Ships Of The IGSF-Cruisers

Like the RESF, the Imperial Griffin Space Navy regards the cruiser as the minimum sized hull for independent missions. Unlike the Royal Equestrian Space Forces, the IGSN doesn’t have a dedicated cruiser-sized marine transport hull, relying upon the carried numbers of IGSM troops aboard every Navy warship for ground operations and support of ground objectives.  Ironically, a number of these ships have shown up in pirate hands, especially the lighter Gyrfalcon-class, with a black market for either the anti-ship missiles or replacing the missile launchers with Equestrian-style plasma torpedoes.

Also, like the RESF, the IGSN encountered “teething troubles” during the Horizon War and newer hulls are being built to fill the issues that were encountered.  Older hulls are slowly being cycled out of the numbered fleets into the named fleets, and a few are showing up into “independent” service.

Gyrfalcon-class Light Cruiser

Massing 20,000 tons and 210 meters in length, the Gyrfalcon-class light cruiser is designed and built around filling most of the missions that light cruisers perform. Armed with two 8cm buster launchers in the bow, two 6cm buster launchers in the broadsides, and four launch cells for Viper-class anti-ship missiles, the Gyrfalcon is heavily armed for its weight. The major difficulties of the class is that when the Viper anti-ship missiles run out, the ship loses most of its long range punch against opponents. Armor and defense systems are of standard for the class of ship, as well as secondary systems for combat operations.  The ship also carries a single company of Imperial Griffin Space Marines for ground operations.

The class saw service throughout the Horizon War, and many of the class’s flaws were brought to light during the war. A heavier light cruiser class, the Raven-class, began to be produced after the Horizon War, which addressed these concerns.

Raven-class Light Cruiser

Built after the end of the Horizon War, the Raven-class light cruiser masses at 23,000 tons and 210 meters in length. Armed more heavily than the Gyrfalcon­-class, the ship carries two bow 8cm buster launchers, four 6cm buster launchers in the broadsides, and four launch cells for Viper-class anti-ship missiles. The major improvements of this class were the additional broadside buster launchers and slightly larger launcher capacity (four salvoes of six over three salvoes of six) for the Viper anti-ship missiles. While the class still has the issue of being less effective in combat once the missile cells are empty, the Raven is still a formidable foe in knife-fighting range with its buster launchers. Like the Gyrfalcon-class , the armor and defense systems are standard for the class. The ship carries a single company of Imperial Griffin Space Marines for ground operations and boarding missions.

As the older Gyrfalcon-class ships are bought by the military nobility and older hulls are retired, the Raven-class is replacing them in greater numbers. The Horizon War showed that there were never enough cruisers for the missions that were required, and the Griffin Moot is planning to be ready when they need these hulls.

Eagle-class Heavy Cruiser

At 26,000 tons and 220 meters long, the Eagle-class of heavy cruiser represents the platonic ideal of cruisers in the IGSN thoughts prior to the Horizon War. Armed with two bow 10cm buster launchers, six 6cm buster launchers in the broadsides, and four launch cells for Viper-class anti-ship missiles, the class is designed to win a cruiser duel by superior bow-to-bow firepower and longer engagement ranges for the 10cm buster launchers. The primary issue with this class of ship is that while it carries a fairly large number of missiles (the launch cells are built to handle six salvoes of six missiles each), once the missiles are gone the ship lacks a maneuver denial weapon against hostile ships. In addition, while the simple “slam” power of the 10cm buster launchers is significant, the advantages of two larger weapons over an array of smaller buster launchers wasn’t worth the mass and design penalties. The class mounts armor and defenses in proportion to the ship’s mass, and carries a reinforced company of Imperial Griffin Space Marines for ground operations.

The Eagle-class would begin to be phased out, to be replaced by the Talon-class heavy cruiser after the end of the Horizon War. The class is oddly popular with the military nobility, which likes the class for its heavy weapons fit.

Talon-class Heavy Cruiser

At 38,000 tons and 240 meters long, the Talon-class is the IGSN’s version of the RESF Big Macintosh class, and it fills the same mission role. Armed with four 8cm buster launchers in the bow, six 6 cm buster launchers in the broadsides, and six Viper-class anti-ship missile launch cells, the class is more balanced in terms of weapons than the older Eagle-class. Like the Eagle-class, the ship has difficulties when it runs out of missiles, but the larger number of launchers gives the ship more endurance. The class also mounts heavier point defense stations than other cruisers, which allows for engagement of seeking weapons at longer distances. Like the Eagle-class, the ship carries a reinforced IGSM company for ground operations.

The Talon-class is replacing the Eagle-class, and while the ship is popular within the IGSN, the military nobility has a dislike for the class due to its mimicry of the RESF and their doctrines.

Ships Of The IGSN-Frigates and Destroyers

The Imperial Griffin Space Navy consider frigates and destroyers to be “cruiser escorts”, usually with two ships to a single larger cruiser or battle cruiser.  Like all IGSN ships, frigates and destroyers rely upon missiles for long-range combat, unlike larger RESF ships that carry plasma torpedoes.  With military organization of the Griffin Moot built around the named (i.e. the fleets of the nobility) and the numbered (i.e. the Space Navy proper), there are a lot of frigates and destroyers out there, and quite a few of them find their way into pirate hands.

After the end of the Horizon War, the IGSN has been looking into improved versions of the various classes of frigates and destroyers, with only a new destroyer class coming up on the horizon. However, the frigate may start to be seen only in second line service, and for courier duties for larger fleets.

