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.