The Umerian Space Security Force's chief responsibilities are patrol of Umerian space and defense of Umeria against hostile powers. Umerian ships are relatively short-ranged in hyperspace, with a few exceptions. It is generally accepted that the Umerian fleet would need extensive logistics support to operate further afield than the Technocracy's nearest neighbors.
General Technology of the USSFEdit
[work in progress]
"Dureum" is a colloquial Umerian term for a wide variety of quasimetallic metamaterials. The various grades and types of dureum are as diverse as those of steel- consider the difference in characteristics between spring-steel and stainless steel for an illustration. The unifying trait among these different substances is the broad outlines of the manufacturing process.
Dureum is made starting from a template of precision-aligned alloy (often, though not always, using industrial nanotech to form the base material, combined with sintering/diffusion stages and extremely specialized annealing processes). It is then subjected to various exotic force fields, both static and time-dependent, to further adjust atomic configuration and to imbue the material with properties not conventionally possible under 20th century physics. Common possibilities include extensions of the material into higher spatial dimensions, high 4D moments of inertia that resist attempts to extend the material into higher dimensions, anomalously high permeability to exotic radiation (compare to the behavior of mu metal in a magnetic field to see why this can be desirable), and extraordinary structural properties.
Many of the production methods are proprietary secrets in Umeria, though most other nations have their own metamaterial technologies that overlap with the techniques of dureum fabrication to varying extents. This secrecy has a great deal to do with military applications, where the helpful traits of dureum include:
- "Melting" (see note at bottom of section) points in the tens of thousands of degrees centigrade.
- Extreme specific heat capacity and heat of fusion.
- High hardness or high toughness (seldom if ever both).
- High (though not unlimited) capacity for absorbing ionizing radiation with minimal harm.
- Exceptionally variable thermal conductivity, ranging from near-perfect to near-zero as desired.
- Extraordinary density, equal to or greater than that of the densest ordinary metals (tungsten, uranium, etc.)
The most conspicuous application is in armor plate, particularly when dureum is used in non-ablative barrier layers as part of a starship's armor scheme. Thick dureum plates are capable of resisting fire from capital-scale beam weapons, though as alluded above, such plates are extremely heavy. Lighter dureum plate is found in the main armor belts of smaller Umerian starships (though not small craft due to weight/fuel constraints), armored vehicles, and in foil-thin (yet still surprisingly heavy) layers in high-end Umerian power armor.
Dureum is also found in anti-armor "breacher" rounds in the Ground Security Force's artillery. This role goes to high-permeability types of dureum that tend to momentarily "absorb" energy shielding and pass through without being destroyed on impact with the shield surface, while also (hopefully) having the material properties needed to pierce an underlying armor plate. Dureum APCBC rounds are suboptimal against purely material armors, but the proliferation of energy shield technology in high end armored vehicles makes the compromise a necessity.
[There is no appropriate technical term in Standard Model physics for the phase transition process undergone by dureum when it is heated past the point of quasisolidity. "Melting," "vaporization," and "ionization" all take place, but none of these words, singly or in combination, describes the entire process; the role of dissipating exotic-field effects is critical and yet simply cannot be described without a solid mathematical basis in Werner-Hohaani-Shrümenblumen theory.]
Magnetogravitic Sublight PropulsionEdit
[this section a work in progress]
This is in some ways related to Heim drive propulsion, but stops far short of the necessary equipment to generate a space-bending field on the scale required for FTL propulsion. Umerian drive fields are inertial, in that they generate a measurable, definable force propelling the ship in accordance with Newton's Second Law. However, they do not require the use of significant amounts of reaction mass in the normal sense of the term, any more than a Heim drive does.
Umerian magnetogravitics are relatively user-friendly by the standards of non-reaction drives, but impose tradeoffs not called for among ships which use an inertialess drive- mostly in terms of being forced to strike a balance between straight-line acceleration and agility. They also exert considerable forces on the hull, requiring extreme structural strength to survive the accelerations imposed by the drive. This is especially significant in the capital ships, which mount their engines on the tips of long pylons for the sake of high rate of turn. During the first century of their use, it was all too common for drive nacelles to simply break off the ship at high acceleration, with disastrous effects; advances in naval design have mostly corrected this problem.
In general, magnetogravitic drives have a practical speed limit beyond which Lorentz contraction effects begin to interfere with the working of the drive, reducing efficiency and performance at high-relativistic speeds. This is usually irrelevant to combat operations, but can prove problematic under certain conditions of deep-space warfare, especially in shoal space.
Magnetogravitic drive units can be placed in a wide variety of locations; they require emitter heads with a clear line of sight along the axis of 'thrust,' but can be tucked inside the hull, mounted externally on outriggers, stuck through the hull at an angle, or any other desired configuration, so long as the structural strength of the hull can withstand the forces applied to it by the drive without damage.
In the capital ships, creation of a drive field relies on interaction between the overlapping fields generated by multiple nacelles. These fields are optimized for thrust parallel to the main axis of the ship, but are capable of pushing off-axis at any desired angle that offers the nacelles a clear line of sight to open space at lower accelerations. This grants high flexibility and relatively good lateral mobility. Redundancy built into the nacelle design allows the ship to continue to function with one or more nacelles shot away, which is a fairly common occurrence on the heavy cruiser and battlecruiser classes during intense combat.
Weapons of the USSFEdit
While many other powers have progressed to the use of weapon systems based on exotic physics beyond the old "Standard Model," Umeria has concentrated on refining relatively simple weapons with more advanced technology. The Technocracy still employs exotic physics in its defenses and propulsion systems, naturally, and research into exotic-physics theory and its applications to weapon design are still funded. But for offensive armament the Umerians take pride in their place among the galaxy's leading producers of hoary old mainstays such as nuclear warheads and particle beam weapons. Key technologies used include:
Missiles are a secondary weapon in the eyes of Umerian tacticians, particularly in large-scale ship combat. However, a variety of missile designs are used for small and medium combatants, mostly to enable them to damage larger and more dangerous targets. All designs currently in use employ variations on the warhead concept pioneered in the Mk I "Melon" missile: a refinement of the 20th century shaped nuclear charge. While many fleets rely on active (temporary) force field confinement to shape nuclear explosions, Umerian missiles use a purely passive method, designing the warhead geometry to focus the bulk of the X-rays generated by the fission charge in a single direction- forward. A typical attack profile for a Umerian missile involves coasting [i]past[/i] the target at relatively close range, pivoting, and lighting off the warhead from a standoff distance measured in kilometers.
Because of the use of shaped fission charges rather than pure-fusion or antimatter, Umerian missile warheads are unusually 'dirty' from a radiological perspective. This has consequences when the missiles are used for planetary bombardment; the problem is made even worse if the jet from the shaped charge warhead is directed downwards into the planetary surface, where it tends to produce large amounts of fallout.
Ignoring individual sub-marks and detailed remarks on capability, examples of Umerian missile designs include:
Mk IV "Cantaloupe" Antiship TorpedoEdit
The Mk IV carries an extremely powerful warhead and varying levels of focusing. Different versions of the Cantaloupe are designed to direct the torpedo blast into a single jet to penetrate extremely heavy shielding or to hit targets from outside the optimal range of close-in point defense, a wide-angle jet to engage multiple closely spaced soft targets, or an omnidirectional burst (most useful for planetary bombardment, though occasionally employed for mine clearance and other specialized purposes).
The missile chassis is a high-cost, high-performance platform, designed to get the Cantaloupe to the target in the face of capital ship grade ECM and missile defense systems, rather than attempting to saturate the defenses by sheer numbers. Because of this, Umerian torpedo doctrine relies on very small numbers of missiles by the standards of antiship warfare among other fleets. For instance, a Umerian destroyer will launch torpedoes in salvoes of no more than eighteen, with reasonable confidence of doing serious damage to anything below cruiser performance as a result.
The Mk IV has two major disadvantages: it is too large to be carried in substantial number by small craft, and it is relatively short ranged by the standards of other powers' heavy missiles.
The Cantaloupe is primarily a space-to-space missile, but it also comes in ground-defense variants (fired from mobile land-based or submarine platforms) and a short-range version to be carried by the Buccaneer-X cutter variant- at no more than two torpedoes per cutter.
