Author Topic: Impetuous class Cruiser: Still going strong.  (Read 323 times)

Liam's Ghost

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Impetuous class Cruiser: Still going strong.
« on: 15 November 2023, 23:59:04 »
  The embarrassment of Fleet Problem Three had not only given the Navy a black eye, but it had effectively upended their entire strategy and building plans going forward. Hopes that the Agincourt class would be the sole heavy capital ship of the fleet, able to replace not only the Caspars but also the relic ships of the Black Fleet had been clearly dashed by those very same relics, and while the Agincourt generally receives a bit too much of the blame for what was fundamentally a doctrinal failure, it was clear that the Navy would still need a more mobile heavy capital ship to plug that gap.

  Several options were suggested for this new capital ship. Upgrades to the Riga or Naga class ships from the Black Fleet could potentially take up the slack reasonably quickly, as could a conversion of the M-5 capital drones into manned destroyers. Money and resources would even be allocated to explore these ideas further, but ultimately the idea of simply upgrading legacy hardware was deemed at best a stopgap measure. These older ships already had decades or centuries of wear and tear, and no matter how extensively a ship was refitted or how often it went into overhaul, entropy would always win in the end. Of course there is some debate of how much a ship's age is actually a factor in its functionality, assuming it is well maintained. The Terran Hegemony and Star League regularly kept ships in service for two or even three or four centuries with regular overhauls, and as we have seen more recently even Kerensky's techno-barbarian descendants have managed to keep legacy vessels with over seven centuries of service under their belts in fighting trim. And among the Bastion fleet, the long service lives of the battleship Washington and the frigates Tallinn and Vilnius show that keeping such aging ships in fully operable condition is entirely feasible.

  Regardless, the Navy wanted a new design, and the Senate found the age argument compelling enough to approve the funding. The next question was what form this new ship would take. Any thoughts of using the Agincourt's hull and jump core were abandoned immediately by the list of requirements put forward by the Admiralty. Perhaps over-compensating for the embarrassment of Fleet Problem Three, they wanted a ship with at least twice the acceleration capacity of the Agincourt, and ideally more. Not only that, but the Admiralty also wanted to retain the majority of the Agincourt's firepower and all of its protection as well, while adding capital missile capability and retaining the same capacity to operate support elements. Despite the protestations of Senators arguing over the budget, putting all of this into a five hundred thousand ton hull was simply out of the question.

  The obvious solution, therefore, was a much larger design. Though yard space for anything much larger than an M-5 hadn't been available when the Agincourt had been designed, the Bastion had since expanded its shipbuilding industry dramatically specifically to accommodate the larger vessels from the Black Fleet cache, as well as "future proofing" for any further planned construction, and this effort would pay off in the construction of the new class. Well, we say new as the ships would be entirely new construction, however the finalized design would draw heavy inspiration from past designs of the Star League, broadly the Sovettski Soyuz class cruiser and specifically its advanced fast attack derivative, the Sovremenny.

  The Soyuz class hull and jump core were chosen as the basis of the new class due to the general simplicity and elegance of the base design, and its optimization for mass production. During the ship's brief eight year production run the Star League had managed to turn out four hundred Soyuz class cruisers. And while this was partly due to the vast scale at which the Hegemony's shipbuilding industry operated, no small part of it was also due to the refinements and design choices built into the hull and jump core to facilitate such mass scale production. And even if the overall design of the Sovettski Soyuz class was rather lackluster, its fundamental components, the hull, the machinery, and the jump drive, had proven in Star League service to be extremely reliable and maintenance friendly, earning many in the Soyuz class an impressive reputation among both captains and crews alike. Sealing the deal was the Sovremenny class, a very late Star League design which mated the Soyuz hull and jump core with heavier weapons, armor, and a much more powerful propulsion system able to sustain two and a half gravities of acceleration. In essence, the Sovremenny was an already proven prototype for what the Admiralty required from their new cruiser.

  But simply cloning the Sovremenny class was not considered sufficient. While it had many of the features the Admiralty wanted, it was still hampered by its intended design role. Fundamentally, the Sovremenny was intended to serve as a bully, running down smaller ships and destroying them in a close range brawl, and the limited number of powerful heavy guns it carried reflected that. Also, while the Sovremenny's carrying capacity and operational range was considered only barely adequate for the wide ranging SLDF, for the Bastion navy built around a "coastal defense" strategy, that cargo space could easily be converted into additional equipment or killing power to support a more well rounded weapon battery.

