|This article, Andraste-class Strike Cruiser, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "Shoot, move, rinse, repeat"
- ―UNSC Navy Instructor
The Andraste-class Strike Cruiser is a unique cruiser used by the UNSC, functioning as a long ranged attack ship. Fast, well armed, and equipped with a massive excess of missiles, the Andraste-class is a highly-mobile threat to Covenant warships, and a favourite fire-support vessel for the UNSC.
In keeping with its position as a fast attack ship, the Andraste-lcass is extremely aggressive in it's design. The ship is long and slim, with an angular design, so as to reduce it's visibility and improve it's defences. The hull is noticeably free of ports fo docking starships, or breaks in the plating, with as much space as possible reserved for missile pods. The ship has a small observation deck, offset to the portside towards the rear of the ship.
Weaponry and Complement
The Andraste's armament is varied, but is mostly focused on it's sizeable missile armament. This missile armament is divided into three parts. The majority of missiles are RSM-131C Archer missiles. These are arranged into 320 pods, each containing 24 missiles. A mid range missile, they rely heavily on both numbers and stealth, massing against enemy targets to break through point defence systems. It features a powerful warhead, and can be guided by the missile's own sensor, or a data link to the ship, or nearby target markers.
Additional to this, it has the longer ranged RSM-294 Widow Stand-Off Cruise Missile. Much larger than the Archer, they are designed for hitting targets from beyond visual range. The missiles have a long range thruster, decoys and stealth features, advance telemetry systems, and a massive plasma warhead, designed to melt through warships. It carries 300 cells of these missiles, and uses these for long range bombardment, firing them off from as far as is possible. They often use forward drones to guide them in.
As a means of engaging multiple enemy starships at once, it carries several cells capable of carrying tactical weapon platforms. A broad category, these cover weapons of mass destruction. These are usually the long ranged RSM-103 Wayfarer ballistic missile, or the Slipspace capable RSM-107 Vagrant. Either of which can be armed with a variety of nuclear warheads, including the W700 Avenger tactical nuclear weapon, the W705 Vengeance Nuclear EMP weapon, and a few others, for deploying Neutron radiation to neutralise personnel, or a ground-targeting nuclear munition.
In addition to the missiles, it uses a Mk. VIII Tornado Heavy MAC. These fire a 1,200 slug to a fraction of the speed of light, and while technically it can be used as a highly accurate, long ranged artillery weapon, it is more often used for self defence. Likewise, it's secondary guns are often used for the same roles. It has a single M45 Renegade Heavy Gun as a close ranged defence against enemy warships, the twin 355mm turrets being capable of warding off medium tonnage warships. Augmenting this, it has 4 M54 Lancer NSGs, using twin Lasers to cut holes throguh enemy starships, and a bulk of 32 M4 Monarch NSGs. Smaller than the armament on other ships, they are more intended for defence, than offence.
Lastly, to protect it, it has 25 phalanx stations intended to protect it against enemy fighters and bombers. Using two Windstorm CIWS, fronted by a Firestorm CIWS and with a Thunderstorm CIWS to fire longer ranged missiles. These are arranged into phalanxes to provide an all round protection against enemy fighters and ordnance.
For the ship's complement it carries only a small launch bay, with two Pelicans, more intended for short range missions, than attack roles. They are usually used for policing and boarding roles, rather than any kind of offensive missions. There's an on-board team of 40 marines for fast-response missions.
It's main complement is a squadron of RQ-104 Bloodhound drones, utilised for long range reconnaissance. These are used for long range reconnaissance, picking up targets beyond normal range, and guiding final telemetry for missile strikes. Most often, they are used in a 'daisy-chaining' manner, with drone after drone at the maximum range possible, to allow them to accurately hit enemy targets with reduced time lag.
Sensors and Avionics
The Andraste-class possesses a full suite of sensor modules, intended to allow it to detect, identify and track targets at range. For threat detection, it uses a high resolution active electronically scanned array (AESA) RADAR. Each RADAR module, of which there are 9, use thouands of small transmitters/receivers, that can each be individually steered to aim their beam. This allows them to scan vast areas of space in front of them, at high speed. Teamed with this, is the PAVE CORVUS magnetic anomaly detector, which passively observes electromagnetic waves broadcast by energy weapons, energy shielding, reactors, and other high-power systems.
When targets are detected, it switches to identification, using a high power cluster of telescopes. These analyse the target both in visible and infra-red light, and observe it with a dual purpose range-finder/LIDAR. These systems can accurately identify targets at range, and utilise Identify Friend-Foe (IFF) and cross-matching to determine the tonnage, classification, and owner of the target.
