"For more than two decades, the UNSC Navy has been smashed into the ground, with none of their ships capable of taking on their own equivalents without severe losses. Here at SinoViet, we believe that time has long since past - our engineers are set on creating the next-generation of warships; faster, stronger, better in every way. And to prove it, we will now reveal a ship that can take on a Covenant vessel three times its size. Now, we will no longer play the prey, wondering if the next day will be our last. From this day onwards, we are the galaxy's apex predators - and we will not allow ourselves to be kicked down ever again."
―SinoViet marketing spokesperson, unveiling the Nevada-class frigate.
The Nevada-class heavy frigate (hull classification symbol: FFG) is a heavy general-purpose escort and combat vessel that was utilised by the UNSCNavy in the immediate aftermath of the Human-Covenant War. One of dozens of new designs created during and after the war to phase out the UNSC's battered fleet of frigates and destroyers, the Nevada is the largest and most powerful frigate ever built by the UNSC. It represents a considerable shift from the previous SinoViet Heavy Machinery design philosophy, trading cost-efficiency and some adaptability for superior combat capabilities and more advanced technologies. Despite this, the Nevada still retains the traditional shape of its predecessors, and can still be counted on as a reliable 'jack of all trades' frigate.
The Nevada-class was introduced in 2550, with its development accelerated after the Fall of Paris IV. Being a test-bed for a number of experimental technologies, the Nevada saw limited service as its complicated frame and untested subsystems saw questions arise about its reliability. Despite participating in a small number of battles in the years before, the Nevada only saw action in numbers during the Fall of Reach in which the class took heavy casualties. Despite this, the frigates' proven potential would see development continue until finally the class was approved for mass-production after the Battle for Earth. Hotly-competing with other next-generationescorts, the Nevada would fulfil a valuable niche as a heavily-armed long-range patrol ship. Disregarding unforeseen circumstances, these frigates are expected to serve for many decades during humanity's most vulnerable hour.
The concept for planning the next generation of frigates was first conceived within SinoViet around the start of the Human-Covenant War, when reports on the hellish casualty rates first reached the company. At first, their response was to accelerate the development of their Stalwart-class light frigate, a light-weight warship originally contracted to screen the UNSC cruisers of the more deadly Covenant craft. While it performed superbly at its intended role, it did nothing to stall the high rate of attrition of the frigates. So badly was it that SinoViet was forced to begin seriously working on the next-generation of frigates in 2543, as humanity's loss would result in the destruction of the company and its assets. It was administrated by Vice Admiral Michael Stanforth of ONI fame, who would ensure the project would remain on schedule and approve for the acquisition of classified material. Actual development of the new frigate would again fall towards Doctor Gaurav Shankar, who designed all of SinoViet's modern frigate subclasses.
The design brief called for Shankar's team to design a warship that can destroy its intended equivalent, the CRS-class frigate. It would be built as the successor of the Paris-class frigate, combining heavier firepower, improved durability, and more advanced technology. The design team would immediately get to work, with early attempts looking at adapting existing frigates with experimental technology. Shankar would later describe the entire process as a 'shipwright's nightmare', between his superiors ordering the new ship to conform to existing SinoViet designs and Stanforth's reluctance to reveal the complete details on experimental components. Despite this, the team would rise to the challenge, eventually producing a design that borrowed heavily from the Paris-class frigate. Satisfying all departments, the lead ship would be laid down in 2548, and after two years of testing, would be approved for production.
Role and Usage
"During the War, it was no secret that being sent on a frigate was a deathwish. We prayed that we could do better than the one before us. Now? Now we can stand against the same enemy, and make them suffer through the same ritual instead."
―Anonymous frigate captain
A Nevada-class frigate and a handful of pelicans rush away from an exploding capital ship.
