|This article, Hope-class destroyer, was written by Athena32. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "It's not much more than a remote controlled MAC- it's essentially a giant drone. And it's probably the most ungainly thing the UNSC Navy's put to space in two hundred years. But suppose you can assign two or three to every major UNSC warship- that's suddenly three extra MACs you have, each with two shots on a single charge. And if necessary, that's also three ships you can throw out in front of plasma and not lose sleep over it. Suddenly, your chances against a previously untouchable enemy aren't so slim. It gave us hope."
- ―Commodore Henry Ward, 2544
The Hope-class destroyer was a class of unmanned destroyers utilised by the UNSC Navy during the Human-Covenant War. After extensive battle analysis from conflict with the had shown, the only weapons that were suitably effective against the Covenant were , which delivered a solid slug at velocities of around half the speed of light, and to a certain extent, nuclear munitions. The Hope-class was an attempt to exploit this meager advantage to its full potential, hopefully aiding the UNSC in its ongoing struggle against the Covenant. Stripped down to the bare minimum needed to maintain a viable mobile weapons platform, the Hope-class removed superfluous armaments, single ship complements, capacity for maintaining a crew and even armour plating to increase its expendability, essentially allowing more MAC cannons to be fielded simultaneously against the Covenant. As a result, the vessel was fully automated and remotely controlled by an . While denied the honour of individual hull names, ships of the class received commissions as if they were any other ship of the UNSC Navy, a distinction unique among unmanned craft. The Hope-class destroyer was based on the spaceframe of the Remembrance-class frigate, stripped down and radically altered both externally and internally.
The main role of the Hope-class, like all destroyers, was the destruction of enemy warships in a supporting role to other vessels, both lighter and heavier. The Hope-class would engage its targets in large numbers, and overwhelm it with accurate, powerful and en-masse MAC fire. Of course, due to the nature of the war, vessels of the class were rarely concentrated in one area but spread out amongterritory, despite the fact that they worked most effectively in numbers. When used together, the vessels would arrange themselves in 'fire groups' of three and, numbers permitting, would assign themselves to a vessel of high importance for protection.
Unlike the Pioneer-class destroyer, and other UNSC vessels, however, the Hope-class was intended to be semi-disposable. As MAC cannons were arguably the single biggest tactical advantage the UNSC held over the Covenant, the Hope-class was essentially just a MAC cannon- stripping down all unnecessary material that did not greatly benefit the cannon's ability. Fully automated, the Hope-class could be controlled from extreme distances due to its advanced communications array, which was a two-way link between the vessel (feeding telemetry to command elements) and the controlling entity (acting on this and controlling the vessel). A 'Smart' AI could simultaneously control up to seven Hope-class vessels, allowing for seamless command and function between them and maximising their ability far more than separate sentient crews ever could. Due to their somewhat disposable nature, Hope-class destroyers were often sacrificed for more valuable units such the Marathon-class cruiser and other high priority vessels. This naturally led them to be commonly utilised as expendable escort vessels, despite having no single ship complement and little in the way of point defence weaponry to lend to a vessel being supported. The Hope-class was incapable of in-atmosphere operations, and possessed no single ship complement of its own.
Long and thin, the Hope-class in this aspect appeared similar to most other UNSC vessels, though all similarities stopped here. The ship was essentially a long MAC cannon with a hull attached to its rear half, which housed the ammunition stores and fuel reserves. Above this, mounted onto a structure similar to the bridge module of a UNSC frigate, was a hive of antennas acting as the vessel's advanced communications array, which was arguably the most expensive element of the vessel. The rear of the craft featured a geometric cuboid-shaped section which housed theand the thrusters. As the ship was fully automated, it featured no crew accommodation, bridge or even decks. Maintenance was provided through a series of access tunnels, which were not sealed off from space and required occupants to utilise vacuum suits. The Hope-class' spaceframe was reinforced with several struts and bracings that lent it an increased amount of structural strength, partially negating its thin and fragile cross-section.
