|This article, Xerxes-class Assault Carrier, was written by EvenManatee887. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Xerxes-class Assault Carrier was an attempt by Reyes-McLees to design an Assault Carrier which could single handedly combat enemy capital ships and conduct limited planetside operations with some success. As a result the class were not built from the ground up as Assault Carriers but rather as Battlecruisers and were outfitted with enlarged hangars to accommodate a limited ground and air force. Ships of the class we given the hull classification CVA
Designed from 2537 to 2539 by the Reyes-McLees Shipyards, the Xerxes-class Assault Carriers had a unique development. With the war against the Covenant resulting in losses of several large capital ships there was a decrease in orders for dedicated Battlecruisers or other heavy frontline vessels aside from cruisers and a marked increase in order for Carriers. Seeing this as an opportunity Reyes-McLees appropriated the design of the discontinued Hannibal-class Battlecruiser and altered it to sport fewer weapons and replace them with enlarged hangars to be allow it to conduct planetside operations. When first marketed to the UNSC Navy it was marketed as a frontline capable carrier which could clash with even the larger Covenant ships as well as conduct ground operations. While many saw the upsides of such a design others held reservations with the actual capabilities of the completed ships. As a result only 10 were ordered.
The first ships were commissioned in 2544 and saw ample success against Covenant forces as the ships could meet on even terms with Covenant ships and could carry enough forces on-board to either support in the anti-ship role or conduct other operations such as boarding actions. By 2549 however the reputation of the ships was quickly deteriorating, the ships had exhibited ample performance against ships such as the CCS-class battlecruisers and the CPV-class destroyers, its performance against larger vessels was less than adequate, even the lower tonnage ships had adapted to clashing with the ships with several being lost as a result of the superior speed and maneuverability of the Covenant ships. By the Fall of Reach in 2552 only 4 ships remained and were relegated to the Epsilon Eridani Fleet and Home Fleet. One ship managed to escape to Earth but was subsequently destroyed over the South Pacific during the Battle of Earth when it rammed two CCS-class battlecruisers but destroying itself in the process. The remaining two were positioned at Mars, one was undergoing [REDACTED] and the other was attached to the Martian Defense Fleet and fended off Covenant Forces from the main Shipyards.
Following the end of the war the class was all but extinct with only two ships, the UNSC Xerxes and the UNSC Darius, surviving. While initially slated for decommissioning and subsequent scrapping, they were saved as a result of ruined state of the UNSC Home Fleet and would serve as some of the heaviest ships available in the early Post-War months. In an effort to make them more capable the ships underwent a significant refit between 2553-2556 which included new weapons, new armor, reorganized hangars and a whole host of general modernization's.
Despite the many upgrades UNSC Fleet Command felt the ships were well past their usefulness as they were already being superseded by the Svalinn-class Assault Carriers which operated much more successfully and featured much greater utility and versatility which the Xerxes lacked. As of 2558 a sole ship is active with the other [REDACTED]
The Xerxes class at the time of its conception was one of the more heavily armed of the UNSC even outstripping Marathons and Epoch classes in sheer fire power. Prior to their refit in 2553 to increase their longevity, they were equipped with two Mark III Heavy Coil MAC’s capable of penetrating the hull and shields of a CCS-class with one shot, these however also resulted, with the combined energy consumption of the engines, in an inordinately long recharge time after the initial shot which coupled with the lack of maneuverability of the ship made hitting a moving target and exercise in futility.
Aside from its MAC’s it was equipped with numerous suppplantry weapons such as its 8 ,Mark 33 'Spitfire' Coilgun Batteries which we’re at times resorted to as main guns along with its 6, M66 'Sentry' Autocannons. However the centerpiece of the ships armaments and its most useful weapons were its colossal number of 200, M58 'Archer' Missile Pods which, with 30 missiles per pod, gave rise to so called ‘barrage‘ tactics which revolved around a maelstrom of fire from the coilguns supplanted by the Archers until the main MAC’s could be brought to bear down on the target
In point defense the ship shined with its 26 M910 ‘Rampart’ Point Defense Guns which easily covered the ship against enemy fighters and boarding craft but alas theses were not infallible as the Number of guns relative to the size of the ship meant there existed blind spots namely at the rear of the ship which led to multiple instances of the engines being disabled leaving the ship an easy target
Almost all of these problems were noticed and remedied to an extent with the Refit in 2553. In this refit the ships MAC’s were replaced with new Mark VI MAC’s which we’re not only more powerful but combined with the new reactors had comparatively rapid charge times compared to the older ones, beside this the ship did lose 6 of its Archer Pods to make room for a re-arrangement and addition of coilguns and point defense guns. New Mark 40 'Spitfire' Naval Coilgun Batteries were added and in significantly larger number totaling to 24 of them which were arranged as such that the ship could bring all 24 to fire front allowing the ship to maintain maximum firepower while showing little of itself. The number of M910’s were increased to 30 to further lockdown the ships already impressive coverage and make up for the few blind spots which existed, all these modifications together made the ships formidable opponents capable of taking on any Covenant ship smaller than a CAS-class by itself with little trouble. While further enhancements were considered it seemed more cost effective to look towards a successor rather than rejuvenating the aging ships.
Propulsion and Powerplant
The Xerxes-class were not especially fast or maneuverable, even during the ships design phase concerns were voiced about lack of maneuverability could compromise the survivability of the ship what with only having, 2 Deuterium Fusion Drives as its main propulsion, these drives powered 2 Large Fusion Emission Drives with 4 Smaller scale ones, which barley managed to let the ship keep up with its battlegroup or forcing the battlegroup to wait for the ship, This became most apparent at the Battle of Earth where 3 ships of the class were unable to reach Earth from their patrol routes in time to help fight against Truth’s Fleet.
Following this the ship was upgraded with 2 Heavy Deuterium Fusion Drives which would have been enough but were further supplanted by 3 Secondary Deuterium Fusion Drives attached to each main Drive, two of which were active at all times while the remaining 1 was reserved and upon activation alongside the main engines and other secondaries gave the ship Maneuverability comparable to light Cruisers, doing so would temporarily relegate the ship to its Main Drives while the Secondaries cooled.
All of this power was channeled by 2 Large Fusion Emission Drives of a greater efficiency and supplanted by 4 Medium and Small Size Fusion Drives, And to increase its combat efficiency 6 Emergency Thrusters were added for maneuvering
Armor and Structure
The ship, at the time of its introduction boasted incredibly thick armor for its size, once again outlining the faith the designers had in the ships capabilities. It even sported a semi honeycomb structure which gave it immense survivability in combat situations and also attributed to the ships immense weight when compared to the Orion-class which while being only 300 meters shorter was 20 Million tons lighter.
The semi honeycomb existed throughout the ship but unlike the Halcyon-classes smaller more numerous honeycombs the Xerxes-class had larger less numerous rings which was in part due to the projected weight of the ship nearing 60 Million tons and due to lack of materials to implement the design on such a large ship. This psuedo-honeycomb gave the ship the ability to not only go head to head with covenant ships but gave it the ability to take on multiple with only minor damage, however as the war progressed and the Covenant began to use larger capital ships the benefits of the armor dwindled while retaining the mass disadvantage.
Following the end of the war in 2552, the Xerxes were refitted with newer and thicker Titanium A3 Battleplate armor which against older and more numerous Sangheili and Jiralhanae designs was nigh impregnable which was further amplified by its honeycomb structure making the ships interim flagships while larger and more advanced ships were developed, with the introduction of the Autumn-class and Vindication class Heavy cruisers and battleships respectively, came shielding which along with their smaller size made them far more popular, eventually relegating the Xerxes to more minor roles as securing or scouting colonies and establishing temporary control until either colony or more advanced UNSC warships could arrive.