True to the heart of SinoViet's previous generation of frigates, the Nevada-class heavy frigate is most at home as a lightweight multirole starship or 'Jack of All Trades,' able to dynamically switch from clashing with fleets in orbit, to supporting ground assaults, to ferrying supplies and personnel between UNSC bases. In this way, it is supposed to form the muscle of the reconstituted UNSC fleet, where it would round out units that are composed of more specialised spacecraft, and supplement them where possible. On top of this, the Nevada-class is optimised towards two crucial niches that are currently not covered by its competitors: reconnaissance, and extended operations. These frigates have an incredibly sensitive scanning apparatus, which are so advanced that they have proven effective at detecting cloaking screens on spy ships. This makes it useful in anti-prowler warfare, and it is not unusual for these ships to be sent in before the rest of their battle group to thwart ambushes. The second field is obvious, as the Nevada-class frigate carries enough fuel and consumables, such as food, Oxygen, and water, to conduct almost a year of continuous operation. This particular need is currently unable to be met by Aerofabrique's frigates, whose budgeted ships are too high-performance to last for any longer than four months.
In combat, the Nevada-class is most effective at providing an air defence measure against space fighters and flying in formation with their command ship during fleet engagements. Its mixed arsenal of light and heavy weapons makes it particularly effective, as it can still assist its flagship even if its main Magnetic Accelerator Cannon is disabled or destroyed. It comes equipped with the standard suite of countermeasures common on all wartime UNSC ships, such as ferric filings, guided electromagnets, and obstructive smoke dispensers to further support its allies and prolong their survival.
Weaknesses and Counter-tactics
The Nevada maintains the traditional frigate shape, maintaining the winged engines, twin armoured bow pylons and an underslung troop bay present on nearly all frigate classes since the Charon-class light frigate. However, it does not go so far as to adopt the stripped-down design of its predecessors, instead adopting a bulkier, more monolithic profile with fewer weaknesses in its superstructure to maximise structural integrity.
A technical diagram of the frigate.
The bow is characterised by its split boons, with the top housing the MACs, forward Archer missile pods and most of the side ion manoeuvring engines, and the bottom containing the crew quarters, most of the vital sensors and communications arrays, and the primary life-support subsystems. The split isn't particularly pronounced on this ship, with the superstructure connecting both with the first fifty metres. It is at the front of this connection where the primary bridge is located, with two docking ports on each side. It is unusually-small and not very pronounced for a UNSC ship; a trick done to make it look like an observation deck, ensuring that incoming bombers will be more likely to drop their payload further down the frigate. Should the Combat Information Centres (CIC) be attacked, there are two retractable point-defence guns which can shoot down incoming munitions and an independent miniature shield generator to protect it. Less than a dozen of the ship's officers man the cramped bridge, with their stations located on the sides and back. The captain resides in a command chair at the front surrounded by touchscreens which can bring up any information he desires. Unfortunately, the Nevada's bridge has come under scrutiny by their crews for two reasons. Firstly, the docking ports located right behind the bridge have been identified as a weak point, potentially allowing a boarding party to easily capture the bridge with minimal resistance. Secondly, the crew must take an elevator up several levels to reach the closest escape pods, affecting their chances of survival. An emergency internally-mounted CIC is installed at the back, just forward of the engine wings.
Flanking just behind the bridge are the two hangar modules, which are protected by six raised M40 "Suppressor" autocannons, three on the top and bottom. These are the frigate's primary broadsiding elements, capable of firing slugs clocking in at nearly thirty centimetres in diameter at both a high fire rate and velocity. In between the hangar bay doors are four M910 "Rampart" point-defence guns. Optimised for high rate-of-fire, these turrets are capable of dynamically switching between sub-calibre 50mm rounds for smaller threats such as fighters and missiles and 105mm anti-fighter, covering the launch of the ship's complement from any threat possible. The fore of these sections contained a single fusion drive, directed downwards to support the frigate's weight in atmospheric conditions or give inspired captains more opportunities with manoeuvring. Behind these are five hangar doors adapted from its predecessors, all well-armoured against even heavy anti-ship munitions. However, these doors are only large enough to accommodate aircraft the same size as the D82-EST Darter, so in spite of the module's size it can only carry smaller aircraft such as AV-14 Hornets and F-99 Wombat drones. Because of this, a subclass had to be developed with hangars wide enough to accommodate F-41E Broadswords. The section which connects the lateral pods to the main body also contains the frigate's heavy missile complement, powerful enough to threaten even Covenant ships almost three times its size.
The bridge of the Nevada-class frigate.
