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design by Lewis Roberts
If the AE is forced into a fight with the Imperium, it will lose. There is no way that one small world can hope to defeat the combined might of hundreds of worlds with higher tech level weapons and ships. If the AE is to survive it has to make the possibilty of a fight with the Imperium, so costly that the Imperium will choose to ignore the AE and go find someone weaker to pick on.
Initial intelligence suggests that Imperial forces consist of 10,000 to 25,000 ton ships escorted by the highly tauted Imperial Fighters. While Imperial Fighters do cost significant amounts, to discourage Imperial attack, their capital ships have to be in danger. The Archer SDB was developed to do this.
The Archer was given 5 of the biggest laser cannons, that the AE can build, to save money these lasers were made to be non-steerable. These lasers are over 8meters in diameter and fire 100 500Mj laser pulses per half hour. (in game terms ROF=100) These lasers are controlled by a state of the art Master Fire Director. Only one MFD was chosen, both because MFDs are very expensive and also the tatic behind the Archer is for it to close with the enemy and to concentrate all of its firepower on the capital ships of the enemy fleet. Fighters and escorts will be ignored until the capital ships are destroyed. To protect the Archer against the fire from the Fighters, the ship was given a thick armored hull, it was also given 7 sandcaster turrets. These sandcasters can protect the ship against the laser stings of fighters, as well as the capital ship's PAW spinal mounts. In addition 5 point defense lasers are mounted, these can shoot down incoming missiles, and any fighters that are in range. Also 200 AEMS decoys and 200 PEMS decoys are installed, these can reduce the chance of a sensor lock on by a hostile craft. EMM was looked at but the 70 MCr price tag was thought to be too expensive.
The Laser cannon of the Archer's should outrange many of the weapons, found on Imperial ships. (The TL-12 Meson guns found in Starships only range up to 40 hexes, while the Archer's laser ranges out to 80 hexes. The typical turret laser, while being able to reach 80 hexes, will be unable to penetrate the Archer's armor plating at those ranges.)
While the laser lances of the Archer are a powerful weapon, the Archer is two tech levels behind that of their Imperial foes. This does effect the design, the Archer can only accelerate at 1G, this will allow the Imperial forces to dictate the range at which the combat is fought. While this is unfortunate, it is not fatal, because of the long range of the Archer's laser lance.
Many weapon systems were looked at while desiging the Archer. The three major weapon systems are spinal PAWS, missile bays and large lasers. Missiles are the most effective weapon at TL-10, but they are extremly expensive. A 1000 ship can easily carry 100-200 ton missile bay capable of firing a huge missile volley. Missile bays are very cheap, but missiles require a MFD for each 3 missiles fire, as each MFD costs about 50 MCr the price for the ship would sky rocket. Adding still more expense the missiles cost just under a million credits each. As the AE desires an effective yet inexpensive ship, missiles were not selected. It was feld that large laser lances can do more damage, with better penetration than PAWS, so linked laser lances were selected.
The ship is egg shaped, the laser lances are mounted around the pointed end of the egg, while the HEPlaR engines point out the fat end of the egg. The sandcasters and point defense lasers are mounted evenly around the middle of the egg. Most of the fuel, is mounted directly behind the armor, to act as extra protection. The bridge and engineroom are located in the center of the ship. It was felt that the most essential systems should be put behind as many barriers as possible.
Description of the ship
|Displacement: 990 tons||Hull Armor: 200|
|Length: 29.8 meters||Volume: 13,860 m3|
|Price: 608.7 MCr||Target Size: S|
|Configuration:Streamlined Spehre||Tech Level: 10|
|Mass (Loaded/Unloaded): 18,562.9 / 18,126.5|