Warlock Heavy Destroyer
The Evolution of a Warship
The EFNI historical office issued this short article in order
to present, in a synthetic form, the origins, the history and the
evolution of the actual edge of our spaceforces: the Warlock
Is provided even a an introduction about the evolution of the destroyer concept from the end of the Minbari war until now.
The lessons of the
Earth-Minbari War and the New Technologies.
While still today there is a debate in the public opinion and among the politicians, if the Earth Alliance really lost the war against the Minbari (based upon the fact that, at the end of the battle of the Line, the Minbari ceased fire and surrendered), from the military point of view the war was a bloody defeat for the Earthforce.
In two and an half years of war we never really won a single
battle, except for the destruction of the Drala'fi and of its
support force in 2245: even the so called "tactical
victories" were obtained in defending local assets for a
limited time, in any case if we repelled the first attack waves
the further Minbari forces were always able, a day or a week
later, to obtain their goal, and our loss rate was never better
than 3 to 1, while the average loss rate du ring the war was
about 7 to 1 in terms of ships.
At the end of the war, our forces were around the 15% of their consistence at the beginning of the conflict.
From the technical point of view, some basic points emerged
from the conflict:
1-The stealth system used by the Minbari was the key factor of their victory: the EA plasma weapons needed an accurate targeting to be effective, and the radar and microwave scanners universally used on our ships were unable to obtain a lock on, were possible only short range engagements and even in this case with scarce accuracy.
2-All the EA warships of the period were not survivable enough against the firepower of the Minbari warships: all the units except the Novas were unable to take the punishment of a single main gun hit without being out of combat or definitively destroyed. A Nova, on average, was capable to take two or maybe three hits of the main bow beam of a Sharlin before being destroyed, but frequently a single hit meant to be out of combat even for our best units of the period.
3-The Novas were the only warships capable to ensure an effective opposition, but there were too few of them.
The outcome of these assessments was at the roots of the
reshaping of the Earthforce in the 2250's, and gave birth to the
Omega class destroyer. The definition "destroyer" must
not induce a misunderstanding: historically the definition of
destroyer has been always applied to medium sized, polyvalent
units. To define destroyer an Omega, that from every point of
view is at least an heavy armoured cruiser, if not directly a
battleship, was essentially a politic choice of Earthforce, to
avoid the opposition of the Senate, that considered every new
military program as the omen of a will of power, presupposing
further wars and further disasters. In fact, what Earthforce
wanted was something capable to stop the Minbari.
The Omega was an heir of the effective and simple Nova architecture and technology: frequently called as "the ugliest ship in space", in fact it is the expression of the seek for the efficiency and the cost/effectiveness.
In terms of overall layout, the presence of a rotating section, yet experimented by the Rocketdyne in the 2244/45, allowed to a ship long endurance and large troop carrying capability, strongly needed because, at least for some years, a relatively small number of ships had to protect the whole territory of the Earth Alliance.
The square shapes of the Omega are related essentially to the production technologies employed, that allowed an excellent production rate ( about 40-50 units - year, with a potential of about 70 U/Y), while the design, based on the Nova architecture, used all the good assets of the old Dreadnought, eliminating the weak spots.
The mechanical sturdiness of the hull structure and the survivability of the design was retained, as were retained the large hangar, capable to hold up to 36 ready to launch fighters, and the energy/engine systems, about which could be done only positive comments. The weapon system was totally reshaped, thanks to the new technologies based upon the Narn beam weapons bought during the War, and further developed by Earthforce, and deserves a description and some considerations.
The Novas had two limits in their weapons: first of all, a plasma weapon is intrinsically short ranged, even if with an high effectiveness; mostly, the Novas lacked an effective antifighter defence: the problem did not emerge in the Dilgar war: the interceptor grid Mk1 was capable to handle, with its light plasma projectors, the few fighters capable to get through the Starfury and escort units screen, but in the earth Minbari war emerged clearly that was needed something more effective.
