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Class overview
Name:

Chiron-class light cruiser

Operators

United Nations Space Command

Preceded by

Victoria-class armored cruiser

Succeeded by

Hades-class heavy cruiser, Io-class light cruiser

Built

2485-2500

General characteristics
Type

Light cruiser

Engine unit(s)

Initial

  • Mark II Hanley-Messer FDR (1)

Refit

  • Mark VIII Orosco-Mikoyan DFR (1)
Slipspace Drive

Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine

Hull

Initial

  • 90 centimeters Titanium-A armor

2525 refit

  • 150-220 cenitimeters Titanium-A armor
Armament

Initial

  • Mk I Magnetic Accelerator Cannons (2 with 3 rounds each)
  • Ares missile silos (20)
  • M101 "Saber" point defense guns (9)

2525 refit

Complement
  • 1 Longsword squadron
  • Pelican Dropships
Additional information
[Source]


The Chiron-class light cruiser was one of the earliest class of ships in the UNSC to operate shipboard Magnetic Accelerator Canons, and the first to house two. Designed in 2484 and produced starting 2485, at the time they were considered one of the most well armed ships in the Navy. At the time it superseded the Victoria-class armored cruiser with their heavier tonnage and armaments, outgunning almost any previous cruiser class in the Navy.

As well as two MACs, the Chirons were armed with twenty Ares missile silos. Nine point defense guns provided protection against single ships and boarding craft. The Chirons also were also complemented by a squadron of Longswords who could defend the ship and gave the class some degree of tactical flexibility. On top of having two MAC cannons, the Chiron's could devote all reactor output into recharging one cannon more quickly in the heat of battle.

The Chiron's design was the precursor of the traditional "monolithic" style of modern UNSC cruisers being composed of a single octagonal section that concaves in the middle. The ship was comparatively shorter than later cruisers such as the Halcyon-class. The bridge was embedded into the face the ship and a small hangar was housed underneath the ship. Finally, mounted on the front sections of the ship, two "horns" housed the ship's MAC canons, one was housed on the very upper part of the ship while the other on the very bottom. Strangely, the Chiron-class' fusion reactors were housed farther forward the ship than normal and was clearly denoted by the unmistakable circular patch of external armor that dominated that section of the ships.

Despite its novelty as a dual-cannon armed ship the Chiron's were not without their design flaws. Despite being well armed for the time, the Chirons were never the fastest cruisers in the fleet, being considered underpowered even in their heyday. Their armor was fairly light and that made them more vulnerable to anti-ship fire and enemy interceptors than the later ships who could absorb damage better. While they possessed nine point defense guns, their fields-of-fire proved to have blind spots that could be exploited by single ships as demonstrated by Insurrectionist fighters multiple times, though the presence of a Longsword squadron helped to balance this. The obvious location of their reactors did not help matters especially during the Human-Covenant War as they made obvious targets.

Not long into it's production the Chiron's were replaced by the Hades-class heavy cruisers in 2499 and then Io-class light cruiser in 2500. It's once fearsome arsenal were now considered paltry as MAC technology improved. The Chirons fell out of use and in 2502 production of the Chiron-class was permanently canceled. Most of them were scrapped or decommissioned while others found their way into Colonial Military Administration reserves as surplus.

However the Chirons got a new lease on life as the Human-Covenant War erupted and the remaining ships were called back into service. Their obsolete Mk I MAC cannons were inadequate against the Covenant's superior technology but they along with other aging ships received refits and upgrades to their arsenal and all remaining Chirons were refitted with modern MAC cannons, thirty Archer missile pods, significantly increased armor plating, and brand-new reactors.

No ships survived the war, the UNSC Gaugamela was the last of its class, which was decommissioned in 2535 and turned into a museum ship before being returned to active service and being destroyed during the Battle of Earth.

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