Ship Classification

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Ship Classification is a way of organizing ship fleets by various characteristics, whether civil, paramilitary, or military in nature.

  • It is considered vital within the organized spacefaring organizations of the many societies of Charted Space, is but often overlooked by actual ship captains and the general public.
  • The Suprapolities of the Major Races all use a generally similar system of ship classification based on the traditions of the Vilani Imperium and Ziru Sirka that have been tried and tested for thousands of years.
  • While the smaller Polities of Minor Races sometimes use different systems, everyone has a decent understanding how the forces of the Third Imperium envision the missions, types, classes, and other levels of organization for spacefaring vessels.
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Please refer to the following AAB Library Data for more information:
Starship:


Description (Specifications)[edit]

Imperial Ship Classification has changed many times over the centuries and millennia, sometimes tending towards Vilani preferences, others Terran preferences, and even absorbing other ideas as well.

Imperial Ship Classification Synopsis[edit]

The basic system of ship classification and organization for ships within Charted Space and particularly within Imperial Space works on a simple hierarchy of mission (generalized use), type (specific use), class (very specific use), model (technological level), and lot or bloc (production run): The basic system of ship classification and organization for ships within Charted Space and particularly within Imperial Space works on a simple hierarchy of mission (generalized use), type (specific use), class (very specific use), model (technological level), and lot or bloc (production run):

'Imperial Ship Classification
# Level Designation Synopsis Example/s
1. Ship Mission Codes SUPRACLASS MISSION Free Trader AKA Merchant
2. Ship Type Codes SUPERCLASS TYPE Type A class Free Trader
3. Ship Class Codes CLASS CLASS Beowulf class Free Trader
4. Ship Model Codes MODEL TL & Model TL-14 Beowulf Build
  • Models aren’t always mentioned, but if they are, they are usually referred to by a TL designation.
5. Ship Bloc Codes LOT or BLOC Named Ship “The Lonesome Wolf” of ‘Bloc 312-1115d’
  • Ship Lots or Bloc Codes are rarely used except by naval shipyards, patrol craft, and the like. They are recorded in the ship’s computer as well as a number of places on the hull.

Overview of Imperial Ship Classification[edit]

'Imperial Ship Classification
# Level Example Remarks
1. Supraclass (Function) Dreadnought It’s the largest organizational grouping by a generalized function or mission. For instance, battleships and cruisers have different generalized missions although they can perform many of the same jobs.
2. Type (Superclass) Type BB class Dreadnought It’s a larger type grouping by a specific function or mission. Different kinds of battleships or types may perform different yet broadly similar missions.
3. Class (Ship) Tigress class Dreadnought The ship itself is synonymous with a class. The first produced version becomes the class namesake under most practices. It has an even more specific mission that the craft type code (type) or superclass.
4. Model (Version) TL-15 Tigress Model 1105-Q3-9PR This classification may include incremental improvements often as a result of TL advances. Some classes of ships can be built at several different TL’s. For instance, the ubiquitous Beowulf Free Trader has builds from TL-10 to TL-15.
5. Lot (Block) Block 365-1105 Reg-A-4702-4826-9931 This classification is also known as a Production Bloc. Blocs may have differences from lot to lot. Sometimes aftermarket or post-production modification (customization) may yield very different ships from the originally manufactured ship class.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Every polity since time memorial builds artifacts, devices, vehicles, spacecraft, and eventually starcraft. And as is the nature of technology, bigger, better and more capable technologies are constantly being developed and applied to technological objects. Fleets of ships need to be constantly upgraded and improved to either keep up with or, more hopefully, a maintain a technological edge over their enemies. In order to keep track of all of the constant and reoccurring changes, most sophont species develop elaborate schemes of ship classification and terminology. [1]

The Vilani Imperium and Ziru Sirka[edit]

The first of the human races to reach the stars was the Vilani. They launched crude sublight interstellar exploration and colonization missions starting in about -10,000 IC (5482 BCE). [2]

Tauri, a mere two light years from Vland, was the first system they visited. Over the course of the next five hundred years, the Vilani created a small interstellar community of six systems, each with its own colonies and scientific stations. [3]

About -9,300 IC (4,792 BCE), an exploratory expedition to a nearby system discovered intelligent life, a race of aquatic mantas. Soon thereafter a colonial expedition to another discovered archeological evidence of a human civilization which had died out several thousand years before. [4]

About -9,200 IC (-4682 BCE), routine experiments in energy storage led to the discovery of the Jump Drive: the key to FTL Faster-Than-Light travel. The Vilani were empowered and transformed. They alone, of everyone they visited, had the secret of fast interstellar travel. They kept their technology a monopoly and used it to dramatically expand their territory, which ultimately became a star-spanning empire: the Ziru Sirka. [5]