In its new design the Earthforce Navy asked a generational jump: long range antiship firepower, based upon beam weapons; superior armour and survivability, superior interceptor capability and an antifighter defence capable to saturate the space with a barrage fire virtually impossible to overcome. Was required even a plasma pulse capability with a firepower close to the Nova.
Apparently, all these requirements seemed impossible to overcome, but the weapon technology of the Earth Alliance was well known for its capability of quick evolutions: the EA weapon industry had a centuries old experience in the field of the particle accelerators and the plasma weapons, and the Narn weapons teached how to build a particle beam cannon that based its power upon a relatively high mass flow at moderate speeds (0.75 C) instead of the highly relativistic, low amperage particle cannons used by the Earth Alliance: this allowed superior damage and vastly superior power output with a simpler design and a shorter barrel. The use of the Earther "heavy particles" technology (use of heavy ions of alkaline metals or xenon instead of the helium used by the Narns and the Centauri) allowed a further jump in terms of specific power and terminal damage.
The new concept opened even a new field of development, the hybrid weapon, so a weapon system capable to operate both as an heavy particles beam cannon and as a powerful plasma pulse weapon. The details about these weapon systems can be found in the Beam-Pulse weapons paragraph of the Weapons page, while overall the Omega Destroyer (whose first series unit, the OCD-1 Achilles, was rushed in service in record time, in the September 2248) showed immediately to be a superior warship: slightly faster than a Nova, it had a new, better protection, based upon the new Carbonat-IV Armour, an interceptor grid, the Mk 2, that integrated not only all the specific bolt projectors and all the bolt weapons available on board, but even the Starfuries, giving an awesome point defence capability, and a new model of E-Web that near doubled the beam weapons resistance respect to the model used on the Nova, with special features developed to effectively oppose the Minbari anti-matter "slicer" beams: this evolution allowed this ship to face the Minbari firepower long enough to fight effectively, while the new, beam/pulse based weapon system in the beam mode had range and power enough to hardly hit a Sharlin: the Minbari weapons have a power output that is about three or four times the power of an Omega, but the range is about the same, and the Minbari cruiser is not enough protected to take punishment of these levels and maintain an operational capability. Mostly, a beam weapon is enormously easier to aim than a plasma pulse weapon: essentially, what is required is simply a boresighted line of aim, so a beam weapon, even in the case of a lack of trackers lock-on, is quite accurate and easy to target even with simple (manual or optical) systems.
At the moment of its inception (and still today), the Omega was a warship operationally superior and more powerful than every other Younger races unit, except the Centauri Octurion Dreadnoughts and, clearly, the Minbari Cruisers.
The Omega has been produced at the date in more than 1700 units, and while about 370 have been lost in service, mostly during the Civil War and the Drakh war, the others are still in service (see upgrading at Brightwarrior project - Omega Epsilon )
With the Mass produced Omega, the Earthforce Navy had what was needed: a warship capable to defend the Earth alliance, to renew the Earthforce military might, and mostly capable to fight against the Minbari with acceptable odds of success.
What shapes a Warship.
With the Omega, the Earthforce was capable to rebuild its force and improve its capabilities, and had something really effective against every known menace. But what the Admiralty was looking for in the long term, in fact, was something different: what was wanted was a ship so powerful to act as a spearhead of the Omega taskforces against the Minbari lines of cruisers at all the ranges, in all the situations. The Navy wanted a Sharlin Killer.
The first incarnation of the concept that later materialised in the Warlock Heavy Destroyer was the "Battlemaster project", whose origin is related to the availability of a new weapon belonging to the family of the heavy particles weapons: the "Aegis" cannon, later known as the G.O.D. (Global Orbital Defence) Cannon.