Mk V "Honeydew" G.P. MissileEdit
The Mk V, in contrast, is a much smaller, lighter, and shorter ranged weapon, with a single wide-angle focusing system for the warhead. The Honeydew lacks the punch to penetrate capital ship armor or shielding, and so is generally deployed in an antimissile/antifighter role. On occasion it has been used long range to cause superficial damage to a heavier target's sensors or other vulnerable surface features. However, its short drive endurance limits it in this role.
The Mk V is seldom seen on large starships, where beam weapons are preferred for the point defense role. Instead, it is typically used for small craft.
Mk VI "Galia" Antiship MissileEdit
The Galia was designed as an attempt to combine the light frame of the Mk V with the antiship punch of the Mk IV, with considerable success. The Galia uses an extended, longer range missile body with more sophisticated sensors and ECCM to aid in getting close to defended targets. The warhead is comparable to that of the Honeydew in yield, but is fuzed for a much more tightly focused close-proximity burst, for maximum effect against single, low-maneuverability targets. The Mk VI can overwhelm light capital ship defenses, at the cost of being much less effective in the Mk V's antimissile/antifighter roles. However, unlike the Mk IV, it is largely ineffective against heavy capital ship defenses, due to the need to detonate close to the target and the lack of brute warhead power. A hardpoint or cell for the Galia can usually be adapted to launch the Honeydew; the reverse is usually not true.
Phased Array Laser (PAL)Edit
These systems use very large grids of nanotech elements to generate intense beams of coherent infrared light, by a method analogous to 20th-century phased array radar systems. In atmosphere, these lasers appear green to the eye due to frequency doubling, though the green light observed is but a small fraction of the far more intense infrared radiation of the beam itself. Observation of Umerian laser weapons in operation is not recommended without protective eyewear.
PAL panels have several advantages. The activation of individual elements is software controlled, allowing the panel to fire a beam across a wide angular range without moving parts. Since each element can be controlled independently, the PAL can generate multiple beams from the same panel, and traverse the beams independently. Moreover, it is practically impossible for low-energy damage to disable the weapon; destroying a handful of elements has little effect on the overall power of the laser.
Offsetting these strengths are two critical weaknesses. The individual emitter elements are sharply limited in maximum output power, and the total power of the PAL scales with the area of the panel. This requires the use of prohibitively large panels in order to generate a beam effective against capital ship armor or shielding. PAL panels are normally seen only on relatively small craft (with high surface-to-volume ratios) for engaging relatively small targets (fragile enough to damage with a PAL beam).
The nearby state of Tianguo is a leader in phased array laser technology, thanks to more advanced nanotechnological research; Umerian PAL weapons lag considerably behind Tianguo phasers in output power. Umerian researchers have also been known to grumble about "magic indistinguishable from technology" when attempting to duplicate Tianguo scientists' feats; improvement of Umerian PAL technology to Tianguo standards is unlikely for the foreseeable future.
PAL systems are used in a variety of roles in the Umerian military. Starships use them for point defense; small craft as energy armament to complement their ordnance. GroundSec relies on them heavily for aerospace defense: ground-based laser panel systems are mounted on a variety of vehicle, towed, and fixed platforms, and show adequate performance against both single durable targets (such as starfighter-grade aerospace platforms) and numerous relatively fragile targets (such as MLRS salvoes). Coordinated PAL fire from large formations can even pose a threat to orbiting starships, though batteries of nuclear-tipped missiles comparable to the naval missile variants are typically deployed at corps level and up as the preferred means of engaging such threats.
The free electron laser uses a high energy recirculating electron beam passing through an intense magnetic 'wiggler' field to generate a beam of coherent light. The main disadvantages of this weapon are that it is energy-inefficient by modern standards, and that it demands great linear acceleration distance, and therefore a very long barrel for a given power output. For pure space combat, the FEL is largely obsolete.
However, the FEL has one great advantage: frequency agility. An FEL can be 'tuned' to generate a coherent laser beam at any of an extremely wide range of frequencies, panning across the entire visible spectrum and well into the near-infrared and near-ultraviolet. Therefore, it can be tuned to penetrate great thicknesses of atmosphere, or to exploit the resonance frequencies of most materials and certain types of energy shielding, given sufficient time to make adjustments.
Therefore, the FEL retains a niche role in planetary bombardment, allowing a ship in atmosphere to fire for maximum effect against surface targets, including hardened and shielded ones that would otherwise require a much more energetic barrage to defeat.
Filling a niche between the relatively low-power PAL and low-efficiency FEL on the one hand and the extremely large proton cannon on the other is the mainstay of Umerian light capital ship and secondary armament: the electron cannon. Thanks to their high charge-mass ratio, electron beams can be brought up to high energy over short acceleration distances; this makes turreted electron linacs a viable choice for small starships that could not mount heavier weapons.
However, electron beams are nearly useless except in vacuum; the beam disperses very quickly. Firing electron guns in support of ground targets requires the application of sufficient energy to punch a hole through planetary atmospheres, and the resulting fallout is generally very intense. Moreover, the same high charge-mass ratio that makes them easy to accelerate makes them easy to deflect; electron beams are bad at penetrating heavy shielding, though relatively effective against armor due to secondary radiation.
The pride of the Umerian arms industry is its superheavy proton cannon designs. Thanks to centuries of research in particle accelerator research, Umeria produces some of the most effective particle beam weapons in the galaxy, with excellent beam focus, energy efficiency, and destructive power. The design of Umerian capital ships capitalizes on this strength with a spinal armament design.
The standard Umerian particle cannon fires a continuous stream of five-nanosecond pulses, at a repetition rate of ~40 MHz: forty million pulses a second. This provides, in effect, a continuous beam. The individual pulses are weak by the standards of space warfare, but the cumulative effect of several million such pulses is devastating.
The beam passes down a line of superconducting acceleration chambers and containment magnets; these form the 'barrel' of the weapon, which can stretch up to multi-kilometer lengths for dreadnought-grade beams. At the muzzle, fine adjustment of beam targeting is performed using a set of steering dipoles, which can be adjusted to aim the beam anywhere within a cone roughly half a degree in width. Coarse adjustment is handled with the ship's maneuvering thrusters. Heavy proton cannon can be used either to inflict massive damage on single hardened target, or to create a 'wall' of closely spaced particle bolts by raking the beam back and forth through a target volume. This second fire mode is particularly useful for antimissile defense.
These are very similar to proton cannons in design; the technology of generating an ion beam and a proton beam are practically identical except in the first-stage pre-acceleration sections. Ions have the advantage of higher per-particle energy; a single relativistic ion carries enough kinetic energy to disintegrate an entire atomic nucleus on collision with a fixed target, while a relativistic proton may not. They experience weaker dispersive space charge forces, allowing a tighter beam over long distances. The disadvantage is that their lower charge-mass ratio makes them difficult to accelerate to the same speed- though also somewhat more difficult to shield against.
For the past few centuries the Technocracy has deemed it unnecessary to pursue ion cannon research except as a subsidiary to advances in proton weapons. This changed with the signing of the (now declassified) Reisenberg-Tlali Naval Accords of 3384. The Accords had a provision guaranteeing that Umeria would undertake to design and build a superheavy particle beam weapon to be used as the main armament for a giant system defense monitor, to be used by the Union State of Four Stars to defend their home system. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs saw this as a trivial provision, one that could be taken care of by stepping up production of the existing Mark Fourteen proton cannon, especially since the Union had agreed to cover all development and construction costs.
Unfortunately, in 3385 it became clear that the Union had no interest in fitting their supermonitor with the proposed battery of nineteen Mk. XIV's. When they asked Umeria for a superheavy particle beam weapon, they meant a single weapon, for reasons not entirely clear to the Department of Xenopsychology. Suddenly, the minor treaty provision became an economic nightmare: the construction of a single energy weapon so exceptional that it had no parts commonality with the normal production series threatened to badly disrupt weapon production.