Towards the end of the top boon, and only featured on post-war frigates, is the circular shield generator, custom-built for the frigate's needs. Unlike those on the Autumn-class heavy cruiser, these are activated upon detection of any enemy vessels rather than impacts to the hull, providing superior protection for the frigate. Power is not an issue as it is powered directly by the frigate's secondary fusion reactor behind them, reinforced to protect it from incoming fire. Resting on top of it is the main MASER communications array and an observation deck, both of which were ripped off from a Paris-class frigate to streamline production costs. On the other side is the ship's barracks, which hold the living quarters and cryotube bays for the Nevada's UNSC Marine and ODST teams. A small elevator only holds four M12 Warthogs for reconnaissance duties is added on the bottom, with the front housing two acceleration tubes for the HEV pods. This entire section can be completely removed when operating exclusively in escort duties, minimising its target profile and cutting off unnecessary weight.
Unlike modern frigate classes, the Nevada still retains the two engine modules flanking its central aft section, inspiring fears that it could be easily rendered immobile through coordinated fire. In practice, such a weakness rarely reveals itself as weapons that can effortlessly cut through its tougher armour will spread much worse impacts across its hull. The advantages of this layout mean that the frigate can be outfitted with the engine components from any other SinoViet frigate in an emergency, as well as limiting time spent at drydocks for maintenance. A high-tolerance RADAR antenna is mounted at the back, designed to filter out radiation from its engines to detect any trailing craft. Right before it are two more M40 naval coilguns to protect its flank, and the wings have hardpoints to mount sixteen additional Archer missile pods. Both of these immediately address the key weakness of the Strident-class frigate, a later competitor, in that the Nevada can be a threat from nearly all angles whereas the Strident has a massive weapon blind-spot on its belly and aft. On the wings are its two primary fusion reactors, hidden within a greatly-reduced section thanks to the removal of many missiles and other systems onto the frigate's main body. Unlike previous frigate designs, these have powerful fusion drives on both their front and back, with the forward ones being conventional models while the aft has some curious bracing further back from their main exhausts. This bracing features either an acceleration field to make older fusion drives more powerful, or hold a latent stabilisation field to suppress the effects of reversed-engineered repulsor engines derived from salvaged Covenant warships. Because of the engines' small size, the protective armour shields are much smaller than its predecessors. This is offset by the armour being angled inward to offer more protection in broadside fights.
Propulsion and Powerplant
A Nevada-class frigate firing its MAC.
The Nevada-class frigate is among the most powerful frigates ever built by the UNSC, combining a large array of cutting-edge technology with tried-and-true weapon systems. The strongest weapon in its arsenal is its main Series-7 heavy-coil MAC. The Series-7 is an improved copy of the 56A2D4/MAC used on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, using magnetic-field recyclers, booster capacitors and more efficient components to recapture the energy used during the firing sequence. This allows the 220-metre long MAC to fire two 1170mm rounds in rapid succession while decreasing the charging cooldown by up to twenty percent. These rounds are powerful enough to deplete the shields of a CRS-class frigate and deal moderate damage to the unprotected hull in a single salvo. Redundant coils are installed to reduce its vulnerability to damage and sabotage or switch out overheated coils, leaving its cooldown time dependent only on the reactor's output.
Firing constantly throughout any given battle are anywhere from twenty-four to fifty pods of M58 Archer missile pods, each which contain thirty individual devices. As the UNSC's most popular missile for almost sixty years, the M58 Archer is not the largest or most powerful missile in service, but makes up for this with modularity and numbers. They are fast and persistent, and while they struggle against interceptors and lighter models of spacefighters they can easily wipe out hoards of boarding craft and gunships. They are capable of accepting a 500 kilogram explosive of varying types, ranging from conventional or specialised explosives to Multiple Independently Targeting Pods (MITP) to a variety of electronic warfare systems. However, normally they are factory-fitted with a high-explosive penetrator with some ionic qualities, which is effective against all common forms of shielding and armour but does not specialise in either type. To maximise damage, the actual warhead is reinforced and carries a delayed collision timer to allow it to impart itself as deep as possible into armour as possible before exploding in a directed cone forwards. While Archer missiles are difficult to break locks with thanks they reliably homing in on laser-designated targets, their predictable flight patterns make them easy prey for point-defence systems. As a result, they are unleashed in massive swarms - the Nevada-class frigate can fire no less than 120 and a maximum of 250 Archer missiles in an instant, which is considered standard for a ship of its size.
