Operation Gambit Spring

Vice Admiral Grey Wing never quite understood why ship designers would put an observation deck on a warship. But, right now, he was just going to enjoy the view.

The compartment lights were low, and there was nopony on the deck, which was good. He wanted some solitude to think and reflect before the final mission briefing for Operation Gambit Spring, and an empty observation deck was perfect for him. He used his implants to lock the hatch behind him and trotted to a convenient open spot. His eyes were able to pick out more in the darkness, even without augmentation, and he looked over the faint lights of starships orbiting the nameless red dwarf star. Many starships indeed, enough that he could be sure that the lights were from starship running lights and not the background stars.

He knew how hard it was to have gotten where he was. In theory, every rank in the RESF was open on merit and blind testing. In practice, everypony knew that there were those little cliques, the little self-protection societies, the ones that traded influence and back-room deals to help out their friends and allies and the stallions and mares of those that could help you out. Grey Wing knew that he had some serious patrons, a few of which he didn’t know about and he would have been insulted if he felt like his rise to his current rank had been greased or lifted in some way. But, he also knew the realities.

It was said-quietly and with both a wry expression and a sneer-that you couldn’t rise past the rank of Captain (Senior Grade) in the RESF unless you were born a unicorn. There might have been some exaggeration in that-Grey Wing had served under just about every member of the races of Equestria at some point-but you did see a lot of unicorns in the higher ranks of the RESF. And, to be a thestral, a pony that even to this day was still associated with Nightmare Moon and the Night That Never Ended, was something that made it even harder to rise through the ranks.

Which was why, standing on this deck was something that Grey Wing knew was one of many messages being sent by the Diarchy. Not only the deck of his command ship, but the decks of the other ships in Task Force 0133. He was in command of three full squadrons of Princess Sunset Shimmer-class fast battleships, twenty-four of the newest and most capable warships in the Royal Equestrian Space Forces, with his flag flying on the name ship of the class. He personally would have preferred to have had three squadrons of Princess Luna-class fast battleships for the symbolism, but he knew why he had these ships. Four squadrons of Moon Dancer-class battle cruisers. Five squadrons of Big Macintosh-class heavy cruisers, backed up by five squadrons of Pinkie Pie-class light cruisers. Six squadrons of Fluttershy-class destroyers, enough to provide sufficient escorts for the whole fleet, with senior officers of all the races of Equestria that had records of being the very edge of the razor. A full fleet train of supply ships, colliers, repair ships, and enough transports and Bright Bulb-class GFSS to count as two full Royal Equestrian Ground Forces Brigade Combat Teams.

In total, he was in command of nearly half a billion tons of fleet assets, from the smallest courier to the fast battleships. Not a single ship was more than eight years old, and all of the ships were the newest and most capable in their class. And, to put this all in the command of a thestral admiral was the message that the Diarchy was sending to the cliques and mutual protection groups of the RESF-your games are no longer being tolerated, and they have grown too blatant. Merit and capability were the most important things to the Diarchy, and they were demonstrating what they wanted from their military.

The fleet’s mission was another message as well. Several messages. Officially, Operation Gambit Spring was an anti-piracy operation, going after pirates and Changeling Queens and Empresses that had been a threat in this sector, establishing contact with independent worlds, supporting the Royal Equestrian Scout Services in mapping the sector, all noble goals. But, his orders were to operate in force wherever possible, no less than division strength in any individual detachment.

To everyone observing, this message was clear-the Diarchy was more than willing to deploy their best and newest ships, in large numbers, to handle a relatively minor threat. And, they were willing to come ready and supported to continue the operations for a long period of time. And, their first destination was Raven Claw, the capital of a three-system pocket empire that had a reputation for being a place where pirates could quietly dispose of their captured ships.

And not a single soul knew that they were here.  Or where they were going to arrive, or when.

Grey Wing almost felt sorry for the pirates.

Almost.