Faced with a truly vicious lemon, the Technarchs found a way to make lemonade. In late 3385, they gave one of Umeria's most respected high energy engineering specialists, Dr. Nicholas Christofilos, the go-ahead to organize the Advanced Beamline Concepts Laboratory around Hemings' Star. The ABCL was to design and build the Union State's superheavy particle cannon, while at the same time exploring a variety of recent developments and their application to particle weapon design. This would have the twin effect of producing a lighter, handier main armament for the Union State's supermonitor and giving Umeria practical experience with a new generation of particle weapon designs.
Design work began early in 3386, starting from concept sketches from collaborative projects by the Ministry of Research and the Ministry of Security. The decision to use an ion cannon design was made early in the process; as the project went on, Dr. Christofilos experimented with a wide variety of novel technologies, including force field beamline jacketing, Thornedyke-effect pulse dipole units, and exotic-field techniques to prevent pair production in the acceleration line. The final result, an eight-kilometer ion cannon, was first test fired in 3391 against a variety of targets (including the obsolete Union State battleship Atlatonan). It proved more than satisfactory.
Almost as soon as the Union accepted the superweapon for transfer to their own dockyards to begin construction of the supermonitor, Dr. Christofilos and his team began work on miniaturizing the same technology into a five-kilometer ion cannon to be designated as the "Mark Fifteen." Far more capable than the Mk. XIV in almost every respect, the Mk. XV would serve as the main armament for the next generation of Umerian capital ships...
Small Craft of the USSFEdit
Umeria's use of non-hyper-capable fighter craft is limited to the fleet defense role; Umerian fighters are automated drones controlled by sub-Turing artificial intelligences. They are generally considered expendable in combat. Umeria has recently begun diversifying its fighter force, though the doctrine continues to base all fighter elements on large fleet carriers that are tied to the battle squadrons.
Umeria also fields large numbers of small manned gunships (collectively referred to as "cutters") for a wide variety of missions including customs patrol, reconnaissance, fleet support, troop landings, and short range interstellar strike missions. Cutters are not expendable, though casualties are expected when cutters go into combat.
(Various classes, 10 for 1$)
High acceleration AI drone fighter, missileer type
These fighters mount a high power drive but little defense or shielding. Their intended mission is to accelerate away from the launching ship or base as fast as possible, engage inbound fighters or missiles, then theoretically return to base to repeat the process.
Primary armament is a rack of eight Mk V "Honeydew" general purpose missiles. Secondary armament is a trio of low power PAL panels, two forward and one aft. These are mostly intended for use against debris and for en passant shots against missiles and fighters that survive the Honeydew bursts.
Outrider-class Fleet Defense FighterEdit
(10 for 1$)
High maneuverability AI drone fighter, dogfighting type.
This recent design trades raw acceleration for maneuverability using a vectored thrust system. The Outrider is designed for close protection of high value targets, acting as auxiliary point defense or dogfighting against enemy fighter platforms. They are poorly protected, but have the advantage of having practically omnidirectional weapon mounts and of excellent coordination; the Outrider combat AI is designed to use networked ECCM and swarm tactics against more capable enemy fighters.
Primary armament is an expanded array of low power PAL panels, with two forward and three on the flanks. Outriders can fire lasers in almost any direction, but laser power is relatively low, and it takes a sustained burst to bring down the shields of a typical strike fighter.
Lancer-class Strike FighterEdit
(10 for 1$)
High acceleration AI drone fighter, torpedo bomber type.
The Lancer is a variant of a late-model Interceptor, modified for extended endurance, greater tactical autonomy, and more resistance to damage. The Lancer's intended mission is to accelerate away from the launching ship or base as fast as possible, engage enemy starships with a massed missile strike, then theoretically return to base to repeat the process.
Primary armament is four Mk VI "Galia" antiship missiles. The missile rack can be fitted with the Mk V for fleet defense in an emergency, but the lack of sufficient hardpoints makes the Lancer an inferior choice to standard interceptors for fleet defense.
(2 for 1$)
Multirole manned modular gunship
The Buccaneer is a relatively old design, dating back many decades. It evolved as a way to escape the massive proliferation of cutter types in the previous generation. The basic design of the ship is semi-modular, allowing a variety of mission packs to be mounted amidships on a generalized hull. These modifications can be performed with difficulty at forward bases, or easily in the factory. It is also possible to alter the bow and stern sections for specific roles.
Common features of all Buccaneer models include: a quartet of compact vectored turbofans forward and aft for atmospheric work, and a medium power PAL panel mounted on the bow. This laser can be used for space combat (where it is much more powerful than most fighter-weight energy weapons), or for limited air-to-ground work; its effect in atmosphere is reduced, but still enough to deal with relatively soft targets.
The Buccaneer class has largely been replaced in Umerian service by the Corsair class cutter. Some Buccaneer variants are still in Umerian service. The main versions still seen today are:
Buccaneer, type T assault cutter:Edit
The Buccaneer-T devotes the internal module to troop capacity and mounts a pair of external pylon grids for atmospheric bomb or missile armament. Heavily armored for its size, it is often used for close air support of ground formations, or to deliver air/spacemobile troops behind enemy lines. Can carry roughly forty men in power armor without special modifications to the troop compartment. Modifications render the craft significantly less effective in spaceworthiness or survivability, but potentially allow the Buccaneer-T to carry as much as a full infantry company or an armored platoon.
Buccaneer, type X strike cutter:Edit
The Buccaneer-X is modified for extended endurance. It mounts light energy shielding and a launch tube for the heavy Mk IV "Cantaloupe" antiship torpedo. This model is designed for relatively deep strike operations, with the missiles to be used against strategic targets or heavy capital ships.
A scattering of Buccaneers from other models remain in remote outposts around the Technocracy. They are often used as trainers, or as short-range transports in dangerous space. They are also found fairly often in the fleets of minor nations near Umeria: the later models were rugged and relatively easy to maintain, using technology several steps back from the cutting edge. Since Buccaneers are still compatible with most modern Umerian ordnance and 'avionics,' they serve as a viable low-cost alternative for nations looking to maintain a short-ranged hyper-capable force. The few production lines still operating are mostly devoted to producing spare parts for these craft, though there is occasional talk of producing an updated "Super Buccaneer" for the export market.
(2 for 1$)
Multirole manned modular gunship
The Corsair is a recent update to the Buccaneer dating to the late 3360s and early '70s, designed to take advantage of improvements in engine and computer technology since the Buccaneer was designed. It is essentially similar in armament and design to the Corsair, but has significantly better ECM, more powerful tactical computers, and improved drive endurance at full throttle. Survivability is also improved, though arguably not enough to keep pace with advances in point defense technology.
Common Corsair models include:
Corsair, type C pursuit cutterEdit
Built for hyperspace pursuit work. These ships have specially designed hyperdrives, designed to pursue a fleeing vessel over short distances in hyperspace, grapple, and pull them into normal space to be engaged by other cutters or warships. The Corsair-C is poorly armed, and cannot successfully pull down large starships, but is useful for antipiracy and antismuggling operations.
Corsair, Type F customs cutterEdit
Armed with additional light laser panels covering the flanks and rear, and box launchers for the Mk V general purpose missile. Equipped with a deep-radar sensor array designed to penetrate solid materials to considerable depth, a universal boarding airlock, and limited troop capacity.
Corsair, type J picket cutterEdit
ELINT variant. Used for reconaissance sweeps, either on border patrol or for scouting hostile space as part of a recon force. Extensive sensor arrays for detecting enemy movement in hyperspace and analyzing traffic within a system. Considerable ability to perform communications intercepts, but lacks the computing resources to break advanced encryption on its own power.
Corsair, Type N fleet melee cutterEdit
Designed for use in close support of large naval formations, particularly in confused, short-range engagements which Umerian capital ships are unsuited for. Armed with additional light laser panels covering the flanks and rear for antifighter work, and box launchers for the Mk VI antiship missile. Armored and screened against most fighter-weight energy weapons. Often used for the strike mission in support of fleet operations; less often used for the strike mission in isolation, for which full-scale torpedo cutters are preferred.