Five heavy missile pods are installed across the bow of the frigate, usually carrying one hundred Howler missiles in total. Each pod has space for twenty individual munitions and can fire up to five at any given instant, meaning that they can only fire four volleys before needing to be reloaded. To make up for this, Howlers carry a large warhead that is very effective against both energy shielding and armoured hulls; the entire complement on a Nevada is enough to destroy a Covenant destroyer. Their primary payload is a compressed ionic gas that is ignited into plasma upon impact, disrupting energy shields and has proven equally capable of burning through armour. A high-explosive charge detonates slightly afterwards to maximise the time to tunnel into the enemy where it can be most effective; this feature can be removed to cause large-scale destruction in ground campaigns. Because so few of these missiles are normally carried on UNSC ships, they are outfitted with a powerful drive system that rapidly accelerates them towards the target with only minimal manoeuvrability once their course is corrected. As they are more vulnerable to point-defence than traditional missiles, standard protocols call for them to be fired after a large swarm of Archer missiles to reduce the number that would be shot down by the Covenant's pulse lasers.
Capable of both anti-aircraft and anti-ship roles, the M40 Suppressors are a versatile if light weapon system.
The last general weapon system the Nevada can call upon are fourteen M40 Suppressor naval autocannons. The smallest turret to be designed with ship-to-ship combat in mind, the M40 is the successor to the M37 gun system mounted on the Paris-class frigate and acts in a similar role as a joint anti-ship and anti-fighter solution. As before, they are best used in conjunction with other Suppressors, which is why so many are focused around the front hangar bays; they share overlapping fields of fire, ensuring they can support each other in taking down challenging threats. Now measuring only seven metres in width, they have been granted an improved base which is optimised for high-speed tracking along with an increased maximum barrel elevation up to 125o, the latter removing the uppermost blind-spot which plagued previous models. Both innovations, which are paired with an upgraded targeting computer, are intended to help increase the turret's performance against spacefighters, although this is still not a recommended action. The rounds measure either thirteen inches (330mm) or eleven inches (279mm), with the former being made out of Tungsten while the latter is mixed in with high-quality thermite for some incendiary and explosive qualities. Both are designed for different uses, with the former used for damaging close-range brawls and the latter for extended-range fighting, though both are deadly enough to instantly vapourise any strikecraft it connects with and can certainly breach most light warship armour plates. Finally, the armour is strengthened while weight and materials used are saved through the use of newly-developed grades of alloys, specifically Titanium-A armour, although this gives a barely noticeable increase in durability during combat.
If engaged by strikecraft or weapons that can evade its other lines of defence, the Nevada-class can activate a variety of close-in weapon systems (CIWS) to ward them off. The most abundant are its thirty-four M710 Bulwark point-defence guns. Built around a single high-spin gatling gun, Bulwarks are compact automated turrets designed for use against missiles within a five-kilometre radius of the ship. Only a metre or so at their longest point, they have a firerate of about 1,348 rounds per minute. While they are technically capable of taking out spacefighters, they are unable to reliably destroy them. For this purpose, eight M870 point defence guns are fitted, along with twelve optional M910 turrets, both marketed under the Rampart brand. The M870s are spaced all around the frigate and are particularly useful because their barrels are capable of still tracking targets even if they are coming from behind the turret. The M910s, on the other hand, are mostly situated around the hangars. Unlike its predecessor, it is capable of firing upwards but not backwards, as the placement of its barrels prevents the lower pair from tracking beyond 87o before turning. Both are capable of switching between a variety of ammunition types, however, the M910 is built to utilise the larger 105mm slugs as well as the substandard 50mm round. Taken as a package, the Nevada-class is capable of unleashing a nearly impenetrable wall of coilgun fire that makes all but the most foolhardy pilots reconsider their attack run.
Hull and superstructure
"It's a giant among even destroyers and can certainly take the hits, and I saw one of those things at Reach keep pace with my 'sword. It's got all the advantages of any other frigate with none of the downsides."
