And A Desert Topping

Laurë Isilvieré-class battlecarrier

Builders:

  • Ethring Iron and Steam Works
  • Sukórya Graving & Drydocks
  • Telírvess Naval Yards

Displacement: 61,620 long tons (standard)

Length: 268m (waterline); 276m (overall)
Beam: 36m
Draft: 12.2m

Propulsion:

  • 4 x Empire Nucleonics, ICC “Neutron Storm” nucleonic boilers (PWR), driving
  • 4 x 2 Blackstone Industries, ICC high-low pressure turbogenerators, powering
  • 4 shafts x 2 Hammerforge Tool Company, ICC heavy-duty electric drive motors

Speed: 36 knots
Range: Unlimited (6 year refueling interval)

Complement: 1,768 officers and men (including air wing and flag)

Sensors:

  • Artifice Armaments, ICC, ASR-40/2a air search radar
  • Artifice Armaments, ICC, SSR-45 surface search radar
  • Hydrodyne Group Mk. 38/1 passive area-awareness sonar
  • Imperial Navy Mk. 45 Gun Director with 4 x fire control radar
  • Scorched Earth Infosystems Variant 32 (Block II) electronic warfare suite
  • Shimana Aerospace flight control and navigation system

Armament (Primary):

  • 6 x 384mm superheavy mass driver, in two triple turrets
    (A & B both forward of primary superstructure; B superfiring from deck 01)
  • 96 x VLS cells for Artifice Armaments, ICC MG-60 Sarissa long-range missiles
    (1 x 72 and 1 x 24 blocks of cells; supports multiple types; land-attack and/or AShM)

Armament (Secondary):

  • 8 x 96mm Imperial Navy Type Nine dual-purpose heavy mass driver, in four twin turrets
    (surrounding the primary superstructure)
  • 6 x Artifice Armaments, ICC Deathray rapid-firing point defense laser
  • 16 x dedicated launchers for Artifice Armaments, ICC MG-34 Spar medium-range AShM
    (arranged 4 x 4)
  • 16 x dedicated launchers for Artifice Armaments, ICC MA-98 Hawkeye medium-range SAM
    (arranged 4 x 4)

Aircraft:

  • “V” dual flight deck aft, single elevator, 2 x electromagnetic catapults
  • 12 x N5-5I Ripper multirole V/STOL attack aircraft
  • 12 x Clockwork Souls, ICC NL-I40 Purity interceptor drones
  • 12 x Clockwork Souls, ICC NL-R36 Spyglass reconnaissance drones

Armor:

  • Belt: 12″ spinmetal
  • Decks: 8″ spinmetal over machinery and magazines
  • Turrets: 9″-18″ spinmetal
  • Conning tower: 12″ spinmetal
  • Secondary systems: 8″ heavy steel plate
  • Elsewhere: 0.5″ heavy steel plate

The Laurë Isilvieré-class battlecarrier was a product of the post-Fourth Oceanic Dominance environment. While the Fourth had proven the supremacy of the BB/CV hybrid battle group over the battleship-centric doctrine of the Second and Third, the post-Dominance environment left the Admiralty confronting a single inescapable fact.

The hybrid battle group, while unparalleled in its strength and flexibility, was also unparalleled in its expense, both to construct and to operate. This was a matter of considerable concern, since the Admiralty was now required to exercise command over a considerably greater area of ocean than had previously been the case, and the events of the Third Dominance had demonstrated the vulnerability of a fleet in being.

While battlecarrier designs had generally been dismissed as inefficient (critics noting quite correctly that a direct medium-range combatant such as a battleship had mission requirements quite contrary to that of a indirect long-range combatant such as an aircraft carrier), studies suggested that combining the functions of the primary vessels of the hybrid battle group, along with a reduced number of escorts, could create a low-intensity battle group suitable for exercising sea control in secondary theaters, enabling the full hybrid battle groups to be reserved for more demanding missions. In this role, their inefficiency would be compensated for by their economy.

Thus the Laurë Isilvieré-class battlecarrier came to be, combining the forward turrets and missile loadout of the Invictus-class battleships with an aft-mounted flight deck and hangar based on those of an escort carrier. Operating in low-intensity battlegroups accompanied by a limited number of escorts (typically a single cruiser, a pair of destroyers, and a pair of attack submarines), they and their successors kept the Imperial Star flying over Eliéra’s oceans until the end of the Consolidation.

Ships of the Laurë Isilivieré-class are named after Imperial Hands, befitting their nature as agents competent in multiple roles.


(Notes for those paying attention:

This is about two generations removed from the Ulricik Bancrach-class destroyer and a little ahead of our state of the art, hence the coilguns and the laser CIWS. Various aspects of its design were inspired by the proposal for the Phase II refit for the Iowa-class battleships, which can give you a general idea of what a Laurë Isilivieré-class might look like – except that, being nuclear, they have no stacks. Also, they wear dazzle camo, because dazzle camo is cool.)

