In this page, the EFNI has chosen to present not only his particular variant of the Nova Dreadnought, but a relatively complete history of this class. The Nova dreadnoughts have been the mainstay of the Fleet in the rise of the Earth Alliance as a main power, the ancestors of our most importants war units, the shield and the sword of the Alliance in his glory days, the last ditch in his most tragic moments. The Nova Dreadnought is still today a symbol of power, and a memory of the valour of the people of three generations that have bravely fought on these ships. We think that this deserves a more complete presentation of these glorious ships, that still today sail through the space, to defend our Alliance, and our People.
|NOVA DREADNOUGHTS AN HISTORYCAL ESSAY|
The Nova class dreadnoughts have been
the "iron fist" of the Earth Alliance since their
inception, in 2225.
The origin of this powerful ship was in a specification of the Earthforce that required an heavy warship so powerful to stand against and defeat the main capital ships of the most advanced races known.
In that period, the "reference units" were the Primus battlecruiser (Centauri) and the Meshakur battleship (Dilgar). While the Centauri were from all the points of view at least friends of the Earth Alliance (even if some small accidents have happened in the late 2100's, these problems were related to the strong presence of Dilgar mercenaries troops in the Centauri military), the Dilgars were correctly perceived as a potential menace.
Both the Centauri and the Dilgars had a
technology a lot more advanced than the Earth Alliance,
particularly in the energy/propulsion area, with their capability
to use gravitic propulsion systems: the possibilty to build
warships ables to outrun and outmaneuvre such units was
deductively excluded, while the traditional "power
triad" of the EA, I.E. Firepower, Armor and Starfury was
pushed to his extreme consequences in this warship design.
The overall concept of the Nova is simple, at the very end this ship is a square beam that holds at one end the most powerful reactor/engine block that the Earth engineering was able to develop, while at the other end were placed, clustered together, the intrinsecally less survivable systems: fighters launching bay and hangar, sensors, heavy weapons, missile launchers. As far as possible, the forward systems were protected with large and thick armored plates, that gave an excellent protection from the side attacks, while the front is relatively less protected, even if some systems like the jump engines have their own armored layer .
This arrangement was criticized, because it left some of the most expensive and relevant equipments relatively vulnerables in a frontal engagement, but from many points of view it is rational: the crew and command section is well protected in the middle section of the hull (popularly known as the "iron cube"), while a frontal protection of the sensors, of the launching tubes and of the heavy plasma mortars is extremely difficult. The advantages of a frontal launching bay are tactically releveants, and this solution is almost universally employed: Centauri, Narns, Minbari, Dilgars, all of them use the frontal bay, and, at least, the Earth design allows a good side protection and a fighter line of flight more than double than the other alien units of similar dimensions; at the very end, this conceptual approach uses these systems as an addictional protection for the crew and reactor modules. This concept, the well known "Hammer" that is still today a caracterizing trait of the EA units, has proven itself effective since the first moment, and so it is well alive in the Omega destroyers, in the Nova II Dreadnoughts, and in the Tillman Heavy Battleships, and it is the "trademark" of Earthforce.
As was said, the Energy system was a
totally new design, extremely powerful and modular and simple in
design, based upon the new Westinghouse "Vulcan" fusion
reactors, while the plasma engines, the Beagle Bryant BB9,
encased in an outer armored capsule, had not the stream
deflection plates, renouncing to addictional maneuverabilty to
obtain a simpler and sturdier system. Each reactor (a self
colliding fusion model) was directly coupled with an engine,
obtaining an unprecedented modularity and sturdyness in a compact
system, easy to build and to repair.
The thrust allowed a 2.35 g's of acceleration in the first series, not too much, from all the points of view, while the maneuverabilty was limited*, but the reactors had a power output that is still today impressive (81500 Terawatts), and at the time was awesome.
The enormous power output was used to feed an incredible weapon array. The few Nova Alpha were equipped with free electron lasers, but the Nova Beta, the main production series, was equipped with the most powerful and innovative weapon systems of their era, eighteen twin heavy Plasma Pulse turrets. (see weapon systems - Plasma weapons for a conceptual explanation of these weapons).
The plasma weapons are intrisecally short ranged, but there is no known ship that can engage a close distance fight against a Nova and hope to come out unharmed, even today, more than sixty years after the birth of these ships**.
The long range weapon system of
the Nova was based upon six Raytheon BETA particle beam cannons
and 2 missile launching tubes with a standard load of 12 Matador
III missiles, well enough to be a match for large part of the
potential counterparts of the period; at shorter distances, in
the range of the main LPA-1000 plasma cannons, the firepower of the Novas was, and is still
today, qualificable with a single word: devastating.
Even without the pulse compression technology of the Dilgars, and so with a limited rate of fire, each single barrell of the Nova's cannons was capable to fire a plasma bolt of 70 terajoules every 2": a fire barrage deadly from any point of view, given the fact that a target is always under the fire of at least four or five turrets, 8 or 10 guns, so more than five bolts each second, while a broadside or a frontal salvo, involving 8 or 10 turrets, could mean a sudden death, and The two chin mounted HPM1 "Mjolnir" Heavy Plasma Mortars gave a further, impressive, short range shipkilling power. The true problem was that the reactors were stressed to their extreme limit, but overall the problems were a lot less relevent than it is commonly rumored. The last produced batches of the Nova have less temperamental power systems.