Shadow-class Frigate

The smallest single FTL warship in the IGSN, the Shadow-class frigate is 160 meters long and masses 9,700 tons, and the ship is built around a weapons fit of a 6cm buster launcher and two 3cm buster launchers on the broadsides. In addition, the ship carries two missile launch cells for twenty-four Asp anti-ship missiles (giving it the ability to launch four salvoes of six missiles each from the launchers).

The Shadow-class Frigate has the same issue as most other frigates in service-too small for most missions, too fragile to lie in the wall of battle in fleets, and it’s mission being taken over by increasingly better drones. What this ship mostly does in the IGSN is serve as a messenger ship for fleets, a light escort for convoys, and an escort for Peregrine-class exploration ships.

Marathon-class Destroyer

At 195 meters and 12,000 tons, the Marathon-class destroyer is built to serve as a heavy escort and counter-destroyer for fleet operations. Armed with two 6cm buster launchers in the bow and two 3cm broadside buster launchers, the ship also carries two missile launch cells for thirty Asp-class anti-ship missiles. This gives the class the ability to launch five salvoes of six missiles each. The class also mounts a slightly heavier point defense fit than standard, mostly in the form of more powerful point defense systems over number of installations.

The Marathon-class would see service in the Horizon War, mostly serving as an escort for fleets and similar operations. The class would see further construction after the Horizon War, with slight improvements added to various hulls in service.

Thermopile-class Destroyer

At 195 meters and 15,000 tons, the Thermopile-class destroyer is built to replace the Marathon-class destroyer after the Horizon War.  Incorporating the lessons learned in the war, the ship is armed with two 6cm buster launchers in the bow and two 4cm broadside buster launchers. The ship also carries two missile launch cells for thirty Asp-class anti-ship missiles. This gives the class the ability to launch five salvoes of six missiles each, similar to the lighter Marathon-class. The class also mounts a slightly heavier point defense fit than standard, mostly in the form of more powerful point defense systems over number of installations. The armor is also slightly heavier, especially in the bow.

The Thermopile-class destroyer is only starting to come out of the shipyards of the Griffin Moot, and most of these ships are coming into service with the numbered fleets.

For Your…Cargo Hauling Needs

Flim-Flam Class Frontier Cargo Ship

This class of cargo ship, at 200 meters long in the fully designed system, is unique among cargo ships because of the mission profile for the class. Built by various Equestrian shipyards, the Flim-Flam is actually three ships in one, all assembled together to carry cargo to colony worlds and frontier worlds that are only irregularly supported by larger cargo ships.

The three major components of the ship is two separate cargo shuttles/landers in the form of the Flim-class and Flam-class cargo shuttle, and the main drive rail that the two cargo shuttles dock to.  The main drive rail, which is classified as the Grafter-class FTL tug, is built as an entirely space-only craft.  The Grafter mounts a Tunnel Drive for FTL operations, gravity drives for interplanetary transit, and the crew accommodations for the complete crew of the ship.  Docked to two sets of external clamps is the Flim and Flam cargo shuttles.

The Flim-class cargo shuttle is a massive cargo shuttle, built to carry forty-six cargo pallets or loose cargo in a single large bay.  The main bay hatch is a double hatch system with sufficient vector manipulators to unload cargo pallets without external aids.  The shuttle has a crew of three and sufficient passenger space for eight ponies without using the cargo bay. While the shuttle is rough-field rated-with large landing skids and sufficient anti-gravity lift to carry a full cargo load in a 2G gravity well-the shuttle works best with “improved” fields.  The Flim-class shuttle mounts a standard sensor array for planetary operations and full life support systems for landing operations.

The Flam-class cargo shuttle is smaller than the Flim-class, and is designed to carry four cargo pallets and a small amount of loose cargo or passengers.  The cargo pallets are mounted semi-externally for ease of loading and unloading, and mounts sufficient vector manipulators to rapidly detach, unload, and reload cargo pallets for cargo operations. The shuttle has a crew of three and can carry up to four ponies in the small internal cargo bay. The craft is fully rough-field rated, with very large landing skids and sufficient anti-gravity lift to carry a full cargo load in a 5G gravity well. The Flam-class mounts a full sensor array for planetary operations, including full IFR operations without external communications or active sensor systems.

Critics of the Flam-class cargo shuttle point out that the only difference between a Flam-class cargo shuttle and the REGF Lightning Dash-class infantry dropship is the Flam-class does not mount an ECM array, internal and external ordinance, and several classified sensor systems.

The primary critics of the Flim Flam-class are naval officers, whom point out the class is built as a blockade runner and smuggling ship. The ability of the Flam-class cargo landers to take cargos anywhere on a planet means that they can bypass customs and restrictions on contraband. In addition, the Flim Flam-class has significant acceleration with a full cargo load, easily in the same as most non-warship customs ships.

Proponents, on the other hand, note that the new colonies that the Flim Flam-class services are in the state of needing cargoes now. The Flam-class cargo lander can support and supply distant outposts on a colony world, that would require much more extensive transport of cargos needed. The high acceleration gives the class the ability to swiftly travel from the arrival point from Tunnel Drive and back out to the Tunnel Drive limit.  This allows colonies to quickly get their products to market and help deal with the cash balances that any new colony has to deal with. The acceleration also makes the class much more difficult for pirates to intercept the ship. In addition, from a military perspective, a Flim Flam-class ship can carry sufficient supplies to support a REGF battalion for thirty days of combat operations and deploy the cargo to forward operating bases.

Regardless of the issues, the Flim Flam-class can be seen across the frontier in various territories.  Several licensed versions are built in Griffin Moot and Imperial Zebra shipyards. A version built for the Senate and Minotaur Republic that can be operated without a sapient AI is also manufactured by various shipyards.

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-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.