Notable Replies

  1. I’m curious as to why the BB/CV hybrid mix was preferred to a pure CV battlegroup, or indeed why BBs held on for so long. Is the flexibility of a variegated, customisable air wing not infinitely greater than bringing along a dedicated gun platform? Especially considering air wings on Eliera can be comfortably nucleonic and so there is even less disadvantage compared to a direct fire solution when it comes to maintaining patrols and screens to reduce response time.

  2. Avatar for avatar avatar says:

    Well, the first answer that springs to mind is “why did they keep unretiring the Iowa-class battleships?”, with the answer being “because sometimes what you need is a heaping helping of fire support”. I note that the serious complaint about those battleships was never that the big guns weren’t useful; it was that they were old, expensive-to-upgrade ships with high crew requirements, which made them not useful enough .

    But consider these historical differences:

    One, there was never quite such an, um, definitive set of historical events to emphasize the beginning of the Carrier Supremacy Era. (i.e., Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, then Midway). Also, they were rather better than the USN was, historically, at integrating aircraft carriers into their doctrine as major combatants pre-Pearl, so the CV/BB one-two punch theory was already out there.

    Two, they’re rather tougher than in our timeline. Because spinmetal, which if you recall the Invincible-class fast battleship, they used in limited quantities for citadel armor. Well, that was then, when the process involved mining limited and irreplaceable deposits of it. By the time of the Invictus-class battleship (and thus the Laurë Isilvieré-class battlecarrier that was based on it), two generations of ship designs later, they’ve figured out how to breed spinmetal, and so can afford to lavish this remarkably strong (aramid-varietal yield strength) and relatively light metal on their armoring schemes, as you can see from the description of the BV’s armor up above.

    One of the big contributors to the death of the battleship was that it doesn’t take a lot of anti-ship missile to kill a ship, and quite often just one will do it. Well, now imagine that the armor is approximately an order of magnitude better . Just like in the old days, you have to batter them to death, unless you’re down with breaking out the atomic shells. A lot of the time, even if you do break out the atomic shells. This takes time and mass.

    Three, they’ve got bigger, longer-range teeth. In our timeline, when the need for surface combatants reared its head again in the 1960s, the answer was the guided missile cruiser and, slightly later, the guided missile destroyer - because we’d already, see one, obsoleted battleships.

    Once again, back in the days of the Invincible-class fast battleship, the 14" powder guns were the primary armament. Two generations later, for the Invictus-class battleship, the 16" coilguns are still counted among the primary armament, but a fair assessment would say they took second place to the fuckton of VLS cells prepared to open a Macross Missile Massacre-flavored can of pain on anything that wanders into Sarissa range at a moment’s notice.

    Which is to say, they put the missiles on the battleships because they were already the major surface combatant class, so why change? Also, a battleship has a lot of room for VLS cells.

    They just don’t bother labeling it a BBG, because all BBs of its generation would need the G, as would the CCs and DDs. (Same as the lack of N.) The distinction is that the CCs and DDs tend to stock defensive anti-air missiles in their VLS cells, rather than the general-purpose/anti-ship Sarissa.

    The combination of two and three means that the CVs take enough time to kill the opposing battle group that it can close the range more, and the missiles (primarily) and coilguns (secondarily) mean the BBs don’t have to close the range so much before engaging.

    tl;dr Two equivalent battle groups closing on each other will start out tearing into each other at aircraft ranges, but if they don’t choose to disengage, will at least partially survive long enough to brawl up close.

    Additional note: also, the laser CIWS coming into fashion in this era will hopefully detonate and/or break up incoming missiles before they hit, but won’t do a hell of a lot to a big ol’ shell, much less a solid k-slug.

    Further additional note: And, y’know, from a Doylist perspective it provides more interesting naval battle scenes than “surface fleets are missiled to death by over-the-horizon aircraft in a battle lasting maybe five minutes”.

  3. Out of curiosity, was this in any way inspired by the Eminent Domain from Project Wingman?

  4. Avatar for avatar avatar says:

    I suspect not, largely because I’ve never heard of it. Tell me more?

  5. Project Wingman is a slightly niche indie remake / spinoff / homage to Ace Combat, set in a post-modern-age, post-apocalyptic Earth where the continental US was split in two and geopolitics is shaped by access to geothermal hotspots and by extension to a McGuffinite energy source called cordium.

    Anyway you play on behalf of a secessionist independence force, whose first naval move is to have their coast guard steal an unescorted battleship from the government and re-christen it the Eminent Domain. Said battleship would honestly not look out of place as a pure-battleship version of what you’ve described above, just an arsenal ship bristling with SAMs, railguns, and the like. The game even canonically shows it being a part of, and engaging with, BB/CV battlegroups. No spinmetal though.

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