Ships Of The RESF-Colony Ships

The RESF maintains and operates the various colony ships that establish new colonies for ponies.  Needless to say, they are very valuable ships that are almost always escorted by destroyers or cruisers, and often are escorted by whole fleets of warships.  For the most part, the RESF has used the same hulls for the colonization mission for the last four hundred years, and the only difference between older and newer hulls is the internal fittings.

Commander Hurricane-class Exploration Ship

When the Starswirl and Daring Dos leave to explore and discover new worlds, what comes next is the Commander Hurricane-class ships.  Roughly heavy-cruiser sized, the class is built around two large shuttle and isolation bays for exploration parties.  Capable of landing a whole three hundred being exploration base in a single lift of cargo and personnel shuttles, the Commander Hurricane-class will spend months over a new world, exploring and discovering everything that can be found out about the new world.

In the event of disaster, the class is well equipped for emergencies.  This includes very extensive medical laboratories, enough blank cybershells to pull the cortical stacks of every member of an exploration party and give them a body, and enough firepower to cauterize a dangerous biological effect on a planet.  Commander Hurricane-class ships also have a small staff of ponies from the Ministry of Ghosts, in case they run into something that could be that kind of threat to ponies.

Princess Platinum-class Orbital Foundry Ship

Built in the days when the first and most vital piece of orbital infrastructure was an orbital elevator, the Princess Platinum-class might not carry the weaving array for an orbital elevator cable, but it has everything else you might need.  Fitted with AI-driven drone miners, nano-machine smelters and fabricators, and shuttles to carry the finished products to a new colony or build the stations needed for a newly established colony.

Well guarded by it’s naval escort, a Princess Platinum-class ship is one of the most wanted ships by pirates.  While it might not have military fabrication templates for weapons, it has the templates to make everything else, and that includes spare parts for ships.

Chancellor Puddinghead-class Colonization Ship

This massive ship not only carries over 10,000 beings in cryosleep, it also carries everything a colony would need to be established that a Princess Platinum can’t manufacture.  The most distinctive feature of this huge ship is the Party Cannon-a massive spinal grav driver that fires a colonization seed onto a location on a world.  When the seed hits, the internal fabricators and nano-machines start to scavenge everything in the local area to build pre-fabricated buildings and structures needed for a new colony.  Everything from houses to factories to roads to sewers, a Chancellor Puddinghead-class ship can launch ten seeds before it needs reloading.  Every new city has a random fractal generator to ensure that each city is just different enough that it’s not a repeat of another early city somewhere else.

Also, everything is covered in frosting.  Real, honest-to-Faust edible sugar frosting.  And, there’s a one chance out of fifteen that all the buildings would be filled with chocolate fudge.  It’s not quite as bad as everything looking like a police box from 1963, but the engineers are so very confused as to why this happens.

Ships Of The RESF-Battleships, Dreadnoughts, And Super-dreadnoughts

To the RESF, a “capital ship” is any warship that mounts a stellar convertor as a weapon, regardless of size.  The sheer size and mass of the mounting, however, restricted deployment of stellar convertors to battleship-and-heavier hull sizes.  For the RESF, the capital ship was a hull in search of a mission, lacking military territorial ambitions that were common in the Griffin Moot or a need to deal with Changeling Empresses that the Senate and Minotaur Republic had to do on a regular basis.  The only class that saw major deployments prior to the Horizon War was the Princess Luna-class fast battleship, which had a specific role of hunting down hostile battle-cruisers and bringing them to battle.

After the Horizon War, the need for both capital ships and more aggressive deployments became obvious.  Heavier weapons, especially the direct “slam” firepower of larger aperture buster launchers would also be needed, reflecting the tentative design and improvement in the various classes of ships.  With the Princess Sunset Shimmer-class beginning to replace the Princess Luna-class, the first keels being laid down for the Prince Shining Armor-class, and a rumored replacement for the Princess Celestia-class, the capital ship may be seeing a renaissance of development.

(Note-Equestrian ships of capital ship weight are called “Alicorns”-ships, and are named after famous Alicorn ponies in Equestrian history.  The initial class names for these ships  came from the Equestrian history, the Diarchy, and later alicorns that has Ascended.)

