|This article, Ranger-class Escort Carrier, was written by Leo Fox. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Ranger-class Escort Carrier is a class of UNSC carrier, designed immediately post Human-Covenant War, and entered production soon thereafter. It is smaller in contrast to larger, heavier armored and armed carriers, but the class makes up for this with greater speed and greater maneuverability, in addition to far longer patrolling range and spectacular endurance. Furthermore, it is better and more effective at lending direct support to larger vessels, hence the escort carrier designation, and capable of entering atmosphere and providing close air support to ground units.
The Ranger-class Escort Carrier was a design created by the Reyes-McLees Shipyards over Mars, that used the current frigate design, enlarged it, and made the design a carrier, all the while maintaining a 84% parts commonality with the standard Frigate classes. The design was approved for mass production in the rearmament of 2554, and the first ship, the UNSC Ranger, was launched in February 2555.
As a warship and a carrier, each vessel of the Ranger-class is armed with light anti-warship weapons, depending on its escort warships to aid it in the event of attack. However, as a carrier, the Ranger-class is armed with a very strong Point-Defense system, to ensure destruction of hostile singleships and boarding craft before they have a chance to drop their payloads.
Light Magnetic Accelerator Cannon (LMAC)
Each warship of the Ranger-class is armed with a single Light Magnetic Accelerator Cannon (LMAC). This downgraded variant of the MAC is only capable of firing 250 ton projectiles at 54% the speed of light, but the power required to fire the system is very much reduced from the normal MAC, allowing recharge of the system, when the Reactor is at peak performance, in 12 seconds.
The impact of such a 250 ton LMAC slug on a shielded corvette would cause very serious damage to the vessel, and two direct hits to a Covenant Destroyer with the LMAC system could lower the shields, allowing successive shots to gut the vessel. Unfortunately, the LMAC is combat ineffective by itself against any larger warship, so, again, it must rely on allied vessels to aid it.
ARCHER missiles are the primary anti-warship missile employed by the UNSC Navy. They also have the capability to be used as anti-singleship missiles. The missiles are practically ineffective against shielded warships, but are very effective against unshielded ones. Vessels of the Ranger-class each carried 550 missiles aboard.
50mm Point Defense Guns
As a Carrier, each Ranger-class warship is equipped with 68 recessed dual-50mm Point Defense cannons, for destroying singleships at very close ranges, as well as raking warships during broadside attacks. The 50mm PD cannons were also very effective at destroying incoming munitions - short of MAC projectiles, which could not be defended against; due to the great inertial forces behind a MAC projectile.
Each Ranger-class warship had a complement of Marines, air wings, and Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs).
Most vessels of the class held 135-255 Marines aboard, with roughly two dozen vehicles stored on the warship for deployment. All Escort carriers held at least 7 Air Wings on board; typically comprising of:
- 2 F-352B Longsword-class Starfighter wings
- 2 B301 Shortsword wings
- 1 F-419C Sabre-class Starfighter wing
- 1 D77 Pelican wing
- 1 Atmospheric wing
In addition to the Marine forces garrisoned on a Ranger-class Escort Carrier, they held a Platoon of ODSTs; comprising of 32-52 ODSTs. However, when deploying the troopers, not all could be deployed at once, because the Ranger-class only held 32 Human Entry Pods at one time.
The basic design of the image for this article comes from the famous UNSC Frigate, with modifications. The Ranger-class is also a spin off of Athena32's Guardian-class Escort Destroyer, in service during the Swarm War, a few hundred years later.