LUPO CLASS FRIGATE
A proposed successor of the Hyperion,
the Lupo Class Frigate found his place in the fleet not with the
original light cruiser role, but as one of the most effective
escort units at the day.
The design is based on a Warlock style hull, with a good protection obtained by the use of new materials, a multi-layer armor design and a particular care placed in the hull shaping and internal compartimentation, enabling this design to take an hard punishment and to survive it.
The ship design was aimed to allow a
fast and easy production and maintenance, decent offensive and
defensive firepower and good acceleration and maneuverability.
The engine plant is an improved Omega type, slightly less
powerful but lighter than the original one, and capable to
accelerate the lighter (less than half the mass of a Nova) Lupo
at a rate more than double than that of an Omega. It lacks the
artificial gravity system originally included in the design, not
installed in the production ships due to economical reasons, but
the A.G. provision and fittings are retained or built-in to allow
an easy upgrade, if and when needed.
The weapon system has is centerpiece in a pulsed spinal Laser, that gives the bulk of the long-range firepower of this Medium unit, and an impressive battery of four heavy railgun turrets. Amidships are installed four "flat barrel" HP-01 heavy plasma mortars, a new weapon design that is becoming a good alternative to the standard Heavy pulse cannon: even with the usual range limitation typical of the plasma based weapons, it packs a far larger energy in a single bolt, giving a very good short range kill capability, that, with the combination of the railgun emplacements, makes either a larger ship think twice before engage this fast, nimble ship. The system is completed with eight standard Omega WRK 1005 Phalanx anti-fighter emplacements, MK 2 interceptors, 16 missiles with four launching tubes, and 16 starfuries. It's said that a Lupo class frigate can be a very dangerous adversary for any ship of his displacement, and can't be ignored even by far larger ships, and is judicated a someway better balanced design than a Vorchan class attack cruiser, due to the capability to carry a good fighter complement and the all around fire arcs. The concept that drove the weapon system design is original and effective: all the firepower can be concentrated in the frontal arc, allowing an extremely powerful direct attack: the spinal laser, the most ranged weapon carried, makes the ship to maneuvre to hit the target, but this is is not a problem in the long range fighting; the shorter range weapons, railguns and plasma mortars, have far larger firearcs, and the plasma mortars have an overall spherical covering, and given the extreme power of the shot, can quickly inflict very heavy damage to a ship incoming with every trajectory. The same overall covering is provided by the antifighter/interceptor systems.
The first important episode that involved this class of ships happened in the spring of 2268. A force of four Lupo frigates was tasked to escort a convoy of LONAW and E.A. freighters carrying a load of quantium-40 ore sold by a Vree corporation, and directed to the Proxima III shipyards. En route to Proxima III the convoy was tracked and ambushed by a Drakh cruiser, and engaged by the cruiser and his six raider flight. The battle that followed begun with the thunderbolts of the escort struggling to take care of the raiders, and the cruiser quickly approaching the freighters, until one of the four frigates was able to fire a spinal laser pulse at the far larger ship, piercing the hull and badly damaging the engine plant. The reaction of the cruiser crippled the shooter, but the other three frigates, using a pack attack tactic, were able to close in to the cruiser and overwhelm the enemy ship with a rain of railgun penetrators and plasma mortar bolts. The outcome of the match was the destruction of the cruiser and of two raiders, with the other raiders quickly withdrawing from the battlefield, and five thunderbolts destroyed: two of the four frigates were damaged, one lightly and one more heavily, with dead and wounded aboard, the weapon system inoperative and one of the main engines literally sliced in two halves. The convoy was unharmed, and both the damaged units were able to come back and were repaired and enlisted again in service. A more than decent debout for this new escort.
During the Drakh War the potent antifighter defence of the Lupo was a bitter surprise for the swarms of Drakh raiders that were used in the late 2260's to attack the civilian and freighter traffic: in the 2269 the Lupos were yet present and used as escorts in consistent numbers, and in that same year the Drakh raiding swarms, until then an extremely dangerous menace to the commercial traffic in the EA territory and in the whole ISA (actually vital due to the quarantine of the Earth), suffered enormous casualties: the typical swarms of 20-30 raiders found themselves ill-suited to overcome the 64 Starfuries of a typical Lupo escort squadron (4 units), and some attempts to apply a new tactic, so to neutralize and keep busy the escorts with an half of the forces, and to attack the target freighters with the other half, had disastrous outcomes: the whole fighter force of the frigate squadron could be detached to defend the freighters, and usually was capable to erase the enemy raiders in a few minutes, while the other raiders used to attack the frigates were even more short lived: the E-Web, the thick armour and the sturdy construction allowed to the Lupos to survive with contained or negligible damages the few strafing runs of the Drakh raiders, while the fire of the defensive armament had devastating effect on the Drakh formations: of a squadron of 8-10 gunships, usually not more than three or four survived up to the firing range, and almost none of them could live long enough to attempt a second passage.