Princess Cadence-class Battleship

The first of the true capital ships of the RESF, the Princess Cadence class masses 55,000 tons and is 320 meters long, with heavy weapons to match.  Armed with six 12cm buster launchers and a stellar convertor in the bow, eight 10cm buster launchers on the hull, and six plasma torpedo launchers; the class is armored by the standards of most battleships, but it carries a much heavier point defense system than ships of its weight class.  Deployment of this class was relatively rare, as many of the missions that it performed prior to the Horizon War were handled by the Princess Luna-class Fast Battleship.  During the Horizon War, it formed the core of many task groups, serving as the major warship for most engagements during the war.

The class may see an end, as the RESF is applying lessons from the Horizon War to a new class of battleships, tentatively named the Prince Shining Armor-class.  This class would mount heavier broadside buster launchers and more passive defenses than the Princess Cadence-class.

Princess Twilight Sparkle-class Fleet Drone Tender

Massing at 57,000 tons and 320 meters in length, the Princess Twilight Sparkle class is essentially a Princess Cadence with the broadside buster launchers and plasma torpedoes removed to mount launch bays for thirty-six Spike-class ACVs.  The class is mostly seen in fleets with other ships, rarely deployed independently because of the lack of secondary weapons.  The class may continue in service, as the role it fulfills is handled very well by the ships currently in service.  Rumors, however, exist of development of a larger FDT ship carrying forty-eight ACVs after the various battles of the Horizon War.

Princess Luna-class Fast Battleship

This class of ship was built for the very specialized mission of running down battle-cruisers and forcing them into battle, in addition to providing a dangerous “fast attack” wing for fleet operations.  To this end, the 320 meter long ship has an acceleration profile equal to the Rarity-class battle-cruiser in a hull massing 60,000 tons.  The ship carries six 12 cm buster launchers and a stellar converter in the bow, eight 10cm buster launchers on the hull, and six plasma torpedo launchers for its weapons.  Armored in highly expensive composite armors and shielded as well as any other battleship, the Princess Luna mounts point defense that would be considered standard for the much larger Princess Celestia-class dreadnought.  Prior to the Horizon War, these ships would operate in small Task Groups of two to four ships, with lighter vessels in proportion providing support and assistance.

One long-standing tradition is that all the Princess Luna-class ships have their nanopaint set in a default black/dark purple color scheme, with ships operating with the Princess Luna assuming the same coloration.  The class served through the Horizon War, and is seeing replacement with the Princess Sunset Shimmer-class fast battleship, which has the same acceleration profile with a heavier weapons fit.

Princess Sunset Shimmer-class Fast Battleship

Massing at 70,000 tons and 330 meters long, the Princess Sunset Shimmer-class mounts a much heavier weapons fit in the form of six 14cm buster launchers and a stellar converter in the bow, eight 12cm buster launchers on the hull, and six heavy plasma torpedo launchers.  With the first few ships built in the early days of the Horizon War, they were deployed mostly for anti-piracy missions.   The ship maintains the same design profile as the Princess Luna-class fast battleship, with Rairty-class accelerations and designed to run down and engage hostile battle-cruisers in combat.

Like the Princess Luna-class, the ship maintains its nanopaint in red and gold, with ships operating with the class changing their color scheme to the same red and gold pattern.

Princess Celestia-class Dreadnought

At 85,000 tons and 350 meters long, the Princess Celestia-class is the last “pure” warship class of the RESF.  Armed with six 16cm buster launchers and a stellar convertor in the bow, twelve 12cm buster launchers on the hull, six plasma torpedo launchers, and a point defense array that is immune to ranged weapon attacks short of another dreadnought; the Princess Celestia class would only see “show the flag” duties prior to the Horizon War.  During the war, Princess Celestia-class ships would be the core of the fleet formations, surrounded by a veritable swarm of lighter warships.  The four major fleet actions of the Horizon War would see these ships in battle, and the loss of any of these ships would be major in many respects.

