WarShips are often classified with the following terms, based on their role. Most of these terms have survived since the Age of Sail, and were updated to reflect the realities of space combat. Because of the somewhat diffuse criteria associated with each class and role, the classification is arbitrary and ultimately rather subjective.
WarShip classes are roughly defined thus:
- Corvettes - Typically the smallest WarShip category; the heaviest Corvette design masses 412,000 tons but seems to be an outlier, as no other designs masses more than 240,000 tons. Lightly armed and armored but swift and equipped for extended tours of duty, corvettes are ideal for commerce protection and raiding. They are not expected to stand up to other WarShips, except in a support role.
- Destroyers - Larger and more heavily armed than corvettes, these ships perform the same raiding and escort duties, but also serve as guardians of orbital installations. They typically mass between 500,000 and 700,000 tons.
- Frigates - Rarely smaller than 700,000 tons, these ships can roughly be described as extra-large destroyers, often adding an additional capacity over standard destroyers such as integral fighter support.
- Cruisers - The most diverse ship category in any fleet, vessels in this class are typically further subdivided into light cruisers, heavy cruisers, and battlecruisers. In the original sense of the word, cruisers were supposed to be more durable than smaller ship classes and capable of prolonged independent operation. Most cruisers pack enough equipment and supplies to operate away from technical support bases, making them ideal raiders. As a whole, cruisers typically mass between 700,000 and 1,200,000 tons.
- Light Cruisers - As their speed is comparable to destroyers and frigates they serve as escorts, raiders, and picket ships, but outperform the other two ship types in one or more areas (speed, firepower, armor and/or endurance).
- Heavy Cruisers - These ships tend to trade away some of the light cruiser's speed for additional firepower or armor. Clan toumans typically use these as command vessels.
- Battlecruisers - These large ships are designed to punch above their weight class, usually sacrificing armor and any other features. Often, speed (i.e. large and powerful thrust engines) is considered another defining factor, exacerbating the reduction in armor and secondary functions.
- Battleships - The largest regular ship class, battleships are easily able to keep pace with frigates and outrun heavy cruisers. Their massive weapon payloads and armor protection is achieved through sheer size, and consequently often are a poor match for smaller vessels ton-per-ton. They often serve as a fleet flagships, while hitting the most dangerous and determined opposition to break through and create opportunities for their smaller companions to exploit. The pride of the SLDF Navy, the McKenna-class battleship, weighed two million tons, a record that was not broken until Clan Ghost Bear launched the 2.4 million ton Leviathan-class ship.
- Dreadnoughts - Arguably a classification denoting the largest, most powerful and/or technically most advanced class(es) of WarShips. The word is often used to describe a cutting-edge ship class that can outfight any other contemporary WarShip. Typically, Dreadnoughts are very powerful but also very expensive and possibly inefficient, and are not deployed in any significant numbers.
Other "classes" or designations exist, such as "Troop Cruiser" or "Pursuit Cruiser", though they can usually be placed in one of the above classes. In addition, there are a number of monikers that arguably fall in between class and role definitions:
- ArcShips - A concept enacted by Clan Sea Fox, ArcShips are former WarShips that have been heavily modified and reconfigured (often by permanently attaching DropShips) to serve as city-sized mobile space habitats.
- CargoShips - Similar to the aforementioned ArcShips, CargoShips are geared more to cargo than habitation, but otherwise share the same charactersitics. In a similar vein, Transporters are technically WarShips but are designed as armed cargo carriers more than actual frontline combatants.
- Carriers - These are WarShip-sized aerospace fighter transports. Principally, there have been few ships dedicated to the carrier role; during the Star League era many navies used hybrid designs that combined the carrier role with another ship type. As a result, carrier tonnages have varied from frigate to battlecruiser size. These dual-role ships were not produced by most of the factions in 31st century during the brief resumption of WarShip production; the one exception was Clan Snow Raven, who produced the Conqueror-class Battlecruiser-Carriers in limited numbers.
- Surveillance Vessels - Small or very small vessels massing from 6,100 to 120,000 tons, these unique ships were not intended for combat but for intelligence even though built with military-grade technology. Lightly armed in comparison to other WarShips, these vessel are designed to blend into merchant traffic, posing as civilian vessels while carrying out observations. After they had become obsolete, a few such vessels were converted to Q-Ships. The larger Surveillance ships, especially after refit to Q-Ships, could arguably be considered Corvettes.