In the 2270, after suffering bloody losses even due to the the large diffusion of the IOWT highly accurate optical trackers, that furtherly improved the lethality of the antifighter defence of the Lupos, the Drakhs were forced to abandone their interdiction activity against our lines of communications, and the Drakh fighter force never recovered from the bleeding of trained and experienced pilots suffered in the "interdiction war" of the 2269.
While the "turn of tide" of the Drakh War is usually identified with the cure of the Plague in the same (2269) year and in the Sudden Nemesis Counerattack of the 2270, in fact the Drakh miltary might begun its decline with the "Great Butterfly Hunt" of the 2269.
Must be even noticed that about one thirdth of the Earth Force "Fighter Aces" of the Drakh war belonged to the Starfury wings embarked on the Lupos, while the effectiveness of these ships allowed to free from the escort duties a large number of Destroyers, that were much more effectively employed in their power projection and offensive main roles. The overall contribution of the Lupo Frigates to the Drakh War Victory, both in direct and indirect terms, is much higher than usually believed.
All in all, and taken into account that the Lupos are frigates, and not destroyers, cruisers or dreadnoughts, some military technical analysts, and even highly qualified alien observers, consider this ship the best conceptual design ever of the Earthforce Technology.
Actually, the Lupo class frigates are the backbone of the EFNI Naval Service, presents in 42 units (2271, 16 more in program), and operate in the same roles of the Hyperion-N cruisers: information gathering, armed reconnaissance, quick strike, deep incursion and support to Special Forces operations. The modifications are a more advanced sensor suite ( I.L.S.S."Argo 2", EGAD Mk.12, and I.O.W.T. optical trackers for the weapons), an enhanced Electronic Intelligence and Electronic Warfare system, and an improved communication suite. A large landing bay, able to operate up to 6 space assault shuttles or up to 5 atmospheric assault shuttle has been added in the rear section, just beyond the interceptor launching bays. These units are an ideal replacement of the old cruisers, and, while retaining, even if improved, the overall special features of the EFNI customized Hyperion-N's, like an enhanced sensor, communication and ELINT suite, and improved facilities for special operations spacecrafts, have overall combat performances, firepower and thoughness substantially superiors to the units that are replacing.
Length: 1,332.6 meters
Mass: 18.5 million metric tons
Acceleration: 6.21 G
Troop: None (standard) or up to 240 (Lupo-N**)
Fighters: 16 Mitchell-Hyundane SA 26-A Thunderbolt Starfury.
Other**: 6* Lockheed-Coronado C27N space assault shuttle, or 5*Hades-N atmospheric assault shuttles.
**(Only for the Lupo-N used by the EFNI Naval service)
4*Westinghouse "I-Vulcan" Fusion Reactors.
4*General Electric I-85GE12 plasma engines.
2*Lockheed-Mitchell M47E2 Jump engines.
1*A.M.S. QSL - 3S Q-spoiling Spinal Laser
4*Westinghouse/O.T.O.Melara HP-01A Heavy Plasma Mortar turrets.
4*O.T.O.Melara 127/748 or 127/762 "Super Rapido" Twin Heavy railgun turrets.
8*Walther-Raytheon WRK 1005 Light Particle Beam/Pulse Cannon Turrets.
16*Sandia"Shillelagh" Missiles. (Four launching tubes with automatic reload system)
6.5 to 13.5 meter armored hull CARBONAT-VI or CARBONAT-VIII (Multi-layer composite armour), anti-neutron ablative armour.
8*Interceptor Mk. II Defense Grid Energy Projectors
E.A.S. LUPO - LUPO CLASS FRIGATE
E.A.S. SCIROCCO, BATCH 6 LUPO CLASS FRIGATE, ( LUPO-N ) ENLISTED IN THE E.F.N.I.