Post-War, the RESF is building more ships, both to replace the destroyed ships in the war and to ensure larger fleet formations.  Rumors abound of a replacement dreadnought class (tentatively named the Princess Flurry Heart-class) that would mount the same bow buster launcher array but heavier shields and 14cm buster launchers on the hull.

Queen Majesty-class Super Dreadnought

The largest single warship of the entire RESF, the Queen Majesty masses at 100,000 tons, 400 meters long, and has a “jack of all trades” design.  Mounting eight 18cm buster launchers and a stellar convertor in the bow, the ship carries the single largest mobile buster launcher system used by the RESF.  Broadside weapons include twelve 14cm buster launchers and sufficient facilities to carry and tend eighteen Spike­-class ACVs.  The ship also carries eight plasma torpedo launchers, and point defense that can protect itself against a squadron of cruisers.  The class also carries flag facilities sufficient to support a major fleet.

The ship only fought one battle in the Horizon War, and mostly operated as a defensive deterrent around major Equestiran worlds.  The RESF is building more ships, but at the rate of two a year.  Debate about the future of this class is also tied into the possibility of a replacement class for this ship.

Trope A Day-The Battlestar

The Battlestar-This is the big thing about the Queen Majesty-class super-dreadnought class for the RESF.  Besides carrying a full weapons broadside-including the powerful and massive stellar converter-the ship also carries eighteen Spike-class ACVs to provide it with drone support.  Unlike the Senate and Minotaur Republic Force and the Imperial Zebra Space Navy, the Royal Equestrian Space Navy has both the funding and the economic depth to maintain specialist hulls for various missions.  The IGSN deploys drones in the same manner as the RESF, but they don’t have mixed-mission hull like the Queen Majesty.

For the SMRF, any ship class larger than a heavy cruiser would have hull mountings for battle riders, giving the SMRF the ability to deploy attrition hulls.  The IZSF’s capital ships all have drone bays, where the RESF would have to send a Sunburst or Princess Twilight Sparkle to provide drone support.  The Changeling Empresses only have battlestars, as the Larva-class ACV serve as the long range offensive weapon of the Changeling fleets.

Ships Of The RESF-Battlecruisers

Oddly under-represented in the Royal Equestrian Space Force, the big issue with battle cruisers is the usual mission role of battle cruiser is commerce denial.  Meanwhile, the RESF’s primary concern was commerce protection, for which heavy cruiser and fast battleships filled the two missions needed for commerce protection (protection against piracy and dealing with pirate ports).  However, the need of a heavier hull ship that wasn’t a full-scale battleship dictated the deployment of battle cruiser hulls.  The main problem of the class, prior to the Horizon War, was that the RESF went by a “cruiser writ large” design doctrine in both weapons and defenses.  This meant that the class was lighter in the framework and systems than the IGSN’s Raptor-class battle cruiser.

The class would see a resurgence post-Horizon War, and the newer classes of ships would be built on the “battleship writ small” design philosophy.  However, they are still somewhat “oddball” ships in the RESF and fleet commands of this class tend to find themselves in odd situations.

(Note-Equestrian ships of battle cruiser weight are called “Unicorn”-ships, and are named after famous Unicorns ponies in Equestrian history.  The initial class names for these ships, like most other Equestrian warships, came from the Elements of Harmony.)

Rarity-class Battlecruiser

At 47,000 tons and 300 meters long, Rarity-class battlecruisers were built according to the “cruiser writ large” doctrine of pre-Horizon War starship designs.  The ship mounts four bow-mounted 10cm buster launchers, eight 8cm buster launchers surrounding the hull, and four plasma torpedo launchers.  Like all RESF warships, the ship has heavier point defense than the “standard” weight of other battlecruisers.  The ship mounts heavy armor for a battlecruiser, but only average shields.  Naval designers believed that it would be easier to upgrade shield technology as innovations came along, but the lighter (by battle cruiser standards) shields were always a problem during the ship’s history.