- Yardships - Yardships are mobile shipyards, typically used to repair vessels that cannot make it to a fixed shipyard under their own power (a broken Kearny-Fuchida drive must be reparied on-site, as it would inhibit the formation of a K-F field in the vicinity and thus cannot be carried through a jump by another jump-capable ship).
Known WarShip Types
- (See also: Category:WarShip classes)
Transports & Auxiliary Vessels
(These vessels fall into the WarShip category for technical reasons, but are not intended to be used as combat vessels.)
- Bug-Eye - 6,100 ton surveillance vessel, introduced in 2620 by the Star League. No hardpoints, fighters or small craft. Lightly armed reconnaissance vessel small enough to blend in with DropShip traffic. All remaining ships joined the Exodus, but were mothballed by the Clans, who regard such tactics as dishonorable.
- Sylvester - 280,000 ton transport, introduced in 2499. This was first civilian based WarShips built. Expensive, production was cut short and reworked as Carrack-Class Transport for military duty.
- Carrack - 300,000 ton transport, re-introduced to service in 2950 by the Clans following a minor redesign/upgrade of an old Star League ship class of the same name. Composite armor, 2 Hardpoints, 4 small craft. No Lithium-Fusion Battery.
- Robinson - An 400,000 ton transport, this vessel was built for the Federated Suns and served in Star League Era.
- Faslane - 550,000 ton yardship, introduced in 2882 by ComStar. Ferro-aluminum armor, 2 Hardpoints, 2 small craft. Heavily armed mobile unpressurized shipyard/repair bay for vessels of up to 2,000,000 tons. No Lithium-Fusion Battery. Based on the older Newgrange class.
- Volga - 775,000 ton transport, introduced in 2709 by the Star League. Ferro-aluminum armor, 4 hardpoints, 20 fighters. Based off the hull of the older Quixote-class frigate.
- Newgrange - 2,300,000 ton yardship; the Star League predecessor to the Faslane class. Ferro-carbide armor, 4 hardpoints, 72 small craft. Largest known ship created by the Star League. This ship's function is to repair WarShips and other large space going vessels.
- Nightwing - 100,000 ton surveillance vessel, introduced in 2447 by the Terran Hegemony. No hardpoints, 4 small craft. Designed to resemble a civilian JumpShip, mounts advanced surveillance gear. Phased out in favor of the more modern Bug-Eye when its integral electronics suite became outdated and could not be reworked.
- Tracker - 120,000 ton surveillance vessel/corvette. Older companion of the Nightwing class, designed to resemble a normal JumpShip. 2 hardpoints, 4 small craft. Served as "Q-Ship" on anti-pirate missions in the periphery towards the end of its active service.
- Vigilant - 140,000 ton corvette; small patrol vessel, replaced by the Vincent class in 2432. Noted for being relatively well-armed but with limited detection capabilities and therefore often paired with Bonaventure-class corvettes in groups of two each. No hardpoints, 6 fighters and 4 small craft.
- Pinto - 160,000 ton corvette. Designed and built by the Rim Worlds Republic and introduced in 2502; with weak armour but strong firepower the Pinto became an escort and orbital bombardment ship. Production was discontinued before the Reunification War but began again during the Star League era. 1 hard point, 2 small craft and 1 squadron of aerospace fighters.
- Fredasa - 175,000 ton corvette, introduced in 2962 by the Clans as a raider. Lamellor ferro-carbide armor, 1 Hardpoint, 20 fighters and 2 small craft. Notable for its small emergence signature.
- Zechetinu - 180,000 ton corvette, introduced in 3057 by the Free Worlds League. 1 hardpoint, 6 fighters, fast convoy escort/raider.
- Peregrine - a small (less than 200,000 tons) and lightly-armed corvette manufactured in very small quantities by Clan Jade Falcon during the Clan Golden Century.
- Inazuma - 198,000 ton corvette, introduced in 3058 by the Draconis Combine. 3 hardpoints, 6 fighters, designed for high-speed attack runs and combat insertions.