  However you can still see the bones of the Sovremenny in the Admiralty's finalized design, designated the Impetuous class Cruiser. The new design would retain the phenomenal acceleration of the Sovremenny, to fill the role of a fast attack cruiser able to outmaneuver anything it could not outfight and most opponents it could. The weapon array was extensively modified. The original heavy capital missile launchers were replaced by larger numbers of the more accurate barracuda. The mixed dual and single mounts for the heavy Oriente cannons on the Sovremenny were been scaled back to four triple mounts fitted with the ubiquitous Whirlwind-Imperator gun, sacrificing some of the raw hitting power of the Orientes for better flexibility. To make up for that loss of firepower, the Imperator also introduced the Kreuss XXX Heavy Naval PPC to the Bastion fleet, a modernized version of the Kreuss XX guns used by the Sovremenny (as well as the famed McKenna and other large Star League capital ships). Six quad mounts, three mounted along each broadside, replace the dual and triple mounts seen on the Sovremenny, not only resulting in an overall more powerful broadside than that possessed by the Imperator's progenitor, but also an effective dual purpose battery almost as capable as the massed batteries of NL-45s seen on other ships in the fleet. The Soveremenny's flight deck and docking collars were retained, a lithium fusion battery and hyperpulse generator were installed, and the armor protection saw a slight increase and redistribution, however this last bit was initially compromised by the Bastion's inability to mass produce Lamellor Ferro Carbide compounds in quantity, resulting in a somewhat weaker armor protection scheme until upgrades at the start of the thirtieth century re-introduced the more advanced armor materials.

  The first Impetuous class ships had their keels laid in 2799 and would be commissioned into service the following year. The first two ships of the class, Impetuous and Audacious, had barely completed their acceptance trials before they were assigned alongside the battleship Washington, a flotilla of Hunt class light destroyers, and a small ground contingent on an extended strike operation against the home base of the Madsden Pirates. Using the Washington as a supply tender, this strike force would successfully make the long trip to the pirates' base world, two hundred light years from the border of the Free Worlds League. Following an extended survey of the system which detected no naval presence or infrastructure, the Impetuous and Audacious conducted a pirate point insertion using a planetary/lunar Lagrange point and quickly moved to secure the orbital space. It was during this stage of the operation that the strike force would meet the first of only two instances of major resistance, when a small number of aerofighters lifted off from the planetary surface to bravely or foolishly engage the two cruisers and their support craft in orbit, only to be quickly dispatched with no losses sustained by the two cruisers. With the orbital space definitively secured and the pirate base identified through orbital observation, the Washington would arrive in orbit to dispatch the ground contingent, a short combined arms regiment of troops aboard two battalion scale transports, to clean up any further resistance. Through a combination of orbital direction, overwhelming force, and some judiciously applied fire support from the Audacious, the remaining bandit forces on the ground would be swiftly eliminated.

  With the bandits either dead or taken prisoner, attention then shifted to the sticky question of the civilian population. The Madsden pirates had lorded over a population of some fifteen hundred civilians kept as functional slaves. While the majority of these civilians were native to the world, hundreds more came from the fringe territories of the inner sphere, predominantly the Lyran Commonwealth (whom the Madsden pirates appeared to target preferentially for their raids). This presented a bit of a dilemma for the strike force. The locals were happy to be free of the pirates, of course. But those who had been taken from their home states would also very much like to go back home. Obviously, in order to avoid word of what had transpired here from getting out, the strike force could not let that happen. In fact, the strike force couldn't even honor the wishes of the locals who simply wished to remain. Instead, the entire civilian population would be relocated to the hold of the Washington, along with their possessions, for transportation to the Bastion. The Washington, Impetuous, and Audacious would then subject the settlement to sustained orbital fire, wiping out every trace of the settlement and any physical evidence of their activity. The unwilling refugees, shell shocked and no doubt convinced that they had simply traded one slave master for another, put up little to no resistance on the trip back to the Bastion. It was only after they were settled in the Bastion and truly began to understand that they had been granted citizenship and actual rights that they began agitating over their effective abduction into the Bastion. While successive generations of their descendants would grow to accept and even be happy living in the Bastion, the majority of this population's oldest generation still cling to the "injustice" that brought them here and agitate for the opportunity to return home.

  The deep strike against the Madsden Pirates did more than simply introduce a new, unique, and belligerent subculture to the Bastion. While the captains and crews of the Impetuous and Audacious would provide an entire list of minor upgrades and revisions to the basic design to improve operability, the expedition still proved that the Impetuous class was reliable enough to undertake long range operations, so long as support ships were available to carry the necessary supplies. Additional incursions into Bastion territory throughout the first half of the 29th century, though never as large as the initial incursion by the Madsden pirates, would bear out the value of this long range capability, and single or paired Impetuous class cruisers would again accompany the Washington and her normal retinue of light destroyers on a number of deep range operations pursuing the source of these incursions, aiding in the "appropriation" of pirate vessels flying the flags of the Marian Hegemony, Circinus Federation, and a number of smaller pirate bands and bringing back their crews, and certain suspicious passengers apparently affiliated with the Star League Ministry of Communications, back to the Bastion for interrogation and much deserved imprisonment.

