|Capital Ship Combatants||Escort Combatants||Military Smallcraft||Support Ships|
|Battleship||Cruiser||Carrier||Destroyer||Escort||Frigate||System Defense Boat||Fighter||Assault Transport||Smallcraft||Auxiliaries|
|Commercial Mercantile Ships||Non-Mercantile Commercial Ships||Non-Commercial Ships||Civilian Smallcraft||Highports & Satellites|
|Merchant||Liner||Transport||Commercial Industrial||Commercial Ships||General||Research||Private||Auxiliary|| Orbital
Military starships capable of independent operations and of support of the main line of battle. Cruisers are intended to fulfill two diverse missions: Independent operations (Raider CruRons) and Dependent operations (Support CruRons)
In battle, they support and reinforce capital ships which are present and which form the main line of battle, generally from the flanks. They also perform independent operations, often forming the center of task forces which have no capital ships. Cruisers are also put to use as independent ships.
Strategy and doctrine
Cruisers are more lightly armored and less heavily armed than battleships. To unarmed, unarmored ships, this difference is negligible since a cruiser can easily attack and destroy any noncombatant ships. Cruisers are assigned to support battleships and carry combat to areas where a battleship is not considered necessary.
History and background
Even before the advent of spacefaring and later starfaring naval ships, in an era of oars, sails, and maritime navies, cruisers tend to form the backbone of any viable navy. Cruisers are the largest combat ships in an affordable class since battleships are prohibitively expensive and only available to the superpowers of their era.
Major Cruiser Classes
|Armored Cruiser||CA|| This class is also referred to as a heavy cruiser or just cruiser in some navies. Armored Cruisers are designed to combine long range, high speed, and heavy weapons. Their spinal mounted armament is the same size or only slightly smaller than that of ships of line, like their larger cousins the battleships and dreadnoughts. It is difficult to strike and perfect balance between mobility, protection and weapons. Imperial armored cruisers typically fall in the 50,000-75,000 ton range, larger cruisers often slip into the battle cruiser range. Armored cruisers usually carry armor and screens sufficient to protect them from any hits from turret mounted weapons. Only the largest missile bays and spinal mounts have any hope of seriously wounding them.
These ships are often called upon for long range patrol and raiding. They might be tasked as a flag ship for a group of smaller ships. They often protect large fleet assets, such as carriers and assault transports. Their copious missile armament means they can provide devastating artillery barrages. Many commanders look upon their heavy cruisers as versatile survivors, ships capable of a wide variety of roles and tasks.
A Heavy Frigate is a Royal Caledonian Navy term for the Imperial Navy equivalent Heavy Cruiser. It is considerably larger and more powerful than most vessels called "Frigates". The term is rooted in Caledonian naval antiquity, and is kept mostly for traditional reasons.
CA-11/-15: The standard cruiser at tech level 11 is the CA-11. It has developed and evolved through the tech levels to the present CA-15. At the same time, several types of variants have been produced which take advantage of the basic CA-11/-15 structures and devote them to specialized uses. These cruisers were developed with the intended targets being other cruisers and smaller vessels in mind.
|Battle Cruiser||CB||Battle cruisers combine the spinal mounted meson or particle accelerator firepower of battleships and the armor and screen protection of cruisers. They tend to be fast with good strategic jump mobility. The trade off is in the realm of heavy armor plating. They are unable to sustain the punishment that battleships can deal out and absorb. Battle Cruisers' operational philosophy is to out run whatever they can not out gun. They are built to destroy and survival is of secondary importance. They often lead deep penetration raids to disrupt "secure" rear areas and terrorize merchant shipping lanes with a few fast escorts.|
|Light Cruiser||CL|| A light cruiser is typically the smallest fleet combatant with a spinal mount. They as fast as a destroyer with the range of a heavy cruiser. They don't carry as much armor. They are not intended to last on the line of battle versus heavier ships. They are used to escort carriers, troop transports, tankers and logistical ships. They are also used to lead groups of destroyers. They scout ahead of main fleet elements and protect the flanks of large fleets. Imperial light cruisers are from 10,000 tons to just below 50,000 tons. Ships below 10,000 tons are fleet escorts, but some designs in that range are labelled light cruisers.