―Anonymous longsword pilot
Unlike previous models of frigates, the Nevada-class frigate maintains a reasonably-thick and durable hull without a significant increase in mass. This is largely thanks to the Nevada adopting an 'all-or-nothing' principle in regards to its armour, in which only the most important and vulnerable sections are given the thickest plates while others are protected only by Vanadium steel. Coupled with a revised TR steel frame, this reduces the frigate's mass by almost 40% and significantly improves its manoeuvrability.
The upper layer of armour is coated in an anti-plasma refractive coating, a protection measure that is made standard across every ship and space station in the UNSC Navy after the Human-Covenant War. At its most basic core, it is a thermal-absorption gel that is thick and sticky to stay clung to armour even during high-G manoeuvres. When struck by a directed energy weapon, it is designed to dilute the heat over the entire starship, although unlike previous mixtures it can sink this directly into the ship's hull, maximising the time before it can be detected on infrared sensors. A cooling element is present which improves the heat capacity of the coating, with an insulation underlay to stop any damage to the armour underneath. If it reaches a certain critical temperature, such as when it is directly struck by a pulse laser, then the gel evaporates into harmless droplets. Once they are cooled down sufficiently, their adhesive properties return and they can stick back onto the hull, making certain segments even more resilient to energy weapons. Perhaps more importantly, however, the Nevada is capable of actively replenishing this layer; the actual armour has tiny insulated pores in it to evenly distribute it after combat. However, the hours necessary to completely repair the coating means that it is merely a stop-gap measure and these frigates are still recommended to return to a naval base for full repairs.
Most of the armour is dominated by the newest mainline budget blends of Titanium-A3 battleplate. The crystalline compound was impurified with layers of graphene for increased strength, Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) to improve thermal insulation, and internal cages to retain the armour's original shape after hits. With these changes, Titanium-A3 has been tested to provide up to 60% increase in durability along with a 20% reduction in mass. This makes it equally effective at deterring both kinetic and energy-based attacks, neatly marrying the strengths of its predecessors. While some newer variations of the armour include computer-controlled electromagnets to recollect melted pieces of armour back onto the ship and slightly reposition the armour plates to harden the ship against impacts, the Nevada does not make use of this system as it is deemed too expensive for mass production. The armour plates are built in evenly-shaped overlapping parts which allows repairs to be conducted quickly and cheaply while bolstering durability further once future SinoViet vessels making use of the technique come into service.
As a testament to SinoViet's preference for building extremely-modular vessels, the upper surface of Titanium-A3 is sometimes replaced with ultradense ceramic plating floating on a semi-fluid shock-absorbing layer. Stronger than the armour underneath, ceramic armour has evolved little since the Insurrection, having been introduced to counter the rise of naval coilguns and MACs. Its hardness allows it to withstand the energy of magnetically-accelerated rounds, even ricocheting them should they impact on a shallow-enough angle. Unfortunately, this hardness means that despite being resistant against heat, it is prone to shattering after being hit by explosives or directed energy weapons, which means it can bypassed with little effort as large chunks break off during battle.
Sensors and Countermeasures
"Have they seen us, Ash?"
"If they have, they aren't showing it, captain. Shields and power are still within cruising limits, and I can find no significant deviance in their heading."
"Archer pods are open, sir. If the smugglers are leading us into a trap, we'll be ready for it."
―Crew of the UNSC Trepidation, during Operation: COLD FRONT.
Although not intended as a prowler or even a scout ship, the UNSC's noted preference for all new escorts to incorporate some electronic-warfare capabilities has seen the Nevada-class frigate embracing a number of unusual detection and stealth systems. Although hardly considered state-of-the-art, their implementation aboard a mainline warship line is unprecedented. The results are justified, as the extra cost increases their awareness of the battlefield while retroactively reducing their enemy's ability to find them. If active battle is joined, then the Nevada's countermeasure suite also includes a number of passive and active systems that can disrupt enemy assets to help keep the frigate safe from harm.
