Lightning class Frontier Cruiser

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Lightning
Type: CA Frontier Cruiser
Origin Third Imperium
Tech Level TL–14
Size 60,000 Tons
Jump J-5
Maneuver 2 G
Hardpoints 600
Cargo 400 Tons
Crew 635
Passengers 20 High/Med 160 Low
Cost MCr34,227

The Azhanti High Lightning class ship is built on a 60,000 ton hull assembled in orbit. As a military ship, the major purpose of the ship is as a weapons carrier. The ship is built around three tubes; a spinal mount weapons tube, and a twin small craft launch tubes, Distributed along the dorsal and ventral surfaces are twenty-four fifty-ton bays. Finally, the entire surface of the ship is covered with a variety of laser turrets, sandcasters, and repulsors. In addition, the ship carries internal nuclear dampers and a Meson Screen (plus a Black globe in the refurbished models).

The class was the result of an Imperial requirement for a new, heavily armed, highly mobile, fleet intruder. The class proved especially useful in the closing days of the Solomani Rim War (990-1002).

The class had an initial production order of 100, and the Azhanti High Lightning was first laid down in 991. By the conclusion of the Solomani Rim War 69 had been completed, and an additional 23 were finished in the immediate post-war period, and the remaining 8 were canceled.

Twenty one ships were lost in action during the war, while an additional five vessels in drydock awaiting extensive repairs at the time of the armistice were paid off and scrapped. In the 46 years following the war, three more Lightning class ships were lost in the course of routine duty. Four ships were turned over to allied powers, generally with reduced weaponry, and five examples were transferred to the IISS for use as exploratory cruisers or fast messengers. In 1048, all 54 surviving examples still in Imperial Naval service were retired from active duty, with 20 vessels place in ordinary (reserve/mothballed status), 16 converted to non-combat roles (primarily tanker duty and training), six sold to commercial concerns (one with weaponry intact), and the remaining 12 scrapped.

A fleet specification issued in 1077 calling for a ship platform for the newly developed Penbody MA-21 Meson gun resulted in a proposal from the design firm of Bowen and Masters for the conversion of the surviving Azhanti class hulls to meet the specification. twelve vessels still in service as fleet auxiliaries and sixteen of the twenty vessels in ordinary were deem suitable for the modernization, which proceeded from 1078 to 1090.

The upgraded ships were redesignated as Frontier Cruisers in recognition of their anticipated role as the local core of the first line of defense on the frontiers of the Imperium. Initially, all 28 ships were paired to form 14 cruiser divisions (CruDivs 117 to 128, inclusive), but CruDivs 118, 119, and 127 were soon broken up to provide individual ships for moderate threat regions.

Azhanti class CruDivs were assigned to three major area of potential trouble: the Solomani Rim, the Spinward Marches border with the Zhodani, and the Gateway to the turbulent client-states on the trailing frontier. Eleven ships have been lost since modernization was begun in 1070, and two ships have been paid off.

Class Members[edit]

For a full list of the 92 completed vessels and their allocated Tail Numbers, see Lightning Class Cruisers. Where unusual details of a ship's history are known, more detail is listed here.

