strike hard blows, acting as shock troops, much like their ancient namesake, while the larger Battlestars and Gunstars bear the brunt of the fighting,

The Hrothgar is one of the few Berzerks to serve in action, helping to subdue the rebellious factions on Aerilon and the Stygian asteroid belt.  Although the President was accused of gunboat policy, it stopped the movement from spreading to other planets and prevent a potential Civil War.

Commander : Commander Tiera Deagan
XO : Colonel Helena Cain
CAG : Captain Philip Ducros
Complement : Up to 2 squadrons of fighters in cramped conditions, up to 4 Raptors, up to 2 shuttles.
Armament : 1 Mjolnir 400 forward battery, 10 Tauria Alpha Quad medium turrets, 10 Kurtmann HV  rapid fire twin CWIS.  104 Tauria Lightning 4 CIWS, 32 medium missile bays.