Light Ships of the USSFEdit
Light Umerian starships are fairly conventional in design, usually relying on a mix of missile and turreted beam weapon armament, with the notable exception of cutter tenders. While there are many different classes of ship within each category (frigate, destroyer, etc.), Umerian ship designs are relatively modular. Therefore, older versions can be upgraded to closely approach the performance of the latest generation of ship in their weight class; they are typically scrapped when this is no longer true.
(various classes, 20$ ultralight hull, carries 10$ of gunboats)
Long range carrier for cutter squadrons.
Umerian modular cutters mostly have short endurance and neglect crew comfort in favor of armament and defenses. Therefore, for extended operations away from a planetary base, the cutters require a larger ship that can feed and house the crew, and carry at least limited supplies to rearm and refuel their craft. The preferred platforms are relatively light starships mounting a series of docking rings amidships for the cutters to attach to in flight. These tenders are ubiquitous throughout Umerian space; they are used for both patrol and fleet support missions.
Main armament is eight launch tubes for the Mk VI "Galia" light antiship missile and a large array of light PAL panels distributed around the hull for supplementary point defense against fighter attack. Most of the PAL grids are obscured when the cutters are docked. The first action of a Umerian tender in combat is to detach the cutters to clear its own point defenses- and to free the more combat-effective cutter squadron for action. A cutter squadron typically carries several times more combined firepower than the tender itself.
(various classes, 30$ light hull)
Light turret/torpedo ship for patrol duty
This is a fairly standard patrol vessel, boxy and utilitarian, designed for antipiracy and border control. Umerian frigates can land on planets, resting on outriggers that extend downward from the ventral hull surface. They are generally equipped with very advanced and capable sensor suites for their size. This makes it easier for the ships to use their preferred search/wolfpack tactics, operating in large dispersed formations to locate a target, then sweeping in with overwhelming force, rather than trying to engage starships or defended pirate bases alone.
Main antiship armament is a quartet of torpedo tubes, usually loaded with the Mk IV "Cantaloupe." However, the torpedoes are rarely used in antipiracy operations, compared to the secondary energy weapons, and the "primary/secondary" role is debateable.
The beam weapon battery standard on recent frigate designs mounts six electron cannon in three dual turrets along the dorsal ('upper') surface. A retractable ventral ('belly') turret carries a hybrid light-gas/electromotive mass driver. Unlike electron beams, the mass driver can function in atmosphere for support of ground troops. The ship also carries a set of medium PAL panels, mostly for close-in point defense; this armament is mostly mounted on the starboard and port surfaces, with reduced paneling on the bow and stern.
The torpedo tubes are fitted in the bow and stern, two forward and two aft. In addition, there is an extensive array of launch cells for the Mark Five fleet defense missile along the ventral surface, as part of the ship's missile defense outfit.
Recent generations of frigate are roughly trapezoidal in cross-section, and bear a vague resemblance to seagoing aircraft carriers, being well under than a kilometer in length and having a wide flat 'upper' surface. The resemblance ends there, as no aircraft carrier in history featured a wide flat-bottomed keel, slab sides reaching from the flight deck to the waterline... or large-caliber gun turrets in the middle of the carrier deck.
The resemblance is mostly coincidental; the boxy construction is meant to provide maximum volume for minimum target profile at all angles. The flat dorsal hull (the 'deck') serves to give the electron cannon turrets the best possible field of fire, as there are no obstructions to get in the path of the beams aside from the turrets themselves.
Turrets are echeloned across the hull (offset to the left forward and to the right astern, or vice versa), to permit all beam weapons to fire directly ahead or behind, as well as to port and starboard. Vertical traverse angle is limited; the turrets cannot fire "straight up," but this problem is easily solved by rolling the ship about its long axis to bring the main energy battery to bear. The ventral mass driver turret is more flexible and can fire straight down, but is effectively useless in naval combat due to low muzzle velocity, and is mostly reserved for orbital bombardment.
The FF-6700s are a legacy design, designed in the early 34th century to serve as medium-weight support for large scale cutter operations. The concept of modular design was taken to an extreme with these ships, with the intention that both the "destroyer" and "frigate" missions could be handled off the same basic hull plan, simply by changing the proportion of modular hull spaces devoted to different tasks.
The "destroyer" version of the 6700s did not perform satisfactorily, and was entirely replaced in service by the du Chatelet class during the Emilyswarm construction boom. The "frigate" version proved quite serviceable, partly because hull frames and power trunking built to handle destroyer-grade acceleration and weaponry had exceptional service lives when restricted to the gentler loads of frigate duty. Thus, the 6700s are still found on active duty among some of the system control groups, though usually those covering less important systems.
The 6700s are visually distinct from their more common descendants. They are considerably longer and slimmer, with five main battery turrets on the dorsal and ventral surfaces carrying single short-barreled "carronade" versions of the electron gun used in the Province-class cruiser. The need to accomodate the ventral turrets imposed modifications on the ships' landing gear as well, which makes the two classes appear even more different on the ground than in space.
A contemporary and "little sister" of the Emilie du Chatelet class dating to the mid-3360s, and broadly similar in basic design and equipment outfit. As is typical of Umerian frigate designs, the 6800s are slightly smaller than the du Chatelets, and devote a larger proportion of the hull to sensors, fuel supplies, and bulkier high-endurance drives for improved shoal-capability. This comes at the expense of direct combat potential, in particular the removal of the outboard bow torpedo tubes and a corresponding reduction in magazine capacity, scaled back power plant machinery to take into account the need to power only three electron gun turrets rather than four, lower peak sublight acceleration, and reduced shield redundancy over the vital parts of the ship's hull.
A design slightly older than the Empress-class light cruiser but still of the same generation, the FF-6900s show many of the same transitional technologies, including magneto-stabilized turret bearings to give the ship better ability to keep its guns on target while engaged in radical evasive maneuvers.
Examples include USS Farbanti, which saw extensive action during the Zebes campaign.
This is the latest design, incorporating many of the same incremental advances seen in the other "Fleet 3410" designs intended for continued production into the 35th century.
(various classes, 40$ light hull)
Light turret/torpedo ship for fleet escort duty
The basic destroyer hullform is similar to that of the frigate, but with a broader hull mounting four electron gun turrets instead of three. By long custom, these ships are named after famous historical scientists.
These are fast, light ships, designed to support heavy capital fleet units. Mostly, this duty involves covering the flanks of a capital ship formation. Destroyers are also often called on for convoy escort, picket duty during major naval operations, and short-range spoiling raids.
As with the smaller frigate, the ship's main ship-killer armament is its six torpedo tubes, which are used considerably more often in fleet actions than in patrol work. Destroyers also mount a larger battery of electron cannon and heavier PAL mounts than a typical frigate, and significantly more defensive shielding over vital areas. In exchange, they give up sensor capability and long range endurance, since they usually operate close to a central sensor net and supply source- Umerian fleet doctrine places a low priority on long operational endurance for the battlefleet.
Like frigates, destroyers can be used for close air support while hovering in atmosphere, but they have to rely on their PAL batteries for the task, since they lack a specialized mass driver.
Emilie du Chatelet classEdit
These ships make up well over 50% of the destroyer fleet, and they are starting to show their age. The design was finalized in the mid-3360s, originally planned for a production run of about forty. However, in response to a resurgence of Shepistani militarism in the mid-3370s SpaceSec commissioned an extremely large surge of extra destroyers: the infamous "Emilyswarm."
Minor historical note: Named after an mid-18th century French physicist; the Marquise du Chatelet played a pivotal role in the discovery of energy and the law of conservation thereof. One of the few women of her century to study advanced mathematics.
Karl Wilhelm Scheele classEdit
This ship was conceived as the follow-on to the du Chatelets, but teething difficulties with some of the technology delayed production. Fearing imminent Shepistani attack and preferring a proven design over an unproven one, SpaceSec deemed it more practical to build more du Chatelets, and the bulk of the construction budget was devoted to the Emilyswarm. The first Scheeles were commissioned around 3378, but in relatively small quantities. Their advances over the du Chatelets were purely incremental, but many of the technologies pioneered in the Scheeles were refined further for other, later light-ship designs such as the Empress-class and the new types planned for the Fleet 3410 program.
