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design by Nick Bradbeer
Due to the short hull lengths available, as well as the fact that large ships would be able to carry heavy defences, no spinal mount weapon was selected. Instead, the Beacon is designed around four batteries of very heavy grav-focussed X-Ray lasers. These were selected for long range, on the basis that a smaller ship must be able to inflict damage before it enters effective Meson Gun range, as well as for devastating firepower and armour penetration. The main weapons, "Omega Battery", comprising two 2000Mj X-Ray laser bays, are capable of penetrating over 137cm of Bonded Superdense Armour, whilst the secondary and tertiary batteries have lesser, though still formidable performance. Due to high rates of fire and high-tech Master Fire Control Systems, the lasers can fire out to 630,000km with no penalties for range.
A secondary missile armament is carried as well, both to provide a punch at extreme range, and to tie up enemy beam weapons in close. Standard procedure is to fire the first volley at medium to long range, and then reload whilst approaching, to fire again at point-blank range.
The Beacon is capable of manoeuvring at 5G's of acceleration, in order to control the range and keep pace with an enemy. It is assumed that most opponents will be on an approach vector, and the Beacon will merely need to station-keep within weapons range, but these craft are quite capable of taking the fight to the enemy. The Beacon carries enough fuel to manoeuvre at full acceleration for twelve hours, making a capable long-range interceptor.
The price paid for these systems comes mainly from the spartan crew accommodation and support facilities. This is justified by the fact that most of the time support facilities and accommodation will be provided by the facility being defended, so these are less mission-critical than heavy guns and the power to fire them. Also no small craft are carried by the Beacon, but it is capable of planetary landings, with CG lifters and landing gear.
It is also of note that the Beacon Class cost in at just under 600MCr. This is a quite considerable saving, allowing a greater number to be built, and thus more facilities to be protected.
All in all, the Beacon Class is a combat ship, through and through. While it may not be as mission-versatile as a regular fleet warship, it is quite capable of giving that warship a bloody nose if it shows up where it isn't wanted.
Beacon System Defense Cruiser
|Displacement: 990 tons||Hull Armor: 224|
|Length:130.41 meters||Volume:13,860 m3|
|Price: 599.94 MCr||Target Size: M|
|Configuration: SL Wedge||Tech Level: 15|
|Mass (Loaded/Unloaded):14,542.2 / 14,071.8|