|This article, Sunrise-class Cruiser, was written by Superluminal. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Sunrise-class cruiser is a type of heavy warship employed for intense assault combat and defensive actions. Its most notable feature is the combination of traditional cruiser specifications with those of a carrier, thus becoming a front-line competitor for both. It employs a system known as ADTRAD which harnesses emissions from the entire EM spectrum to detect and track objects.
The Sunrise-class ships are some of the larger vessels currently in service. The non-rotating part of the hull contains 162 decks arranged perpendicular to the main thrust axis (i.e. bottom deck at the engines, top deck at the front), allowing crewmembers to function in emergency high-thrust situations. The forward section contains the main launch bay area in addition to the water and forward fuel tanks.
The midship section consists of a rotating centrifuge which spins at 2.1 RPM to simulate an Earth-like gravitational pull. This design feature was an unwelcome return to traditional methods of gravity simulation after the Sanghelli (having become overly cautious and xenophobic after their split from the Covenant) demanded the return of true artificial gravity technology after the war. There are thirty decks on either side of the central drive shaft. This rotating section contains operations and accommodations areas, including the ship’s main infirmary and CIC. The rearmost aft section contains engineering and accommodations areas. The components of the main reactors are located here.
The Sunrise-class is one of the largest space vessels engineered by the Rocketdyne Corporation, and is certainly the largest cruiser ever commissioned by the UNSC. However, the large size betrays the amount of space actually available inside. Taking resource reclamation systems, fuel, water and atmosphere tanks and armour into account, just under two-thirds of the ship’s volume is actually habitable space.
Nonetheless, it measures up at one point four kilometres in total length, 227 metres in width and 458 metres in height. Overall, it has a volume of over sixty million cubic metres and an estimated mass of 25.6 million metric tons unloaded and 27 million metric tons fuelled and loaded.
These gargantuan dimensions are beaten by relatively few other vessels, because there is little call for a front-line vessel any larger than the Sunrise-class. Some have criticised these aspects as making a ship of this class far too large to be combat effective, but it cannot be avoided that the large size works in the classes’ favour. As a transport it can carry large numbers of infantry, as a carrier it has space to hold four whole wings of Sidewinders and as a freighter it has six capable cargo bays.
The primary subluminal drives of the Sunrise-class are two McKenzie-Pearson A380 fusion/ion hybrid engines. They use the plasma created in the main fusion reactors of the ship as an energetic propellant, which is then augmented by magnetic fields. Combined, the engines can generate a maximum thrust-force of 486 giganewtons (an acceleration of eighteen metres per square second). Because of crew concerns, the ship’s standard thrust output is a mere fifty-four giganewtons (or an acceleration of two metres per square second).
The A380 hybrid engine contains three distinct chambers, known as “cells”. Each fulfils a different, but related function. The main fusion core is in the forward cell. Fuel mix is injected into this chamber and heated to massive temperatures so it will fuse into an energetic plasma of hydrogen and helium. Next on is the central cell. Some plasma is siphoned from the fusion reactor by magnetic fields and injected into the middle chamber. Inside, microwaves energize the plasma further for maximum fuel efficiency. In the aft cell, magnetic fields augment the natural kinetic energy of the plasma as it is propelled out through an exhaust at the rear of the ship, driving it forward.
Several heat-resistant conduits can divert additional amounts of plasma from the fusion reactors and inject it into one or more of sixteen manoeuvring thruster assemblies. Firing the right sequence of these thrusters will change the ship’s attitude on any given axis. The manoeuvring engines execute burns that usually move the ship at a rate of around 1.4 degrees per second. Each thruster assembly can sustain a burn for no longer than a single second, as a precaution against plasma conduit breaches.
Finally, this class carries two McKenzie-Pearson slipspace engines of the J330 line to allow superluminal travel. Each drive incorporates some advanced quantum tunelling principles and a newly discovered slipspace phenomenon known as the Whirlpool Effect into the design, allowing them to attain faster velocities in the alternate dimension of slipstream space. The two drives are designed to be used in conjunction with each other, but in emergencies it is possible to execute slips using only one or the other.