After the end of the Horizon War, the Rarity­-class would be put into second line service, as the newer Moon Dancer-class battle cruiser would be deployed.  However, the hull would see an extended lifespan in the form of Starswirl-class Exploration Cruisers.

Moon Dancer-class Battlecruiser

Built just after the end of the Horizon War, the Moon Dancer class was designed as a “battleship writ small”, similar to Imperial Griffin Navy battle cruisers.  Massing 52,000 tons and 300 meters long, the Moon Dancer mounts four bow-mounted 12cm buster launchers, eight 10cm buster launchers on the hull, and six plasma torpedo launchers.  Armor and shields are at the standard rate for the class, with slightly heavier shields and point defense.

The Moon Dancer-class would see itself paired with the Princess Luna and Princess Sunset Shimmer-class fast battleships, since both classes share the same acceleration profiles.

Sunburst-class Squadron Drone Tender

The Sunburst-class SDT is a variant hull of the Rarity-class, designed to carry twenty-four Spike-class ACVs, at the cost of secondary weapons.  The class mounts four bow-mounted 10cm buster launchers and the same point defense fit as the Rarity-class.  The primary weapon system of the ship is the Spike-class ACVs, and the ship is built to rapidly repair, recycle, and relaunch the ACVs in fleet operations.  The role of the Sunburst-class depends upon the opposition.  Against the IGSN, the class serves in a counter-force function against the Griffin Pinion-class ACV, while the SMRF uses the crewed Spur-class battle rider in fleet actions.  The major role of the Sunburst is to provide a fleet defense against Changeling ships with their horde of Larva-class drones.

Discussions about a larger version of the Sunburst, built on the Moon Dancer hull are underway.  This version of the ship (tentatively named the Minuette-class) would carry thirty ACVs in the extended hull sections of the ship.

Bright Bulb-class Ground Forces Support Ship

Built to support the Royal Equestrian Ground Forces, the Bright Bulb-class is designed to carry a Ground Forces Reaction Battalion and provide it with 90 days of combat support independent of supply ships.  To this end, the ship is stripped of most of its offensive weapons fit; mounting mostly the bow-mounted 10cm buster launchers and point defense systems.  The ship carries enough dropships to land the Ground Forces battalion of 1,200 soldiers in a single lift, including armored vehicles and support systems.  The ship also carries a wide variety of kinetic energy weapons, from guided anti-armor munitions to area bombardment weapons.  The class mostly sees work in anti-piracy operations, and providing garrison forces during occupations.

The major disadvantage of the class is that it only carries a single platoon of AGV-33 grav tanks, which means that larger support ships (built on a fast merchant hull) are needed to carry Ground Forces Brigade Combat Teams.

Starswirl-class Exploration Cruiser

Like the Daring Do-class, the Starswirl class would remove the torpedo launchers from a Rarity-class battle cruiser for enlarged supplies and laboratory facilities.  Two additional heavy lift shuttles are also carried, designed to allow for the establishment of a ground research facility as needed.  Like the Daring Do-class, these ships fall under the command of the Exploration Service, despite their Navy crews and origins.

Ships Of The RESF-Cruisers

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.

Ships Of The RESF-Corvettes, Frigates, And Destroyers

The Royal Equestrian Space Forces regards ships smaller than cruiser-class to be “escorts” for larger ships. It is rare to see any of these ships operating in singletons or in independent commands, as they are mostly tied to larger ships in small Task Groups or Task Forces. The few exceptions tend to be just that-exceptions.  Unlike most of the other navies, the RESF does not use crewed battle riders (filling the role with Autonomous Combat Vessels), so any ship with a crew has a Tunnel Drive and a command of it’s own.

With the end of the Horizon War, there are serious debates about the viability of the lighter warship classes in Equestrian naval doctrine. This has lead to the possibility that the RESF may have to bring it’s naval doctrine into line with other navies, bringing the smaller ship classes into more independent operations (and increasing their overall combat capability).

(Note-Equestrian ships of Destroyer and lighter weight are called “Pegasus” ships, and are named after famous Pegasus in Equestrian history.  The initial class names for these ships, like most other Equestrian warships, came from the Elements of Harmony.)

