The Rapier-Class Corvette is the Intersystem Alliance Navy’s newest Corvette design, replacing the older Claudius-Class. Considered a medium weight corvette, the Rapier is a middle of the road design intended to provide a light weight, multi-role platform form mass production use with the NEXGEN series of Alliance Navy warship development. Serving as the eyes and ears of the fleet, Rapier’s are intended to quickly move into systems and identify targets before rejoining the fleet. In large scale combat, their speed and maneuverability coupled to multipurpose defensive armament allows the ship to serve in a anti gunship/bomber role. Alone, the Rapiers are effective patrol ships and a dangerous foe for even the largest corvettes and frigates.
Figure 1 – Standard Rapier Class Corvette – Full View
With the fall of the democratic government of the Coalition of Independent Systems in June of 3380, the Intersystem Alliance quickly realized that their out-dated and underfunded Navy was ill-prepared to deal with the threat of a resurgent, and technologically advanced Coalition Navy now flying the banner of the newly formed People’s Coalition. Most notably lacking was the capability afforded by long range, multi-role corvettes vital to securing and monitoring the thousands of star systems in the Alliance’s spheres of influence.
At the time, the older Dagger-Class corvette was nearing the middle of its operational life cycle. Severe short comings in the design – including the use of high power but low efficiency sublight and FTL engines – meant the class was limited in function and severely crippled the Alliance Navy’s fleet goals in the face of the new dynamic created by a more aggressive People’s Coalition.
With the announcement of a new head for the Bureau of Ships – Vice Admiral Jonathan Chamberlain – the Alliance Navy began a massive development project to update and standardize the fleet. This initiative became known as the NEXGEN project and was spearheaded by major naval manufacturers such as Armstrong Heavy Industries and Renaud Corporation. First in the series of new starships was the Rapier-Class.
Initially developed under the project title CR(NEXGEN), the Alliance Navy set the requirements for a mid-weight corvette with an emphasis on long range cruising efficiency, independent operability, small-craft flexibility, and fleet support armament. The two major contenders for the contract were Armstrong Heavy Engineering and Renaud Corporation, however Renaud Corporation dropped their submission in favor of focusing attention on the new cruiser projects.
In April of 3394 the CR(NEXGEN) contract was awarded to Armstrong Heavy Engineering with an initial order for 50 ships for acceptance trials and operational evaluation. By the delivery of the tenth unit, the Alliance Navy revised their initial specs and ordered an additional 1,000 units.
The Rapier-Class is loosely based off of the Armstrong Heavy Engineering’s LICO series of light patrol ships. Adopting a heavily modified and up-powered version of the Calypso 20-Ton ion engine, with its gravity turbine and repulser technology, the Rapier enjoys the flexibility and high load VTOL capability afforded other offerings form Armstrong. Additionally, the military version of the Pegasus series FTL engines give the Rapier a high cruising speed in both FTL and Boost mode of its MAG Propulsion.
Armed well for its weight class, the Rapier is well suited to engage light cutters and corvettes while packing enough punch to deal with frigates under a good crew. Armed with a pair of quad, multipurpose Armstrong MD-155 155mm Mass Drivers, the Rapier can rapidly swap ammunition types from high velocity ceramic-cased osmium rounds to timed burst plasma flak canisters. This allows Rapier to operate independently as well as fill an anti-fighter role during fleet action. A short magazine variant of the the Renaud LM-5X missile launcher gives the Rapier a high density – if unsustainable – missile salvo during max rate of fire.
To supplement its independent operations role, the Rapier benefits from an expanded hanger bay when compared to its Dagger-Class predecessor with room for two light shuttles for orbit to planet troop insertion, orbital policing action, and SAR functions.
One of the biggest advances from the Dagger to the Rapier was the inclusion of the newly developed PHALANX combat, control, and communications system. An integrated system incorporating dozens of functions traditionally carried out by multiple system on older classes of ships, PHALANX gives the Rapier a streamlined battle space management system and improved fire control during combat.
The first Rapier entered service in 3398 – 4 years after the initial contract was awarded. By 3400 the Alliance was operating over one hundred units in various squadrons, with the majority of units assigned to 3rd and 2nd fleet along the Alliance – Coalition border.
Popular among commanders, Rapier‘s were quickly assigned to patrol duty along the Alliance shipping lanes and backwater world’s. This also allowed the Alliance to free up numerous frigates and even destroyers for much needed overhaul and refit while also expanding the fleet presence in previously un-policed systems.
The most notable single contribution by a Rapier was on April 6, 3301 when the Switchblade and the Bowie engaged the known pirate cutter Lutzow responsible for over sixteen claimed freighters. Despite the Lutzow‘s tonnage advantage – a former Coalition destroyer modified for the pirate crew’s need – the Switchblade and Bowie were able to disable the larger ship’s engines with a coordinated strike before pinning the ship in the star system till the Alliance cruiser San Juan arrived and forced the crew of the Lutzow to surrender.
SHIPS OF THE LINE
- CRX-275 – R-CR – Prototype Ship (Renaud)
- CRX-277 – A-CR – Prototype Ship (Armstrong)
- CR-278 – ANS Rapier – 1st Production Ship
- CR-290 – ANS Tizona – First command of Captain Jessica Hall
- CR-301 – ANS Dagger – Named in honor of the ANS Dagger CR-102
- Ex-CR-505 – SS Madon – Status Unkown
Figure 2 – Rapier Class CR-290 ANS Tizona – Full View
Figure 3 – Threshold Navy Rapier Class CR-414 Tempest – Full View
Figure 4 – Akrian Rapier Class SM11096 SS Kopyeno – Full View
Figure 5 – Rapier Class Ex CR-505 SS Madon – Full View