Starship Classes of the Commonwealth (Shrehari War Era)

The Commonwealth Navy uses familiar names for its ship classes, based on size, armament, speed and function. The Navy distinguishes between ‘rated’ and ‘unrated’ ships. Rated vessels are FTL capable warships designed to close with and destroy the enemy, while unrated vessels are either non-FTL capable or do not have combat as their primary role.

Unrated ships

Avisos. These are courier vessels with a small carrying capacity but with powerful drives. They have minimal armament, based on the idea that they can outrun what they can’t outfight, and avisos can’t outfight anything. Used to transport dispatches that can’t be transmitted via subspace radio, VIPs, small but high-value items or anything time-sensitive, avisos, by their small size, can create the smallest hyperspace bubble of any FTL ship and thus make the quickest transits. Each Fleet generally has a handful of avisos, and they remain under the direct control of the parent Fleet HQ. An aviso is usually commanded by a Sub-Lieutenant or Lieutenant with a crew of 10-12. There are no standard aviso hull configurations and many are converted civilian ships.

Monitors. These are essentially a few huge gun turrets and/or missile launchers coupled to a large power plant and sublight drives. Monitors are nothing so much as mobile gun platforms, able to take a tremendous amount of damage (without FTL capacity, they have no need to carry antimatter fuel) while presenting any attacker with overwhelming firepower. Used to guard high value locations, especially planets with no orbital stations, they are transported to their areas of operation by FTL-capable fleet tugs. A monitor is usually commanded by a Lieutenant and has a crew of 30-35.

Sloops. Ships smaller than corvettes which are neither avisos nor monitors are designated as sloops. There are no standard hull configurations for sloops, and they are not generally expected to fight other than in an anti-piracy role, although they carry guns and missile pods. Fitted with extended sensor equipment, they are mostly used as scout ships, but some are used in lieu of avisos as liaison and high-value transports. The distribution of sloops is uneven within the Navy, depending on a battle group’s mission and area of operations. A sloop is usually commanded by a Lieutenant and has a crew of around 50.

Fleet tugs. A tug is essentially a command module sitting on top of sublight and FTL drives and is designed to move large ‘pods’ between star systems. These pods can carry anything from construction supplies to fighter wings. Tugs have minimal defensive armament. If a tug is to be deployed into a dangerous area, the pod it carries will have extra defensive armament modules. Tugs are mostly commanded by civilian captains in the employ of the Navy, and have a civilian crew of up to 20.

Replenishment ships. A huge department store with FTL capability, the replenishment ship is designed to resupply naval vessels under way with anything except fuel. By size and tonnage, replenishment ships are the largest in space. They have a full suite of defensive weapons and can carry armed shuttles or fighters. Battle groups whose area of responsibility is wide-spread will have one or more organic replenishment ships, otherwise they are controlled at the Fleet level. They are commanded by a Post Captain (an officer holding the actual rank of Captain and not just the courtesy title as commanding officer of a ship) and have a crew of 300.

Miscellaneous transports. The Navy operates a number of transports on regular routes to ship supplies and personnel between stations, or to shift ground units between systems. They are essentially armed merchantmen, civilian hulls with some naval systems, and are usually commanded by civilian captains in the employ of the Navy. The crew size is variable.

Rated ships

Corvettes. The corvette is the smallest standardized FTL warship class. It is generally used for anti-piracy, internal security, convoy escort and in-system defence. A corvette carries guns, missile launchers and hyperspace torpedo launchers. Commanded by an officer of the rank of Lieutenant-Commander, it has a crew of up to 150. Corvettes used to be the most numerous type of ship in the Navy, but they are being replaced by frigates as they are decommissioned or lost.

Frigates. The frigate is the workhorse of the Navy and is used for pretty much any and all tasks that a warship can carry out. The most common ship in the Navy, frigates can be found everywhere. There are two principal types of frigates: the missile frigate, which carries no Marine complement and the patrol frigate which carries a company-sized Marine unit, often special forces, that can be used to board and seize installations in space and on the ground. Patrol frigates are an important part of the Navy’s force projection capability. Commanded by an officer of the rank of Commander, it has a crew of 220-250; patrol frigates have an additional 100-110 Marines.

Cruisers. Cruisers are the second most common ships in the Navy, and while they’re not quite as fast and manoeuvrable as frigates, they carry a third more firepower. Cruisers may have a small, often platoon-sized Marine complement and sometimes carry half a fighter squadron. Commanded by a Post Captain, they have a crew of 350 (or 400 for heavy cruisers).

Battleships. Left over from another age, the Navy’s battleships are the heaviest warships in the known galaxy, outweighing even the largest Shrehari equivalents. Each Fleet has between 1 and 3 battleship groups. As they are decommissioned or destroyed by the enemy, they are replaced by heavy cruisers which may not have quite the same firepower or armor, but which operate with a much smaller crew and are faster.

Carriers. Also left over from another age, the carriers proved to be of little use against the Shrehari due to their size, vulnerability and the need for a large escort group. Mostly used as space control ships, flagships or orbiting fighter platforms, the carriers in service at the onset of the Shrehari War are being phased out and replaced by heavy cruisers configured as flagships by the addition of extra C2 capability, or configured as hybrids by replacing a portion of the weaponry with fighter launch bays. Air support from orbit for Marine forces will either be provided through carrier pods towed into position by tugs or from freighters equipped with launch bays.