The Ancile-Class Heavy Frigate was the Intersystem Alliance Navy’s second development in the NEXGEN project. Intended to replace the aging Storm of Olympus-Class Frigate, the Ancile-Class improves upon axial armament while adding the better dual purpose quad turrets first found on the Rapier-Class. Additionally, the Ancile enjoys improved support craft capacity over its predecessor and an improved range thanks to higher efficiency engines and expanded storage capacity.
Figure 1 – Standard Ancile-Class Frigate – Full View
The Ancile-Class Frigate was first conceived of by Armstrong Heavy Engineering shortly after development on the Rapier-Class began. Noting the age of the Storm of Olympus-Class Frigates, with most hulls past 70% of their intended life, Armstrong Heavy Engineering proposed the Ancile as a domestic alternative to the more expensive offering from the Akrian and Threshold design firms being considered.
At 127,500 tons, the Ancile – developed as FR-NEXGEN – was significantly larger than frigates previously operated by the Alliance. Design requirements put forth by the Alliance Navy after the initial proposal from Armstrong included a heavy caliber axial gun and a dense low caliber secondary armament. Additionally, the FR-NEXGEN was required to have a similar missile arrangement to the Rapier but favoring an extended “clip” per launcher for better engagement sustainability.
These requirements were driven by Vice Admiral Jonathan Chamberlain’s – Head of the Bureau of Ships – Nieu Corps fleet concept that called for Lance ships capable of tackling larger rate ships while also being able to serve in a screening/anti-fighter role in fleet combat. Additionally, the FR-NEXGEN was intended to operate concurrently with the Rapier-Class in policing, patrol, and anti-piracy roles during normal fleet operations.
By December of 3385, the Alliance had awarded the FR-NEXGEN contract to Armstrong Heavy Engineering and the ship’s design began finalization and production with an initial order of 300 units. Other purchasers included the Thresholdand the Alliance Guard.
The Ancile was designed around a large, modified 1300mm axial kinetic rifle imported from the Kingdom of Eirangard. The smaller caliber axials – for which Eirangard was famous – featured a high rate of fire and better energy efficiency than the same offerings from Armstrong. This large axial was the single largest kinetic rifle fitted to a frigate weight ship and gave the Ancile a capable anti-destroyer/cruiser capability. Paired with the high-efficiency Calypso series sunlight engines, the Ancile has a high operational speed that allows it to quickly maneuver to preferred firing positions for its powerful axial armament.
In addition, the Ancile was fitted with Armstrong’s popular 155mm dual purpose rail guns – the same weapons fitted to the Rapier. The dual purpose 155mm provides both an anti-ship ceramic cased osmium round and two different anti-fighter rounds: 1) A pile cluster round and 2) A burst plasma canister. The combination of rounds gives the 155mm – and by virtue of association, the Ancile – a combat flexibility appreciated by its captains.
Keeping with a standardization of armament between it and the Rapier, the Ancile features the same Renaud 5th Generation Light Missile series. Featuring the 30 missiles “long clip” variant of the missile system, the Ancile enjoys not just a larger missile salvo but a longer combat sustainability than its cousin.
Finally, and one of the much-needed upgrades form the older Storm of Olympus-Class was a major upgrade to the ship’s small craft capacity. With 2 small dropships, 4 light shuttles, and multiple drop pods; the Ancile can provide extensive and sustained support for its embarked marines. Furthermore, when carrying a larger Marine contingent, the ship is capable of landing to provide direct support and equipment deployment that would take significantly longer with the embarked support craft.
The first Ancile entered service in 3401. Initial trials revealed a starship that – building off the success of the Rapier – met or exceeded the Alliance’s design requirements. Despite a few minor hiccups integrating the foreign built axial gun, the ship’s firepower and flexibility was unmatched in its weight class. Operating along a customized Thresholder built Lucid-Class Frigates previously purchased, the Alliance Navy finally had flexibility and capable frigate platforms.
Much like with the Rapier-class corvettes, the Ancile-class ships performed remarkably well in their early years of service. Quickly being deployed to front line positions on the fringes of the Alliance’s territory, the long legs ships quickly became the bane of pirates and criminals. Deployed alongside the Rapier-Class frigates, Ancile captains often used the smaller, quicker ships to disable targets before using the cruiser to either force a surrender or to overpower a defiant target.
One of the most notable engagements occurred when the ANS Razorback and ANS Aegis responded to a distress call from the Alliance research platform Neil deGrasse Tyson. The mobile station had been besieged by a trio of pirate frigates and a pair of corvettes belonging to the Dragoon Cartel. With a brutal gun battle on the station between the station security and pirate borders, the two frigate captains knew time was of the essence. Exiting MAG boost nearly on top of the station, the Razorback immediately proceeded close in to deploy its Marines via boarding pods. Meanwhile, Aegis positioned itself between the station and the Pirate Flotilla. In a maneuver that would earn her the Alliance Silver Star, Captain Harriet Spencer brought the Aegis out of MAG pulse along the trajectory of one of the Pirate frigates. A quick shot from the ship’s axial rail gun gutted the starship, overpowering it’s shields at point blank range before tearing through the engineering section. Thrown into disarray by the onslaught of the two frigates, the remaining pirate ships put up a disorganized fight. Razorback, using the station as a slingshot, performed a high-g maneuver around and re-entered the fight. Within minutes, the two frigates had destroyed a second pirate frigate and disabled the third. The remaining corvettes jumped to the edge of the system before entering FTL. For their actions, the Razorback and the Aegis were awarded a Presidential Unit Citations for “…gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.”
SHIPS OF THE LINE
- FH-688 – ANS Ancile – 1st Production Ship
- FH-721 – ANS Aegis – Captain Harriet Spencer’s first command.
- FH-748 – ANS Razorback – Captain Vincent Campbell’s first command.
Figure 2 – Threshold Ancile-Class Heavy Frigate FH-315 Dragoon – Full View