The Sunrise-class is primarily designed to undertake lengthy artillery duels against defended positions. As such, its array of onboard weaponry leans toward reliability and extended use rather than pure performance (like the Kilimanjaro-class). The point-intercept guns and lasers are preferred at short distances while the main kinetic batteries and missiles are favoured for longer ranges. A Sunrise-class cruiser typically uses its main hypervelocity weapons to penetrate enemy armour at weak points, and then moves in to a closer range to bombard the exposed spots with missiles and laser pulses.
- 32 Kasreon M324 heavy hypervelocity cannons fire 0.6x2m explosive rounds (massing 1,250 kilograms) at velocities of three thousand metres per second and rates of 4 RPM. This gives each round a kinetic energy of 5.6 gigajoules. They are mounted in dual manual turrets and are the primary offensive weapons of the Sunrise-class.
- 4 Promethean F20 heavy ultraviolet lasers fire 3.2 gigawatt destructive beams in the 210 nanometre wavelength for up to three seconds. They require twenty seconds to cool between discharges. The lasers are best used as secondary offensive batteries or oversized defensive guns.
- 64 Kasreon M12 light hypervelocity cannons fire 14x63mm armour-breaching rounds (massing 300 grams) at velocities of 1,414 metres per second and rates of 210 RPM. This gives each round a kinetic energy of 300 kilojoules. They are short-range weapons designed to intercept enemy missiles or fighters. They are computer controlled and arranged in dual turrets.
- 42 Montville 91-CK8 “Warstrike” missiles are multipurpose guided ordnance carrying 600 megajoule explosive payloads. They have an effective range of 150,000 kilometres and are fired from eight launch tubes divided into two banks. Another missile is ready in the same tube ten seconds after the previous launch.
- 10 Montville 91-YS4 “Anvil” fusion missiles are light tactical nukes rated at between 100 and 3,000 terajoules, designed for small ground strikes or anti-ship operations. They have a variable yield capacity. They are launched from the same launch tubes as the Warstrike missiles.
A Sunrise-class cruiser is usually host to a crew of 1,120 persons. This number includes all Fleet (around four fifths of total) and Infantry personnel (around one fifth of total). Depending on mission, the number of personnel will vary but the ship’s environmental systems cannot safely support any more than two thousand. Like with most Alliance warships, a range of crewmembers versed in all appropriate fields are carried aboard. Enough food is stored to sustain a typical crew for eleven months, atmosphere (fifteen million kilograms of oxygen) is stored in four tanks and water supplies (ninety-eight million kilograms) are kept in two.
One of the primary attractions of the Sunrise-class is its integration of carrier elements into a cruiser. As such, the Sunrise-class carries several types of small spacecraft to assist it in operations. They are stored, maintained and operated from the main launch/landing bay located in the forward section. Both types are capable of both atmospheric and vacuum operation, although their performance is diminished considerably in the former.
- 28 AF7 Sidewinder Assault Fighters are frequently brought in to support combat operations against smaller enemy warships or other fighters. The Sunrise-class will usually carry four wings of Sidewinders, seven in each. They are typically divided into four wings of eight fighters each.
- 8 MR12 Mako Multipurpose Craft are only deployed when necessary. Although capable of combat, they are more frequently used in a transport or electronic warfare role. Unlike Sidewinders, the number of Makos aboard a ship fluctuates depending on a ship’s current activity.
In addition to the Makos and Sidewinders, one or two GTS16 shuttles may be found in the launch/landing bay, and eight LTV-32 Stormer Transport Vehicles are usually sent down to provide transport to peaceful surface parties but also find use as warhorses for Infantry combat squads. These would typically be shipped to the ground via Mako and manned by Infantry personnel. They are stored in the garage which is annexed to the forward launch bay.
