|This article, Trafalgar-class carrier, was written by StoneGhost. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Trafalgar-class carrier was a class of command carriers (informally known by the public and media as 'supercarriers') operated by the UNSC Navy between 2547 and 2604. Five ships were constructed, UNSC Trafalgar, UNSC Vanguard, UNSC Intrepid, UNSC Fortitude and UNSC Endeavour. At 4,120m in length and displacing nearly nineteen million tons, vessels of the class were the largest ships ever commissioned by the UNSC Navy, as well as the largest self-propelled human-made objects ever built. Construction of each ship took place above Reach in the Epsilon Eridani system, where their sheer size necessitated their construction be staggered over several years at various berths in orbit. Construction was slowed after New Carthage, an industrial colony supplying additional components, was glassed in December 2549, but all four ships were commissioned before Reach and its shipyards were themselves destroyed in August 2552. The need for a large class of carrier was identified the mid-2530s, as it became apparent that the UNSC would not be able to halt the Covenant advance into the inner colonies, and that existing UNSC ship classes were not effective against Covenant vessels. Fifty years after UNSC Gorgon, equipped with the first shipboard Magnetic Accelerator Cannon, revolutionised space warfare, the Trafalgar-class carrier was the first vessel fitted with a 'super' MAC, the Mark 5 Heavy Magnetic Accelerator Cannon. Five of the class were constructed four during wartime, of which two, Vanguard and Fortitude, survived to serve lengthy post-war careers. Endeavour, the last vessel constructed, was begun in 2557 and entered service in 2562, as a replacement for the two vessels lost during wartime. The class was eventually replaced at the turn of the century by seven vessels of the Majestic-class.
As the Human-Covenant War continued to progress in the 2530s, with no conceivable hope of the UNSC being able to stem its loss of colonies, UNSC Navy planners began to consider any measures that could delay humanity's extinction. Not only was the UNSC wholly incapable of holding any system long-term if the Covenant Navy contested it, but no single UNSC warship was capable of equalling its Covenant counterpart. These factors had remained unchanged since the very first Covenant aggression, and stood little chance of changing on a timescale in which Humanity would exist as a collective entity. Faced with these stark facts, the UNSC Navy in 2537 commissioned a study into the feasibility of an 'ultra-large combatant' capable of robust defence of UEG colonies.
The Magnetic Accelerator Cannon had been demonstrated, time and again, to be the single greatest tactical advantage the UNSC held over the Covenant. Thought it was outranged by Covenant plasma projectors, which propagated at the speed of light through space, MACs were the longest range, highest yield weapon mass-produced by the UNSC. Nuclear weapons were also of utility, but were significantly shorter ranged and required multiple missiles to guarantee against Covenant point-defence systems. In full knowledge of this, development on a scaled-up Magnetic Accelerator Cannon, which would one day become the Mark 1 Heavy MAC, had begun in 2529 (drawing on pre-war designs that had encountered insurmountable technical problems). The HMAC itself had stalled until it was combined with the ongoing UNSC Orbital Defence Platform project, overcoming the immense power requirements by linking to terrestrial generators, the combined success of which eventually proved one of the most significant UNSC technological developments of the war. In theory, the Trafalgar-class carrier, wielding the Heavy MAC, would be capable of destroying any Covenant vessel within a reasonable range.
Development of the Heavy MAC (or 'super MAC' as it was colloquially referred to) ran concurrently with the designing of the Trafalgar-class, and was a significant influence on the carrier's design. At over 800 metres in length, the weapon would run nearly a quarter of the warship's length, including coils and magazine. The class was the first ship to carry the as-yet untested weapon and, as a warship rather than a station, was significantly more complicated to design. Providing enough power to cycle the MAC through even a single slug proved the most technically complex feat of naval engineering yet undertaken, and contributed to the great size and mass of the class. Preliminary design of the Trafalgar-class carrier was commenced by Chevron Aerospace in 2540, and was considerably aided when, in 2543, the design of the 'super' MAC was finalised (with no small input on the part of the Trafalgar design team). The Mark 1 Heavy MAC entered service in 2542 with existing Orbital Defence Platforms, replacing their existing smaller calibre MACs in an extensive refit.
With the design of the Heavy MAC proven, construction began on UNSC Trafalgar above BAE Systems Naval Ships, Reach, and Harland and Wolff, Barrow, encountered and overcame a multitude of challenges in constructing ships of this scale. This included constructing purpose-built orbital berths to accommodate the vessels' size, and the three largest orbital construction cranes in the colonies in order to assemble them. Construction was carried out in 'blocks' assembled across a number of locations in Reach's orbit, with final assembly taking place at BAE System's Carrier Assembly Complex, a vast drydock specifically created for their construction. This would pass into UNSC ownership once the ships were operational, and double as one of the few orbital berths able to refuel and rearm the class, capable of taking two carriers alongside simultaneously. Additional construction of blocks and components, most notably each vessels' RADAR systems, fusion reactors and main gun, took place above Barrow, upon which they were transported to Reach under UNSC Navy escort. Construction was carried out in staggered phases, with no more than two ships under construction at any given time, and a turnaround time of just weeks between one vessel moving on and the first blocks of the next moving in. Construction was remarkably rapid, with Trafalgar being completed after two years, two months, and each subsequent vessel being built in between 18 months and two years. The first completed vessel, Trafalgar, commenced her space trials in August 2547, and was commissioned in March 2549, taking over from UNSC Valiant as fleet flagship. By February 2551, all four carriers had been commissioned, three as flagships of the UNSC's core fleets (Trafalgar and Intrepid for the 2nd and 1st Defence Fleets, respectively, and Vanguard for the 6th Quick Reaction Fleet) and the fourth, Fortitude, as a relief carrier for when another ship was in training or refit, or otherwise not on station. The space trials of Fortitude, the final vessel, which began in September 2549, were expedited after Vanguard was heavily damaged at the Fall of New Carthage in November that year. She was stocked with munitions and spares and received her aircraft squadrons above Reach beginning 13 December, and was deployed Barrow to relieve Vanguard as flagship of the 6th QRF just two weeks later. So rapidly was Fortitude deployed that she was commissioned while underway.in December 2545. The construction contractors, a consortium of
Ships of the Line
|Name||Hull Classification Symbol||Laid down||Completed||Commissioned||Notes|
|UNSC Trafalgar||CVB-1||Jun 2545||Aug 2547||Mar 2549||Flagship of the UNSC 2nd (Epsilon Eridani) Fleet. Destroyed during the Fall of Reach, Aug 30 2552.|
|UNSC Vanguard||CVB-2||Feb 2546||Jan 2548||Aug 2549||Flagship of the 6th (Quick Reaction) Fleet. In extended refit from Dec 2549 above Earth after sustaining severe damage at the Fall of New Carthage in Nov 2549, returned to service May 2553.|
|UNSC Intrepid||CVB-3||Aug 2547||Jun 2549||Jun 2550||Flagship of the 1st (Home) Fleet, destroyed during the Battle of Earth.|
|UNSC Fortitude||CVB-4||Feb 2548||Aug 2549||28 Dec 2549||Based at Barrow with (but not part of) the Third Fleet as the fleet reserve carrier. Replaced Vanguard as flagship of the 6th Fleet after the Fall of New Carthage. Became UNSCN flagship after Intrepid was lost at the Battle of Earth.|
|UNSC Endeavour||CVB-5||Oct 2557||Apr 2561||Mar 2563||post-war replacement for Intrepid and Trafalgar|