|Tech Base||Inner Sphere|
|Safe Thrust||1.5 g|
|Top Thrust||2.5 g|
|KF Drive Integrity||30|
|Armament||1x Medium Mass Driver|
4x Heavy N-Gauss
6 x NAC/20
12 x NL45
6 x Killer Whale
|Armor||1,880 tons of Standard Armor|
130 bay personnel
|Grav Decks||2x 145m diameter|
|Escape Pods/Life Boats||21/21|
|Heat Sinks||779 Double|
The Soyal-class heavy cruiser was a design which was offered to the Star League Defense Force as a candidate WarShip class to replace the Avatar-class heavy cruiser following the SLDF call for a successor WarShip.
Design Development and Sale to Great Houses
The Soyal was designed by Nicholas Shipyards - apparently a part of a larger company, Delhi WarShips - and was one of two candidates to make it to the final competition stage; however, thanks to political pressure from the Chief Executive Officer of Blue Nose Clipperships, Craig Kovac, the Luxor-class vessel designed by Blue Nose ClipperShips won the competition.
Delhi WarShips had previously produced the Vincent family of corvettes for some three hundred years and the opportunity to bid for the contract to replace the Avatar represented an opportunity for Delhi Ships to not only step up into the market for larger WarShips but to do so with a design that promised to be revolutionary. The reason Delhi WarShips were so confident that their Soyal design would be a success was the incorporation of a new and highly-classified weapon system that had only just reached maturity: the Mass Driver. The promise of being able to deliver massive amounts of damage in the opening volley of any naval engagement seemed certain to provide Delhi WarShips and the Soyal a clear advantage over any designs offered by competitors.
The reality was somewhat different; Delhi WarShips gained much more limited access to the Mass Driver research and technology than they had originally planned, and the company ended up over-engineering the design of the Soyal substantially to compensate for what they believed to be the predicted stresses of operating a Mass Driver. The required mass of the Soyal to incorporate a Medium Mass Driver resulted in the design massing a million and a half tons when completed - larger than any other cruiser in service save the Potemkin, and rivalling the established Farragut and Texas classes of battleship for sheer weight. Delhi WarShips also skimped on secondary weapons, confident that the Mass Driver combined with a predicted combat doctrine that would see the Soyal engage opponents bow-on would make the need for secondary weapons largely redundant.
Although Delhi WarShips were confident in the design, it failed to win the competition; political influence from Blue Nose Clipperships aside, the Soyal was also considered oversize and too radical a design by many. What Delhi WarShips also didn't know was that classified research had granted the SLDF with technology to make traditional WarShip weapons far more accurate at longer ranges than those of the Mass Driver, and that as a result the SLDF had decided that the Mass Driver was incompatible with modern SLDF combat doctrine and tactics. As a result, Delhi WarShips invested a substantial amount of time and energy on a WarShip design that was unsuitable for the competition into which it was entered.
The Soyal would likely have ended with its failure to win the replacement contract if not for the efforts of the Capellan Confederation, which was seeking to expand and modernize its WarShip fleet and which saw the Soyal as both similar to the existing Du Shi Wang-class of battleships already in service with the Confederation and as a modern WarShip suitable for use in their expanding black water navy. The design required some changes before it could be manufactured for the Confederation, both to remove technology that was proprietary to the Star League and to incorporate changes required by the Confederation, such as the provision of quarters for Maskirovka detachments, but was judged suitable by the Confederation and resulted in an initial order for four ships with the first entering service in 2731.
It isn't known if Nicholas Shipyards constructed the class from their shipyards at New Earth but the appearance of the first Soyals in the Confederation fleet caused something of a stir, gaining enough interest from other markets that the Free Worlds League soon placed an order for a number of Soyals for their navy. By 2765 the Confederation had no less than ten Soyals in service, making them the most numerous WarShip in the Confederation fleet at more than a quarter of the total fleet size, and also leading to enough calls from an uninformed public to force the SLDF into developing and testing the SLS Surprise, a modified Kimagure-class patrol cruiser mounting a Mass Driver.
For all of the public interest in the Mass Driver and the confidence Delhi WarShips had in the design, the Soyal delivered a few spectacular successes in the Succession Wars but many more embarrassing defeats. The Mass Driver dictated an all-or-nothing strategy, and the Soyal was frequently defeated by ships that were faster and more maneuverable, capable of avoiding the limited arc of fire the Mass Driver possessed.
The Succession Wars
During the First Succession War, the Soyals were used as escorts for larger ships. Many times during the course of the First Succession War, the ships were used for retribution against opponent's worlds by conducting orbital bombardment. However, the ship's inherent design weaknesses would lead to them being destroyed in course of the War.
The Soyal was designed around the single Medium Mass Driver mounted to fire from the nose. In addition to the Mass Driver the Soyal mounted a pair of Heavy Naval Gauss firing into the nose arc, with two more covering the rear arc. The Soyal also mounted banks of four Naval Laser 45s in the rear, forward left and forward right arcs, with the remainder of the Soyal's secondary weapons being a mixture of Naval Autocannon and missiles. A single Naval Autocannon/30 and Naval Autocannon/20 was mounted in each arc of the Soyal other than the nose and rear, and a pair of Killer Whale launchers was mounted into each of the left and right hand broadsides as well as the left and right rear arcs.
- Bay 1: 12 Fighter Cubicles, 3 Doors
- Bay 2: 2 Small Craft, 1 Door
- Bay 3: 48 BattleMech Cubicles, 2 Doors
- Bay 4: 184,422 tons of Cargo, 2 Doors
- Comments on the design of the Soyal from the official Catalyst Game Labs forum by the writer responsible for the design as published in Field Report: Capellan Confederation 2765 have been reproduced with permission on the Talk Page for this entry.
- As of this writing, the Soyal Heavy Cruiser record sheet is only found in Field Manual: Capellan Confederation 2765.
- Field Report: Capellan Confederation 2765, p. 21-22, "Soyal (Heavy Cruiser)"
- MUL online date for the Soyal
- MUL Profile for the Soyal (Standard) - BV2 and Introduction Year
- Era Report: 2750, p. 86, "Craig Kovac"
- Technical Readout: 2750, p. 126, "Vincent"
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 72, "Command of the Stars"
- Field Report: Capellan Confederation 2765, p. 5, "Guarding the Vault of Heaven"
- Comment from author Jellico linking the SLS Surprise with the Kimagure-class SLDF testbed WarShip
- Interstellar Players 3: Interstellar Expeditions, p. 24, "Mundo Nublar"
- First Succession War, pp. 57-58, The New Delos Massacre/Fallout - Pair of Soyal-Class Ships during a naval action as part retribution force during the First Succession War.
- Second Succession War, p. 50-51, "The Battles for the Andurien"- The FWL Soyal-Class Kumbha only known noted action during the war and only named ship of the class mentioned in service.