The Sunrise-class is powered primarily by two Adriatic Fusion Technologies (AFT) Mark IX reactor cores. These reactors use a mix of helium-3 and deuterium as fuel (at a ratio of one 3He to 0.6 2H), and fuse them into a plasma of hydrogen and normal helium. The fuel mixture has an energy density of just under 600 terajoules per kilogram. Combined, the reactors have a peak power output of eighty terawatts, but they normally operate far below that. The ship’s main engines harness some of the energetic plasma to drive the ship forward. The fuel mixture is stored in two large tanks at a density of 210 kilograms per cubic metre. Each tank has a volume of 310,000 cubic metres. Therefore 130.2 million kilograms of fuel can be stored onboard. If every kilogram has an energy density of 600 terajoules, then a Sunrise-class vessel has a total energy reserve of 7.812*1022 joules.
An array of hydrogen fuel cells can provide auxiliary power. Unfortunately, they can only supply enough power to run the ship’s environmental systems for a period of several days. It is assumed that by the time that the fuel cells are expended then an alternate source of power will have been procured.
Like almost all spacecraft, the Sunrise-class is composed of a reinforced skeletal frame which is covered by a metal composite armoured hull. The frame has segments composed from armchair-type carbon nanotube meshes, titanium alloys and ceramic composites. This configuration allows it to be as light as possible while remaining strong and resistant to large stresses. Overall, the ship’s unloaded structure masses at 25.6 billion kilograms. Like all starships, the Sunrise-class has electromagnets surrounding the hull which generate a weak magnetosphere to block most harmful solar radiation.
The armour composite is designed to provide the inner hull with as much protection against kinetic and directed-energy attacks as possible, as well as to provide a strong shell which can withstand the engineering stresses exerted on it. The armour configuration of the Sunrise-class is around six metres thick, and is known as Composite-E Battleplate. It is composed of several metal alloys and ceramic composites in order to achieve the required specifications. For comparison, as many as four direct hits from an opposing Kasreon M324 gun may be required to penetrate the hull.
The outer layer consists of an ablative coating of titanium alloy (2 metres thick) which is designed to chip away when heated, thereby dissipating most of the energy involved. Behind that is an interwoven mesh of armchair-type carbon nanotubes (2.5m) which protect against kinetic impacts and provide a very strong and stiff armour frame. Then, there is a beryllium-boron-lead composite matrix (0.5m) which helps to absorb dangerous radiation, including cosmic rays and that emitted by nuclear weapons. The final two layers consist of a heavy shock-absorbing polymeric composite matrix with titanium foaming (0.5m) and a final metre of titanium alloy armour before the inner hull.
Ships in Class
Sixteen Sunrise-class ships were constructed, split into two blocks. Although a third block is not currently planned, the Navy has expressed interest in constructing more in the future. The initial block one order was placed in 2819 consisted of the original nine ships. Later, those vessels’ impressive performance statistics led to the construction of a second block containing seven ships. The second order was placed in 2823.
The block one order was placed in 2819, construction began later that year and all vessels were on the line by late 2820. Block one vessels are as follows.
- Sunrise – The first vessel of the Sunrise class.
- Donovan – Named for General Maria Donovan, famed UNSC military commander.
- Centurion– Presumed destroyed in 2835 after a slipspace drive malfunction left it phasing back and forth from the alternate dimension randomly before vanishing completely.
- Camelot - Currently assigned to exploratory missions into space formerly held by the Covenant before its downfall.
The block two order was placed in 2824, and construction began soon the following year. All vessels were complete and entering operation by mid 2826. The second block gained extensive software updates, redesigned airlocks and a more efficient centrifugal drive system, but was otherwise identical to block one. All block two vessels are as follows.
- Sovereign – Destroyed in 2841 during the Battle for Earth.
- Manchester – Lead vessel of Third Fleet.
- Avalon Isle – Moderately damaged in 2841 as the result of insurrectionist sabotage.