After those first Vilani jump ships began conquering their corner of the Galaxias, it became increasingly important for the Vilani fleets to be well organized, equipped, maintained, and continually upgraded. And thus were the first systems of Vilani ship classification developed. Variations on these fleet organization systems are used by nearly every sophont species within Charted Space. [6]

Ship Tonnage & Organizational Schema[edit]

A number of Basic Ship Size-Role Classifications are based upon the relative size of a ship in tonnage terms:

But this is problematic, because by the end of every three tech levels (...or tech epoch), the maximum of minimum size of naval architecture, these parameters change. The Imperial Navy and the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service have employed a system based upon rough standards based on tech epochs over its many centuries of experience.

TL:7-9 Tonnage Standards[edit]

Tonnage Standards by Tech Epoch: TL:7-9
Size-Class Tech Epoch Tonnage Remarks
ACS TL:7-9 100 to 999 tons These vessels can be operated by small crews, supported by minor organizations, and serviced at almost any major shipyard or starport.
  • They vessels tend to conduct the lion's share of private and commercial activity for any given sophontic society at this tech epoch.
BCS TL:7-9 1,000 to 149,999 tons These vessels require significant shipyards to construct and represent large-scale investment of funds, personnel, and resources.
  • They conduct all of paramilitary and military missions of a major polity.
FCS TL:7-9 150,000 to 499,999 tons Around 100k tonnage is considered the largest practical size in terms of cost-time benefit.
  • Only a limited number of these vessels may be built so only major combatants, very serious industrial & scientific applications, or major government projects will build ships in this size range.
WCS TL:7-9 500,000 tons or larger Such vessels are beyond expensive and represent suprapolity-level investment in many, many RU's that take years to manufacture and sometimes decades.
  • These ships are almost impossibly large for their time and take several generations of leaders and a focused society to construct. They are only built for immensely important missions.

TL:10-12 Tonnage Standards[edit]

Tonnage Standards by Tech Epoch: TL:10-12
Size-Class Tech Epoch Tonnage Remarks
ACS TL:10-12 100 to 1,999 tons These vessels can be operated by small crews, supported by minor organizations, and serviced at almost any major shipyard or starport.
  • They vessels tend to conduct the lion's share of private and commercial activity for any given sophontic society at this tech epoch.
BCS TL:10-12 2,000 to 199,999 tons These vessels require significant shipyards to construct and represent large-scale investment of funds, personnel, and resources.
  • They conduct all of paramilitary and military missions of a major polity.
FCS TL:10-12 200,000 tons to 749,999 tons Around 250k tonnage is considered the largest practical size in terms of cost-time benefit.
  • Only a limited number of these vessels may be built so only major combatants, very serious industrial & scientific applications, or major government projects will build ships in this size range.
WCS TL:10-12 750,000 tons or larger Such vessels are beyond expensive and represent suprapolity-level investment in many, many RU's that take years to manufacture and sometimes decades.
  • These ships are almost impossibly large for their time and take several generations of leaders and a focused society to construct. They are only built for immensely important missions.

TL:13-15 Tonnage Standards[edit]

Tonnage Standards by Tech Epoch: TL:13-15
Size-Class Tech Epoch Tonnage Remarks
ACS TL:13-15 100 to 2,499 tons These vessels can be operated by small crews, supported by minor organizations, and serviced at almost any major shipyard or starport.
  • They vessels tend to conduct the lion's share of private and commercial activity for any given sophontic society at this tech epoch.
BCS TL:13-15 2,500 to 249,999 tons These vessels require significant shipyards to construct and represent large-scale investment of funds, personnel, and resources.
  • They conduct all of paramilitary and military missions of a major polity.
FCS TL:13-15 250,000 to 999,999 tons Around 500k tonnage is considered the largest practical size in terms of cost-time benefit.
  • Only a limited number of these vessels may be built so only major combatants, very serious industrial & scientific applications, or major government projects will build ships in this size range.
WCS TL:13-15 1,000,000 tons or larger Such vessels are beyond expensive and represent suprapolity-level investment in many, many RU's that take years to manufacture and sometimes decades.
  • These ships are almost impossibly large for their time and take several generations of leaders and a focused society to construct. They are only built for immensely important missions.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.

  1. An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak
  2. Marc Miller. "A Brief History of the Universe." T5 Core Rules (2013): 16.
  3. Marc Miller. "A Brief History of the Universe." T5 Core Rules (2013): 16.
  4. Marc Miller. "A Brief History of the Universe." T5 Core Rules (2013): 16.
  5. Marc Miller. "A Brief History of the Universe." T5 Core Rules (2013): 16.
  6. An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak