Service entry dates for Confed fighters

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
If anything an airlock isn't necessary. Pilots do not eject and separate from their seats like in modern fighters. They remain in a pod that is then retrieved. In some cases the pod is then tractored onto a weapons hardpoint for return to base.
Well, even in WCP, where pilots really do eject in pods (which is not the case at all in 2667, mind you - and might not have been in 2669 either), when a pilot does get dragged in by an S&R ship, we see him brought onto the Midway in a stretcher. We know that pilots in general can be injured during ejection (happened to Blair, happened to the guy who wrote the Academy manual). So, probably an airlock is a must, in order to be able to check in on the rescued pilot.

You argue that the Thunderbolt might well have a tractor beam, but you don't address whether or not it has an airlock. The Thunderbolt is 34 metres long, and, if the proportions on the WC3 fighter selection screen are correct, slightly under 20 metres wide and 8 metres high. These dimensions are large enough to accomodate an airlock designed for the retrieval of pilots (probably a cylinder 2.5 metres long with a 1 metre radius or thereabouts), but such a feature is large enough that it ought to be apparent on the ship's surface, which it is not - unless, I suppose, the Confederation logos on the flat surfaces near the engines in the standard wartime paintjob also conceal the airlock seal. I do not think the Thunderbolt design has an airlock, but I can't prove it.
We certainly can't prove it either way, but it doesn't strike me as something that needs to be proven - we have no problem accepting that the Sabre has an airlock, though it's much smaller than the Thunderbolt, and the location of the airlock is certainly not obvious on the ship model. It's a secondary issue anyway - if we had any real evidence to confirm that HF means what it would under US designations (which we don't), that in itself would be proof that the Thunderbolt has all it needs for the role. Without this, there's no point trying to prove that the Thunderbolt has or hasn't an airlock.
The biggest factor that I think might well have lead to greater standardisation in Confederation equipment (both in terms of fighters and components) is the length of the war. World War II lasted six years (if you're British or German) or four (if you're Russian or American), whereas the Terran-Kilrathi conflict went on for over 30 (though I don't believe we have any conclusive evidence one way or the other as to whether it was a high-intensity conflict for that entire time, which I rather doubt). Over that period of time it would be expected that (especially with a degree of government control over the economy, something President Rodham mentions in passing in Fleet Action) there would be a move towards standardisation of as many components as possible.
I see no reason to believe that. Why would this be the case? What we saw in WWII was exactly the opposite - as the war progressed, there was more and more diversification. It's peacetime that tends to lead to standardisation, while at war, a multitude of different tasks demands a multitude of different fighters. In addition, I don't think it's ever implied that "government control" means anything different here than it did in WWII. The companies producing aircraft would have remained private companies, functioning as private companies, and employing all the standard tricks - not only trying to outdo their competition by presenting a new design to beat whatever the other guys want to be the "standard" fighter, but also arguing constantly that they'll be more efficient producing their own design than re-tooling to produce someone else's (that's literally the story of the Mustang in WWII), and of course - wining and dining with their political and military connections to make sure they get the contract.

It's highly probable that there must have been a degree of standardisation given that Confed is happy to transport fighters to front-line carriers in pieces - that suggests that reassembly is a relatively simple job and that it doesn't require specialised equipment (taking up valuable storage space on a carrier) for each class of ship, which is evidence in favour of modular designs using standardised parts.
This is standard practice today, as well. It's normal for aircraft to fly under their own power onto a carrier, but that's only because it's more efficient. There is nothing whatosever to prevent the US Navy from putting together an F-18 onboard the aircraft carrier - the specialised equipment required would probably come down to a rivet gun and a blowtorch. But that doesn't mean you can put together an F-18 using F-14 parts - though we certainly do hear that some fighters share components, which is only to be expected (the WC4 novel specifically talks about this).