Minor historical note: By perverse coincidence, scientists of this name played remarkably similar roles in the evolution of science on both Earth and Nova Terra, hailing from the nations of Sweden and Shroomania respectively. In both cases, they were pivotal in the evolution of medieval alchemy into the modern science of chemistry, focusing on systematic observation and cataloging of chemical discoveries. Also in both cases, they categorized chemicals by a number of traits including smell and taste... which, again in both cases, led to dramatic results when they discovered chlorine gas. And hydrogen cyanide.
Renata Fields classEdit
The Renatas are an extremely recent design, not finalized until the late 3390s. They are intended (in the long term) to replace the du Chatelets under the Fleet 3410 program, as these ships begin to show their age. As with the other Umerian light ship classes, this is mostly a function of hull aging rather than obsolete technology.
(various classes, 60$ medium hull)
Medium turret/torpedo ship
In many ways these are similar in design to destroyers and frigates, but larger and with greatly improved survivability. Light cruisers often serve as flagships to frigate or destroyer squadrons on independent duty, and are used as the heavy hitters of patrol forces. They have the command and control facilities for this role; it is entirely possible to coordinate a squadron-level pursuit supported by dozens of small craft spread out over hundreds of cubic light-years from a light cruiser's flag bridge, at least in the more modern ships of the type.
Torpedo armament is effectively identical to that of a destroyer little more than half its size, and considerably more emphasis is placed on the electron guns. These heavier beams are powerful enough to cause minor damage even to heavy capital ships, and pose a major threat to cruiser-weight opponents.
The basic hull layout is similar to that of a destroyer but, as is to be expected, scaled up considerably. Umerian light cruisers are under a kilometer in length, but not dramatically so.
These are among the oldest combat-ready Umerian ships still in SpaceSec service, dating back to the 3290s. They predate the doctrinal decision to use light cruiser flagships to coordinate hyper-capable small craft and pursuit operations, and as such lack the command and control facilities of their younger sisters. However, they were designed for relatively high power-to-weight, and were unusually large ships compared to their younger sisters. Moreover, the space devoted to C3I facilities on more recent designs was plowed into increased armament at the time.
As a result, the Province class is actually better armed than the 34th-century designs that replaced it. The extra pair of torpedo tubes in the stern are still compatible with modern Mk. IV torpedoes; while their electron cannon are somewhat crude and short-ranged by modern Umerian standards, they are high-current weapons, mounted in triple rather than twin turrets.
Moreover, these ships were built with very long service life and physical durability in mind. Their armor and shielding schemes are considerably below par compared to modern ships of their tonnage, but the basic hull is highly durable and holds up well under both combat and routine operational stress. This is one of the reasons even a few of the class have survived this long.
However, a hundred years' aging of the hulls puts them well beyond 'warranty,' and SpaceSec has been forced to retire most of the class. This retirement was hastened by the Province's inability to coordinate cutter operations, which makes them extremely undesirable for the modern light cruiser mission. Only a handful of Provinces remain today, mostly relegated to training commands and convoy escort in areas where relatively heavy attack is expected. A few others are found in service in the fleets of minor regional navies, which purchased them from Umeria in mid-century as the bulk of them were phased out and replaced by the Conductor-class.
Historical note: The Province-class ships were Umeria's primary cruiser-weight units during the brief period when Nova Atlantean cadence lance technology was seen as the 'weapon to end all weapons,' rendering shields obsolete overnight. Scrambling to come up with a way to protect their ships against the resonance-exploiting cadence beam, the Umerians were one of many powers to independently discover polycyclic shielding... which rendered cadence lances even more obsolete than the shields they were invented to crack.
The crash refit program had consequences; early-generation polycyclic shields were bulkier than their single-frequency counterparts. As a result, the Provinces were redesigned with uneven shield protection, with larger (but equally powerful) shield generators over the ship's vitals and less powerful (but no bulkier) protection over those parts deemed less essential. This left exploitable weaknesses and 'seams' in the ships' shielding which in most cases were never fixed, though in practice taking advantage of them usually proved more trouble than it was worth.
The Conductors are a transitional class, showing SpaceSec's change in cruiser design philosophy between the 33rd and 34th centuries. The first design studies on this class were done contemporary with the failed Aggressor-class modular cutter design, which turned out to be grossly disappointing in service. When the greatly improved Buccaneer-class entered large scale deployment in the early 3330s, it slowly became clear that cutters would play a major role in future Umerian fleet tactics, and that there was a need for dedicated 'command cruisers' to coordinate cutter operations on a well-armed, survivable platform.
The first Conductors were designed in the late '40s and built in the early '50s. They were a controversial design at the time, and a considerable step down in firepower from the heavily armed Province-class. The Conductors had only 70% of the missile firepower and 80% of the beam broadside of the ships they were beginning to replace. However, combat testing soon proved that the improved C3I and coordinated electronic warfare capabilities were very much worth it: what the Conductors lacked in raw firepower, they made up for in the ability to coordinate other ships.
On the other hand, in hindsight the Conductors were poorly optimized for their intended mission. Many of the modifications designed to make command cruisers of them involved unnecessary compromises to their combat potential, which were gradually ironed out of subsequent designs. The command and control facilities themselves were flawed in some respects, too, particularly the flag accomodations. This has led many officers using Conductor flagships to command from CIC rather than the original flag bridge- mostly so they can see what's going on.
Today, there are a large number of Conductors in service, but most of them have been relegated to the system control groups, while newer cruisers handle screening elements for the battlefleets. Like the du Chatelet class destroyers, they are starting to show their age. Hull stress is less of a difficulty for this class, their durable hull construction being a legacy of their Province-class ancestors, but many new innovations to Umerian light-ship design are not backwards compatible with the Conductors. The Flight I Conductors have already been retired, and it is likely that the later series will leave service as well once more modern cruisers are built to replace them, probably during the 3410s.
Well-known examples of the class include USS Directrix, Ananya Hazarika's flagship at the Battles of Bannerman, Hawk's Nest, and Zebes.
The Empress-class light cruiser is a more modernized update to the Conductor design concept, designed around 3380 in light of experience with the technologies pioneered by the Scheele-class destroyer. Many of these modifications revolved around improving serviceability and user-friendliness; in the same spirit, the flaws in the Conductors command and control systems were to a large extent corrected.
The Empresses also profited from a number of 'heavy machinery' advances since their predecessors were built. Perhaps the greatest improvement is in their magneto-stabilized turret bearings, which allow the electron cannon to keep a considerably tighter lock on target during radical evasive maneuvers. This improves survivability and gunnery performance, for obvious reasons. While some of the Flight III and Flight IV Conductors have been retrofitted with the improved bearings on some or all of their turrets, this still leads to a notable difference in fire placed on target when the two classes go into battle together.
Minor Note: SpaceSec superstition holds that the Empress-class are, by and large, lucky ships. Speculation about the reasons for this is often wild, including such improbable explanations as "adopted by friendly extra-universal spirits."
The Hero class divides into three fairly distinct 'flights' of construction. The Flight I Heroes are best viewed as an intermediate design between the older Empresses and the more recent flights; these ships were commissioned in time to take part in the Browncoat War, where they performed fairly well in complex, mobile light-ship battles against Independent raiders and blockade runners. The early Heroes were also notable for winning a number of one-on-one actions against old Province-class cruisers stolen from training commands and reserve yards by the Independents. Since the Provinces, despite their age, have a heavy weapons fit, this was a feat of arms an Empress would have been hard pressed to match, and one a Conductor would require a great deal of luck to achieve.
Postwar the Flight II Heroes were laid down; these ships built on the successful base provided by the Flight I's hull design, and added improved electronics- the direct ancestors of the systems that were to go into the Fleet 3410 designs. Flight II Heroes are among the most advanced ships SpaceSec has fielded in quantity to date, though they are likely to be overshadowed in the near future by the more numerous projected Flight III building program.
The Flight III Heroes are intended as the standard light cruiser design for the early 35th century. Once the core battle squadrons of Fleet 3410 are complete, SpaceSec plans to drastically expand cruiser construction, building this light ship class on a scale not seen since the days of the Emilyswarm. The Heroes are expected to replace the bulk of the Conductors and the handful of remaining Provinces by some time between 3412 and 3416, with the Conductors being relegated to the naval reserve and the Provinces retired to the museums.
(Hibernia-class, 80$ medium hull, 10$ gunboat carrier capacity, 10$ troop capacity, 40$ antiship attack of its own)
The Hibernia-class assault ships are used as point elements for space to surface landing operations, sacrificing space superiority firepower for improved ground attack, small craft, and troop capacity. The design was inspired by descriptions of the Byzantine Imperium's strike cruisers. The few Imperial naval attachés to reach Umerian space are often amused at the sight of them, since they weigh in at barely more than 20% of the tonnage of the Imperial Navy's massive ships, carry far less capable ground troops than the Imperium's Astartes companies, and have a tiny fraction of an Imperial strike cruiser's striking power.
That notwithstanding, the Hibernia-class is not to be trifled with. A Umerian strike cruiser can hold up to a full division of Ground Force strike troopers and battle drones, arguably equal in strength to a small army of conventional forces. It also carries small craft capacity for a full cutter squadron (and the landing craft for the Strike troopers) and significant planetary bombardment weapons.
Main ship to ship armament is a set of torpedo tubes similar to the ones found on a typical destroyer, four dual turrets for electron cannon echeloned across the dorsal surface, and a network of heavy PAL panels. Along with the standard Mk IV antiship torpedo and its variants, the torpedo tubes can be used to deploy mission specific payloads for planetary operations, such as reconnaissance satellites. The strike cruiser carries a mix of free electron lasers and mass drivers in casemated emitters along the flanks for ground bombardment. However, these weapons are not very useful for ship to ship work, as the FELs are low-efficiency compared to PALs and particle cannon, while the mass drivers are useful only at point blank range against hard maneuvering targets.
Strike cruisers' cutter detachments are normally dominated by atmospheric gunship types such as the Buccaneer-T. However, they are capable of docking any other cutter type, and can thus double as cutter tenders in environments where the standard corvette-weight tender would be impractically vulnerable to attack.
Capital Ships of the USSFEdit
Whereas the USSF's light warships are traditional, the design of most of its capital ships dating back to the Jaggan War is a radical departure from galactic norms. With the exception of fleet carriers, Umerian ships use an extremely long and spindly central hull, connected to a radially symmetric set of outriggers. The ships' long moment arm for lateral thrusters gives them excellent maneuverability, but once the deflector screens are brought down they suffer badly from a lack of structural strength.
The reason for this extremely unusual hullform revolves around the main armament of the typical Umerian capital ship: a set of one or more superheavy particle cannon running the length of the core hull (see "proton cannon," above). The sheer size of these particle accelerators forces a spinal armament design on the ship, as it is impractical either to build turrets large enough to house the gun or to steer the particle beam by more than a few dozen arcminutes as it exits the muzzle.
The heavy hitters of the Umerian line of battle are optimized to engage targets directly in front of them with their spinal energy weapons. Secondary armament and most other design features are designed to keep the ship alive and fighting until the extreme firepower of the main armament can be brought to bear. Umerian capital ships tend to "punch" well above their tonnage in direct frontal-aspect combat, while being relatively vulnerable to attacks directed at their flanks and rear.
The disadvantage of fixed forward main weapons is partly offset by the high rate of turn Umerian capital ships gain from having their maneuvering engines at the end of long moment arms. For the rest, Umerian admirals rely on good fleet formations, the efforts of screening elements, and if all else fails an emergency retreat rather than fighting it out against an opponent in an overwhelmingly superior position.
(various classes, 100$ heavy hull)
These are the smallest of the Umerian spinal armament designs, built around a a bundle of three large proton guns: the Mark 11 Block 75, a distant, sawed-off descendant of a design once used on full-up capital ships. Intended as a bombardment platform for engaging light orbital defenses, heavy cruisers serve as the main striking arm of the Technocracy's intervention task forces when larger capital ships are not called for. They are also capable of engaging most cruisers in space with reasonable confidence of success, thanks in large part to their main battery (discounting societies that use unusually large "cruiser" classifications).
The ship mounts eight drive outriggers, a ring of four forward and another offset ring of four aft. These outriggers serve mostly to spin the ship to bear on new targets, or to provide lateral acceleration for evasive maneuvers. The main space drives are tucked in against the core hull.
Pursuant to the design principle of bow-on engagements, heavy cruisers mount a large plate of light battleship-grade armor at the bow, covering the core hull from enemy fire when the ship has brought its main battery to bear. However, this armor does not cover the outriggers, and the armor protection on the flanks is light even by cruiser standards. For flank defense, Umerian heavy cruisers mount relatively heavy PAL panels on their outriggers and large banks of VLS cells on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the core hull. The missile cells are loaded with a mix of Mk V point defense and Mk VI light antiship missiles, giving the cruiser enough broadside firepower to engage destroyer-weight ships. For fighting opponents of cruiser tonnage or above, the ships rely on their main armament.
The Space Security Force built a total of twenty of these ships in seven flights or subclasses over the period 3345-3372. They replaced the Province-class in the light planetary assault role, using a "sawed-off" version of the 32nd-century Mark Eleven proton cannon- originally the Block 70, since updated to the Block 75.
Despite the extreme age of the original design for the ship's main armament, The Block 75 version is competitive in power per ton and extremely competitive in component reliability, incorporating many of the lessons learned during design of the Mark Twelve through Fourteen proton guns.
This beam weapon, and slightly modified versions of it, are still in production today, mostly for the export market, as the shorter barrel length makes them more popular for users who prefer to avoid the extremely long, spindly designs favored by SpaceSec. While the XI-75 and its relatives are still too long-barreled to be feasible turret weapons on ships of realistic size, they can be incorporated comfortably into spinal-particle beam designs of other national fleets.
The Bombardiers took heavy losses during the Browncoat War of 3391-2, as they often spearheaded pacification operations against Independent worlds, bringing them up against the Independents' own starfleet. An individual Bombardier greatly outclassed almost any ships in Browncoat hands, but the heavier units of their fleet (such as numerous Provinces captured from the reserve yards) were powerful enough to pose considerable threats at close range, especially if operating in groups so that the proton-beam cruisers could be taken in flank.
As of 3400, this is the most modern spinal-armament warship in Umerian service. The design had been progressively updated several times, representing an evolutionary growth from the older Bombardier class, but go-ahead for construction wasn't given until the Independent Spinward Republic's revolt in 3391 and the corresponding severe losses to the heavy cruiser arm of the fleet's Intervention Task Forces. Reactivating reserve hulls got the Technocracy through the war, but these older ships had been retired for good reasons before; the Browncoat War opened a significant hole in the fleet's force structure, demanding a new production run of heavy cruisers to fill it.
The Patriots use the same Mk. XI Block 75 guns as their older sisters, but are fitted with a different bow plate geometry (internal structure is highly classified, but the external shape is obviously different); it is believed that the spacing between layers of dureum in the armor 'sandwich' is significantly less than in previous designs. These ships are also equipped with uprated drive nacelles, and were designed from the keel up to take advantage of newer types of EW and sensor drones for their VLA networks. The Bombardiers and other, older capital ships have been retrofitted with the new electronics, but the Patriots still make marginally better use of the hardware.
(various classes, 150$ heavy hull, 75$ fighter capacity, total cost 225$)
The fleet carriers are the only large conventional ships in the Umerian fleet. Each carrier is attached to a battlecruiser or battleship division to deploy its drone fighters in defense of the battlegroup, thickening the task force's defenses and providing limited ability to deliver long range strikes outside the effective reach of the big-gun ships' main battery.
A Umerian fleet carrier has a complement of 750 AI drone ships; carriers generally use a mix of the Interceptor, Outrider, and Lancer types, though the emphasis is generally on the first two types.
For close-in defense, the carriers are armed with limited PAL point defense, but their defensive laser armament is weak because so much of their surface area is dedicated to the fighter bays, and to drone control links (the drones can operate without guidance from the fleet, but are more efficient when supported by fleet tactical computers). Therefore, little surface area remains for PAL panels. Traditionally, Umerian carriers also carry a few torpedo tubes for antiship work, but their ability to perform against the point defense of anything much over corvette weight is highly doubtful.
