Ship Mission Code

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Combat Transport
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Space Station

Ship Mission Codes are used somewhat inconsistently throughout Charted Space to identify ships.

Technical Data.jpg

Library Data Referral Tree

Please refer to the following AAB Library Data for more information:

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  • Description (Specifications)

    The List of Hull Designations comprises an alphabetical list of the starship and spacecraft hull classification types (Superclass letter designations) to identify the type of a ship. The base description for the hull designations comes from Ship Type Codes.

    • The combination of a letter designation and hull number are used by the Third Imperium to identify Imperial vessels uniquely. A heavily modified or repurposed ship may receive a new designation, and either retain the hull number or receive a new one. Also, the system of letter designations has changed a number of times, so ships' alphanumerical designations sometimes change without anything being done to the physical ship. Some of the ship hull designations listed here may not be presently in use.
    • The Imperial Quick Ship Profile (QSP) is an abbreviated form of this measure.
    • Additionally, due to changes over the millennia, some ship hull designations may be duplicated with alternate meanings. In other words, some letter codes have multiple meanings.

    Imperial Ship Classification Synopsis

    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

    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 Battleship 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)

    If one thing can be said about Charted Space, it might be that non-conformity reigns supreme. Even within the runaway superpower of the Third Imperium, the prototypical Feudal Confederation, naval fleet organization has often been haphazard. At least three major naming and organizational schema have been used since the Holiday Year.

    All major race navies use similar yet significantly different systems.

    Master Imperial Type Codes

    These codes became predominant by 1105 and started being phased in after the (990-1002) Solomani Rim War.

    Master Imperial Type Codes (circa 1105)
    Ltr Master Ship Mission Code Remarks
    A A-class Merchant Vessels
    (Tramps - Cargo & Low-volume Passengers)
    Military Auxiliaries now go to Q-class
    • Traders or Tramps remain
    • All manner of traders: Free, Deep, Far, etc.
    B B-class Battleships Monitors included
    C C-class Cruisers No need to change. Weight tonnage cruisers remain
    • Corvettes go to E-class
    • Small (speed) Cruisers go to E-class
    D D-class Destroyers Anything not a destroyer goes to E-class
    • Defenders and SDBs go to H-class
    E E-class Escorts Includes all manner of tiny vessels that are not smallcraft
    • Brigs, Corvettes, FACs, Sloops, etc.
    • Patrol ships here if military and Imperial Navy. Otherwise to H-class.
    F F-class Fighters Only fighters now
    • Fighters = Dedicated combatant smallcraft (...mostly)
    • Fighters bigger than 100 tons go to E-class or elsewhere
    • Non-combat-dedicated utility smallcraft go to U-class
    • Frigates go to E-class
    • Freighters go to A, M, R, or T-class
    G G-class Industrial Vessels
    Frigates go to E-class
    • Refinery
    • Ag / Farming
    • Factory Ships
    • Refinery ships
    H H-class Security Vessels Defenders (SDBs)
    • Hunters remain
    • Sentinels
    • Patrol ships here unless dedicated Imperial Navy escorts at E-class
    • Quarantine Ships here or in special missions at Z-class
    • Ortillery go to O-class
    • Tankers go to T-class
    I I-class Combat Transports Includes troop transports, assault landers, etc,
    J J-class Prospector Vessels Prospectors and seekers remain
    • Intruders go to I-class
    K K-class Expedition Ships Colony Ships
    L L-class Science Vessels Lab Ships
    • Medical Vessels are under N-class.
    • Exploration Vessels are under K-class.
    • All most any other kind of academic scientific pursuit warranting a ship can be found in this category.
    M M-class Merchant Vessels
    (Freighters - Bulk Freight)
    No changes although most named liners go to R-class
    N N-class Medical Ships Ferries go to Q-class or U-class
    O O-class Ortillery Vessels Bombardment Ship
    • Siege Engine
    • etc.
    • Military Ordinance vessels go to Q-class
    P P-class Corsair Vessels Fighters all go to F-class
    • Planetoids get spread around by their role and function (P is a secondary modifier)
    • Raiders become PR
    • Q-ships become PQ
    • Marauders
    • Privateers
    Q Q-class Combat Support Ship
    Military Auxiliary/s
    • Military Speciality
    • All manner of military auxiliaries
    • Hospital remain at N-class
    • Q-ships go to P-class
    R R-class Merchant Vessels
    (Liners - Medium Cargo & Medium-volume Passengers)
    R now a dedicated merchant code
    • Raiders go to PR
    • Battle riders now classified by role or size (...becomes a secondary modifier)
    S S-class Scout Vessels NOTES:
    T T-class Tankers & Transports
    (Bulk Trade Freight)
    T-class are now dedicated transports and tankers
    • Tenders go to V-class or elsewhere depending on role
    • Patrol ships go to E-class if escorts and H-class if system defenders or security vessels
    • Tugs go to Q-class or U-class
    U U-class Utility Vessels & Utility Craft Packets ships go to X-class
    • Ferries
    • Jump Ship, Jump Cabooses, Jump Ferry/ies that are not tenders
    • Tugs remain or go to Q-class if military-dedicated
    • Includes U-class smallcraft except fighters, which are F-class
    V V-class Subcraft Carriers Carriers
    • Tenders
    • Some tenders go to X-class (Xboat tenders) or T-class if commercial
    • Other possibilities are available although rare
    W W-class Space Stations & Satellites & Barges
    (System Craft - Non-Interstellar)
    Includes little to no drive and no mission beyond the star system
    • Might include far system craft or stations
    X X-class Communication Vessels
    Y Y-class Yachts (Private Craft) All manner of privately owned craft
    • Including commuter or passenger smallcraft if system-dedicated and not elsewhere
    Z Z class Special Mission Ships Unclassified Ships
    • Experimental Crafts
    • Special missions of all types that don't fit elsewhere
    • Hybrid experimental craft