A Light Frigate is a Royal Caledonian Navy term for the Imperial Navy equivalent Light Cruiser. It is considerably larger and more powerful than most vessels called "Frigates". The term is rooted in Caledonian naval antiquity, and is kept mostly for traditional reasons.
|Strike Cruiser||CS||All naval architecture involves certain trade offs. Strike cruisers sacrifice all for extreme jump range, they all use the maximum jump drive for their respective tech level of manufacture. As a result they carry so much jump fuel, occasionally drop tanks or dis-mountable fuel tanks, they have less space left over for weapons, maneuver drives, or armor. This is the logical extension of the hit and run design philosophy. The deep strikes behind enemy lines require a special mind set, the captain of these ships act as assassins picking off key targets, vital assets, before sprinting away. Ships of this class may also be known as Fleet Intruders, and Scout Cruisers.|
|Mercenary Cruiser||CY|| The lawlessness of some regions of the Imperium has long posed a problem to those in authority; they are torn between a need to provide protection and order to all areas under Imperial domain, and a rational understanding that cost is a continuing factor in such actions. One solution is the toleration of hired troop units within especially troublesome subsectors. Such units help maintain a basic semblance of order to the worlds and systems within, and are available (at a nominal additional cost) to those in the region desiring more action or greater attention to their own problems. The Imperial hand in such arrangements is clearly seen in their tacit approval of mercenary actions, including referrals in some cases where calls for help are received.
The Imperial bureaucracy, in its efforts to provide assistance, has also taken the step of commissioning the design of a standard mercenary cruiser to carry such units throughout their areas of responsibility, and has made these ships available through the provision of low cost construction loans. The design itself is well thought out and has been used for innumerable other tasks, including some Imperial and subsector military missions, and as fleet auxiliaries to the Imperial Navy.
There have been numerous arguments that such vessels should not have military designations, but they continue to do so. They constitute a naval reserve with many navies.
Other Cruiser Classes
Cruisers fill a wide variety of mission roles and depending on the navy go by a variety of other names. Generally, no matter what the name, they generally fall into one of the groups above. In many cases these names reflect the mission rather then the true classification on the vessel.
|Patrol Cruiser||CAP/CLP/CSP||Patrol Cruiser (CAP/CLP/CSP): Fill the role of both frontier and rear area security. Although this role more properly belongs to smaller vessels, occasionally more powerful vessels are assigned. Depending on their size and capability they are usually designated as either a strike, light, or heavy cruiser with a "P" extention.|
|Command Cruiser||CAC/CBC/CLC||Command Cruiser (CAC/CBC/CLC): Usually a battle cruiser or armored cruiser. These vessels may have a more extensive command deck and are normally assigned to a force of several vessels, as a flagship.|
|Various||Various||War Cruiser: Can be any type of cruiser, except a mercenary or rift cruiser, although they tend to be vessels with heavier armament. They are often known as attack cruisers.|
|Various||Various||Frontier Cruiser: These vessels are usually smaller vessels with medium jump capabilities assigned to frontier areas. They fill a variety of roles including frontier security, SAR, intelligence gathering, and force projection. These vessels are also known as provincial cruisers.|
|Bombardment Cruiser "Siege"||CAB/CLB||Bombardment Cruiser (CAB/CLB): Usually a heavy or light cruiser type containing armaments focused on providing supporting planetary assault operations.|
|Missile Cruiser||CAM/CAL||Missile Cruiser (CAM/CAL): The Missile Cruiser was developed to emphasize the ower benefits of missile armaments. Missile cruiser sacrifice the spinal mount to mount additional missile turrets. They are normally designated as Heavy Missile Cruiser (CAM) or Light Missile Cruiser (CAL).|
|Cruiser Rider||CAR/CLR||Cruiser Rider (CAR/CLR): Any cruiser rated vessel which lacks independent jump capability, but instead relies on another vessel to provide jump capability. Such vessels are usually called "Cruiser Tenders." Due to the lack of a jump drive and associated fuel tanks, designers reallocate tonnage to weapons, armor, and in-system maneuverability.|
|Rift Cruiser||CSJ||Rift Cruiser (CSJ): Normally Rift Cruisers are designated base on their operational area, stellar rifts. They have longer jump drive capabilities, and often have a priority on the assignment of naval personnel and replacement parts. Personnel assigned to a Rift Cruiser often get "risk" pay for duty in stellar rifts.|
|Frigates||Various||In Caledonian navy parlance, cruisers are called "frigates" (heavy and light). This is mostly for historical and traditional reasons.|
References and contributors
- John Harshman, Marc Miller, Loren Wiseman. Library Data (A-M) (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 22.
- Timothy B. Brown. Fighting Ships (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 28-33.
- Marc Miller. Fighting Ships of the Shattered Imperium (Game Designers Workshop, 1990), 40-52.
- Ben W. Bell, Martin Dougherty. Fighting Ships (QuikLink Interactive, 2003), 12-14.
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science