Scootaloo-class Corvette

This is considered the smallest, FTL-capable warship in use by the Royal Equestrian Space Force.  At 110 meters in length and 5,000 tons, it is not only capable of operating in planetary atmospheres and armed with weapons sufficient to be noticed by smaller warships. The Scootaloo-class Corvette is armed with a single 6cm buster launcher forward and two 3cm buster launchers on the broadsides. Point defense and shields are standard for the ship’s size and weight, but the armor is very light, almost equivalent to a civilian ship of the same weight.

Scootaloo-class corvettes are rarely used as warships themselves. Their small size and light weapons fit makes them vulnerable to anything larger than themselves.  And, while the point defense is heavy enough to discourage ACVs and seeking weapons, the same lightness in the hull means that any hit will do major damage.  The most common use of this ship is as a messenger ship-with a squadron of eight ships being standard for most fleets, and dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts carrying a single Scootaloo on external clamps to provide FTL communications.  With the end of the Horizon War, serious discussions are ongoing about the future of corvettes in general and the Scootaloo-class in particular. It may be that a future frigate replacement for the Rainbow Dash-class may replace the roles that the Scootaloo fills, with the Scootaloo-class hulls being broken up or used as target drones.

Rainbow Dash-class Frigate

150 meters long and massing 9,500 tons, the Rainbow Dash-class frigate holds the distinction of being the highest acceleration non-ACV warship in the Royal Equestrian Space Force.  This is at the cost of weapons, as the ship carries only two 6cm buster launchers and two 3cm broadside buster launchers.  To make up for this light offensive fit, the ship carries point defense and shields equivalent to most other navies’ destroyers, and the armor fit is about standard for the ship’s weight.

Serious discussion about the continued use of frigates in general, and the Rainbow Dash in particular, arose over the Horizon War.  While capable in many roles, the ship’s small size meant that in large fleet actions, it was too fragile when facing up against long-ranged guided weapons from enemy warships. Proponents of the class note that the mission role for frigates was to serve as nodes for remote drones and denial of enemy recon drone operations, not to lie in the wall of battle with larger ships. Debate is ongoing as to what will happen with both the class and future ships. There is work being done on a future class of frigates (tentatively named the Soarin-class) that would be 20% larger, have a lower acceleration rate, and carry both heavier armor and shields than the Rainbow Dash-class.

Fluttershy-class Destroyer

At 190 meters and 11,000 tons, the Fluttershy­-class destroyer is considered one of the multi-purpose ship classes in the Royal Equestrian Space Forces. The class has good acceleration, two 6cm buster launchers forward and two 4cm broadside weapons, two VLS arrays for missiles (the ship can fire three salvoes of twenty missiles per launcher array), and point defense more in line with a light cruiser than a destroyer. The cost of this is armor and shields in the same weight range as destroyers of other nations, short combat endurance with the missile launchers, and relatively short “legs” in terms of supply storage. But, since Equestrian naval doctrine considers destroyers to be escorts for heavier ships, this is not as much a problem as it would be if the ship had to operate independently.

The capabilities of the base hull has leant it to several variants, such as the Shadow Wing-class commando transport, Daring Do-class exploration ship, and the Angel Feather-class fleet escort.  With the end of the Horizon War, a serious debate about the nature of the fleet and its ships is ongoing. The Fluttershy-class is looking at replacement in the form of the Spitfire-class destroyer, which would be nearly 30% larger and mount a much more powerful primary weapons fit.

Daring Do-class Exploration Ship

Essentially a Fluttershy-class destroyer with the missile launchers removed for more storage and laboratory space, the Daring Do class is usually paired up with Starswirl-class Exploration Cruisers, with the Daring Dos ranging through the newly discovered solar system while the Starswirl-class ships hold themselves at the Tunnel Drive limit.  If the Spitfire­-class destroyer enters service, many newer Fluttershys may be converted into Daring Dos for the Exploration Services.