- Mako - 200,000 ton corvette, introduced in 2692 by the Lyran Commonwealth. Acted as an escort for large fleets as well as a patrol and raiding craft. No hard points, 2 small craft and Ferro-aluminum armor.
- Fox - 235,000 ton corvette, introduced in 3057 by House Davion. Ferro-aluminum armor, 5 hardpoints, 12 fighters and 2 small craft. Originally designated the RX-78 class; renamed in honor of the late prince Hanse Davion, "the Fox".
- Bonaventure - 240,000 ton corvette, introduced in 2317 by the Terran Hegemony. Small patrol vessel noted for excellent surveillance capabilities but weak armament. Often deployed in pairs together with two Vigilant-class corvettes for protection. Replaced by the Vincent-class in 2432. No hardpoints, 6 fighters and 2 small craft.
- Vincent - 412,000 ton corvette, introduced 2432 by the Terran Hegemony. Ferro-carbide armor, no hardpoints, 6 fighters (10 after Clan upgrade) and 4 small craft. Standard version was Mark XXXIX; upgraded Clan version is known as Vincent MK 42. Its mass marks it as an outlier, and would arguably make it a light destroyer rather than a corvette.
- Baron - 480,000 ton destroyer, introduced in 2520 by the Terran Hegemony. No Hardpoints, 6 fighters, 6 small craft. Described as slow and "unimpressive". Replaced by the Essex class in 2720.
- Impavido - 485,000 ton destroyer, jointly introduced 3058 by Word of Blake and Houses Marik and Liao. Ferro-aluminum armor, 2 hardpoints, 18 fighters.
- Carson - 510,000 ton destroyer, introduced by the Star League in 2632. The ships' poor peformance brought on its early replacement by second Essex class in 2711. No hardpoints, 6 fighters and 6 small craft.
- Tatsumaki - 520,000 ton destroyer, introduced in 3059 by the Draconis Combine. 2 hardpoints, 18 fighters, 15 small craft. Heavily flawed design with technical problems. Because of these problems, only two ships were ever built.
- Naga - 540,000 ton destroyer, introduced in 2645 by the Star League. Replaced the Terran Hegemony Essex class in 2711. No hardpoints, 12 fighters and 2 small craft.
- Suffren - 540,000 ton destroyer, introduced in 3062 by ComStar. Ferro-aluminum armor, Lithium Battery and double heatsinks. 4 hardpoints, 8 small craft and a Marine detachment. Only 2 completed.
- League - 550,000 ton destroyer, which was the Free Worlds League's first WarShip to enter service in 2368.
- Essex I - 560,000 ton destroyer, earliest of it's kind produced by the Terran Hegemony in 2351. Served as picket vessel and escort. The class superseded, by numerous classes, including a modern version of the ship named Essex II.
- Davion (Block I) - 520,000 ton destroyer introduced in 2510 by the Federated Suns. No hardpoints, 2 aerospace fighters. Ill-reputed because of poor design, only few were built before an upgrade (the Block II) was created.
- Davion (Block II) - 580,000 ton destroyer introduced in 2552 as an upgrade to the Block I vessels. Ferro-carbide armor, 2 hardpoints and a wing of aerospace fighters. In turn upgraded to the Whirlwind class.
- York - 595,000 ton destroyer/carrier, introduced in 2947 by the Clans based on refits of older Riga-class vessels. Lamellor ferro-carbide armor, 2 hardpoints, 50 fighters and 5 small craft.
- Essex II - 612,000 ton destroyer, introduced in 2711 by the Star League. Ferro-aluminum armor, no Hardpoints, 6 fighters + 4 small craft (10 fighters + 10 small craft after Clan upgrade). A previous Essex-class of destroyer served in the Terran Hegemony in the 25th and 26th centuries.
- Narukami - 670,000 ton destroyer introduced by the Draconis Combine in 2380 before being retired, redesigned and reintroduced in 2770. Very powerful but expensive to support and maintain WarShip; 3 hard points, Improved Ferro-Aluminum armor on Block I with capacity for 12 small craft. Block II upgraded to use Ferro-Carbide armor and to transport 12 aerospace fighters and 2 small craft.