The Nevada's scanning systems, like all ships, are made up of multiple layers of detection systems. The first most notable system is its passive AN/SPY-4c OVERSIGHT early-warning array with a frequency upgrade, which uses a combination of incredibly-sensitive long-range RADAR and infrared/microwave wide-scanning telescopes to catalogue most of the low-intensity electromagnetic spectrum around it. While only a single RADAR system is fitted which runs along the frigate's perimeter, eight telescopes are fitted, each responsible for monitoring a specific quadrant. While sensitive enough to interpret an object's size, heading, and weapon discharges through even debris-filled vacuums, and can indeed detect if their ship is being actively scanned with hyperscanners, the system is unable to reveal any detailed information on the enemy. Rather, it is designed to alert the crew to any anomalies as soon as possible, and it is successful in this regard: this modified OVERSIGHT array can detect opponents in half the time of previous systems. This is where the next notable system, the RP/HDA L/UIDAR array, comes in. Consisting of three telescopes - a bi-directional RADAR for general scanning, and two tightly-focused light and ultraviolet telescopes - the L/UIDAR is intended as an active-scanning system to reveal high-definition images and information on the given object. They have an integrated spectrometer to catalogue their makeup, and their software is designed in such a way to alert the crew to possible silhouettes of hidden warships. This means that anything not equipped with an adaptive-camouflage skin is relatively easy to detect. The spectrometer offers a second useful skill by detecting emission build-ups, and the data can be used to compare with known characteristics of stealth ships to identify them. There are six L/UIDAR clusters located around the ship to increase their field of view, and up to three these can be linked together to create a much more powerful combined scanning system. The system is hardly perfect, however, as the region of the space they can scan around them is fairly small, they can alert the enemy ship being scanned, and they can be overloaded or fooled with directed jamming arrays. However, their ability to identify many targets that would have previously been missed by older ships makes its installation worthwhile.
A Nevada-class frigate's bow with the coastal camouflage pattern.
To complement the reduced RADAR cross-section in their frame, the Nevada-class features Digital Pigment Camouflage (DPC), a cheap form of texture buffer developed by Deimos Special Projects Division. DPC is composed of a complex series of intertwined polymers suspended in a RADAR-resistant cast that, when affected by an electric current, can dynamically change their absorption properties to waves in the infrared, optical, and ultraviolet spectrums. The DPC computer is preloaded with almost forty different animated patterns for various environments and lighting conditions, including sunrise, nebulae, deep interstellar space, and even a submerged maritime background. It can be modified to accept sensor data instead, although its refresh frequency is slower than those on prowlers and so results in stuttered movement that can be picked up. Although its combat and stealth applications are obvious, the material's advantages as a means to speed up repairs and overcome communications jamming have drawn the most attention. There are discussions about whenever to refit the entire fleet with DPC billboards for emergency situations, although their implementation is unlikely to occur without further demonstration of the technology.
If detected and confrontation is inevitable, the Nevada-class frigate has a wide range of active and passive launch systems to break target locks and fool enemy weapons. Crucial to this end is its network of Mark 282 Rapid Offboard Countermeasures and Decoy Launchers (ROCaDLs). Essentially a series of mortars each angled away from the hull, and spaced around to maximise coverage, a single ROCaDL is a fixed missile pod which has nine cells offset at different angles from the surface it is mounted on. The first set of three are running directly parallel to the surface it is mounted on, the next three are offset to 35o, and the last three rows are set at 60o. Like all UNSC weapon systems, the system is designed to an integrated autoloader which can intelligently rearm it in different configurations in a surprisingly swift amount of time; it has a reload time that can be as quick as five seconds. In addition, its size allows it to be fitted to a vast number of thin surfaces thanks to the lack of a turret base. The Nevada-class frigate carries up to 36 rounds for each M282 ROCaDL, divided between the following ammunitions:
M991C combined chaff/smoke system: Dumbfired warhead which releases magnetised ferrous filings and obstructive smoke.
M991D plasma countermeasure system: Self-propelled infrared-guided warhead with an electromagnet as its main warhead and a weak explosive. Designed to render plasma torpedoes inert if not destroyed, although is capable against a wide range of plasma-based weaponry.
Shields and Defensive Systems
El Salvador-class assault frigate
"My colleague made a splendid product, but it did not fulfil all of the company's desires for what they really wanted. Its planetary contributions were just awful - and if we survived the war, no previous design would truly satisfy the UNSC."