The first models of this weapons were long range heavy particle beams of enormous power (25 times the peak power output of an Omega cannon) used on the Earth (and colonies) Global Orbital Defence satellite grid, the well known system designed to avoid another Battle of the Line (for further details, see heavy Particles cannons link ).
The developments in the early 2250's promised a new evolution of this weapon, an elongated, enormous discharge cannon, with peak energy outputs in the range of the megatons per shot, that was conceived to be embarked on a manned warship. Around the hypothesis that later became the "Aegis" Mk 5 "Warlock" cannon was designed a new hull, that kept some basic elements of the structure from the Omega family (with a different armour), but overall it was something totally new. The engineering section was a cluster of six engine/reactor blocks of the same type used on the Omega ( and the acceleration was poor, because the "Battlemaster project" had twice the mass of the standard destroyers). The first design, after an attempt to introduce the same rotating section of the Omegas, was conceived without simulated gravity: the Battlemaster was not a patrol ship, it was an attack weapon.
Some choices were radical: the turret mounted weapons were powerful plasma pulse twin cannons, with a secondary beam capability, the M111, with an arrangement that, while allowing a good concentration of firepower in the frontal arc, was conceived essentially to give all around fast reaction firepower. The interceptor grid was the new Mk 3, a further 30% of improvement in the performances respect to the Mk2, and the point defence, based upon an impressive number of pulse and pulse/beam weapons, was capable to saturate the surroundings of the ship.
Two other fields in which were made large improvements were the sensor and analysis equipment, and the Armour: both of them were designed from the origin with a large growth potential and an high degree of modularity, both of them, during the development of the Warlock, that went on for nine years, evolved through the inception of a new, or, in effect, an Ancient technology.
In any case, the Battlemaster offered what the Navy wanted: a ship capable to defend itself from all the directions, with an armour and an E-Web capable to survive for a certain time the Minbari weapons, the long range firepower needed to destroy a Sharlin with a single discharge of G.O.D. cannon, and a rate of fire high enough to kill more than one of them in a task force engagement.
6*Westinghouse "Vulcan-VII" Fusion Reactors.
Birth of a Predator
The Battlemaster design was literally reshaped, inside and outside, by a series of conceptual and technical choices, and by the better protected secrets of the 2250's Earthforce.
The technical choices we are talking of, and that transformed the battlemaster in the Warlock were the decision to reintroduce in service ordnance based weapons, (Missiles and railguns), the request for a larger line of fighters, and, later, the development of the first piece of gravitic technology ever made by the humans: the gravitic enhanced fusion engines.
The First step (see Missiles) was requested by the Earthforce because, from the analyses made in the aftermath of the Minbari War, came out that in about the 35% of the fightings, a ripple of missiles with nuclear warheads would have been decisive in resolving the confrontation in favour of the EA ships: clearly, a lock on against the stealth system of the Minbari was not ensured, but a simple telecommand guide through datalink would have given a great effectiveness: clearly it was a "single shot" (well, in fact a twin shot) weapon, because was required a salvo of 10-12 missiles to ensure a kill against a Minbari cruiser, but in any case the thing was potentially too much effective to not be used, even because the installation was simple.
The second step was related to the development of a new generation of railguns , signed by one of the oldest names in the field of the "real" artillery.
As happened to the missiles, the railguns were out of the favour of the Earth Alliance political commissions: the missiles had three "versus" argumentations: the logistic and economic strain- a missile is expensive, very expensive, and a missile equipped with an effective seeker and capable to bring a large offensive load at the speeds and with the manoeuvrability needed to be effective in a ship to ship engagement was expensive at least as a Starfury. More, to replenish the magazines, a cargo had to travel light years to issue the new ammunitions. This was a problem during the Dilgar war.
There was even the fact that a missile needs a lock on against a target to be effective, and this seemed out of question against the Minbari.
The third, most relevant problem was not a technical, but a political one: the Government, or, at least, some part of the politics, did not like to issue to the military missiles holding warheads with a power in the magnitude order of the tenth or hundreds megatons.
