Archer-Class Escort Carrier
During the first war, humanity was desperate to maximize any edge they had over the technologically superior Arkhon forces. One of the immediate advantages that the Protectorate noted was the dominance of human star fighters. Apparently, the Arkhons only saw their fighters as useful for supporting ground troops and light escort duty. The human Arrow Interceptor and Ballista Heavy Strike Fighters were making mincemeat out of the Spikefish, ravaging the enemy’s supply lines and inflicting incredible losses on a fleet that was not designed to combat massed numbers of small space craft. The only problem was getting the fighters to the battlefront. At first it was easy, since the Arkhons were on the offensive, and the fighters were operating from Protectorate colonies and space stations. But later, the tide turned, and the humans had to make the best of the opportunity to drive the Arkhon’s back into their own region of space with a beating they would not soon forget.
At the time, there were no dedicated carriers, so there was no way to transport fighters over long-range, except in cargo pods towed by other vessels. These were very vulnerable to attack, clumsy and limited in what fighters they could bring. So, the Protectorate decided to update an old seafaring war craft design: the Carrier. Taking an armored containership design, the Protectorate added powerful engines, defensive weaponry, and a much more sophisticated flight deck. Once the first of the Archers began to see action, the Protectorate racked up victory after victory.
The Archers can carry 18 to 24 fighters. Originally, they were assigned 12 Arrow Interceptors and 6 Ballistas, or 18 Ballistas if operating in a defensive roll. The current loadout generally consists of 12 Crossbows and six Ballistas (yes, multiple ballista are called ballistae, but that’s the siege weapon, not the fighters). The squadrons were permanently assigned to each carrier, with little rotation. The Archers replaced the failed Stalwart Heavy Cruisers as the anchor ships for entire fleets. Protected by destroyers and pinnaces, they could engage the Arkhon forces from extreme long-range, negating the advantage of the technologically superior Arkhon capital ships.
The Archers were not defenseless. They had one heavy pulse laser turret on the upper hull, a long-range missile launcher, and four dual-barreled 120mm auto cannons for fighter defense. However, they primarily relied on the Rama Destroyers and Stalwart Heavy Cruisers, as well as their own fighters, to defend them from attack.
Since their glory days, the Archers have been reclassified as Escort Carriers. The new Liberty-Class Carriers are much larger and more advanced, and carry many times more fighter craft and other vehicles, including mecha, into battle. Still, the Archers are very much up to the role as Escort Carrier, which involves fleet defense, supporting ground forces and transport of extra space craft for the main carrier(s). Archers are also used extensively for Special Forces squadrons.
There are four to five Archers for every
Archers were traditionally assigned two
In most modern fleet formations, there are at least two destroyers or frigates for each escort carrier.
Archer-Class carriers do not have accepted naming
conventions like most other classes. They were often built at scattered
colonies and auxiliary shipyards and christened and thrown into battle without
much concern for such things. The result is that some of the Archer’s have very
classic carrier names, like the
Model: CVE Archer-Class Escort Carrier
Crew: 52 officers, 720 crew, and 30 flight officers.
Other spacecraft: 12 Crossbow fighters, 6 Ballista fighters,
1 STS-5 Launch, 1
M.D.C. by location
120mm auto cannons (4) – 500 each
Heavy pulse laser turret – 4,000
Long-range missile launcher – 2,000
*Main Thrusters (2) – 9,000 each
**Command tower – 3,000
Flight deck (forward 1/3 of the ship) – 20,000
***Main body (rear 2/3 of the ship) – 60,000
*Destroying one of the main thrusters will knock the FTL system off-line and reduce overall speed by 50%. Destroying both thrusters will virtually immobilize the vessel.
**Destroying the command tower will disable the primary control system, helm and fire control, as well as disrupt long-range communications. The ship can be piloted via auxiliary control in the engineering room, but at -2 to all combat maneuvers.
***Depleting the MDC of the main body will leave the vessel a drifting wreck with multiple hull breaches and failing life support. This will activate the escape pod launch sequence. Reducing the MDC to -20,000 will cause the vessel to explode, doing 1D6x1,000 to everything in a quarter-mile diameter.
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.2C (20% of the speed of light)
Max Acceleration/Deceleration Rate: 5G’s per melee round.
FTL Speeds: Cx365 (roughly a light-year per day)
Top Atmospheric Speed: Not possible (safely)
Height: 188 ft
Length: 920 ft.
Width 490.5 ft
Cargo: 100,000 tons
Power Plant: Two anti-matter reactors
Range: 182 light years (carries 6 months of consumables for the crew)
Cost: Absolutely not for sale.
1. Heavy Pulse Laser Turret: This is a more powerful version of the fixed heavy laser pulse cannons affixed to the Rama-Class Destroyers. The power output was increased to compensate for the effectiveness of ceresteel armor, before the Arkhon armor’s weakness to ballistic weaponry was discovered. The turret can rotate 360 degrees, with a 65-degree angle of elevation. It fires a traditional, high-powered microwave laser with an emphasis on range and firing speed.
Primary Purpose: Assault
Mega-Damage: 1D4x1,000 M.D. per dual blast.
Range: 2,000 miles
Rate of fire: Six times per melee.
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
2. Long-range Missile Launcher: This launcher fires massive spreads of missiles at enemy ships, giving the Archer extended striking range. They are often fired in large spreads against multiple targets, used to shoot down enemy missiles and are also used to perform planetary bombardments of hardened installations.
Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type.
Range: Varies with missile type, generally about 5,000 miles.
Rate of fire: Can fire individually or in volleys of 2, 4, or 6.
Payload: The launcher has a magazine of 300 missiles.
3. 120mm Double-Barreled Heavy Auto Cannons (4): These heavy auto cannons are used to create an anti-star fighter defense screen around the carrier. They are specifically geared toward heavy strike craft, bombers, and for massed broadsides on enemy ships at close range. These cannons are operated by a firing team of four.
Purpose: Anti-star fighter
Mega-Damage: 4D6X10 M.D. per dual blast.
Range: 10 miles
Rate of fire: Six times per melee round.
Payload: Each cannon has a 2,000 round magazine, allowing 1,000 shots.
Sensors: The Archers have an extensive sensor suite that was
state-of-the-art when the ships were commissioned, but has become a bit dated.
They are limited by the fact that the sensors line the inside of the flight
deck, protecting them from attack. They are geared specifically toward
gathering tactical information useful towards coordinating the carrier’s
fighters. With a range of only 2 million miles for basic mass and
electromagnetic signatures, and more detailed analysis available at only 20,000
miles, these ships often relied heavily on reconnaissance patrols by