Royal Caledonian Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Caledonian Fleet Auxiliary (RCFA) is sometimes described as a merchant fleet owned by the Principality.
The RCFA's missions are:
- In peacetime: handle the logistics needs of the fleet, administer the peacetime "auxiliary reserve" of subsidized merchants.
- In wartime: mobilize the auxiliary reserve and operate a "Fleet Train" to supply the logistics needs of the Navy and other forces inside and outside the Principality.
The RCFA operates a fleet of auxiliaries - tankers, cargo ships, mobile repair ships and transports - that provide mobile logistic and technical support to the Fleet and to Naval Bases, and administers the list of subsidized merchant ships.
The Auxiliary Fleet
The peacetime fleet is based around a number of "Fleet Tankers" - Jump-2 equipped ships that can keep up with the fleet and fuel several large or many small ships - and "Fleet Stores Ships", which bring everything from food to missiles and sandcaster sand. Both classes have weapons for self-defense.
In addition to the usual 400-800 ton free traders common in most subsidized merchant fleets, the RCFA has invested in a fair number of "AXL12" and "AXH12" - "Auxilary, Generic", Light and Heavy. These ships, more colloquially called "Kebabs", are basically long "rails" with bridges on one end, engines and power plants on the other, a gangway (lined with staterooms and auxiliary equipment) through the "rail", and space for attaching a series of 500 ton prefabricated modules in between - one module on the AXL, 10 the AXH. The modules come in several standard configurations - containers for fuel, dry goods, water, palletized and containerized goods, repair shops and equipment, personnel space - and can be custom-built to contain refineries, small craft, defensive weapons, even fighters or small compact ships. The modules take two weeks to swap out at a class A, B or C shipyard, although in practice modules are rarely changed out.
The vessels are ugly, but versatile and (as dispersed structures) relatively inexpensive; they have reliable, simple Jump 1 and Maneuver 1 engines, and weigh in at 1000 (AXS) or 10,000 (AXH) tons fully loaded.
In wartime, the RCFA can mobilize the Principality's fleet of subsidized tankers, cargo ships, transports and other specialty vessels (refineries, factory ships and others) to support operations as the "Fleet Train". The smaller cargo and tanker ships will work to keep a steady flow of fuel, food, spare parts and other consumables going to the Fleet Tankers and Fleet Replenishment Ships, rendezvousing with and restocking them at pre-arranged points in space and sending them forward to meet the rest of the fleet.