To overcome this problem, the Navy proposed to acquire missiles with a large conventional warhead - In fact, loaded with isotopic destabilisation explosives (IDX), about 150 times more powerful than the conventional chemical explosives - less "politically incorrect" - that allowed to begin again the official use of large antiship missiles on our ships - The unwanted outcome of this choice, by the way, is that the EA missiles are enormous, and so they are capable to hold a vast panoplia of warheads - The Drakh war, and the fall of the political coalition that, among alternate fortunes, drove the Earth Alliance from the mid 2230's to the mid 2260's, changed the picture, and placed on our missiles the strongly needed nuclear and thermonuclear warheads, included the infamous W205 "Armageddon", rated at 4 Gigatons.
In any case, the Ship that was the "Battlemaster" had its missile launchers, whose emplacement, frequently criticised but in fact effective, simple and extremely rational, will be illustrated in the following paragraph.
The railguns were victims of the "fashion" - The Earth Alliance was the only known navy to use them - Even if they proved themselves extremely effective during the Dilgar war (Our small Artemis frigates were "shipkillers" capable to cut in ribbons even a Cruiser or a Battlecruiser), the Procurement commissions considered these weapons as a relic of past times.
Even in this case, the Navy was able to support its reasons, and in the early 2250's the maximum specialists of "conventional" artillery of the Earth Alliance, the Oto-Melara, in a joint venture with the gigantic Westinghous Corporation, presented a new generation of railguns, the small calibre, high rate of fire "Rapido" (quickfire) and the large calibre "Vulcano". These weapons were developed with new concepts (see Railguns) and in accordance with the need to affordably pierce the main hull armour of a Minbari warcruiser, regardless the impact angle and impact point. Even these weapons were placed on the developing Warlock design.
2*Westinghouse "Event Horizon" Gravitic
Enhanced Fusion Reactors.
In fact, the first configuration was totally unlucky in terms of installation, (The railguns of the Warlocks seemed to lumber around like late thoughts, ) but the new generation railgun was devastating (see Strelas'tha incident), and the problem was fixed with a new configuration since the second production batch. Even the plasma artillery had limits in the superposition of the firearcs, and the Close-in defence was not really optimised, and even these problems were fixed.
The twin missile racks placed on the two sides of the hull, instead, have shown to be an excellent design feature: even if exposed, they are heavily armoured, and the design has shown to be capable to direction every secondary explosion to blow away from the hull: until now, while many Warlocks have had their racks damaged or ripped away, none of them have been lost for a catastrophic explosion of the missiles.
Each rack holds six heavy silos, that can launch both the Supermatador and the Blue Phoenix missiles, and eight smaller launching tubes, with a two-shot automatic reloading system. The Heavy silos can be reloaded with the missiles stored in the two cargo holdings on the sides of the hull, thanks to a derrick crane, that usually is folded parallele to the hull.
The problem of the weapons emplacements was in a certain measure put to the limelight by the ergonomical and tactical studies brought on by the EFNI technical departement with the design of the Styx , that at least proposed a series of solutions, some of which were later introduced in the new production series. In fact the Styx is designed to unleash all its firepower in the frontal hemisphere, while maintaining good all around firearcs - Notice that the Warlocks of the second batch and later follow these guidelines, while retaining the same all around covering of the older configuration.
Even the Armour evolved, in terms of materials, from the
original Carbonat IV used on the Omegas, and, with a near double
thickness, on the Battlemaster.
The Warlocks used the Carbonat VI-A, that can be easily rcognized thanks to the rhomboidal design of the Armour modules: this shape was chosen because allows better performances in terms of impact resistance. The effectiveness of this Armour was proven for the first time in the Strelas'tha incident of 2263, when the Warlock Armour proved to be impervious to the fire of the Minbari weapons. Further details about the Warlock's Armour can be found in the Armour page and in the next chapter of this arrticle.