Armament and Defences
The primary armament of the Hope-class was its single Remembrance-class frigate, which took up most of the ship's upper prow and ran two thirds of the ship's overall length. The Mark II accelerated a 600-ton solid metal projectile to speeds exceeding 30,000 metres per second, giving it superb accuracy and terminal ballistic characteristics over extreme ranges. The impact energy alone from the slug travelling at such a velocity equated to 64 kilotons of TNT, or 267.7 terajoules of released energy. A single slug was able to severely damage or completely destroy most unshielded Covenant vessels, while multiple strikes were needed to defeat present shielding. In microgravity environments the slug maintained close to its muzzle velocity for as long as it travelled uninterfered with by the force of gravity; this, coupled with its high initial velocity, meant that the MAC could strike at targets quickly, accurately and over long ranges. The amount of energy needed to charge the weapon's magnetic coils was significantly draining on the reserves of such a small vessel. Due to the absence of many other power-intensive systems, however, the Hope-class could fire two slugs on a full charge, then needed to be charged for 45 seconds before it could be discharged again at full power; this amount of time with an inoperable main weapon often proved fatal when in combat scenarios. The Mark II could be fired on a partial charge, which decreased the amount of time the MAC was offline, though this concurrently reduced the velocity of the projectile, which reduced range, accuracy and terminal effects. Due to this pause, it was imperative that an individual vessel operated alongside another Hope-class destroyer or ship of another class, allowing a more sustained combined rate of fire. The power drain following a shot was noticeable, and contact between controlling units could be interrupted from anywhere between one and seven seconds as power flow was interrupted.. This was the same model used by the
The Hope-class destroyer's defensive armament consisted of four twin 4.1 inch Mark 22 naval guns, mounted laterally in high-elevation turrets. These, like all the ship's functions, were controlled remotely by an AI. The twin 4.1 inch gun was developed as the last line of defence against anti-ship missiles, including hypersonic and slipspace-capable models, and enemy single ships, including interceptors, bombers and boarding craft. Functioning as the only layer of a Hope-class's air defence systems, the Mark 22 was a close-in weapon system responsible for tracking, engaging and destroying extremely fast-moving enemy targets that posed a threat to the ship.
The Hope-class was largely unarmoured, saving weight and materials and contributing to the craft's 'throwaway' nature. However, sections of the exposed MAC barrel were armoured with twenty centimetres of Titanium-ceramic plating. The communications array was the most heavily armoured external part of the vessel, as the destruction of this would cut off the vessel's contact with its controlling AI, rendering it useless. This section was protected by an average of 60cm of armour plating. The main computer core, located deep inside the ship's hull section, was heavily protected by surrounding sections. Like nearly all UNSC ship classes, the Hope-class completely lacked energy shielding.
Engines and powerplant
Like other UNSC vessels, the Hope-class was powered by a Deuterium fusion core. This combined deuterium nuclei into heavier elements, accompanied by a net gain of energy. The core provided enough energy to run the vessel's systems, including the communications array and the MAC Cannon. The latter, being by far the ship's biggest energy consumer, could be charged for two shots before needing to recharge. By this process, reaction propellant was also heated, which was then expelled through the craft's four thrusters, providing thrust. The Hope-class' engines were relatively underpowered, though its extreme light weight meant that the vessel maintained speed and agility on par with a UNSC frigate.
The Hope-class did not possess a, which was not strictly necessary for either the ships' combat roles or its more disposable nature. This required the vessel 'piggy back' larger UNSC ships into slipspace in order to to accompany fleets engage Covenant forces above Human colony worlds.
