The Thunderer-Class Fleet Destroyer is the Intersystem Alliance Navy’s newest NEXGEN project. Intended to replace the Tempest-Class Heavy Destroyer, the Thunderer-Class is a paradigm shift for the Alliance Navy from a destroyer-squadron mentality to independently operating destroyers serving in a long-range, patrol focused role. Additionally, Thunderer benefits from powerful turreted main armament typically found on cruisers giving it a tough enough punch to pose a threat to fleet cruisers and even ships of the line. Paired with a powerful axial weapon, standard missiles, and a relatively large small-craft capacity, and Thunderer captains are afforded significant flexibility to carry out anti-piracy, raiding, and fleet-action missions.
Figure 1 – Standard Thunderer-Class Destroyer – Full View
At the turn of the 35th century, the Alliance’s NEXGEN starship project was in full swing. With the Ancile-Class, Rapier-Class, and Renown-Class starships in production, the Alliance now looked to the workhorses of the fleet – the destroyer. Historically favoring cruisers as the lone wolfs of the navy, the growing threat from the newly established People’s Coalition and the burgeoning Empyrean See saw the Alliance struggling to deploy sufficient cruisers to adequately patrol its borders. Add to the fact that, in the absence of the Alliance Navy, piracy saw a significant uptick on the fringes of the Alliance, and the pressure was on for the Alliance Navy to meet the military demand of its member nations.
At over 1,200,000 tons, the Thunderer-Class represents a huge jump from the Ancile-Class frigates. Design guidelines for the class called for a ship with a similar, selective armoring scheme as the the Renown-Class preserving speed as well as survivability. Additionally, hoping for improved flexibility, the Thunderer was to be equipped with the same turret as the Renown–Class’ secondaries – the dual barrel 950mm kinetic rifle. Otherwise, the destroyer would feature standard fare for her weight class. Standard Missiles paired with a light missile array would give its missile complement a balanced if not stellar engagement flexibility while a 1800mm axial rifle would give it the punch to deal with cruisers and pose a threat to the larger capital ships.
By April 3405, the Alliance had received the contract and design proposals from Armstrong Heavy Engineering, Renaud Corporation – Proteus Driveyards. In a stunning shift away from the Armstrong Heavy Engineering contracts, the Thunderer contract was awarded to Renaud Corporation’s Proteus Driveyards under the condition that certain design considerations – mainly with regards to common part selection between Thunderer and Ancile – would be made. Furthermore, the Renaud design would be modified with the Common Bridge-Small design used on the Ancile.
Unlike the Ancile-Class ships, Thunderer wasn’t designed around her axial armament but rather intended to carry its axial armament in conjunction with its powerful turret-based armament. Consequently, Thunderer shares many design commonalities with larger Alliance ships despite a similar silhouette to the Ancile. Furthermore, an emphasis on survivability is reflected in a dense – if staggered – armor structure that is paired with powerful shielded.
At the center of Thunderer‘s armament is the powerful 950mm dual barrel kinetic rifles. Fitted in two turrets on the forward portion of the ship, top and bottom, these weapons give the destroyer a punch envied by even some cruisers. Capable of firing both a standard ceramic-cased tungsten round, the 950mm also features a burst pile for long range, small craft defense as well as as a nano-cased round for ECM/EWAR functionality. This is paired with a powerful, rapid fire Kingdom Arms 1800mm axial kinetic rifle that gives the ship an added punch to threaten larger ships.
Thunderer also sports the capable and flexible 155mm quad turrets found on the Rapier and the Ancile. Serving primarily as a secondary weapon, its dual purpose functionality gives the Thunderer strong mid-range point defense against small craft while not detracting form her main armament.
Missile inventory rounds out the Thunderer‘s weapon systems with a full inventory of Standard and Light missiles, giving ship captains the flexibility they need to engage at various ranges.
What truly separates Thunderer from Ancile and other smaller ships is the support system the destroyer enjoys. With a large drop bay, Thunderer is able to carry a full compliment of Medium and Light dropship/gunships in addition to light shuttles. Supplemented with a octet of space superiority fighters, Thunder has a significant advantage compared to its frigate sibling when it comes to supporting ground operations. Furthermore, the ship features a full ground operations control center behind the drop bay, allowing the embarked Marine Company – usually under the command of a Major – to enjoy coordination and communication on a level not seen on previous destroyers in the Alliance inventory.
In addition to a ground operations enhancements, Thunderer also features a massive power complex for her size. Two DMRs and four Fusion Reactors give the ship a huge power inventory to draw from, feeding its large shield array and its quartet of powerful fusion drives. This is further supplemented by an enhanced, centralized A.I. rig that allows the Thunderer‘s A.I. crew members to manage the ship’s systems during combat and tightly integrate with their human counterparts.
The first Thunderer class ships entreated service in June of 3410, quickly deploying to the 3rd and 2nd Fleets defending the Alliance’s southern border. However, their rapid deployment was mired in early problems. The ship’s 950mm guns developed issues not seen on the Renown-Class, mostly attributed to design changes that were required due to the compact size of the hull supporting them. The first twenty hulls required modification by fleet shipyards to compensate for the design pitfalls and the lessons learned were forwarded to Proteus Shipyards who incorporated them as part of the Block IA ships.
Additionally, power integration issues were noted with the 1800mm main gun and the early ships had issues with the weapons failing to meet the design muzzle velocity. Most notably, a power failure left one of the 1800mm rounds floating freely in the barrel of the ANS Tempest, causing significant damage to the weapon. However, months of troubleshooting identified a conversion unit supplied by Renaud was incompatible with the Armstrong powertrain and the Eirangardian rifle design. All of the Block I and the first five hulls of the Block IA ships required a shift to Armstrong supplied power conversion units to mitigate the issue.
Despite the early problems with the ship’s weapon systems, Thunderer class ships quickly became a main stay in the fleet. Serving alongside the Ancile-class ships, they would often operate in patrol wings, with Thunderer‘s serving as flagships while a mixed trio of Ancile and Rapier class ships would provide patrol coverage for an area under the orders of the Fleet Destroyer. Mostly importantly, design lessons learned and operational lessons learned would be used to help plan the construction of a new class of Fleet Cruiser – the Tokyo-Class that was already under development by Proteus Driveyards.
SHIPS OF THE LINE
- DG-783 – ANS Thunderer – 1st Production Ship
- DG-807 – ANS Tempest – First Block IA Ship
- DG-815 – ANS Hurricane – Ship that rescued the surviving crew of the ANS Escutcheon