The Royal Equestrian Space Forces consider cruisers to be the minimum weight ship for most independent missions, from convoy escort to piracy operations to ground support that doesn’t require a full Ground Forces deployment. In addition, cruisers were also considered to be the minimum escort for capital ships such as battleships, dreadnoughts, and super-dreadnoughts. The biggest issue with cruisers in the RESF is that there would never be enough hulls for all the missions needed, which caused the RESF to make due in a number of ways (such as using light cruisers in heavy cruiser missions).
The end of the Horizon War saw the class deal with the “teething troubles” that the large-scale war generated. This is reflected in the building of the newer classes of cruisers, including the Big Macintosh-class heavy cruiser, which are larger and heavier than the pre-war classes. The Big Macintosh-class masses nearly as much as a pre-war battle cruiser, which is reflecting a new doctrine of classifying ships by their mission, not their size and mass.
(Note-Equestrian ships of Cruiser weight are called “Earth Pony”-ships, and are named after famous Earth ponies in Equestrian history. The initial class names for these ships, like most other Equestrian warships, came from the Elements of Harmony.)
Pinkie Pie-class Light Cruiser
One of the workhorse starships of the RESF (along with the Applejack-class Heavy Cruiser), the Pinkie Pie class weighs in at 19,000 tons and 200 meters from bow to stern. The ship mounts two 8cm buster launchers forwards and four 6cm buster launchers in the broadsides, with a ventral and dorsal mounting. Long range fire is provided by two plasma torpedo launchers, which give the ship a dangerous ability to force enemy ships to maneuver the way the Captain of a Pinkie Pie wants them to move. Armor and shields are at the same grade as most other light cruisers, with the same heavier point defense fit as most other Equestrian warships.
One of the oddities of the ship class is that every fifth ship that comes out of the shipyards has…quirks. Never anything that would cause the class problems in combat, but there is always something about the ship that would be…funny, if you were to laugh at it. From the occasionally odd color that food has when it comes out of the fabricators to showers that suddenly squirt at ponies, these odd quirks have kept engineers, engineer’s mates, and the Bureau of Ships busy continuously. With the end of the Horizon War, a new light cruiser (Cheese Sandwich-class) is entering production.
Applejack-class Heavy Cruiser
Considered to be “average” in all respects to all other ships of its weight and size class, this 25,000 ton and 220 meter long starship mounts four 8cm buster launchers in the bow, six 6cm buster launchers around the hull, and four plasma torpedo launchers for long-ranged engagements. With the exception of point defense (which is heavier than the average), hull armor and shields is about average for the ship’s size and class. The class also mounts full flag facilities for independent squadron operations, allowing it to operate as a command ship for smaller fleets.
The ship has little to complain about-or to compliment. It is, in many ways, average and while other starships in its size class may be more one thing or another, the Applejack-class has the advantages of being average and being able to be built in large numbers. It fills so many roles that the default assumption of most strategic planners is “have at least one or two squadrons of Applejack-class cruisers available.” One trivia note is that this ship class was being slowly replaced during the Horizon War with the Big Macintosh-class of heavy cruisers.
Big Macintosh-class Heavy Cruiser
The successor to the Applejack-class of heavy cruisers, the Big Macintosh-class is pushing the weight of pre-war battlecruisers at 39,000 tons, and 240 meters in length. Carrying four 8cm buster launchers in the bow, six 6cm buster launchers around the hull, and four plasma torpedo launchers, the major differences in this class is that the plasma torpedo launchers are much heavier than the ones mounted on the Applejack-class heavy cruiser. Heavier armor is also mounted, in addition to shields and point defense to heavier levels.
The major advantage of this class was the plasma torpedo array, which constituted a serious threat to any ship trying to close with a Big Macintosh-class ship. Point defense, following standard RESF doctrine, was heavier than its equivalent heavy cruiser hull used by the other powers. A number of Big Macintosh-class heavy cruisers were built prior to the Horizon War and saw service during the war. After the war, construction of the class was accelerated to fill the many roles needed by the RESF after the war.