The second is the different service structure the Confederation Armed Forces have. As far as I can tell, every fighter belongs to the TCSF (though admittedly the carrier and ISS forces have somewhat different needs), everything corvette and upwards to the TCN, and everyone expected to land on a planet (or a Hakaga) and shoot at Kilrathi is a Marine. (It's almost like the universe wasn't created by somebody familiar with inter-service politics or something.)
Again, you seem to assume simplification where there is none. Even in your first sentence, where you state that every fighter belongs to the TCSF, you go on to mention ISS, which is, as near as we can tell, a separate service branch. And then there's all those militias we see in Privateer (with WC4 possibly implying that similar militias existed in the future Border Worlds as well, maybe even including their own capships). Besides this, however - being unified in a single service branch would not in any way alleviate the pressures of multiple requirements. Militia fighters would need to be, above all, cheap and rugged (...yet, equipped with a jump drive), while carrier fighters would need to be high-performance. And of course, you have different carrier types, with different needs - an escort carrier that's supposed to keep a backwater sector secure just won't need that wing of Excaliburs. And it won't fit that wing of Broadswords, apparently, needing instead to get its own unique variant of the Sabre...

The third is the nature of the front. This was to some extent true in the Pacific Theatre (though it certainly wasn't in Europe), but it's a much more pronounced factor in WC. Mobile forces are horrifically expensive to produce and keep supplied by comparison to garrison forces.
The nature of the front is the strongest argument against standardisation, not for it. We make something of a mistake, constantly comparing WC to the Pacific Theatre. It is comparable, in the sense that you've got lots of islands (planets) with huge space between them and carriers providing the most effective means of striking the enemy. But there's a problem - because these islands, very often, are highly populated and highly developed. It's as if the United States exploded into fifty-two pieces, with each state being a separate island, as distant from the other states as Hawaii is from the mainland. Of course, you'll have plenty of North Dakotas out there, with a negligible population and relevance to the war, but you'll also have Michigan right there in the middle of Gemini Sector, with a big chunk of your industrial capacity. You cannot merely hope that if the Kilrathi attack New Detroit, there will be a carrier somewhere nearby - not when you have about ten carriers at one time. You do need powerful local garrisons. And heck, even those North Dakotas and Arizonas will vociferously demand that they be given appropriate protection. And you need to keep them safe and happy, because they're keeping Michigan fed and supplied with raw resources. So, what you'll find is that time and again, Michigan will not wait for New York to supply them with a fresh batch of whatever the "standard" Confed fighter would be - instead, they'll produce their own aircraft locally. And then, the Confed fleet operating in the area will ask the central government a very sensible question - why must we wait for "standard" reinforcements, when we could get these local manufacturers to produce something for us much faster, with a much shorter supply line?

There's another difference, too, but I'm not sure what the effect of this one would be - in 1939, mass-produced internal combustion engines were less than fifty years old, powered flight was 35 years old and military aviation ten years younger than that. I don't know if we have any knowledge of quite how long humans have been building starfighters or fusion and jump drives for but I believe it's a couple of centuries at least.
Probably not too relevant. Seventy years down the track, internal combustion engines are more than a hundred years old... but they're no longer used by high-performance strike fighters. We don't know how many times along the way the basic technology powering Confed's fighters will have changed. We even see such a changeover taking place in WC4, with the Dragon using a totally new type of engine.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Well, even in WCP, where pilots really do eject in pods (which is not the case at all in 2667, mind you - and might not have been in 2669 either), when a pilot does get dragged in by an S&R ship, we see him brought onto the Midway in a stretcher. We know that pilots in general can be injured during ejection (happened to Blair, happened to the guy who wrote the Academy manual). So, probably an airlock is a must, in order to be able to check in on the rescued pilot.

Again, not necessarily. We see multiple pods tractored in during the movie that are then mounted onto the hull of the retrieving ship. We also see the pilot still strapped into their seats following ejection. The only time I can think of where there isn't something like that is when Ratha kills himself during the main battle at McAuliffe in AS. He opens his helmet to space and dies that way. Otherwise when you do encounter ejected pilots in the games that can show them, they are attached to the seat in some type of contained space, i.e. a pod.

I'm also only talking about fighters being used in this role. Dedicated S&R ships are an entirely different breed where I would expect things like airlocks, medical station, and so on to be housed within.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Great thread! I'd love to see some guestimates. I did have F-numbers of most Confed fighters, maybe that would help.

It is an interesting thing to look at:

A-14 Raptor
A-15 Gladius
A-17 Broadsword
A-18 Crossbow
A-20 Banshee

F-27 Arrow V
F-36 Hornet
F-38 Talon
F-44 Rapier II
F-54 Epee
F-57 Sabre
F/A-76 Longbow
HF-66 Thunderbolt VII
F-71 Stiletto
F-95 Morningstar
F-97 Wraith
F-98 Phantom
F-103 Excalibur
F-104 Bearcat
F/A-105 Tigershark
F-106 Piranha
F-107 Lance
F-108 Panther
F-109 Vampire
F-110 Wasp

P-64 Ferret

TB-80 Devastator
TB-81 Shrike

CF-105 Scimitar

The Victory on WC3 was also supposed to be an old, so it's fightercraft complement could be of older craft. As the war was getting bad for the Confeds, they prolly reactivated older fightercraft back to active duty.

I don't think this is the case, since the Lexington in Wing Commander IV has an entirely new (built post-war) complement of fighters and they're the same classes. (Also note that while the Victory was very old, the fighter wing assigned to her had been there just over a year.)

There is also a possibility of issues in retooling for the upgraded design. Origin would have been focused heavily on keeping Rapier production at full force whereas Douglas had the reduced load during the late 2660s they needed to retool for the upgraded Hellcat, which was a less popular design to begin with.

One interesting aside there--the Wing Commander IV novelization mentions that the Rapier and the Thunderbolt use the same wing spar.

They were built by two different manufacturers meaning certain advancements in tech may not have been as wide spread. Of note here is the fact that Douglas Aerospace developed the T-bolt, Arrow, and Excalibur. Also, the production facilities for Origin (makers of the Rapier) could have been severely damaged by the Kilrathi attack during 2668. Weren't the Shipyards near the Moon part of Origin Aerospace?

I don't think we have near that much detail about Origin Aerospace; all we know is it's the logo on the WC1 blueprints. :)

Given his detailed description of the roles of the different fighters, and his addition of the support squadron (he thus single-handedly boosted the Victory's ship compliment by a fight, to about 50 ships!)

Not sure this is such a revelation, since the Wing Commander III novel is where the forty-spacecraft fighter complement comes from in the first place. I think it's just that most fighter complements are given without the shuttles/pinnances/etc. included.

Presumably, you need a tractor beam and an airlock to bring the pilots onboard. You probably need a rear turret to operate the tractor beam (though this is not a given).

You do not need a rear turret, we see Scimitars performing picking up pods on Wing Commander Academy. They lock the pod into place in a hardpoint on top of the ship. And of course it's not military but you can pick up ejected pilots in Privateer using a forward-mounted tractor.

We also don't know how long the Epee (in its fourth revision) has been around, and we don't know how the Raptor and Scimitar (both pre-war fighters) in 2654 compare to their original versions. How many revisions had the Scimitar gone through, in its hundred-year-long service?

I believe the Epee is pretty new. According to the the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide, Heaven's Gate 1 was "my first time in the Epee, the light attack fighter that had replaced the Hornet just five years before" (which would be 2661.) I know we cite an Epee on Wing Commander Academy, but it's tenous as best; they neither look like Epees nor are they ever referred to as such...

Do we know that the Raptor is a pre-war fighter? I can't think of a reference to it before the 2639 Enyo Engagement.

You argue that the Thunderbolt might well have a tractor beam, but you don't address whether or not it has an airlock.

I don't think you NEED an airlock; the crew is wearing space suits... you just need to repressurize the ship after the pickup (just like how many real spacecraft perform EVAs.)

... but regardless of that, I think there is a pretty strong argument for the Thunderbolt having a tractor beam and being able to perform SAR missions if needed: if Flint is shot down in the 'rescue Flint' mission, Cobra rescues her.

(And of course see my earlier mention of Academy, where we see both Scimitars rescuing pods in a free hardpoint and Broadswords allowing rescued pilots to board them.)

The second is the different service structure the Confederation Armed Forces have. As far as I can tell, every fighter belongs to the TCSF (though admittedly the carrier and ISS forces have somewhat different needs), everything corvette and upwards to the TCN, and everyone expected to land on a planet (or a Hakaga) and shoot at Kilrathi is a Marine. (It's almost like the universe wasn't created by somebody familiar with inter-service politics or something.)

The Army does pop up a few times in the background. There's a scene in Fleet Action where it describes the three different service logos that says the army is a gold star... and of course the Wing Commander I & II guide mentions that the Army-Navy Game is still a tradition.

The biggest question is what exactly the Space Force is; while it seems to borrow some things, like the rank structure, from the USAF it mostly seems to be part of the Navy. Blair attended the futuristic equivalent of Annapolis, for instance, and it never comes up as a separate service in any of the novels.

I don't think all fighters belong to the Space Force (or Navy) though. There seems to be a different between the types of garrison forces, for instance, with the more directly Confederation controlled ISS to the local sponsored Home Defense units to the militia squadrons in Privateer.

At the start of the Hakaga campaign - that is, after six months of peace to rearm - the Kilrathi have enough supplies and pilots to field five Hakagas and ten Snakeirs

Nitpicking, I know, but I want to point out that Fleet Actions' 'carriers' aren't necessarily Snakeirs. We see a number of different versions, including and especially the seemingly standard carriers on Wing Commander Academy (that look like smaller WC3 dreadnaughts.)
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Do we know that the Raptor is a pre-war fighter? I can't think of a reference to it before the 2639 Enyo Engagement.
Now that I think about it, I guess there isn't. I *thought* one of Shotglass' conversations implied this, but it doesn't - he says he flew most of his career in Scimitars and Raptors, but that doesn't mean he flew Raptors before the war. I guess in that case, the earliest we can date the Raptor to is 2639.
 

Kyle Maverick

Rear Admiral
IIRC, In the Price of Freedom Novel, it describes Blair watching Seether tractor an ejection pod to an empty hardpoint on his fighter (I forget what one it was), and Blair's inner monologue says that while the tractor beam had been added to the craft for S&R duties, actually tractoring an ejection pod to the hard point without causing the occupant injury was a bloody hard thing to do.

Daft thing is, I can't remember what fighter it was, but I do remember the kid "rescued" was called Kyle and Blair recognised him from the Victory (I'm fairly sure it was the Victory)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Daft thing is, I can't remember what fighter it was, but I do remember the kid "rescued" was called Kyle and Blair recognised him from the Victory (I'm fairly sure it was the Victory)

Your memory is correct! Provisional Lieutenant Kyle Lee (he's actually in the game, but he isn't named there.)

The fighter was a 'Black Hellcat.'
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Now if you REALLY want to impress the ladies, memorize his Border Worlds' serial number: 284H5237 ;)
 

starfox1701

Petty Officer
I don't think WC3 is a good benchmark for determining the age of any fighters on either side. I don't think that it was the intention of the game designers that all the fighters be considered brand new. In fact I think; with the exception of the Excalibur; all the fighters on the Victory were probably older designs. I base this thought process on a few things. First is Blair's reaction to being assigned to Victory. He all but says the ship is so old he doesn't consider her combat worthy. He would know the combat effectivenes of a carrier is vested in her airwing. This implies that Victories Airwing is not up to front line snuff as it were. Second is the reaction of Victories pilots and Captain to his arrival. It definetly indicates they precive some deficiency in Victory and her airwing that they need to defend to the new CAG. Last is Captain Eisen's remark if you get splashed. It goes somthing like this "We are last in line to recieve new equipment out here. Next time try to bring your ship back with you." While it is conjecture take as a whole it seams to point to an aging group of fighters little chance of replacement with more moderen designs. Also there are the Kilrathi fighters and cap ships. First you have the Dralthi, Strakha, and Bloodfang; all fighters that we know well but that look nothing like the 1 and 2 versions in 3. If the Kilrathi are still using these fighters there is simple no rational explanation for how radically different they look. Same with the Fralthi II CA. The name implies that the vessel resembles the WC1 Fralthi enough that Comfed taged it as basicly the same class. Lastly theres Excalibur. This is without a doubt the newest hotest thing off the assembly line. It crushes all opposition even the mighty Bloodfang wich just 2 years earlier was death incarnate. If the Conederation can make fighters that powerful and all the other WC3 fighters are suppose to be all new and shiny why are they losing the war and desperate for any weapon that can give them an edge. The simple answer is that these fighters are not new and while they might be the most up to date models of there respective designs but they are showing there age and everbody knows it. If I had to guess I'd say that the 36th fighter wing was a garrison unit transfered to Victory when she was reactivated after the battle of Earth. It would have been the fastest way to get combat ready pilots and plans on a carrier after that desaster. Besides Garrison units wouldn't nessicarily have met the same fate of decomisioning as line combat units during the false peace. Even with the Kilrathi off the warpath there are still all kinds of other nasties out there.

Any one who mods games knows first hand the real reason WC3 looks nothing like WC2. That reason is polies. For those that don't model polies are the little triangles that all CGI models are made of. WC1 used models with an average of 2,000 to 5,000 polies to do the renders for game sprites. WC2 used models averaging more then 30,000 polies for the sprite renders. WC3 was the first time real models made it into the the game and I know first hand how ruthless poly budgets are. The poly weight of models between WC2 and WC3 droped from tens of thousands to a few hundred per model. This forced (or gave the excuse depending on your perspective) them to use a completly new set of ships and fighters on both sides.
 

quaker2k8

Rear Admiral
I think the main reason why the Victory is considered somewhat weak is because of the carrier itself and the quantity, not quality of its fighter wing. It's just an old escort carrier, but the fighters are standard: Arrow, Hellcat, Thunderbolt and Longbow are Confed's standard ships through WC4 so in the time of WC3, there evidently are no better ships than these models available in mass-production.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I agree with many of starfox's general points, but have a few quibbles:

First you have the Dralthi, Strakha, and Bloodfang; all fighters that we know well but that look nothing like the 1 and 2 versions in 3. If the Kilrathi are still using these fighters there is simple no rational explanation for how radically different they look. Same with the Fralthi II CA. The name implies that the vessel resembles the WC1 Fralthi enough that Comfed taged it as basicly the same class.

Not sure what you're driving at here, but it's not correct. The Dralthi in WC3 is a Dralthi IV, which is *not* the same class of ship as the Dralthi I and II we saw in WC1 and SM1+2 (that was the Dralthi II). The Bloodfang may well be a term for "Thrakhath's elite fighter", (kind of like "Air Force One" means "the President's aircraft") rather than implying a specific unchanging class (one would imagine that his fighter actually get's upgraded pretty frequently). And the Fralthi II is also a very different class than the Fralthi I of WC1.

Just because a ship name has a roman numeral after it does not imply that Confed or anyone else think's it's basically the same class. After all, the modern A-10 Thunderbolt II (commonly called the "Warthog" is in no way connected to the P-47 Thunderbolt of WWII. An early working name for the F-22 was "Lightning II" before they settled on "Raptor". Again, it's obviously not the same class as the P-38 Lightning of WWII.

Capships are even more tenuous to infer too much from the class name, because in the U.S. (and presumably in Confed) capship classes are named after the first ship of that class. If the Kilrathi do the same thing, then the "Fralthi class" could be called such because the first ship of that type built was the "KIS Fralthi". In which case, there's no reason to assume that ships of the Fralthi II class would have any connection to the Fralthi class...just that the first "Fralthi II" cruiser was the "KIS Fralthi II" (presumably named after the original Fralthi, much like the U.S.S. Hornet, CV-12 (an Essex-class carrier now docked in Alameda CA) was named after the original USS Hornet CV-8 (a Yorktown class carrier sunk off Guadalcanal).

To see the dangers of inferring too much from class names, look at Confed. We have a whole line of "Concordia class" carriers, yet when we see a "TCS Concordia", it's not Concordia class but rather Confederation class. Furthermore, there's another TCS Concordia that's also not Concordia class, and isn't even a carrier.

I don't think you can infer much from name similarities.

Lastly theres Excalibur. This is without a doubt the newest hotest thing off the assembly line. It crushes all opposition even the mighty Bloodfang wich just 2 years earlier was death incarnate. If the Conederation can make fighters that powerful and all the other WC3 fighters are suppose to be all new and shiny why are they losing the war and desperate for any weapon that can give them an edge. The simple answer is that these fighters are not new and while they might be the most up to date models of there respective designs but they are showing there age and everbody knows it. If I had to guess I'd say that the 36th fighter wing was a garrison unit transfered to Victory when she was reactivated after the battle of Earth. It would have been the fastest way to get combat ready pilots and plans on a carrier after that desaster. Besides Garrison units wouldn't nessicarily have met the same fate of decomisioning as line combat units during the false peace. Even with the Kilrathi off the warpath there are still all kinds of other nasties out there.

Technically, the Bloodfang still outclasses the Excalibur, or at least the odds are very even. Look at the stats in my ship comparer:

https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/thr...p-viewer-built-for-wc3-february-4-2012.25929/

The Bloodfang is faster, has better acceleration, slightly more maneuverability, and has thicker shields. The Excalibur has the advantages of autoslide, autotracking guns, slightly heavier guns, more missiles and decoys, and a hair thicker armor. But the Excal hardly crushes the Bloodfang.

Also, just because you can make a really shiny powerful fighter and still be losing the war doesn't mean that all your other fighters must suck. Consider Germany in 1944 and early 1945. They were fielding the Me-262 in 1944, a jet fighter that outclassed anything in the air (including the British jets and the American P-80 Shooting Stars, both of which were a few months away from deployment when the war ended). To use your words, the 262 was "the hottest thing off the assembly line" which could "crush all opposition, even the mighty" P-51 Mustang which just two years earlier could be viewed as "death incarnate". Yet Germany was losing the war and desparate for any weapon that could give them an edge (like the V-1, V-2, etc.). So that must mean that all of Germany's other fighters, and for that matter, all their war machines, were showing their age, right? No. The new Type XXI U-boat was the most advanced submarine that the world had ever seen. The FW-190's that made up most of Germany's fighter force was still a deadly fighter and, on paper, a solid match for the Spitfires, Thunderbolts, Lightnings, and Mustangs it faced (and far superior to whatever the Russians fielded). The newest German tanks, the newest Panzer IV's, Panthers, and Tigers, were some of the best tanks anyone in the world was fielding.

Of course, Germany was losing the war for the same reason Confed was. They were overmatched in a war of attrition (in Confed's case, because of the False Armistice), and were suffering from the loss of trained men as well as quantity of fighting vehicles. So it's reasonable to assume that the Victory was fielding whatever they had handy, but I don't think you can assume they were old simply because Confed was losing the war.[/quote]
 
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starfox1701

Petty Officer
Not sure what you're driving at here, but it's not correct. The Dralthi in WC3 is a Dralthi IV, which is *not* the same class of ship as the Dralthi I and II we saw in WC1 and SM1+2 (that was the Dralthi II). The Bloodfang may well be a term for "Thrakhath's elite fighter", (kind of like "Air Force One" means "the President's aircraft") rather than implying a specific unchanging class (one would imagine that his fighter actually get's upgraded pretty frequently). And the Fralthi II is also a very different class than the Fralthi I of WC1.

Just because a ship name has a roman numeral after it does not imply that Confed or anyone else think's it's basically the same class. After all, the modern A-10 Thunderbolt II (commonly called the "Warthog" is in no way connected to the P-47 Thunderbolt of WWII. An early working name for the F-22 was "Lightning II" before they settled on "Raptor". Again, it's obviously not the same class as the P-38 Lightning of WWII.

Ok my logic here is simple on the Dralthi. first off we arn't talking about a recycled name as in the examples yo have shown. The Dralthi IV is a production variant in the samee way 2011 and 2010 Mustang cars are production veriants. So yes a certain amount of differnce is expected. However the amount of change seen in the physical appearance of this variant is far more radical then one would expect especially in wartime where such radical alterations can have a major negative effect on your logistics. This is even more surprising considering that the end result is substandard when compared to the older model. I beleive; and if some one could double check; one of the books says that Thrakhath actually has a whole squadron of Bloodfangs for him and his elite bodygaurds. So the fighter is a bit more then just a one off creation. Besides he wouldn't hide behind a codename as that would be an affront to his warrior code and honor.

Capships are even more tenuous to infer too much from the class name, because in the U.S. (and presumably in Confed) capship classes are named after the first ship of that class. If the Kilrathi do the same thing, then the "Fralthi class" could be called such because the first ship of that type built was the "KIS Fralthi". In which case, there's no reason to assume that ships of the Fralthi II class would have any connection to the Fralthi class...just that the first "Fralthi II" cruiser was the "KIS Fralthi II" (presumably named after the original Fralthi, much like the U.S.S. Hornet, CV-12 (an Essex-class carrier now docked in Alameda CA) was named after the original USS Hornet CV-8 (a Yorktown class carrier sunk off Guadalcanal).

To see the dangers of inferring too much from class names, look at Confed. We have a whole line of "Concordia class" carriers, yet when we see a "TCS Concordia", it's not Concordia class but rather Confederation class. Furthermore, there's another TCS Concordia that's also not Concordia class, and isn't even a carrier.

I don't think you can infer much from name similarities.

