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.