The Other Technologies
The introduction of the gravimetric technology in the Warlock destroyers went on in three steps: the first one was the outcome of fifteen years of research based upon what was left of the Dilgar technology, the second step dates to the early 2260's, and is related to the cooperation programs brought on in the ISA, while the third step was the improvement of the brightwarrior project.
The military related research, as all the military spendings, was heavily hampered after the victory in the Dilgar war: the Earthforce grew self complacent of the excellent performances shown in that conflict (neglecting the fact that the power of the Earthforce at the end of the 2220's was the outcome of about ten years of investments and efforts aimed at the scope of defeating the Dilgars). Literally thousands of ships were mothballed, shipyards, arsenals and training facilities were closed, and the research in the field of the Gravitic technologies weant on slowly.
After the Minbari war, the whole activity was resuscitated from near ten years of coma, and brought as a first product the first gravitic enhanced fusion reactors: in the same dimensions of an Omega reactor (westinghouse Vulcan) was possible to build a system capable to crank out near three times the power: while this allowed to the heavy Warlocks to attain performances at the same level of the Omegas in terms of speed and acceleration, the most relevant fact was that the Warlocks had the same power availability for the weapon feeding of a Minbari warcruiser. This new capability allowed to exploit the whole potential of the G.O.D. cannons , with a recharge time of a few seconds, and of the whole weapon system, allowing an impressive firepower. It was a giant step in terms of operational capability.
Mostly, these early studies allowed to design the Warlock with the growth potential to allow the use of more advanced and complete gravimetric systems, such as an artificial gravity environment for the crew and true gravitig drive in the future.
The Warlocks were close to the combat readyness in the 2260, and their inception in operational service during the Civil War was halted only thanks to the sabotages operated by the EFNI Naval commandos (see chronology, year 2261 ) .
The end of the Civil war, and the establishment of the ISA, gave to our scientists and technicians some access to key gravitic techmologies, thanks to the cooperation with the Minbari, and allowed to obtain the break even point for both the artificial garvity environment (gravitic cage) and, as a collateral effect, accelerated the development of a more advanced family of gravitic projector, and allowed us to design and produce a more effective gravimetric propulsion.
The most recent step in the field was the development of more powerful and advanced gravimetric drives, the "Waverider" engines, used on many EA warships, included the Warlock after teh Brightwarrior improvements.
The gravimetric drive is a non-Newtonian propulsion system, whose main advantage is the fact that it generates thrust without the use of propellant: while the maximum acceleratiion is always limitated by the power output of the reactors, and so a gravimetric drive does not means necessarily that the ship that uses it is faster or more manoeuverable than a Newtonian ship, the use of the gravimetric drive means extremely low propellant* consumption, and, consequently, enormous endurances and high speed.
*Note - This does not means that is not used fuel, deuterium, for the fusion reactors, but the consumption of deuterium needed to generate the power for a gravimetric drive is a small fraction of the total mass flow (propellant+fuel for the reactors) needed to generate an equal thrust with a reaction engine like the fusion plasma engines that are the standard propulsion mean of our ships.
The Warlocks have always used Shadow derivated technologies. Until now, the only EA ships that use, or used real Shadow technology are the "Dark Rage" Shadow Destroyers, and the eight Omega-X Shadow Destroyers, these last used and lost during the Civil war.
The first contact the Earth Alliance had with the Shadows (at least, the first contact that has some documentation) dates back to the finding and excavation of a Shadow battlecrab in Syria Planum, on Mars ( see Syria Planum Finding of 2253 ), while further findings and recoveries of pieces of this powerful technology, billions years old, dates back to the late 2250's ( see chronology, years 2259, operation "Bright Eagle" and 2260, "The Ganymede Dig" ).
