- "Though easily dwarfed by their CAS counterparts, DDS-class heavy carriers are not a force to be trifled with. Given the chance you ever come to be the Shipmaster of one of these fine vessels, it is essential that you know their every strength and weakness."
- ―A scholar, teaching about the DDS at the Covenant War Academy on High Charity.
The DDS-class heavy carrier is a heavy capital warship used by the Covenant Empire before, during and after the Human-Covenant War.
Often dismissively reduced as being a smaller, less capable variation of the CAS-class assault carrier, the Cheran-pattern carrier is currently one of the oldest and most martial ships of its kind in service. Currently seen as a command ship for small armadas, this model was originally billed as being the perfect balance of warship within the Covenant. Unfortunately, it never found a good particular niche, lacking the prestige of assault carriers, the utility of battlecruisers, and the raw power of a heavy cruiser. These deficiencies are not outweighed by its large cargo capacity when compared to dedicated warships and as a result are rarely-seen in the field, being only usually seen coordinating fleet logistics.
As a general combat vessel, the Cheran is, on paper, impressive. When it comes to attacking, seven energy projectors, twenty-eight plasma cannons and almost a dozen heavy plasma torpedo silos can lay down barrage-after-barrage of deadly fire. Average shields, a reinforced superstructure, and thirty metres of nanolaminate - the thickest proportional hull of any known capital ship - ensures it can comfortably withstand the return fire from far larger vessels. It features an expansive command suite capable of coordinating a large fleet, which despite originally being offered as an extra became a staple for later members of this pattern. Unfortunately, all this limits its carrying capacity compared to other carriers and its focus on armour makes it laughably slow for a ship of its size. The rigid nature of their design also means that many components have never been replaced throughout its entire production run, ensuring some newer carriers built to other standards can eclipse them in combat ability, leaving the Cheran as a consistently average ship.
The Lagurn-pattern of carrier is a very recent addition to the Covenant fleet, only introduced in 2488 when the lead ship, the Tenacious Esteem, was released from its assembly forge. Since then, the Lagurn has quickly become a favourite of influential ship masters, Vice Ministers, and Minor Prophets, the latter who use these carriers as interstellar shuttlecraft, turning them into a symbol of political power and ambition. The appearance of a highly-customised Lagurn-pattern carrier in combat fleets often means that some unspoken scheme has been broken or stopped, or that the enemy is hiding something of value.
The Lagurn-pattern has become a favourite for a variety of reasons; the first being its size. Resting between a battlecruiser and an assault carrier in tonnage, the Lagurn is an easy way to generate power without attracting the ire from politicians. Next, military carriers of this pattern are typically designed to hold a large number of fighters and ground forces, along with the hunting preserves and facilities to maintain them. These cavernous spaces can often be tinkered with by independent shipwrights to allow for a near-unlimited level of customisation, from simple strengthening of shields to large amusement parks aimed at showcasing a massive level of wealth. San'Shyuum mainly use them as symbols of vanity, although some Ministers, and even the Hierarchs use them for more devious purposes. Even sophisticated technologies such as stealth field generators can be added on with ease. While these ships are not usually as powerful as the Cheran-pattern, some have taken to Xytan's example and outfitted their carriers with experimental antimatter reactors, vastly increasing the power available to them and allowing for even more opportunities to expand.
Ships of the Line