The William Howard Taft-class Strike Carrier is the first of the ‘Highpoint Hybrids’, a nickname for the unique designs of ship thought up and build at the USEF base at Ursa Minor. Since humans developed the ability to field small fightercraft in deep space, carrier ships had always been large and lightly armed. Their size made them slow and vulnerable.
This new class of ship was designed to improve upon these flaws. The Taft is as fast as the average cruiser and thus able to react much more quickly than traditional carriers. It also packs armament worthy of a warship, with long and medium range anti-ship weaponry. This means commanders can defend themselves without the need for a cavalcade of escort ships.
All of these enhancements meant a compromise on fighter capacity. The Taft can deploy just six craft of it’s own; four from inner hangar bays and two from the forward-facing ‘ready positions’. However, USEF commanders value quality over quantity; only the sharpest, slickest Scimitar pilots are assigned Strike Carrier duty. Additionally, carrying only six fighters means they can be deployed and collected in short order. This increases the Taft’s ability to react to changing combat situations quickly.
The first model was brought into service soon after the tragedy at Freya VII. The USS Taft led the American fightback, using it’s speed and adaptability to seek and destroy Wun’Tux raiding parties in human space. These counterstrikes cumulated in the assault on Dronta VIII; in which the three strike carriers and a number of support ships worked together to destroy and dismantle the galaxy’s largest slave market.
- USS Ranger – the first of the class to be destroyed by the Wun’Tux; lost to a cleverly prepared trap.
Crew: 110 [including flight crews]
Role: Battlefield command, independent operation
Manufacturer: Lockheed-Boeing SpaceWorks
> 2 x Photonic Cannons [underslung turrets]
> 2 x Fragmentation Cannon [belly turrets]
> 4 x “Starsnipe” Flak Turrets
Special: Fighter Bay [default load: 6 x X-33 Space Superiority Fighters]