Ok my logic here come not from how we nam are own stuff but how we name ther other guys stuff. Durring the cold war NATO maintained a complex naming system for Soviet warships which included Roman numeral designators for new ships that where obvious developments of a known class. See this for examples
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ships_of_the_Soviet_Navy
If we are going to assume that Confed is thinking like the US military then this is the most logical explanation for the name. It doesn't mater what the Kilrathi call them and Confed would be unlikly to have that info anyway at least during the first few years of of a new warships deployment.

Technically, the Bloodfang still outclasses the Excalibur, or at least the odds are very even. Look at the stats in my ship comparer:

https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/thre...p-viewer-built-for-wc3-february-4-2012.25929/

The Bloodfang is faster, has better acceleration, slightly more maneuverability, and has thicker shields. The Excalibur has the advantages of autoslide, autotracking guns, slightly heavier guns, more missiles and decoys, and a hair thicker armor. But the Excal hardly crushes the Bloodfang.

Also, just because you can make a really shiny powerful fighter and still be losing the war doesn't mean that all your other fighters must suck. Consider Germany in 1944 and early 1945. They were fielding the Me-262 in 1944, a jet fighter that outclassed anything in the air (including the British jets and the American P-80 Shooting Stars, both of which were a few months away from deployment when the war ended). To use your words, the 262 was "the hottest thing off the assembly line" which could "crush all opposition, even the mighty" P-51 Mustang which just two years earlier could be viewed as "death incarnate". Yet Germany was losing the war and desparate for any weapon that could give them an edge (like the V-1, V-2, etc.). So that must mean that all of Germany's other fighters, and for that matter, all their war machines, were showing their age, right? No. The new Type XXI U-boat was the most advanced submarine that the world had ever seen. The FW-190's that made up most of Germany's fighter force was still a deadly fighter and, on paper, a solid match for the Spitfires, Thunderbolts, Lightnings, and Mustangs it faced (and far superior to whatever the Russians fielded). The newest German tanks, the newest Panzer IV's, Panthers, and Tigers, were some of the best tanks anyone in the world was fielding.

Of course, Germany was losing the war for the same reason Confed was. They were overmatched in a war of attrition (in Confed's case, because of the False Armistice), and were suffering from the loss of trained men as well as quantity of fighting vehicles. So it's reasonable to assume that the Victory was fielding whatever they had handy, but I don't think you can assume they were old simply because Confed was losing the war.
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The point here was simple. Excalibur so throughly outclasses all the other Confed and most of the Kilrathi fighter that it makes dificault to beleive that all the other fighters you fly are also brand new design. If Bloodfang and Excalibur are the benchmarks of Kilrathi and Confed fighter research then all the other fighters would seam to be way more then just 1 generation behind. 1 thing is for sure; these fighters are not from the same generation for development has the Excalibur.
 
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Ijuin

Admiral
I think the main reason why the Victory is considered somewhat weak is because of the carrier itself and the quantity, not quality of its fighter wing. It's just an old escort carrier, but the fighters are standard: Arrow, Hellcat, Thunderbolt and Longbow are Confed's standard ships through WC4 so in the time of WC3, there evidently are no better ships than these models available in mass-production.
IMO, a big part of why they are standard in WC3/4 is because they can be produced more quickly and cheaply than Morningstars and Crossbows (the top-of-the-line right before the False Peace). After the Battle of Terra, quantity took priority over quality until production lines for the newest generation (Excalibur, Bearcat, etc.) could get underway.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Ok my logic here come not from how we nam are own stuff but how we name ther other guys stuff. Durring the cold war NATO maintained a complex naming system for Soviet warships which included Roman numeral designators for new ships that where obvious developments of a known class. See this for examples
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ships_of_the_Soviet_Navy
If we are going to assume that Confed is thinking like the US military then this is the most logical explanation for the name. It doesn't mater what the Kilrathi call them and Confed would be unlikly to have that info anyway at least during the first few years of of a new warships deployment.
We are not going to assume that Confed is thinking like the US military, though - why on earth would we? There is every indication that, wherever possible, Confed uses the Kilrathi class names. And the names themselves are the strongest indicator of all. During WWII, the US had a very strict naming scheme for Japanese planes (male name = fighter, female name = bomber; names must be easy, short and fast to pronounce, so you won't see an Anthony or an Ezekiel fighter - instead, you'll see Tonies and Zekes). Post-WWII, the US, and later NATO, had an equally strict naming scheme for Soviet aircraft - although the length requirement seemed to be gone (Foxtrot, Blackjack), there was still specific requirements. All the fighters were F-based, all the bombers were B-based. You wouldn't see a MiG-29 Lumberjack fighter, for example. Nor a Zeke. More importantly, you didn't see a Tu-160 Babushka bomber, or a MiG-29 Fiodor fighter - because using difficult-to-pronounce Russian terms would defy the logic of having codenames in the first place.