While the vast majority of this technology is still unexplored, two areas of it were exploited at a good degree: the first one is the developement of the adptive neural grid signal processors, a type of CPU based on nanotechnologies, that has an enormous speed, and an adaptive architecture, both in terms of hardware and software. The Neural processors, as all the Shadow and Shadow-derivated technology, are easy to merge with preexisting systems, and the "shadow processors" strongly enhanced the performances of our tactical and tracking systems.
One of the most discussed pieces of technology used by the Earth alliance is a Shadow-derivated armour. ( see even Armour - The Shadow technologies) - The first operational use of Shadow armour (in fact, an EFRAD development of the specimens collected on Mars and Ganymede) was during the Earth Civil war, with the Shadow Omegas advanced destroyers.
the recovery of relics of shadow vessels made by the EFNI with
the "Bright Eagle" (2259) missions, pushed strongly the
development of new, effective variants of the Shadow
nanotechnological protection, that are actually used on the vast
majority of the EA warships: the first New units using a shadow
derivated armour layer were the Warlock destroyers.
The Armour of the Battlemaster was the same Carbonat IV armour of the Omegas, an evolution of the system employed on the Nova, with a thicker external Boron ceramic ablative layer, and mostly, with near 1.5 to 2 times the thickness of the Omega destroyers: during the Minbari war, the Novas were relatively survivable to the fire of the Sharlins (as said above, were needed two or three direct hits to put them out of combat), so the "brute" approach of the Battlemasters was to increase the thickness of the armor up to a level capable to ensure the survival to the fire of a Minbari Warcruiser for the typical endurance of a fighting. The work done in the second half of the 2250's was so much promising that the Warlock was designed to be equipped with Shadow materials in the room space between some layers of their improved Carbonat armour.
The improvement allowed is awesome: the multilayered armour of the EA ships, supported by the E-Web has yet performances strongly above the average of the Younger races, and the addiction of a Shadowtech layer near triplicates the original resistance against beam and pulse weapons: must be considered that the real Shadow armour (the one of the Shadow battlecrabs), while more effective than its EA Clone, used alone is ineffective against the kinetic weapons, and has shown some weakness against the plasma pulse weapons. The addiction of a Shadowtech layer to the EA armors has shown to be the best of both worlds, making of the Warlocks, and of a whole new generation of EA ships, maybe among the thoughest designs known. A Warlock of the First batch, the EAS Sorceress, in 2262, was attacked and repetedly hit by a Minbari "pirate" Sharlin cruiser, surviving with relative ease the fire of the opponent, and replying with deadly effectiveness (For further details, see "strelas'Tha Incident.)
In the Days of the Plague following the Drakh attack, the Earth was dying, the only ancient technology we were able to manage thanks to about ten years of research and experience, was the Shadow technology and its derivates, and it has proven to work very effectively. At the end, we needed an edge, and we used what we had.
The great advantage of the Nanotechnologycal armour, beyond its impressive effectiveness, is the ease of manufacturing, and the simple way in which it can be applied to preexistent ships. After the Brightwarrior program, all our ships have one or more Nanotechnologycal armour layers, but the Warlock was the very first ship to use this exceptionally advanced technology, well concealed under the external layer of evolved "normal" armour.and Earthforce was well ready to accept a certain delay in the issue of the first units of this class, and a slow initial production rate, in exchange for the use of this technology that, combined with a new type of E-Web, more effective interceptors and with the last developments of the classic Carbonat armours, gave to the new "Heavy Destroyers" an enormous edge in terms of survivability, and consequently in terms of combat effectiveness.