  While these operations were underway beyond the Bastion's borders, the Impetuous class was beginning to dominate the fleet back home. Despite the high cost of building each cruiser, at about twice that of an Agincourt class, the Impetuous would rapidly replace almost entirety of the Bastion's heavy capital ship fleet, beginning with the M-5 drones and the remaining Black Fleet ships, and soon enough also replacing the much maligned Agincourts. By 2825 this process had been codified into official policy, with the Admiralty issuing orders that the entire fleet of heavy capital ships, with the exception of certain specialized vessels like the Texas or the Tallinn and Vilnius, would be standardized on the Impetuous class. One hundred and sixty Impetuous class cruisers would be built in three marks as part of the initial production run from 2799 to 2850. An additional forty, built to the new Mark IV specification, would start entering service in 2900, replacing the forty oldest Mark I and II variants, while the remaining fleet was gradually brought up to the Mark IV standard. At roughly the same time as the new Mark IVs were being introduced, the hull and jump core would also be used to design a host of new specialized capital ships, including the Adventurous class long range frigate, the Formidable class carrier, the Relentless class missile cruiser, and the Everett class repair ship. During these heady times, there was even discussion of replacing the Hunt class with modified Impetuous class ships fitted out for picket duty, before the Senate ruthlessly smashed any thoughts of allocating the budget to build yet another one or two hundred full sized cruisers to do the job ably filled by a light destroyer with a metaphorical hammer.

  Production of the Impetuous class would slowly continue well into the 31st century, as new ships were built to replace older vessels at the end of their standard service life. Regular refits and overhauls have also kept the fleet modernized, with the current standard being the Mark XII. While the vast majority of the upgrades between the Mark IV and the XII have been fairly minor quality of life updates, the Mark XII has benefitted from upgrades to its drive controller and jump core first verified on the experimental Arpeggio class. While the actual specifications and capabilities of these refits are classified, the navy is apparently confident in their value.

  At present, one hundred and twenty Impetuous class cruisers are in service with the Bastion fleet, making up slightly more than a third of the entire Bastion capital ship force. At the time of writing, ten of the forty Impetuous class ships currently active have been upgraded to the Mark XII standard, with the remaining vessels due to receive the upgrades during their next scheduled overhaul. Of course, in addition to the ships currently in service, the Bastion retains the remaining one hundred and ten ships built during the Impetuous's service life in their mothball fleet, including forty ships still in their Mark I and II configurations. The navy currently has no plans to replace the class. Indeed, only a few of the oldest hands in the Admiralty can even remember a time when the Impetuous class wasn't the dominant force in the fleet. Barring some sort of drastic shift in technology or naval strategy, the Impetuous is likely to remain the unchallenged symbol of the Navy's power for generations to come.
 
Code: [Select]
Impetuous Cruiser
Mass: 830,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2800
Mass: 830,000
Battle Value: 183,827 (Mark I-III), 189,147 (Mark IV-XII)
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-X-F-F
Cost: 22,540,617,000 C-bills (Mark I-III), 22,607,092,000 C-bills (Mark IV-XII)

Fuel: 2,500 tons (6,250)
Safe Thrust: 5
Maximum Thrust: 8
Sail Integrity: 5
KF Drive Integrity: 18
Heat Sinks: 3000 (6000)
Structural Integrity: 80

Armor (Mark I-III)
    Nose: 187
    Fore Sides: 187/187
    Aft Sides: 187/187
    Aft: 175

Armor (Mark IV-XII)
    Nose: 231
    Fore Sides: 231/231
    Aft Sides: 231/231
    Aft: 221

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Fighter (18)            4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Small Craft (8)         2 Doors   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (4312.0 tons)     1 Door   

Ammunition:
    2,880 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (240 tons),
    1,200 rounds of NAC/20 ammunition (480 tons),
    110 rounds of Barracuda ammunition (3,300 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 4
Grav Decks: 2 (90 m, 90 m)
Escape Pods: 20
Life Boats: 30
Crew:  45 officers, 176 enlisted/non-rated, 47 gunners, 76 bay personnel, 20 passengers, 30 marines

Notes: Equipped with
    lithium-fusion battery system
    1 Mobile Hyperpulse Generators (Mobile HPG)
1,328 tons of ferro-carbide armor (Mark I-III) or lamellor ferro-carbide armor (Mark IV-XII).

Weapons:                                       Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                 Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (36 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (720 shots)
3 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)     30   6(60)   6(60)   6(60)    6(60)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (30 shots)
FRS/FLS (920 Heat)
4 Naval PPC (Heavy)                        900  60(600) 60(600) 60(600) 60(600)  Capital PPC
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)     20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (20 shots)
RBS/LBS (1,086 Heat)
4 Naval PPC (Heavy)                        900  60(600) 60(600) 60(600) 60(600)  Capital PPC
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (720 shots)
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)                180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (300 shots)
ARS/ALS (1,100 Heat)
4 Naval PPC (Heavy)                        900  60(600) 60(600) 60(600) 60(600)  Capital PPC
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)     20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (20 shots)
3 Naval Autocannon (NAC/20)                180  60(600) 60(600) 60(600)   0(0)   Capital AC 
    NAC/20 Ammo (300 shots)
Aft (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (720 shots)
   
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!