- Lola III - 678,000 ton destroyer, introduced in 2662 by the Star League. Ferro-carbide armor, no hardpoints, 6 fighters and 4 small craft (or 10 fighters).
- Concordat - 440,000 ton frigate, introduced by the Taurian Concordat in 2506. With 4 hardpoints, 4 small craft and an array of naval weapons capable of threatening battleships, the last Concordats survived until the 1st Succession War.
- Dante - 610,000 ton frigate class produced by ComStar up until 2949. Only 3 of these ships were constructed and all were lost during the Jihad. 2 hardpoints and 12 fighters.
- Kyushu - 625,000 ton frigate, introduced 3057 by House Kurita. Ferro-aluminum armor, 4 hardpoints, 18 fighters (or 12 small craft). Bays for 108 BattleMechs which can be dropped from orbit.
- Eagle - 630,000 ton frigate, introduced by House Marik in 3060. 4 hardpoints, 6 fighters, intended as escort vessel for the FWLM's Thera-class super-carrier.
- Wagon Wheel - 650,000 ton frigate, introduced in 2570 by the Taurian Concordat. 2 hardpoints, 12 fighters and 4 small craft. 92,000 tons of cargo space with 8000 tons of fuel. Only "a handful" were built after a prolonged design stage.
- Riga - 750,000 ton frigate with 2 hardpoints, 12 fighers and 4 small craft. Produced in 2440, it served as escort vessel during its time in service with the SLDF. Replaced by the Sovetskii Soyuz-class in 2735 after centuries of service. A few years later a new destroyer/carrier type WarShip with 2 hardpoints and 2 squadrons of aerospace fighters was given same class name. Clan York class destroyers are based on the Riga.
- Congress - 760,000 ton frigate, introduced in 2542 by the Terran Hegemony. Ferro-carbide armor, 2 hardpoints, 6 fighters and 4 small craft (increased to 10 fighters and 5 small craft after Clan upgrades).
- Quixote - 780,000 ton missile frigate. Heavily armed and armored. The drive system was considered too small, and the Quixote was replaced by the Congress class in 2542. The Quixote chassis was re-used as the basis of the Volga class.
- Venturer - a light cruiser of unknown tonnage, the Venturer-class was under development by SelaSys Incorporated, a Free Worlds League JumpShip manufacturer, during the 3060s and 3070s; the Venturer-class prototype was moored at the SelaSys shipyards above Loyalty and destroyed during a raid in September 3076.
- Cruiser - 500,000 ton heavy cruiser designed by the Terran Alliance but first launched in 2325 by the Terran Hegemony to serve as a missile cruiser and escort during the Hegemony "Campaigns of Persuasion." No hardpoints, 6 small craft, swiftly became obsolete.
- Dart - 680,000 ton light cruiser, first launched in 2305 by Terran Hegemony. 6 hardpoints, 6 small craft. Used for early exploration.
- Black Lion I - 720,000 ton battle cruiser, introduced in 2315 by the Terran Hegemony; first battle cruiser to enter service and designed to meet Director-General James McKenna's requirements. Standard armor, no hard points, 12 small craft. Shared many features with the Dreadnought-class battleship and the later Black Lion-class battlecruiser.
- Winchester - 740,000 ton cruiser, introduced in 2364 by the Taurian Concordat. These vessels were the first Warships field by the Concordat during the Age of War. Known for its nimble handling and speed the Winchesters were the pride of the Taurian Black Water fleet. Standard armor and heatsinks, 3 Hardpoints, 2 Gravdecks, 24 fighters and 6 small craft. A large cargo hold held just over 154,000 tons. The last known vessel was destroyed over Robsart in 2581.
- Aegis - 745,000 ton heavy cruiser, introduced in 2372 by the Terran Hegemony, making it the oldest WarShip class still in service. Ferro-carbide armor, 4 Hardpoints, 6 fighters and 4 small craft, increasing to 20 fighters and 10 small craft with Clan upgrades. The original class was mothballed in 2531, but reactivated in 2582 after all ships underwent a substantial upgrade program.
- Avalon - 770,00 ton cruiser produced by the Federated Suns. 6 hardpoints, 12 fighters. Called missile cruiser for large number of AR-10 capital missile launchers.