Class: Warlock Beta Brigtwarrior
16 to 22 meter armored hull CARBONAT -VI
(Multi-layer plasteel/Polycristalline composite armour),
anti-neutron ablative armour. Additional layers of nanotechnologychal
Tactical use and
The Warlocks is the first of a new generation of ships: following the polyvalent concept of the Omegas, it is able to perform at optimal level almost all the roles required to a first line miltary unit: anti ship warfare, fleet carrier (the standard line of 48 thunderbolts can grow up to 88 fighters, in case of need), flagship, plabnteary defence and planetary assault, orbital bombardement, these are only examples of the missions covered by them. Furtherly, being a new design, the Warlock has still left a large growth potential: it has power, room and structural strengtw well in excesss to allow improvemts and developments well beyond the yet excellent actual "Brightwarrior" standard.*
The overall design and
development of the Warlock has shown to be exceptionally well
done - It has no real flaws, the few shortcomings in the weapons
emplacements were corrected since the second year of production,
and the layout accepts easily even significant modifications
without problems, as shown in the ease of the evolution from the
original Battlemaster to the actual Warlock Brightwarrior. Maybe
the best asset of the EA destroyers, from the Omega to the latter
Warlock, is the polyvalence of the configuration: they are really
equilibrated designs, competitive as battleships, well defended
against specialised and generic menaces, with a powerful line of
flight that reduced the need for specialised fighter carriers.
The price paid for this multi role capability are the sheer dimensions of our ships: both the Nova and the Omega are, in fact, enormous units, larger and much more massive than the classic cruiser designs of the Narns and Centauri: an Omega is longer and more massive even than a Centauri Octurion Dreadnought, and the Warlock is more massive than a Minbari Shargoti warcruiser.**
The dimensions of the EA warships, anyway, are not matched by a proportionally high cost: the simple, straight lines of the human designs are not related to conceptual limits in the engineering, but to the strong aim kept by our technicians in the ease of production.
The Rocketdyne, with the Nova, introduced a new production technology for the hulls, based upon advanced composites of carbon nanotubes in a polymeric matrix, molded in form of large, straight structural elements: the hull plates and bulkheads are sandwiches made of composite external plates with an inner foam core, while the longitudinal beams, are solid fiber composite elements: all these structural elements are joined together with a molecular bonding technology that produces a frame that from every point of view is a monolithic monocoque structure; the straight shape of the structural elements allows higly authomatised production processes, the assembling of the hulls is extremely quick and easy, the structure is lightweight and enormously sturdy; on the basic hull frame are then placed the armour modules and the various systems, even these produced as complete modules. The frame itself is easy to repair in case of damages. It can be surprising, but the sturdiest ships of the Younger races are literally put together with the glue.
An Omega or a Warlock are much quicker to produce than a Minbari or a Centauri design, and the cost is proportionally reduced. An Omega has more than twice the mass of a Primus, or six times the mass of a Vorchan, but its cost is lesser than a Primus, or near twice a Vorchan, and can be produced in less than a half of the time needed for its Centauri counterpart.
The large dimensions, and the production technologies used, allows even some relevant advantages: as an example, a large ship can survive more damages while retaining combat effectiveness, can be equipped with thicker armour, and the large dimensions implies large engines and large reactors, with proportionally large power production that can feed extremely powerful armament. Furtherly, the human designs from the Nova until now carry from twice to three times the fighters carried by their alien counterparts, and this gives a further relevant advantage in operational terms***
Even if newer specialised designs (Centurion, Nike, Gladium) have specific areas of superiority respect to the Warlocks, none of them has shown a so impressive operational flexibility, being more specialised design, and so, even if the "New Ships" are the very edge of the EA power, the Warlock is, and will be for decades, the true power of the Earthforce military might.
Operationally, The Warlocks have performed very well: in a
combat situation the only real disdvantages respect to a Sharlin
are the lack of a Stealth system and the fuel consumption that
hampers the endurance of the Human destroyer, but the offensive
power is impressive thanks to the extremely effective weapons,
the superior accuracy of the targeting systems, and the strong
An ordinary ship even as powerful as the Drakh cruisers has literally no way to beat a Warlock at the short distance: the volume of fire developed by the high rate of fire pulse cannons and the unstoppable piercing power of the heavy railguns are absolutely devastating, and a point blank discharge of the G.O.D. cannons is easily a definitive reply against every opponent, while at longer distances the exceptional power of the G.O.D. artillery is well supported by the potent missile battery and by a large fighter line based upon the excellent Thunderbolt Starfury.
