The Capital Ship class of vessels consists of several large,
combat oriented starships used for frontline military combat and defence. As is
standard Federation Policy, all Federation Dreadnoughts ,
Dreadnoughts, Battle Cruisers and Carriers
have some science capability as well as other standard Starship requirements.
Because of the massive investment associated with their construction, many other
governments also include some basic form of multi mission capability. Capital
Ships are the largest front line Starship in most fleets.
Carriers were originally seen as an enigma within the context of
Starship combat and operations. Shuttle Carriers had obvious capabilities in
rescue and exploration, but little advantage in a theatre of operation. Few
shuttles could withstand even a glancing blow from a Starship. Most Carrier
class vessels before 2270 were simple shuttle transport vessels. But by 2268,
advancements in technology and design gave shuttles and their support vessels a
much greater presence in the fleet. Since then, carriers have once again become
extremely capable and important vessels.
Carriers are designed to fulfil several specialized niches. Most carriers are
designed to expand the mission of a given Starship, be it exploratory, military
or medical. Carriers them selves constantly evolve, with new equipment and
systems installed nearly every year. Most carriers are based with a large fleet
or at a specific star base or home world and are charged with rapid response and
delivery of their respective craft at a moments notice. Like dreadnoughts, most
Carriers spend their patrol time less than a dayís journey from their home
Carriers of all types carry a large variety of shuttle craft, and may be
called upon to rendezvous and deliver shuttles to other front line vessels.
Carriers contain berths for flight crews, pilots and often a large area for
passengers, patients or troops, depending on the mission parameters. Most
carriers also have large medical or storage areas, also congruent with their
mission profile. Nearly all carriers has an extensive operating protocol,
including emergency transporter recovery systems, rapid shuttle launch and
recovery, emergency medical or evacuation protocols and extensive troop or
colonist deployment plans. Although all carriers are capable of full filling any
of these operations, when ever possible, specific carriers are sent, allowing
specialists who have trained to conduct the mission. Many in the Carrier fleet
compete against other vessels for recovery times, information gathering and
Fighter Carriers have been likened to the surface ships of old that
would launch and recover large groups of specialized fighter aircraft. Modern
fighter carriers are often less manoeuvrable than destroyers and are designed
for fast attack strikes by their fighter wings, with moderate to heavy support
from the Carrier itís self. Most fighter carriers have fairly small recovery
systems, but have excellent launch protection and defence.
Fleet Carriers are the largest of the combat carriers, capable of
launching dozens of fighters and attack shuttles in moments. Unlike fighter
carriers, Fleet Carriers have more extensive recovery and re-arming systems.
Most Fleet Carriers are well protected against other fighters, but are not
designed for extended Starship combat. Fleet Carriers are often employed as
command vessels for other carrier vessels. Fleet Carriers also have a large
medical recovery capability, allowing them to operate and coordinate rescue and
Heavy Carriers are the cruiser classed carriers designed to function
as support for several specialized shuttle and fighter squadrons. Unlike combat
Carriers, Heavy Carriers have extensive research facilities as well as shuttle
support systems. Heavy Carriers have combat abilities equivalent to large
destroyer or medium cruisers, with enough of a science base to be classified as
a light cruiser. Heavy Carriers often sacrifice some manoeuvrability to allow
for the necessary internal space for shuttle operations.
The Shuttle Carrier is designed primarily to provide logistic support
for a great number of shuttles. Although combat capable, shuttle carriers are
most often employed in rescue operations or transporting of colonists and
equipment from large colonial transports to planetary locations. Shuttle
Carriers are well adapted to operate as non-combat command vessels for scores of
Shuttle carriers have extensive repair and modification equipment and are
capable of building, from the ground up, nearly any type of shuttle or fighter.
Shuttle Carriers are often slow and un-manoeuvrable, being designed as a
"refuelling" stop rather than a front line combat vessel. Although not
designed as rescue vessels, many shuttle carriers are capable of acting as a
resting stop during evacuations, allowing other carriers and vessels to take on
more critical supplies or wounded in times of crisis.
The Light Carrier is considered a fast response multipurpose carrier,
designed to operate freely away from a home port. Most light carriers have only
a few squadrons on board, but do have extensive support facilities for it
embarked craft. Light Carriers are also used as long range scouts, able to
co-ordinate data gathering from all of itís normal shuttle compliment,
extending the "eyes" of a fleet. Light carriers are considered to have
ample firepower to engage enemy destroyers, and with itís full complement of
combat craft in the air, can engage enemy cruisers.