The Vanovar-class is an escort carrier primarily operated by CrownForce in the Star Kingdom of Persica. The lightest class of carrier, the Vanovar provides a multirole platform at considerably less cost than larger carriers, and often serves as a mobile command base for patrol squadrons, accompanied by frigates and destroyers. This has proven to be effective in protecting merchant convoys against local pirates that typically operate with hulls of destroyer tonnage or less. For space-to-ground missions, the escort carrier provides solid sky support for troops and armour. And for certain task forces centered on larger ships, the Vanovar operates as a picket ship, lending the long reach of its starcraft for scouting sortees.
Among the first starship classes developed entirely in the Star Kingdom, the Vanovar is the result of Project Blacklance – the first starship development commission with Ravendyne Defence Industries (RDI) proposing and heading the project and utilising Persican subcontractors, rather than acting as a local subcontractor for ISA manufacturers. Sponsorship and personal interest from King Cade III helped RDI secure the contract and the Ministry of Defence green-lit Project Blacklance in 3384. The designers of Vanovar incorporated lessons learned from refitting and maintaining Alliance and Threshold classes like the Storm of Olympus frigates, and (Thresholder) light cruisers to produce a fast, agile platform capable of punching above its weight.
Blacklance provided an opportunity for Persican defence companies to showcase their contributions: Lord Royce Royal’s newest ion engines, the first for a starship of capital size; fusion reactors from the Taerken Corporation; an array of A.I and E-combat suites from Scotia-Fausett Quantum Systems; weapons from Roth Enfield and Serapheon; and featuring the new light bomber from Caratasa, the B-80 Hornet. Additional contributions included a carrier-launch variant of the F-71 Timberfox from Malakov-Axipita and the new Stormcrow-class of gunship by RDI subsidiary Rookwood Legate.
Representing the beginning of a new era for CrownForce, in which starships would be developed and produced entirely within the Star Kingdom, the Vanovar class was chosen as the first to restart the hull number sequence, beginning with 1.
The earlier starship classes developed in the Star Kingdom tend to closely follow the designs of their ISA-built predecessors. Since the Alliance had no escort carriers available to Persica at the time, the Vanovar was designed in the vein of lower-tonnage hulls, with sweeping lines, a long and wide profile, and four primary engine nacelles at the aft; however, some proprietary aspects of the Persican shipbuilding style, such as the curving triangular bow, were introduced with the Vanovar.
Prioritising a maximal number of starcraft over large guns, the Vanovar boasts a solid air wing: typically five squadrons of fighters, four squadrons of interceptors, three squadrons of light bombers, two shuttles, ten dropships, and two gunships. Lateral catapult bays amidships allow the escort carrier to launch two full squadrons of twelve starcraft at one time. A landing/retrieval bay entrance to the large internal flight deck is located at the bow with a flight control center situated above it. For ship-to-ship combat, the escort carrier wields an array of kinetic rifles and missile launchers. Smaller calibre turrets and light missiles comprise the ship’s point defence, supplemented by 120 countermissile cells and shields from Taerken’s highly successful Svalinn series.
Completed in 3390, and coming into service the following year, the first seven Vanovar-class escort carriers formed a vital component of the Patrol Carrier Forces, designed to combat fast and evasive pirate groups plaguing commercial space lanes. With their initial success in combating predatory marauders, other uses were found for the versatile starship; CrownForce immediately commissioned thirty-five more hulls for use in the Navy and Guard. Four hulls were commissioned for use by the Marines, with an air wing more focused on dropships and sky superiority. Since 3406, the Vanovar has become one of the workhorse classes for CrownForce.
SHIPS OF THE LINE
There are currently fifty Vanovar-class escort carriers operating in the Star Kingdom, all laid down by Staak ShipWorks at the Hartsmouth Staryards at CrownForce Base (CFB) Armenica in the Persica System. The naming convention for the class is baronies (major cities) in the Star Kingdom. Notable ships include:
CVEX-001 – RDI-CVE – Prototype Ship (Ravendyne)
CVE-1 – HMS Vanovar – first production ship
CVE-3 – HMS Threnody – Captain Linzii Rae’s first command.