The same levels of excellence are proven in the defence systems: as said, the combination of interceptors integrated by the effective antifighter point defence systems ensure high protection against plasma weapons, missiles and fighters or light attack crafts, while the advanced E-Web in combination with the superior armour has shown to be extremely impervious to all the attacks, included the most powerful beam weapons used by the younger races: during the Drakh war, the well concealed Shadow Armour proved itself impervious to the Drakhs bosers****: the Warlocks, the Tillmans and, later, the Nikes, rushed in service in increasing numbers, literally whipped away the Drakh ships.
* A further development that will possibly be introduced in the future (10-20 years from now) is a new, more advanced gravimetric drive, and eventually a quantum singularity reactor.
**The actual new generation
Dreadnoughts issued to the EA Navy, so the four Tillmans and the
Centurions, are warships that, while not available in large
quantities, lay in an area well beyond the standards of the
actual fighting units of the younger races: the Tillmans, while
being of proven effectiveness and with a long service ahead of
them, are essentially experimental units, but the Centurion was
conceived after the Shadow war and in full Drakh war, and, as the
Novas were designed to destroy ships of more advanced races
through superior firepower, the Centurion were designed to kill
First Ones level ships through an extremely powerful weapon, in
this case their Aegis Mk XIII Heavy particle cannons, that
literally dictated dimensions and shape of these hughe
***For more than 300 years (1930-2235), the "carrier Ship" has shown to be an essential unit for a fleet, and one of the concepts applied in its designs is that "everything that takes away space for the fighting crafts is useless on a carrier"; this rule worked well in the fightings on the surface of the sea, and worked well even in the space fightings, but at the end the space is a different environment, with its proper rules: there is not an horizon line, the Hyperspace jump technology allows to close the distances with ease, and so a "classic" carrier can easily find herself infolved in an artillery fighting for which the "carrier only" designs are ill-equipped: this means that each carrier needs an escort of medium and heavy warships , and at the end the concept that was developed was to merge the fighter carrier capabilities in the hull of a fighting ship, being more cost effective. The Nova, the Omega and the Warlock have pushed forward this concept: instead of an half squadron (10-16 fighters) carried on a light or medium cruiser, we have placed a true carrier (three or four squadrons) inside an heavy dreadnought, even if now we call them "destroyers".
The thing works properly, because many facilities needed to maintain and operate a line of flight need about the same room and people, both for a small and a large fighter complement. At the end, with the same crew and the same total mass (tons of ships employed) and with a much lower economical expense, the EA "heavy design" keeps the first place for number of fighters and the second (but this is disquisible for the Warlocks) in terms of firepower among the Younger races.
**** The "Bosers" are the
typical shadow technology weapon, a particle beam made of
unstable antibosons, that beyond the kinetic effect at the impact
and the matter/antimatter reactions induced on the target, have
even an interference effect on the atomic ties. While impressive
in their effects and outcome of a refined technology, the Shadow
beams are from many points a blind street: they are really deadly
when fired by emitters of the power of the ones found on the
Shadow battlecrabs, but when fed by more "normal" power
level (like the Drakh reactors) and with a simplified systems,
different from the shadow organic emitters array, lose a lot of
their potential: the Bosers of the Drakh ships were more
powerful, but always in the same order of terminal damage of an
Omega main particle cannon, and less competititive than the main
beams of a Minbari warcruiser.
Among the weapons used by the Ancients (at least, the ones we know) the Shadow Bosers of a Standard dimensions Battlecrab are slightly more ranged, but significantly less powerful than the Quantum Discharge Ccannons used by the Vorlon Cruisers, or the Graviton Heavy Blaster used by the Kirishiacs.