Finally, for tracking, it uses clusters of sensors to track individual targets, keeping track of several hundred targets in a 360 sphere around itself. These can also be used to identify the target at range, as per the previous role.
For close in detection, it has several clusters featuring short-ranged infra-red sensors and fire-control RADARS.
For communication, it uses a MASER Communication Dish, a high-power communication device that can broadcast several narrowband transmission at a time, allowing it to communicate with multiple ships. It can also use LASER point communication to avoid interception and jamming. It also has a Slipspace Communication System, allowing it to communicate faster than light, and stay in contact with command formations even while far from base.
For defence, it has a number of systems. These include the AN/SLQ 115 HARLEQUIN Decoy Launcher, for avoiding enemy threats by launching decoys. It is also fitted with a AN/SLQ-301 PAVE KEEPER decoy launcher, that can fire thermal, ion, chaff, radio, aerosol, smoke, and other decoy/dispersal systems. It also has a AN/SLQ-340 PIRATE Torpedo counter guidance system used to jam the guidance of plasma torpedoes, within a limited range. It's last electronic defence is the AN/SLQ-1011 PAVE FAITH, which uses active cancellation to jam enemy RADAR by negating their own RADAR. It does this by attuning itself to their frequency, and cancel it with a pulse of equal wavelength.
Armour and Shielding
The ship uses a mixture of armour materials, intended to optimize protection, as well as optimize power-to-weight ratios. The outer most layer is the laminated shell, that serves as protection against orbital re-entry, but also acts as a RADAR-absorbent coating. It also functions as part of the heat regulation system too, maintaining a thermal black-body. It is in part combined with a liquid-glass resin, which also absorbs lower power lasers used for sensors, and makes it invisible to UV sensors.
It's main armour is made up on several bonded layers of Titanium-A5, forming the main bulk of the armour, and the pressure hull. Titanium-A5 is a specially manufactured composite, similar in chemical make-up to Titanium-A4, used on most other warships. A5 is unique in that is is engineered for lightness, without compromising protection. While it is stronger than standard titanium armour, it is far lighter than titanium, giving the ship good protection without weighing it down. At its thickest, it comes close to 1.5 metres, usually around the central hull and engine superstructure. Around its flanks and lower plating, it drops to as little as 0.9 metres. Underneath this titanium plate, it has dozens of tiles of AEGIS ceramic, a super-strong, and lightweight material. It's resistant to plasma, impact and HEAT munitions, giving it full-spectrum protection. Underneath this it has several layers of thermal and kinetic absorbing materials, allowing it to disperse heat and impact generated by enemy attacks. Lastly, it has a layer of aero-gel, which is used to protect the crew from radiation, and help regulate the ships internal temperature. It has a expanding foam pressed against this layer, that seals holes in the event of armour penetration.
Engines and Powerplant
The ship uses 3 massive Montal & Tully 661 Rocket Motors for forward propulsion. These mighty rocket motors are large, even compared to other ship patterns, and give it exceptional power and straight-line speed. IT can easily outpace agile 'fast' ships, and allows it to not only avoid fire, but also rapidly reposition itself. These motors are power hungry through, using up fuel and energy. These engines using large manoeuvring slabs to redirect the thrust. To allow it to manoeuvre itself to the best position, it has several smaller thrusters, letting it change location. As a final measure, it has several 'one-shot' emergency thrusters to rapidly reposition itself.
For faster-than-light travel, it uses a Shaw-Fujikawa Model 52. A standard for the UNSC, it is reliable and accurate, allowing for ships to quickly and accurately make it through slipspace. Working with advanced slipspace navigation systems, it allows for rapid strikes.
The ship's main powerplant is a Keller Aerospace GX3 Fusion Reactor. Customer built especially for the Andraste, the KA GX3 is a meaty reactor, with KA's patented rotary coil coolant system. The reactor uses an intricate set of chambers to maintain a plasma-fusion reaction in a wave pattern, circling around the core. It has both a high-output and high tolerance, allowing it to maintain good output, and allowing it to ramp up to meet high energy consumption. Supporting this are two of KA's standard Nuclear Fission drives. Smaller than the GX3, and with a lower start-up demand, they can be used to shunt the fusion drive into life, or super-charge it in the event of high-power combat situations.
The Andraste-class is primarily a long ranged artillery ship. With its mixture of missiles and strike weapons, it hits targets from beyond visual range, supporting fleet and squadron engagements with first-strike capabilities. With high-agility, they can rapidly reposition and hit targets, while avoiding retribution. They are often seen at the rear and flanks of fleet actions, conducting long ranged strikes.