    Early Imperial Type Codes

    The earliest Imperial Navy organizational codes were borrowed wholesale from the Sylean Federation Naval Service. They served the Imperium well until the First Civil War.

    Ship Hull Designation Codes #1
    Code Primary Secondary (M) Secondary (C) Remarks
    A Military Auxiliary Heavy Heavy None
    B Battleship Battle Battle None
    C Cruiser Cruiser Construction Vessel None
    D Destroyer Destroyer Transport None
    E Escort Escort Tug None
    F Frigate Frigate - None
    G Commercial Gunned Governmental None
    H Non-Commercial Fuel Fuel None
    IJ Intruder Interfacecraft Interfacecraft None
    K Safari Ship Courier Courier None
    L Lab Light Light None
    M Merchant Missile Mining Vessel None
    N - - - None
    O - Ordnance Vessel - None
    P Fighter Pursuit Fighter Law Enforcement Vessel None
    Q Military Specialty Ship Decoy - None
    R Liner Rider Residential Vessel None
    S Military Smallcraft Strike Survey Vessel / Scout Vessel None
    T Transport Tender Tender None
    U Utility Craft - - None
    V Carrier Replenishment Vessel Agricultural Vessel None
    W Orbital Complexes - - None
    X Communications Vessel - - None
    Y Yacht - Private None
    Z Experimental Vessel Hybrid - None

    Alternative Ship Type Encoding

    There are a number alternative ship type encoding.

    • Starship type codes are between one and four or more characters long. In order there is an optional race or empire qualifier, a required primary mission identifier, and an optional mission qualifier.
    • MegaTraveller has a subtly different set of ship type codes available. Nothing taken away, but a few additions are made.
    • See Military Starship Types and Civilian Starship Types for more information.
    • The full list is under the MT Primary and MT Qualifier below.

    Mid-Imperium Ship Type Codes

    The First Civil War really shook up the Third Imperium and caused naval strategists to rethink fleet organization. By the year 700, this new schema had been implemented.