- Kimagure - 780,000 ton pursuit cruiser with superior speed and maneuverability, introduced in 2582 by the Star League. 2 hardpoints and 12 fighters. Upgraded to the Conqueror class.
- Kirishima - 790,000 ton cruiser, introduced in 3061 by House Kurita. Ferro-carbide armor, 3 hardpoints, 12 fighters and 2 small craft.
- Black Lion - 802,000 ton battlecruiser, introduced in 2691 by the Star League. 4 Hardpoints, 18 fighters (increasing to 20 after Clan upgrades) and 10 small craft. Clan upgraded version features Lamellor ferro-carbide armor.
- Agamemnon - 815,000 ton heavy cruiser, introduced in 3058 by the Free Worlds League. 4 hardpoints, 18 fighters.
- Sovetskii Soyuz - 823,000 ton heavy cruiser, introduced in 2742 by the Star League. Current version (after Clan refit) has been upgraded to ferro-aluminum armor, 20 fighters, 8 small craft.
- Avatar - 830,000 ton heavy cruiser, introduced in 2531 by the Terran Hegemony. 6 Hardpoints, 24 fighters. Replaced the Aegis class and was in turn replaced by the Luxor class. Known for unresolved problem with shipboard electricity short-outs. Upgraded by Clans to Liberator class.
- Liberator - 830,000 ton cruiser; Liberator is the Clan designation for their upgraded version of the Avatar class. Ferro-carbide armor, 6 hardpoints, 30 fighters. Notable for small emergence signature.
- Cameron - 859,000 ton battlecruiser, introduced in 2668 by the Star League. Ferro-carbide armor, 2 Hardpoints, 16 fighters, increasing to 20 fighters and 2 small craft after Clan upgrades. Failed to live up to expectations.
- Luxor - 890,000 ton heavy cruiser that was used to replace the aging SLDF Avatar class in the early twenty-eighth century. Improved ferro-aluminium armor, 4 hardpoints, 2 squadrons of aerospace fighters and 4 small craft. All ships were destroyed during the liberation of Terra in 2779.
- Tharkad - 900,000 ton battlecruiser that was the first LC design during the Star League era. Ferro-carbide armor, 6 hardpoints, 36 aerospace fighters and 8 small craft. Roughly 20 were built LCS Invincible was the last known warship in the IS until lost.
- Defender - 960,000 ton Battlecruiser, launched in 2360 as the Federated Suns's first WarShip. Fastest ship of its time, this difficult to build Warship was utilized as command vessel.
- Feng Huang - 970,000 ton cruiser, first launched in 3058 by the Capellan Confederation. 6 hardpoints, 26 fighters, intended to hold its own against the Thera and heavily armored at the expense of weaponry. Some vessels upgraded to carry 123 aerospace fighters and upgraded weapons.
- Mjolnir - 1,350,000 ton battlecruiser, introduced in 3062 by the Lyran Alliance. 4 hardpoints, 36 fighters. Originally intended to be a light cruiser, the Mjolnir programme transformed into the largest post-succession war WarShip.
- Soyal - 1,500,000 ton heavy cruiser, introduced in 2731 by the Capellan Confederation and used in smaller quantities by the Free Worlds League. This vessel was first WarShip known to mount a Mass Driver; 3 hardpoints, 12 fighters, 2 small craft, 48 BattleMechs.
- Potemkin - 1,508,000 ton troop cruiser, introduced in 2611 by the Star League. Ferro-carbide armor, 25 hardpoints, 10 small craft. Capable of moving an entire division of troops.
- Dreadnought - 960,000 ton Battleship originally commissioned by the Terran Alliance; the first true combat WarShip and directly responsible for the creation of the Terran Hegemony. The Dreadnought-class served up until the end of the Reunification War.
- Du Shi Wang - 900,000 ton battleship, introduced by the Duchy of Liao in 2380. 2 hardpoints, 18 aerospace fighters. An early design pre-dating the formation of the Capellan Confederation. The majority of the ship's main weaponry was mounted on the bow. Primarily designed for fleet engagements; remained in service until the early Succession Wars, where most of the class were destroyed.
