The Cassard-class Heavy Destroyer was a cutting edge piece of military technology – at the close of the First Age of FTL travel, at least. Notable for its forward mounted bridge and awkward appearance, the Cassard was more than just visually striking. Its formidable armament consisted of high yield, long range particle cannons and forward-firing warhead launchers.
In it’s heyday it was a rival to even American heavy cruisers. But unlike the Americans, the European Union had limited appetite for war in times of peace; military budgets subsequently withered.
Even so, the Union had the superior military at the outbreak of the Pan-Eursasian War. Their Coalition opponents were dealt a number of defeats and routs by groups of Cassards working in formation. The blockade of Ceres was made possible by the firepower they could bring to bear. With little hope of besting the ships with their own military, the Coalition turned to mercenaries to survive. For an eye-watering fee, the ’7th Heaven’ Squadron of the Tailored Saints offered to check the advance of the Union Fleet around the Kepler System.
They were good value for their fee, though. The Union Fleet, ledby the EUS Dupleix, were routed by the fast moving fighters of the 7th Heaven Squadron. Ultra-modern ECM technology meant the Tailored Saint interceptors could operate against Cruisers with near-impunity and had managed to destroy or disable several Cassards before reinforcements could arrive.
The loss of the Dupleix was a watershed moment in the war. The old Union fleet engaged much more conservatively from then on, always within fighter cover. As a stopgap measure, the remaining Cassards were retrofitted with anti-fighter weapons. The panicked Union policymakers diverted unprecedented funds into military budgets in response to the War, however, and the Cassards were eventually replaced with more modern designs.
A handful remain in service, loaned to the Border Fleet as part of the Toronto Treaty. The remaining Cassards were bought by the Free Brigades mercenary group.