―Dr. Swarna MacCallum, on why the El Salvador-class assault frigate was developed.
The El Salvador-class assault frigate is a much more specialised and cheaper variant of the basic Nevada-class frigate, designed as the replacement to the old Charon-class light frigate. Removing its stealth systems, some of the internal bracing and experimental Howler missile pods, the new frigate would instead replace these with thirty modular silos designed to accommodate Harpoon-class nuclear missiles or similarly heavy munitions such as Bident missiles. Both of these missiles have a payload that excels at devastating planetary environments. The single advanced MAC is replaced with two light-coil models, and thirty-two M58 Archer missile pods have been installed, and its naval autocannons have been downgraded to the older M37 Suppressors. To provide less destructive and more precise ground support, and to provide a longer-range defence against missiles, three ATAF missile turrets have been fitted. The lower winglet plating has been straightened out and enlarged to provide additional protection. Finally, the bottom barracks are greatly expanded upon and could be detached to serve as a deployable fortress on enemy worlds, and are capable of accommodating all the ground assets carried by any one preceding frigate design. All these upgrades ensured that a fully-stocked El Salvador could carry far more firepower at a fraction of the cost.
The lead ship, the UNSC El Salvador, was formally commissioned in 2550 while the testing of the UNSC Nevada was still underway, and was quickly rushed into service. This initial block was deployed to protect the largest and most valuable facilities close to the front lines, allowing for more units to be reassigned to combat spots. Only twenty-two ships of the class were built between 2550 and 2552, and all of them were assigned to the UNSC's Second Fleet. Interestingly, all El Salvador commanding officers were frigate captains who declined or denied an option to take charge of a UNSC destroyer. They participated in the Defence of Concord and the Battle of Circumstance, although the only time the entire class fought in a single battle was during the Battle of Mars. In spite of the skill of their crews which would save the Reyes-McLees Shipyards, only two frigates would survive the war. While production would continue on the El Salvador for some time, they would be forever overshadowed by the smaller, more efficient Anlace-class light frigate and to a lesser extent the Deliverance-class assault frigate.
Goliath-class light cruiser
"They are already being dubbed the Navy's biggest frigates, if only because that's how the Romeos thought they looked. Funny how the best solution to everything seems to be 'take an existing class and make it bigger' - seems to work for the Covvies."
―Captain Jiles, the first and last captain of the Goliath.
Introduced right before the Siege of the Epsilon Eridani Colonies, the Goliath-class light cruiser is a desperate attempt to apply the improvements made by the much smaller Nevada-class to a capital ship. It was envisioned as a replacement for the London-class light cruiser, a short-ranged warship that despite similarly using technology from SinoViet's other classes of frigates, never saw mass production. As with its predecessor, it would once again be intended for escort of capital ships and space stations, relying on superior speed and armaments to intercept smaller enemy ships. This time, however, SinoViet felt that the benefits of energy shielding would find success where its predecessor failed.
The biggest distinction made is the Goliath's greatly-increased size, and the lack of a barracks segment. At 1,127 metres long (3,700 feet), it is almost twice the length of the ship that it spawned from. It is better reinforced to compensate for this, with proportionally-larger shield generators to ensure it can tank what it cannot miss. New repulsor drives gave it a speed unnatural for a ship of its size, with its superstructure making it capable of pulling off in-atmosphere turns that would damage any other ship of its size. This speed is made better with its adoption of salvaged Covenant slipstream borers, which is so powerful that the Goliath-class can outpace any other human ship at faster-than-light speeds. All this is topped off by a powerful armament, centred around two Series-5 Heavy MACs, more than a hundred Archer missile pods and sixteen Mark 33 "Spitfire" naval coilguns. All this makes it far superior over its predecessor and brings its combat performance close to some heavy cruisers.
Only two Goliath-class cruisers were ever built, with both being launched within 2552. Both of these ships would participate in only a single battle, the Fall of Reach. Here, the prototypes Goliath and Atlas led a battlegroup composed of their smaller siblings, desperately fighting as more waves of Covenant made their way to the planet. Despite fighting valiantly, neither Goliath-class cruisers would score any kills, which would see SinoViet cancelling the class in favour of their upcoming Triton-class light cruiser.