The flight of 32 Starfuries is
a powerful complement and the real long arm and anti-fighter
shield of these ships, while the close-in defence against the
fighters and the missiles is based on the Mk-I interceptors and
granted by the escort units of that period, the Olympus corvettes
and the Hyperion cruisers.
This concept worked very well against the Dilgars: overwhelmed and pursued at the long distance by the Nova Starfuries and the Artemis frigates, made to fight at close distance, even their most powerful warsips, the excellent Sekmeth cruisers and the dreaded Meshakur battleships were unable to quicly defeat the well protected Earthforces Dreadnoughts, and, mostly, unable to survive the terrific firepower of the Novas. The Earthforce line units of that period (mostly Hyperions, Artemis, Olympus and Novas) were all effective ships, but the Nova was the real "Iron Fist" of the situation, and in many occasions made the difference.
The following chapter of the
history of the Nova was a bitter one: we are obviosly talking of
the Minbari War.
At the beginning of the War, there were 412 Novas in the Earthforce. 72 more were built during the 28 months of war. Of a total of 484 of them, only 62 survived the war. Unables to lock on the targets, with a limited antifighter capability, with their starfury shield quickly whipped away, outnumbered, they were the only Earth warships barely capable to attempt some form of real opposition against the overwhelming power of the Minbari. The few of them so lucky to survive until the few kilometers of range of the manual fire control systems were ables to destroy 189 Minbari units, about the 85% of the casualties inflicted to the enemy. Only eight Novas survived their contact with the Minbari. From the first to the last day of that terrible conflict, the Novas were the only real opposition that the Earth was able to place in the road of destruction traced by the revenge of the powerful aliens, and tried to defend the humanity until the very end. The Novas were the only warships of the younger races that were considered a real menace by the Minbari. 93446 People of their crews and of their fighter pilots lost their lives in the War.
After the War, the mass production to replenish the voids left from the losses of the War shifted in a few years to the Omega Destroyer, that is a direct evolution of the Nova design, but a different concept, better suited for "stand alone" missions, with a more evolved and flexible weapon system and a far larger endurance thanks to the simulated gravity, that anyway retains the sturdyness, the firepower and the other strengths of these classic Dreadnoughts.
After the Drakh attack of 2266, the Nova, in the form of the Nova Delta, was chosen as a gapfiller to quickly replace the Omegas lost, and, even if short lived (less than four years), this production activity has left to the Earthforce about 290 extremely capables and respected anti-ship units.
The last conceptual incarnation of the Nova concept is again a Dreadnought, the Nova II, that, while belonging to a new generation of ships, follws faithfully the concepts and the "style" of the Novas.
THE E.F.N.I. VARIANT
All the original Novas (Nova-Beta or Alpha upgraded at the beta standard) assigned to the Efni naval service before and during the Minbari war were lost in action, the last surviving units tried to oppose the Minbari forces at the Io outpost, so at the end of 2247 (see essential chronology, 2247) the Efni Naval service had been totally destroyed, and was needed to rebuild it from the fundaments. The units chosen were the Hyperion in the customized Hyperion-N variant, and the Nova, for strike and combat support in situation that potentially required a firepower superior to the upgraded Hyperions-N. Was chosen the Nova instead of the Omega because the missions required by the EFNI almost always last less than a month, so the lack of simulated gravity is not an heavy problem, while the short and medium range firepower of the Nova was determinating for the ambush warfare that frequently involves the Operation Division of the EFNI.
The EFNI naval service has particular exigences, small number of units assigned, and, as well known, the EFNI Technical Service and the Naval service have always acted as a "workbench" for some new technologies, so the units employed by our small fleet are almost always modified respect to the standard issue of the Eartforce Navy. The Nova-N follows these guidelines.
Ten of these units have been built in the 2248-2249 period, and have been assigned to the operational service from their inception to the mid 2270's; actually the survived units are essentially used for both training and for the local defence of the Io outpost, where are placed the Efni Naval Service Arsenal and the central command of the Operation division, even if they are still called to operate in special operations. The modifications are significant, but not so much to make these ships deeply different from the Nova Beta.
The engine block is the standard module of four Beagle-Bryant fast feeding plasma engines, in their last BB9-W variant, that allows an acceleration of 2.7 g, about a 10% more than the standard Nova Beta. The reactors are the Vulcan VI of the Omega, so the available power is the same of the Omegas, a 30% more than the typical novas of that period.
The hull was modified with the elimination of the turrets 11 and 12, replaced with two superstructure holding two shuttle/landing bays, reconfigurables in function of the operational exigences, and upon these structures have been placed new weapon systems.