    Ship Hull Designation Codes #2
    Code Race Primary Qualifier MT Primary MT Qualifier Remarks
    A Aslan Merchant Vessel Armored Merchant Vessel Armored None
    B - Battle Battle; Boat Battle Battle; Boat None
    C - Cruiser; Carrier Cruiser; Close Escort Cruiser; Carrier Cruiser; Close Escort None
    D Droyne Destroyer Destroyer Destroyer Destroyer None
    E - Escort Escort Escort Escort None
    F - Frigate; Fighter Fast; Fleet Frigate; Fighter Fast; Fleet None
    G - Gig; Refinery Ship Gunned Gig Gunned None
    H Hiver - Heavy Hunter Vessel Heavy None
    I,J Julian Protectorate Intruder Ship - Intruder Ship Imperial None
    K K'kree Pinnace Pinnace Courier None
    L - Corvette; Lab Leader; Light Lab; Corvette Leader; Light None
    M - Merchant Vessel Missile Merchant Vessel Missile None
    N - - Non-Standard Ferry Non-Standard None
    P - Planetoid Vessel Provincial Planetoid Vessel Provincial None
    Q - Auxiliary Decoy Auxiliary Decoy None
    R - Liner Raider Vessel Liner Raider Vessel None
    S Solomani Scout; Station Strike Scout; Station Strike None
    T - Tanker; Tender Troop; Transport Tanker; Tender Troop; Transport None
    U - - Unpowered Vessel Tug Unpowered Vessel None
    V Vargr - Vehicle Carrier Vehicle None
    W - Barge Barge Slow None
    X - Express Boat Express Boat Alternate None
    Y - Yacht Shuttle; Cutter Yacht Shuttle; Cutter None
    Z Zhodani - Experimental Vessel Special Experimental Vessel None

    Late Imperial Type Codes

    Around the year 900, these codes began to predominate. The Imperial Navy adopted them wholesale before the year 1,000.

    Late Imperial Ship Classification
    A. Mission
    1. Supraclass
    B, Qualifier
    2. Superclass
    C. Type
    3. Class
    D. Activity
    4. Model
    E. Service
    5. Bloc (Lot)
    F. Remarks
    C Cruiser Principal Offensive Combat Military None
    G Frigate Major Offensive Combat Military None
    V Destroyer Special Offensive Combat Military None
    E Corvette Minor Offensive Combat Military None
    H Ortillery Ship Attack Siege Combat Military None
    T Assault Invasion Siege Combat Military None
    S Sentinel Defender Siege Combat Military None
    N Monitor Principal Defensive Combat Military None
    D Defender (SDB) Major Defensive Combat Military None
    B Boat Special Defensive Combat Military None
    E Escort Minor Defensive Combat Military None
    P Corsair Vessel Anti-Shipping Independent Combat Military None
    P Marauder Anti-Port Independent Combat Military None
    R Raider Anti-Commerce Independent Combat Military None
    T Transport Major Supply Auxiliary Military None
    W Barge Minor Supply Auxiliary Military None
    T Tender, Tug Resupply Supply Auxiliary Military None
    E Corvette Information Supply Auxiliary Military None
    M Liner Passenger Scheduled Merchant Civilian None
    R Merchant Ship Cargo Scheduled Merchant Civilian None
    F Freighter Freight Scheduled Merchant Civilian None
    T Transport Freighter Unscheduled Merchant Civilian None
    A Trader Cargo Unscheduled Merchant Civilian None
    U Packet Ship Passenger Unscheduled Merchant Civilian None
    K Safari Ship Recreation Charter Merchant Civilian None
    K Expedition Ship Active Charter Merchant Civilian None
    Y Yacht Luxury Charter Merchant Civilian None
    S Courier Ship Small Goods Information Non-combat Paramilitary None
    S Messenger Ship Data Files Information Non-combat Paramilitary None
    X Express Ship Goods & Files Information Non-combat Paramilitary None
    S Scout Ship First Look Exploration Non-combat Paramilitary None
    N Survey Ship Re-Look Exploration Non-combat Paramilitary None
    B Beagle Data Collection Exploration Non-combat Paramilitary None
    N Medical Vessel / Hospital Ship Medical Data Exploration Non-combat Paramilitary None
    L Lab Ship Data Analysis Exploration Non-combat Paramilitary None
    J Seeker (Prospector) Resource Search Exploration Non-combat Paramilitary None
    P Picket Ship Inspection Bureaucratic Non-combat Paramilitary None
    P Patrol Ship Enforcement Bureaucratic Non-combat Paramilitary None
    P Privateer Anti-Shipping Privateer Combat Paramilitary None
    Z Unclassified Unclassified Unclassified Unclassified Unclassified None

    References & Contributors (Sources)

    This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.