Older-model Umerian carriers are roughly cylindrical, with a hollow core that can "dump" fighters out the back. The most recent Aviary class has gone to a new design with the fighters stored in individual bays on long docking arms; the Aviary has six docking arms (each supporting 125 fighters) in a double-Y configuration, with one Y above and one below the core hull, pointed in opposite direction.
(various classes, 175$ heavy hull)
Battlecruisers are intended as dedicated cruiser-killers and fast response ships. They mount essentially the same protection scheme as a heavy cruiser, but replace the heavy cruiser's trio of Mk. XI-75 proton guns with the battleship-grade Mk. XIV. These cannon use additional acceleration stages for higher beam energy. The battlecruiser also fits a third ring of drive outriggers amidships, to help make up for the increased length of the main battery. This, in turn, gives the battlecruiser more surface area for defensive phased array laser grids, freeing up the ship's missile cells to carry the Mark Six "Galia" missile exclusively, rather than needing to carry the Mark Five "Honeydew," which is more of a dedicated countermissile.
However, while Umerian heavy cruisers are merely unremarkable in the quality of their defensive protection compared to other ships of their tonnage, Umerian battlecruisers are distinctly inferior to their peers. Using essentially the same sized bow plate on a longer ship means that the cone covered against enemy fire is smaller, and that the battlecruiser must be more careful to keep its front towards the enemy to avoid taking fire against the flank armor and shielding.
Against cruisers this is relatively unimportant, because a battlecruiser's main battery can saw through medium or light hulls in short order. But against modern battleships, the battlecruiser's lack of survivability is a critical weakness. Umerian doctrine discourages battlecruisers from accepting action against enemy heavy line combatants at less than 2:1 odds, or 3:1 odds when dealing with the latest generation of dreadnoughts. Against some large fleet flagships, it might well take half a dozen or more battlecruisers to engage with any good hope of success, and even then losses would be likely.
Contemporaries of the Conductor-class cruisers and the first generation of Buccaneer-variant fleet melee boats, these ships took traditional Umerian naval architecture in a daring and arguably mistaken direction. Paring down the size of the heavily armored bow shield seen on all Umerian capital ships since the original 28th-century Vindicators, the Tornados relied far more heavily on lateral mobility to sidestep enemy fire.
In return, they profited from reduced mass, and a center of mass farther back towards the geometric center of the main hull, both of which improved acceleration and rate of turn in all three dimensions. Moreover, removing heavy armor and clearing the drive nacelles' line of sight ahead gives the Tornado the ability to form a full-power drive field directed forward as well as aft. This lets the class set their engines to 'full steam reverse' and retreat at high acceleration while keeping the bow shield pointed towards the enemy- a useful tactic which ships of this type have been forced to resort to on a number of occasions.
The Explorers are a purely incremental evolution of the Tornado-class; with the drastic changes in hullform that went into the Tornados, it was inevitable that there would be a number of structural bugs not identified until SpaceSec was committed to accepting the class. Aside from receiving the electronics improvements of the 3370s 'from the keel up' rather than during refit and replacement periods, these ships were so similar to the Tornados that many of the more pedantic among SpaceSec* would have preferred to class the ships as "Tornado II's."
_* Umerian pedants can get really, really pedantic...
The Harunas were designed in the late 3380s, and their completion was delayed because of the demands of the Browncoat War of 3391-2, mostly because of questions about the security of the dockyards. This class is in some ways more sophisticated than its predecessors, but like earlier battlecruiser designs is plagued by basic practical limitations. The narrower 'immune zone' a Haruna gets from its smaller bow shield, and the lack of any broadside weapons heavier than its massed point defenses, make the class more vulnerable. In really intense combat, Umerian battlecruisers would live or die based on the theory that "speed is armor;" the question of how far this theory can be taken remains an open one.
Aurora-class Ion BattlecruiserEdit
(Superheavy hull, 250 points)
During the defense reviews of the late 3390s, there were prominent voices among SpaceSec arguing that the battlecruiser designs as currently implemented were a waste of resources, an inadequate return on the cost of their main armament as compared to dreadnoughts (three beamlines instead of five, with considerably less than half of the combat potential). A rare alliance between Second for Security Dr. Calvin Lanning and Second for Finance Dr. Raffaelo Fidanzo pushed through the decision to make one more attempt at a successful battlecruiser design along the lines of the currently existing classes, as part of the Fleet 3410 program.
The Aurora design is heavily classified- surprisingly, more heavily than the Vindicator-class ion dreadnoughts planned for construction at the same time. From what is publically known:
The new Aurora-class is based on a "stretch" version of the Patriot-class heavy cruiser, using the same modified bow armor scheme and broadly similar drive nacelles. Since the exact internal structure of the Patriots' bow plates is itself highly classified, this is less informative than the galaxy would like. It has also been confirmed that the Aurora will mount the same Mark XV Block 5 capital-class ion cannon as the Vindicator, and will share a number of other components with the new dreadnought class.
A great deal of speculation surrounds the Auroras' electronics fit, which is subject to the highest level of secrecy while at the same time clearly involving a great deal of ongoing work. Rumors that the Umerians have developed some sort of secret weapon to install on the new battlecruisers abound; more sober heads generally believe that anything radically new about the Auroras will simply involve a more advanced approach to systems integration of the existing hardware- unlikely to be revolutionary in and of itself.
(various classes, 400$ ultraheavy hull)
Umerian dreadnoughts are broadly similar to the battlecruisers, but with vastly improved survivability and a heavier main battery (five proton beamlines instead of three). The drive outrigger rings are tucked in closer to the hull on bulkier, more protected pylons, and the bow plate is thickened and extended to provide improved protection against enemy heavy capital ship fire. Dreadnoughts augment their PAL and missile point defense along the flanks with turreted electron cannon, giving them enoguh firepower to handle most cruisers without resorting to the main armament, and engage typical battlecruiser-class opponents on at least roughly equal terms.
While these dreadnoughts are not the heaviest ships in space, they are large enough to give most nations' battleships a rough handling in single combat. When supported by flanking destroyers and cruisers and a fleet carrier's drone wing, dreadnought formations can be extremely effective battlefleets.
The Myrmidons were designed in the 3350s to replace aging, turn-of-the-century ships based around the Mk XIII proton gun (now retired, save for examples that were subsequently dismounted and used as orbital defense guns). Originally fitted with a mid-series model of the Mk XIV, these ships have enjoyed a series of upgrades as more refined versions came into service, though the actual improvements in performance were fairly limited and served mostly to keep parity with the slowly increasing galactic average.
The design is not without its faults; due to unexpected technical problems with experimental armor materials and sensor systems, the Myrmidons' 'main girders were originally designed to handle a load roughly 85% of what the ships' final design weight turned out to be. The drives were uprated to match the increased weight, but the hull frames were not, as the existing factor of safety was deemed acceptable at the time.
This turned out to be overly optimistic, and as a result the class is already beginning to show its age in turn. It suffers particularly from fatigue of the original drive nacelle struts and structural bracing. The need to replace main structural members increases the ships' upkeep costs dramatically, and it is predicted that the Technocracy will retire the Myrmidons as soon as an acceptable substitute is found to take their place.
Eight Myrmidons were commissioned during the 3360s, as the class was intended specifically to take the place of an older design rather than as part of a systematic fleet expansion program.
The Titans began as a crash design project in 3375, a product of the same rapid increase in defense spending that gave rise to the Emilyswarm. After a few years of work the design crews looked around and noticed that they had not, in point of fact, been fallen upon and destroyed by the resurgent forces of Sheppism. This led them to reexamine the design in a calmer frame of mind before actually taking the irreversible step of cutting metal.
Overall, this proved to be a good choice. Taking a few more years and a major influx of Chill Pills (TM) to finish the project gave the Titan design a certain sense of maturity and integration- not especially uncommon, but less common than most of the navies of the galaxy would like. The ships were finally commissioned in the mid-3380s, contemporary to the late-build Empress-class cruisers, and represent a solid culmination of 34th-century Umerian design philosophy, doctrine, and technology. In terms of performance, they are near the high end of the "high-number" battleships of the galaxy, as opposed to flag-dreadnought ships which are usually issued one to a fleet.