The Hope-class was introduced in September 2543 with the commissioning of DD-336, and was deployed on a large scale basis in order to stem the precipitous rate of colony losses at the time. The class was deployed mainly to the remaining outer colonies, though as these were lost the ships were pulled further back to protect inner worlds. As the vessel was cheap and simple to mass-produce, it could be seen often in numbers defending colonies of high priority, in conjunction with heavier vessels, which was how the class was ideally suited to operating. Even so, the vast numbers of Covenant ships regularly facing UNSC fleets and the near-constant operational deployments ate quickly away at remaining Hope-class ship numbers, especially in the last six months of the war. Following the destruction of Reach and its shipyards, the production of Hope-class destroyers all but ceased, with surviving shipyards elsewhere focusing on more flexible and useful ship classes. With nothing replacing lost vessels, the last three of the class fought at DD-339 and DD-340, were finally retired in 2554. Post-war, naval historians remarked that the Hope-class destroyer had the potential to have drastically altered the war's outcome, but was produced both too late in the war and in too small numbers to achieve the desired impact.in late 2552, where one was lost to enemy action. The remaining two vessels,
The Hope-class' first combat action was at the Battle of Miridem in 2544. Defending the world of Miridem were four Hope-class destroyers, DD-341, DD-342, DD-343 and DD-344. Also present were seven Remembrance-class frigates, two and one Marathon-class cruisers, and four . These were joined by the newly commissioned Vengeance-class destroyer UNSC Sheffield, which had by chance been conducting orbital trials in vicinity of Miridem, and was recalled for its defence. As soon as Covenant forces were detected, the UNSC's naval forces, under the command of Commodore Henry Ward, assumed a defensive formation, while all ground forces were mobilised and placed on alert. Facing UNSC forces was a Covenant force comprised of one , six , five and four , which were attempting to destroy the human presence in the system. The battle commenced just over twenty minutes later, as UNSC sensors detected the Covenant vessels moving into MAC range. In the opening moments of the battle, the assault carrier and three CCS-class battlecruisers were obliterated by the ODP's opening salvo, depleting their charge but destroying Covenant forces just before they themselves opened fire. However, the Covenant returned fire and destroyed three of the Platforms and disabled the fourth with plasma torpedoes. The UNSC's three cruisers opened fire, destroying one SDV-class heavy corvette and disabling a CCS-class, while a total of fifteen MAC rounds from the frigates and destroyers finished the disabled vessel off and scored kills against a further two corvettes. The Covenant returned fire, aiming for the three UNSC cruisers. The Covenant succeeded in destroying one Halcyon-class cruiser, however two Hope-class destroyers (DD-342 and DD-343), and three Remembrance-class frigates including the UNSC Remembrance and , deliberately turned into incoming plasma torpedoes, sacrificing themselves to protect the other vessels. Both fleets repositioned at this point; the UNSC's returning volley crippled another Covenant corvette and two frigates, though following this three of the four remaining Remembrance-class frigates were destroyed, as well as the remaining Halcyon-class. The one surviving Marathon-class cruiser, Absolution, survived because DD-341 deliberately steered into the path of oncoming plasma torpedoes, itself being destroyed but saving the cruiser from destruction in the process.
By this time, the vast majority of civilians had been evacuated on transports being protected by the UNSC fleet, so the Navy retrieved its surviving Longsword fighters, remaining ground forces and the contingent of SPARTAN-IIs which had been engaged on the ground. Following this, the three remaining UNSC ships, one frigate, one destroyer and one cruiser, evacuated via slipspace jump on random coordinates, and the Covenant's remaining frigate, corvette and two CCS-class battlecruisers moved in to glass the planet and obliterate the few remaining unlucky stragglers.
Known Ships of the Line
(Note: This is not a complete list)
|Hull Classification Symbol||Commissioned||Notes|
|DD-336||September 2543||assigned to the, destroyed during the|
|DD-337||September 2543||destroyed during the Battle of Earth|
|DD-338||September 2543||destroyed during the Battle of Earth|
|DD-339||October 2543||retired 2554|
|DD-340||October 2543||damaged during the Battle of Earth, retired 2554|
|DD-341||October 2543||Assigned to Miridem and destroyed during the Battle of Miridem|
|DD-342||November 2543||destroyed during the Battle of Miridem|
|DD-343||destroyed at the Battle of Miridem|
|DD-344||destroyed at the Battle of Miridem|
|DD-345||destroyed during the|
|DD-346||destroyed while under construction during the|
|DD-347||destroyed during the Battle of Reach|
|DD-348||destroyed during the Battle of Reach|
|DD-349||destroyed during the Battle of Reach|
|DD-350||destroyed during the Battle of Reach|
|DD-351||destroyed at the Battle of Tribute|
|DD-352||destroyed at the Battle of Tribute|
|DD-353||destroyed at the Battle of Tribute|
|DD-354||destroyed during the|
|DD-355||destroyed during the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV|