In 2122, the United Earth Defense Force adopted a "better, faster, cheaper" approach to constructing a new fleet of vessels to aid in controlling the vast space of the Sol system. Instead of retrofitting huge, lumbering cargo vessels or building a small number of similarly-sized new ships, the decision was made to emulate the pirates who were ravaging the outer reaches of the system in the early decades of the 22nd century. A dozen ship classes were proposed, the rationale of so many being that interchangeable components would drastically cut both construction costs and repair times. Ultimately, seven classes of modular vessels were approved; the combined forty-three ships helped eliminate piracy in the Sol system by 2136.
The eight Delta-class frigates were typical of these vessels: cramped, simply designerd and constructed, only capable of limited-range missions, and extremely durable. The decks were arranged along the vessel's horizontal axis - the direction the ship faced as also 'up' for the crew - with a ladder running the length of the ship through a central corridor providing access. Typical duties of the Delta-class ships included patrols of shipping lanes, escorting cargo ships, interdiction of suspected pirate strongholds and vessels, and deep-space search and rescue.
While easy to maintain and liked by their crews, these ships were also limited in their capabilities; the Delta-class ships could opeerate away from their home ports for a maximum of six weeks, with typical mission durations lasting less than half that. Power was provided by a sodium hydride fusion reactor; while excellent at providing high levels of power in the short term, these reactors ultimately proved too temperamental to serve as the primary power source for deep-space warp ships. Standard armament included Spider area-defense missiles, Narwhal anti-ship missiles, and three pulse laser turrets; defense systems included polarized hull plating and an early form of so-called 'stealth' technology, all of which gave these ships excellent defensive coverage against the weapons of the day.
The eightDelta-class ships served the UEDF well for almost twenty years; one was destroyed in battle with pirate forces, another when its main reactor overloaded, but six survived to be decommissioned. All were purchased by private or corporate parties and converted into couriers or private explorers, and most survived into the early years of the twenty-third century.
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This page was created on June 23, 2004.
Last modified on February 10, 2005.