The Weapon system is centered on 16 twin turrets Westinghouse
HPPA type 1505, with a total of 32 barrels: the Westinghouse 1505
Plasma Pulse cannon can release a 105 terajoules bolt every 2
seconds for each barrel, an awesome short range firepower.
The 6 Raytheon BETA particle accelerators (two bow mounted and four rear mounted) are retained, while have been added 9 Copeland PP interceptors and four interceptor capables Walther-Raytheon WR 1000 pulse/particle turrets, placed on the side superstructures, for an improved anti fighter and interceptor capability.
On the top of the hammer section is placed a TG4 twin railgun turret, that in many occasions have shown to be an useful "demolition tool".
The fighter line, is the same of the Nova and Omega, while the two side hangars can carry up to ten assault shuttles, or eventually, 24 more fighters.
The fighters are usually the SA-26 N Aurora Starfury, but can be supported even the Thunderbolts.
The sensor suite is about the same of the Hyperion-N, so
excellent: the hyperspace navigation system is the GAW-12, the
long range search systems are the AEGIS Mk.42-E3 long range
phased array radar and the A.M.S. XGL-1 long range LIDAR,
specifically developed by the EFNI, and the essential
Pilkington/A.M.S. IRIG-5 passive Optical/Infra-red long range
search and track system. All the weapons have a passive multiband
optical automatic tracker, a proprietary development of the EFNI
Technical Service, that, with some operational limitations, has
the precious characteristics to be extremely ECM resistant and to
to allow a positive lock on and automatic tracking even against a
"low visibility" target: this sistem has the
addictional advantage to be extremely accurate.
in the early 2250's was installed even a gravitational wave detector, another EFNI proprietary system, while the communication, electronic warfare and electronic intelligence equipments are vastly improved and enhanced, as usual on the EFNI ships.
The Novas of the EFNI have served faithfully for more than 25 years, have been called on the fireline in a great number of special operations, in the civil war, are the only Earth Alliance warships that fought (and won) aginst the Shadows (see Essential Chronology, 2259, Bright Eagle mission), participated bravely to the Drakh line of 2266 (where the EFNI naval service lose two of his Novas and four Hyperion_N) and fought again in the PsiWar (2264), with excellent performances, and against the Drakhs until to 2271, yet flanked by the New Nova Delta.
The seven surviving Units are still in service, as said above, upgraded at the Nova Brightwarrior standard, but they are not so intensively employed as they were until some years ago, even if they are a familiar view for the people that frequently find themeselves in the area of the Io outpost and Io jumpgate.
*(The first Nova was defined "manuverable as
a wounded hog" after her shakedown cruise. But there are
around less maneuverable ships, fielded even by more advanced
races. The Nova N, and the Nova Beta, have a decent linear
acceleration, given their enormous mass, and a lot of power
availble: their maneuverabilty is hampered by the fact that they
are slow to yaw and to pitch up or down. This limit is reduced,
but not eliminated, in the Nova N, while the Nova
Delta is a respectably nimble
ship, and the Brightwarrior upgrade improved strongly the handling carachteristics
of the Novas.)
**During the "Drakh Battle of the Line" Many Nova Beta and seven Nova N of the EFNI engaged gunfights against Drakh units, and were able not only to stand against them, but to inflict extremely heavy casualties to the enemy. The 32 Novas involved in the battle were responsibles of at least 89 "shipkillings", and revalutated the Dreadnught concept, gone out of favour after the Minbari War.
Class: Nova N (Nova EFNI Variant)
Type: Battleship/Deep Strike
Length: 1,505 meters
Mass: 35.5 million metric tons
Acceleration: 2.69 G
Troop: up to 400 (the standard Nova Beta has arrangements for carrying up to 8000 troops)
Fighters: 36 Lockheed-Mitchell SA 26-N Aurora Starfury.
Other: 12* Lockheed-Coronado C27N space assault shuttle, or 12*Valkirye-N atmospheric assault shuttles.
4*Westinghouse "Vulcan-VI" Fusion Reactors.
4*Beagle-Bryant BB9-W-N fast feeding plasma engines.
2*Lockheed-Mitchell M51-C7 Jump Vortex Generators.
16*Westinghouse HPPA type 1505 Heavy plasma pulse turrets.
2*Raytheon BETA Particle beam cannons (forward firing)
4*Raytheon BETA Particle beam cannons cannons (rear firing)
2*Westinghouse-O.T.O.Melara HPM1 "Mjolnir" Heavy Plasma Mortars.
1*O.T.O.Melara 203/400 TG4 railgun turret.
4*Walther-Raytheon WR 1000 light particle beam/pulse cannon turrets.
9*Copeland "Sentinel" Gatling pulse cannons/interceptors (
12*Sandia "Matador-III" Missiles. (four launching tubes with automatic reload system)
8.5 to 10.5 meter armored hull, CARBONAT-III Multi-layer composite armour, anti-neutron ablative armour.
16*Interceptor Mk. II Defense Grid Energy Projectors, Mk.2 Energy Web.
E.A.S.TALOS - NOVA-N Strike Dreadnought