The Technocracy has twelve Titans in service, and does not plan to commission more. While the earliest versions of the Fleet 3410 construction program revolved around a somewhat updated Titan design, the success of the Advanced Beamline Concepts Laboratory's work on the Mark XV ion cannon led to the so-called Titan-II being shelved in favor of the more radical Vindicator-class ion dreadnought.
Vindicator-class Ion DreadnoughtEdit
(650-point ultraheavy hull)
This class originated as a variant of the Titan-II hull plan, but with a battery of four Mark XV Block 5 guns in place of the original five Mark XIV Block 40, allowing a modest increase in firepower and a modest savings in weight, with (projected) savings in maintenance costs due to the improved barrel life expectancy of the new cannon designs. However, over the course of the mid-3390s, SpaceSec began giving serious consideration to keeping the original five-gun design
Umerian naval doctrine holds that a Myrmidon or Titan-class dreadnought should not need to fear single combat against nearly any battleship in space, aside from the very heaviest ships of the "supermonitor" or "flag dreadnought" types. This is generally the case so long as the dreadnought can keep her bow pointed onto the target- hence the name. As Third for Security Jack Holloway put it, "Dreadnought. It's not a tonnage rating, it's a state of mind."
Nonetheless, when looking at the potential for conflict with the new-build Shepistani battlestars, rumors of Prussian "überpanzerschiffe," and other ships of similar firepower around the galaxy, SpaceSec analysts grew less and less sanguine. Despite their extreme optimization for frontal-aspect combat, even the Titans have their limits, and it is quite possible for ships in this weight class to batter down the heavy bow defenses of a Umerian dreadnought by brute force while resisting said dreadnought's beam fire.
Classically the Umerian doctrinal response to this is simply to throw in more capital ships and take one's chances. But as more and more navies add ultraheavy designs to their fleets beyond the "one per fleet" level commonly seen with flag dreadnoughts, SpaceSec has become aware of the need to significantly upgun and up-armor their ships if they are to continue to "dread nought."
Thus, it was decided to take the proposed Titan-IIC ion variant and add a full five-gun battery of Mark XVs, raise the proportion of dureum and other exotic metamaterials in the bow shield, and scale up the ship's power generation, trunking, and fuel bunkerage with an eye to increasing total available power by nearly 60%. ECM systems on the main hull were scaled back in favor of an expanded VLA drone capability, point defense layout was rearranged. Most controversial, the Bureau of Ships decided to replace the electron cannon turrets on the IIC's broadside with a higher velocity extended-barrel version- one considered and rejected for the Hero-class light cruiser, due to excessive power consumption and a number of design bugs not adequately worked out at the time.
When the smoke cleared, the new dreadnought proposal was no longer recognizable as a Titan variant, with virtually every part of the ship having been redesigned, usually more than once. SpaceSec expected an improvement in combat potential of between 50% and 65% over the Titan-class. Deliberately harkening back to ancient Umerian history, the Bureau of Ships chose to name the new ships the Vindicator-class, after the original six particle gun battleships used to defeat the Tyrant of Jagga in the early 28th century.
Construction on the first three Vindicators began in early 3400.
Formations of the USSFEdit
In Fiscal Year 3398, the Technocracy rounded out the table of organization of all mobile squadrons, in preparation for a major defense review. During the transition, the USSF's mobile formations capable of inter-sector travel broke down neatly into an integer number of squadrons, of the following types:
This heavy combat unit is built around a pair of dreadnoughts. A fleet carrier provides close support and reinforces the heavy hitters' point defense, while a screen of lighter turret ships and cutters act as scouts, pickets, and flank guards.
1 Fleet Carrier
2 Light Cruisers
4 Cutter Tenders
Total Cost: 1505$
Offensive Power: 1390$ (discounting small craft carrier weapons)
Battlecruiser divisions are structured like the heavier battleship divisions, but rely less on the striking power of the capital units. On the other hand, they are faster in normal space (not being slowed by the need to keep formation with bulky dreadnoughts) and are often used far more aggressively than a battleship division would dare.
1 Fleet Carrier
2 Light Cruisers
4 Cutter Tenders
Total Cost: 1230$
Offensive Power: 1115$ (discounting small craft carrier weapons)
Intervention Task Force Edit
The Intervention units are first responders in situations requiring planetary assault, except where heavy capital ships are needed to clear space defenses out of the way. The core of an intervention squadron is its strike cruisers, specialized ships designed for opposed troop landings and orbital bombardment. The strike cruisers are supported by a group of heavy cruisers to handle light space defenses, and by a typical squadron-sized screening force, reinforced with extra cutters for space-to-ground support.
3 Heavy Cruisers
4 Strike Cruisers
2 Light Cruisers
8 Cutter Tenders
Total Cost: 1320$
Offensive Power: 1120$
Troop Capacity: 80,000 Strike troops, worth 40$
System Control GroupEdit
While nominally a squadron-level formation, a system control group is far less capable than one of the heavier formations that bear the name- and far less expensive. These are units of light turret ships and cutters, meant to police friendly space and act as patrols and pickets on the Technocracy's borders.
2 Light Cruisers
4 Cutter Tenders
Total Cost: 360$
Offensive Power: 320$
Order of Battle of the USSFEdit
As of the temporary construction halt at the end of FY 3398, pending the beginning of the Fleet 3410 construction program, the Umerian order of battle broke down as follows:
20 Battleships ($400 ultraheavy particle beam platform)
24 Battlecruisers ($175 heavy particle beam platform)
18 Fleet Carriers ($150 heavy carrier, carrying $75 of AI drone fighters)
15 Heavy Cruisers ($100 heavy particle beam platform)
20 Strike Cruisers ($80 medium turret/torpedo ship, carrying $10 of Strike troops and $10 of cutters)
150 Light Cruisers ($60 medium turret/torpedo ship)
138 Destroyers ($40 light turret/torpedo ship)
212 Frigates ($30 light turret/torpedo ship)
357 Cutter Tenders ($20 ultralight small craft tender, carrying $10 of cutters)
20 Couriers ($4 yacht)
7540 Cutters ($0.5 modular gunships, wide variety of mission-specific variants)
13500 Fighters ($0.1 robotic drones, mostly short range fleet defense versions)
By July 1, 3400, SpaceSec had commissioned a handful of the first wave of light combatants from the Fleet 3410 naval modernization program: destroyers, frigates, and cutter tenders of the latest types (such as the first Renata Fields-class destroyers). This month also saw the bulk of the commissioning trials for the first two Flight III Hero-class light cruisers.
For the sake of completeness, one must also factor in the loss of the frigate USS Istanbul and the tender USS Nantucket in action against the Zebesian pirates. Numerous cutters had been either destroyed in action or written off at the end of their service life and replaced during the previous six months, but these losses were within the parameters of routine SpaceSec maintenance-level expenditures and were replaced out of spares, as were the replacement modules for the ships damaged at the Battle of Hawk's Nest.
Counting all units as of July 1, 3400, the aggregate order of battle of the Umerian Space Security Force includes:
20 Battleships ($400 ultraheavy particle beam platform)
24 Battlecruisers ($175 heavy particle beam platform)
18 Fleet Carriers ($150 heavy carrier, carrying $75 of AI drone fighters)
15 Heavy Cruisers ($100 heavy particle beam platform)
20 Strike Cruisers ($80 medium turret/torpedo ship, carrying $10 of Strike troops and $10 of cutters)
150 Light Cruisers ($60 medium turret/torpedo ship)
142 Destroyers ($40 light turret/torpedo ship)
215 Frigates ($30 light turret/torpedo ship)
360 Cutter Tenders ($20 ultralight small craft tender, carrying $10 of cutters)
20 Couriers ($4 yacht)
7600 Cutters ($0.5 modular gunships, wide variety of mission-specific variants)
13500 Fighters ($0.1 robotic drones, mostly short range fleet defense versions)