- Stefan Amaris - 1,040,000 ton battleship built by House Amaris as the Rim Worlds Republic's only battleship class. All five vessels ever built were ultimately destroyed in the Amaris Coup or its aftermath. Ferro-carbide armor, 4 hardpoints, 54 fighters, 6 small craft.
- Atreus - 1,100,000 ton battleship built by House Marik and contemporary of the Monsoon class to which it compared favourably regarding firepower and maintenance requirements. 2 hardpoints and 24 fighters.
- Nightlord - 1,200,000 ton battleship, introduced in 2932 by Clan Snow Raven. Lamellor ferro-carbide armor, 4 hardpoints, 20 fighters. Carries 100 BattleMechs and and Elemental points each; regarded as the ultimate in Clan-produced weaponry.
- Monsoon - 1,310,000 ton battleship, introduced in 2368 by the Terran Hegemony. 6 hardpoints, 18 fights and 8 small craft. Replaced by the Texas class.
- Texas - 1,560,000 ton battleship, introduced in 2618 by the Star League. Lamellor ferro-carbide armor, 6 hardpoints, 40 fighters and 16 small craft. Advanced ship commissioned to supplant the aging Monsoon class.
- Farragut - 1,680,000 ton battleship class noted for its strong and stress-resistant hull, used later as the design basis for the McKenna class. 2 hardpoints, 36 fighters and 10 small craft.
- McKenna - 1,930,000 ton battleship, introduced in 2652 by the Star League. Ferro-carbide armor, 6 hardpoints, 50 fighters, 16 small craft. Largest jump-capable craft built during the Star League era and arguably the best-known WarShip class, with excellent reputation.
- Erinyes - 2,300,000 ton dreadnought built from a modified Newgrange-class yardship in the 3060s; docking bay exchanged for a Heavy Mass Driver that can launch asteroids as devastating missiles against planets. Unique vessel, previously reported as "asteroid mining ship".
- Leviathan/Leviathan II - 2,400,000 ton heavy transport/battleship, introduced in the mid-3050s by Clan Ghost Bear. 8 hardpoints, 50 fighters. Originally intended to be the largest Clan WarShip built, but initially completed as a modified transport ship to move entire Clan to Inner Sphere before being refitted to battleship specifications (which then became known as the Leviathan II)
- Samarkand - 350,000 ton aerospace carrier introduced by the Draconis Combine in 2579. 3 hardpoints, 72 fighters, 12 small craft. The ship could not handle large WarShips on its own and required escorts. Improved Block II version launched in 2668 with ferro-carbide armor and upgraded weapons.
- Conqueror - 780,000 ton battlecruiser/carrier, introduced by Clan Snow Raven in 3052. 2 hardpoints, 100 fighters. Intended as carrier escort ships for the massive Leviathan dreadnought, this is a Clan refit of the earlier Kimagure-class.
- New Syrtis - 920,000 ton carrier introduced by the Federated Suns shortly before the Reunification War. 2 hardpoints, 120 aerospace fighters, 24 small craft. The first WarShip specifically designed to dominate local space through large quantities of aerospace fighters.
- Thera - 960,000 ton super carrier, introduced in 3060 by the Free Worlds League. 4 hardpoints, 216 fighters, 8 small craft. Able to carry four full aerospace regiments, giving it the largest fighter capacity known of an Star League or Clan vessel.
- Kitty Hawk (apocryphal) - Carrier WarShip at least the size of a heavy cruiser, in service to House Davion around 2600. Functionally replaced in canon by the New Syrtis class; may be the same ship class.
- AeroTech 2, pp. 71-72
- Wars of Reaving, p. 58, "The Scorpion Wanders"
- Field Report 2765: Periphery, p. 30-31, "Essex I (Destroyer)"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 22, "Timeline of the Jihad"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 56, "The Jihad In Review"
- AeroTech 2
- Field Manual: Free Worlds League
- Field Manual: Capellan Confederation
- Field Report: Capellan Confederation 2765
- Historical: Reunification War
- Jihad: Final Reckoning
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3070
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3076
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra
- Technical Readout: 2750
- Technical Readout: 3057
- Technical Readout: 3057 Revised
- Technical Readout: 3067
- Technical Readout: 3075
- Wars of Reaving