  • Acheron High Lightning: FI-6357. Laid down 994. First flight 996. Scrapped due to damage sustained during Solomani Rim War. Individual modules from ship's construction were later utilised as monitoring or scientific outposts in rimward worlds of Solomani Rim Sector.
  • Arbitrary Remora: FI-6373. Laid down 997. First flight 1000. Transferred to Vegan Autonomous District 1013. Renamed Sudden Star.
  • Arrival Vengeance: FI-6415. Laid down 1003. First flight 1006. Transferred to Fleet Auxiliary 1048. Converted to Frontier Cruiser (FC-6415) 1082. Mothballed at the Imperial Navy Inactive Ships Facility at Trin (Spinward Marches 3235) in 1114. Reactivated in 1123 in secrecy by Archduke Norris for long-range diplomatic mission (see Arrival Vengeance)
  • Azhanti High Lightning: FI-6326. Laid down 991. First flight 994. Converted to Frontier Cruiser (FC-6326) 1078 - 1081. Neutrality watch on Zhodani border 1081. On outbreak of Fourth Frontier War in 1082 lead escort ships to confront Zhodani thrust through Vilis Subsector, successfully beating back the enemy. Mothballed at the Imperial Navy Inactive Ships Facility at Trin (Spinward Marches 3235) in 1114. Reactivated for service by Regency in 1121.
  • Bard Endeavour: FI-6333. Laid down 991. First flight 994. Ambushed at the Battle of Kagukhasaggan during the Solomani Rim War. Fought a delaying action to cover escape of task force. After heroic resistance to a Solomani boarding party, the ship and remaining crew suffered catastrophic re-entry into atmosphere of Kagukhasaggan 2.
  • Bard Refuge: FI-6405. Laid down 1001. First flight 1004. Transferred to Fleet Auxiliary 1048. Converted to Frontier Cruiser (FC-6405) 1088-1089. Mothballed at the Imperial Navy Inactive Ships Facility at Trin (Spinward Marches 3235) in 1114. Reactivated for service by Regency in 1124.
  • Children of the March: FI-6355. Funded by contributions from school children in the Spinward Marches. Laid down 994. First flight 997. Mothballed 1048. Converted to Frontier Cruiser (FC-6355) 1082-1083. Mothballed at the Imperial Navy Inactive Ships Facility at Trin (Spinward Marches 3235) in 1114. Reactivated for service by Regency in 1122.
  • Empiric Provost: FI-6334. Laid down 991. First flight 993. Declared surplus, weaponry removed, renamed Marie Luise and sold to Tukera Lines 1008.
  • Forward Starbow: FI-6394. Laid down 1000. First flight 1003. Declared surplus, weaponry removed, renamed Rimward Pride and sold to Tukera Lines 1021.
  • Gilded Farthing: FI-6336. Laid down 991. First flight 994. Transferred to IISS (ISC 6336) 1040 renamed Luray Explorer. Despatched on exploration mission in far spinward territories not yet under control by any major polity. Crew was infected with lethal disease/parasite, killing many. A small proportion of the crew managed to quarantine important areas and ship returned to Imperial space for disinfection.
  • Grinding Starbow: FI-6344. Laid down 991. First flight 994. Scrapped due to damage sustained during Solomani Rim War. Gutted and converted to bulk carrier, renamed Starbow and sold to Delvani Lines 1002.
  • Haunting Thunder: FI-6342. Laid down 991. First flight 993. Mothballed 1048. Converted to Frontier Cruiser (FC-6342) 1079-1081. Operated under sealed orders as commerce raider in Querion Subsector during Fourth Frontier War. Ambushed by Zhodani SDBs while carrying out emergency refuelling in the Querion system. Severely damaged and lost within Gas Giant. Recovery attempted unsuccessfully 1101.
  • Imperial Reaumur: FI-6406. Laid down 1001. First flight 1004. Transferred to IISS (ISC 6406) 1040. Assigned to Imperial Household transport duties between Terra and Capital, some time prior to 1092.
  • Incomparable Triumph: FI-6393. Laid down 1000. First flight 1003. Transferred to Vegan Autonomous District 1013. Renamed Accompanist.
  • Infrequent Refuge: FI-6388. Laid down 999. First flight 1001. Transferred to IISS (ISC 6388) 1040. Assigned to Imperial Household transport duties between Terra and Capital, some time prior to 1092.
  • Loathsome Reverie: FI-6348. Laid down 993. First flight 996. Mothballed 1048. Converted to Frontier Cruiser (FC-6348) 1081-1082. Boarded by subterfuge by pirates at Lewis (Spinward Marches 3107) in 1090. Boarding attempt beaten off and pirate base destroyed in retaliation. Later lost.
  • Magenta Portent: FI-6397. Laid down 1000. First flight 1003. Declared surplus, weaponry removed, renamed Rimward Pride and sold to Tukera Lines 1035.
  • Muffled Triumph: FI-6335. Laid down 991. First flight 993. Declared surplus, weaponry removed, renamed Gateway Indani and sold to Gateway Lines 1008.
  • One Thousand Years: FI-6383. Laid down 997. First flight 1000. Commerative ship to mark the millenium of the Imperium. First flight was on New Year's Day 1000, seen by vitually the whole citizenry of Markatch
  • Refractor Loathsome: FI-6413. Laid down 1003. First flight 1005. Transferred to Fleet Auxiliary 1048. Converted to Frontier Cruiser (FC-6413) 1080-1082. Mothballed at the Imperial Navy Inactive Ships Facility at Trin (Spinward Marches 3235) in 1114. Reactivated for service by Regency in 1123.
  • Refulgent Thunderer: FI-6347. Laid down 993. First flight 995. Transferred to Darrian Confederation Navy 1012. Renamed Darrian.
  • Solo Finery: FI-6375. Laid down 997. First flight 1000. Declared surplus, weaponry removed, renamed Phylean and sold to Delvani Lines 1037.
  • Sparkling Distress: FI-6379. Laid down 997. First flight 1000. Declared surplus in 1023. Intended to be disarmed, but transferred in irregular fashion while still armed to Oberlindes Lines and renamed Emissary (see Emissary Class Cruiser). Operated in Vargr Extents, based at Pandrin (Gvurrdon 0610). Attempted mutiny in 1105.
  • Sparkling Observer: FI-6362. Laid down 994. First flight 996. Transferred to IISS (ISC 6362) 1040 renamed Bright Light.
  • Vengeance: FI-6332. Laid down 991. First flight 994. Transferred to Darrian Confederation Navy 1012. Renamed Mire.
  • Vermillion Stance: FI-6385. Laid down 998. First flight 1001. Flagship of the Imperium Five Sisters Flotilla. Retired from active service 1040. Transferred to IISS for refit (ISC-6385) for long range emissary work among client states in the area, distributing technology "as a gift from the Emperor", in an attempt to forestall Zhodani influence. In 1078 was seized by Zhodani forces in the Federation of Garrone ( see Vermillion Stance Incident). Fate only realised after prisoner exchange at the end of the Fourth Frontier War. Eventually returned in 1133.

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