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Carriers are designed to carry large numbers of small combat craft (under 100 tons), which in turn attack the enemy’s combatants or world surfaces.
Please see the following AAB articles for more information:
Frequently large displacement hulls are used with an unstreamlined dispersed structure. Imperial navies prefer hulls which can carry some armor and often use large launch tubes for rapid fighter deployment and recovery, often in place of a spinal mounted weapon, and sometimes in addition to it. Screens, repulsors, and defensive batteries are a top priority for protection and numerous small beam batteries are used to shoot down enemy fighters.
Strategy and doctrine
To understand carrier operations is to understand the utility and limitations of fleet fighters. Carriers are used to defend fleets from enemy fighters. They can maintain a combat space patrol. Fighters with sufficiently large and sophisticated computers can score hits on enemy minor combatants and degrade enemy escort strength. One squadron per escort is typical for massed volley fire. Fusion armed fighters rush in for close assaults to increase their chances of scoring penetrating hits against low agility lightly armored targets. Fighters can be used to finish weakened ships which have withdrawn from the line of battle for repairs. They can provide cover for boarding operations as well. They can provide close point defense by intercepting homing ordinance targeting friendly fleet assets. They are invaluable for planetary assaults and are critical for marines to survive. Close fighter support allows assault capsules to land, supplies to arrive and wounded to be evacuated. Fighter strikes are used to smash hard targets so that marine forces can bypass centers of resistance and maintain an accelerated offensive tempo vital for their style of assault. They leave protracted siege to follow on army units.
History and background
Historically different navies have used fighters differently.
Imperial fleets do not heavily emphasize carriers as the ships that decide battles. They carefully pair carriers with assault squadrons and battle squadrons with fleet tenders. Fighters can screen the launching and recovery of battle riders. Battle riders are used to destroy enemy ships of the line and the fighters make sure some survive recovery operations.
Zhodani fleets are more likely to place fighters on small patrol ships for intelligence gathering and recon. Some of this is thought to be supplemented by psionic crew members. They use the fighters as a force multiplier to give smaller ships more batteries to bring to bear against smaller combatants and are very helpful during commerce raiding deep behind enemy lines.
Vargr fighter pilots are widely regarded as fierce and unpredictable opponents. Corsairs use fighters when available. Fighter pilot duty is seen as extremely charismatic among the Vargr.
Imperial Carrier Classes
- Heavy Carrier (VH):
- VH-13: Very large carrier designed to serve as a force flagship, carrying a large suite of defensive weaponry. Due to its size, cost, and complexity, they were not considered effective units. The smaller carriers are favored due to cost effectiveness and tactical flexibility.
- Fleet Carrier (VF):
- VF-11: The massive VF-11 was produced to provide support for the vast numbers of fighters that fleet tactics required. The size and design of the VF-11 call for an independent refueling tanker, the TV-11.
- VF-12: The technological development of the VF-11 into the VF-12 also called for a similar tanker, but rather than design a new vessel, the TV-11 was used without change.
- Strike Carrier (VS):
- VS-13/-15: The VS-13/-15 series is a new line of carriers designed independent of the VF-11/-12 series.
- Light Carrier (VL)
- VL-15: The higher-tech trend is to smaller carriers. The VL-15 light carrier
- Pocket Carrier (VP)
- VP-15: Even smaller than the light carriers is the VP-15 pocket carrier continuing the higher-tech trend to smaller, more inexpensive vessels.
- Assault Carrier (VA)
- VA-14: These Carriers carry assault landers and other craft whose missions are focused on ground assault mission, rather then fighters. These vessels usually carry large numbers of troops.
Fleet tender is a generic term used for ships carrying combat oriented spaceships. There are two major type of tenders. The first type are those designed to carry large warships, such as battle riders. The other tender type carries SDBs and/or fighters, but lack the large weapon systems organic to carriers. While this makes them much cheaper to build, man, and operate, it also makes them much more vulnerable.
- Battle Tender (VB): Battle Tenders are used to transport Battle Rider platforms (200,000-1,000,000 Tons)
- Cruiser Tender (VC): Cruiser Tenders are used to transport cruiser, and smaller size combatants. (30,000-750,000 Tons)
- Escort Tender (VE): These tenders are small, escort-sized, vessels that carry non-starships, usually SDBs, to aid in defense of merchant vessels or squadrons of auxiliary vessels such as TankRons.
- Interdiction Tender (VI): These tenders are also small, escort-sized, vessels that carry non-starships, such as SDBs, and, as their name implies, guard interdicted planets. Although the role may be filled with an escort tender, interdiction tenders tend to have larger storage, and more extensive repair facilities. They are expected to act somewhat independently for long durations and have a much wider mission footprint, involving policing, customs, search and rescue, and other non-combat tasks.
References and contributors
- Timothy B. Brown. Fighting Ships (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 34-36.
- Marc Miller. Fighting Ships of the Shattered Imperium (Game Designers Workshop, 1990), 54-64.
- Ben W. Bell, Martin Dougherty. Fighting Ships (QuikLink Interactive, 2003), 14-15.
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science