in Vehicles, Crafts, and Starships
They stand as symbol of a star system's strength, a symbol of a star system's technological accomplishment. Starships have become more than a simple means of transportation over the years, they have become important symbols of prestige as well as important military weapons. By the 26th Century, the major powers have developed entire fleets of starships capable of flying faster than the speed of light. These starships travel using a combination of thruster and impulse engines for sub-light speeds, as well as vortex engines for light speeds travel. A starship defends itself by having the strongest hull, the bigger number of countermeasures, the largest amount of weapons payload and the fastest delivery time for it.
There are civilian starships and military starships. Civilian starships tend to fill the function of cargo carrier, cruise liner, exploration, research, and private colony transport. Military starships tend to fill the function of patrol, escort, defence, and attack. Civilian starships greatly outnumber military starships, though military starships are coordinated through a central command and keep a good tab on most civilian starships. Rare is the starship that won't be tracked by someone, somewhere.
Military starships are very powerful weapons, but also have limitations. Atmospheric disturbances disrupt laser weaponry, making them unable to pierce through most planets' atmosphere. In order to attack a planet directly from space-based launching platforms, a starship must approach a planet close enough to launch its missiles.
Battleships are the most powerful starship in the 26th Century. Battleships are generally amongst the heaviest starships sporting the most powerful armaments a species can put on them. Battleships often serve as flagships or perform the role of command and control for given sectors.
Fightercraft carriers are amongst the most powerful starships in the known universe. Their strength comes from the fightercrafts that they carry which are able to project overwhelming firepower at a moment's notice. Fightercraft carriers themselves tend to be lightly armed, dependent on their fighters to provide defence and offensive strength.
Whilst being weaker than battleships, cruisers gain their value by being powerful platforms for offensive strike actions. Being faster than battleships, cruisers generally are powerful additions to any combat situation whether they be operating solo or in a pack.
Weaker than cruisers but making it up in speed, destroyers are smaller than ships of the line. Destroyers have become increasingly popular amongst specific major powers as a means of reinforcing their mid-range strength. Destroyers provide more agile and cheaper platforms for varied mission tasks than cruisers, battleships, or fightercraft carriers.
The Clarel Class Heavy Destroyer also allows the destroyer types to win the palmares of "fastest ship in the universe."
Frigates are a different class of ship. Whilst destroyers provide strong mid-range platforms, frigates are a cheaper mid-range option. Frigates tend to be moderately armed, small vessels. Because of their small size they aren't able to carry massive engines to give them effective speed superiority. Frigates are often assigned escort duty tasks.
Small, lightly armed warships, corvettes are attractive because they are quick to build and cost little in terms of construction, maintenance, and upgrade. Their mission profile is similar to the patrol boats. Corvette hull types are often used as the platform for reconnaisance type vessels.
These are particularly popular amongst the Terran Democratic Republic
Starships are expensive to build, yet most major powers' territory stretch many light years making it difficult to patrol the borders without killing one's economy in the process. In order to compensate for the gap left by "not enough starships", the major powers introduced patrol boats into their starship fleets as a means of increasing their numbers in space.
Prompted by the pirate threat in particular, patrol boats were often armed just powerfully enough to vanquish pirate threats. These ships are accordingly not armed for battle against other major powers - but they perform their task of defence and patrol admirably well at a fraction of the price a destroyer or other heavier type of ship would cost.
Support VesselsSupport vessels are crucial to any starship fleet. These vessels provide supplies to starships that are operating in deep space, repair starships that have been severely damaged during a battle exchange, or also provide medical support to vessels whose crews have sustained injuries that require intensive hospitalisation.
Support vessels thus tend to be an umbrella term for hospital ships, repair ships, and cargo ships within space fleets.
Use of military starships in planetary assaults
Most starships tend to not equip enough missiles to make a dent in a planet's defences rendering them ineffective tools for planetary assaults. Planetary anti-starship missile platforms tend to also have a greater ranger than their starship counterparts, rendering the starship more vulnerable. When engaging against another starship, a starship may make use of either of its torpedoes, missiles, or point laser weaponry.
Projectile weaponry equipped on starships
Missiles have become the preferred ship-to-ship projectile weapon because of their greater accuracy and range. Torpedoes, however, are faster loading weapons, though they tend to be less accurate and also have a much smaller maximum range. In order to defend themselves against these projectile weapons, most starships benefit from countermeasure devices that attempt to produce a large enough sensor profile to fool missiles and torpedoes into making them think the countermeasure is the target.
Average dimensions, total number of ships in the Known Galaxy, and fleet numbers
Starships range in size, they can be as small as 100 meters, to as large as several kilometres long. It is estimated that there are approximately anywhere from 75.000 to 100.000 starships flying throughout the Milky Way Galaxy when the New Worlds time-line begins. The largest space fleet in pure number terms is owned by the Rosebourg Monarchy's Royal Fleet, it numbers approximately 7.000 starships, though other powers are slowly catching up to them. Although most civilian starships are mass produced (in particular the small cargo ship designs), most military starships continue to be hand made at large fleet yards due to their special design demands.
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