The very fact that we see Dralthi, Jalkehi, Vaktoth, Ekapshi, Ralatha and myriad other tough-to-pronounce names that seem to have nothing in common except for sounding alien should be enough to tell you that, no, Confed does not think like the US, and no, these are not codenames.

Any one who mods games knows first hand the real reason WC3 looks nothing like WC2. That reason is polies. For those that don't model polies are the little triangles that all CGI models are made of. WC1 used models with an average of 2,000 to 5,000 polies to do the renders for game sprites. WC2 used models averaging more then 30,000 polies for the sprite renders. WC3 was the first time real models made it into the the game and I know first hand how ruthless poly budgets are. The poly weight of models between WC2 and WC3 droped from tens of thousands to a few hundred per model. This forced (or gave the excuse depending on your perspective) them to use a completly new set of ships and fighters on both sides.
I hate to be snide, but you're really walking into it :). Maybe what you say is obvious to anyone who mods games... but anyone who mods Wing Commander games will tell you something else entirely. We don't, of course, know how many polies the original WC1 models had - we never got our hands on them. I don't remember offhand what the polycount was like on WC2 models either, though these are available to look at. What I do know is that someone specifically tried this experiment - namely, to create a convincing WC2 model within the limits of WC3's polycounts (200-300 per model). The effects were more than good enough. Similarly, I can tell you that when you're making models for WCP (where the polycounts can reach about 1000), it doesn't matter whether you're working on a WC3 ship or a WC1 ship, you'll still find enough detail to fill those 1000 polies - it's not the ship, it's the poly limit that determines the number of polies.

If you think about it some more, you'll realise that this notion (admittedly, very widespread within the WC community, even after a decade of trying to explain otherwise) is entirely absurd because it was proven wrong before it was even first uttered: Wing Commander Armada, released before WC3, included great-looking polygonal representations of two of the most complex WC2 ships, the Wraith and the Jrathek. And of course, during this same time period, Origin released a whole slew of air combat games - Strike Commander, Pacific Strike, Wings of Glory. Each of these games included convincing, low-poly representations of any number of complex aircraft. None of them needed to be flying bricks to fit within the poly limit...

WC3's ships looked different to WC2 because Chris Roberts wanted them to look different - period. He had a chance to "reset" the series' look and feel. Where previously, ships were something of a mishmash, here he had a chance to create a game that would be visually unified. For better or for worse, he took this chance and changed everything. Personally, I never liked the results - but WC3's unity of style is impressive when contrasted with the previous titles. I'm sure that blockiness was considered an advantage within the constraints of a poly-based engine - but it clearly could not have been the determining factor. More likely, it was thought that making blocky, wing-less ships would be uniquely different to Star Wars and most other sci-fi series... and also would help get across that we're dealing with spaceships rather than space planes.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
The very fact that we see Dralthi, Jalkehi, Vaktoth, Ekapshi, Ralatha and myriad other tough-to-pronounce names that seem to have nothing in common except for sounding alien should be enough to tell you that, no, Confed does not think like the US, and no, these are not codenames.

While I agree that this MAKES SENSE, we are specifically told that "Sivar" is the Confederation's codename for the dreadnaught in The Secret Missions.

I think the main reason why the Victory is considered somewhat weak is because of the carrier itself and the quantity, not quality of its fighter wing. It's just an old escort carrier, but the fighters are standard: Arrow, Hellcat, Thunderbolt and Longbow are Confed's standard ships through WC4 so in the time of WC3, there evidently are no better ships than these models available in mass-production.

Nitpick: the Victory is a 'light carrier'; for whatever reason, the development of quickly-produced escort carriers in Wing Commander is apparently an exciting new idea that happens just before Wing Commander III.

Not sure what you're driving at here, but it's not correct. The Dralthi in WC3 is a Dralthi IV, which is *not* the same class of ship as the Dralthi I and II we saw in WC1 and SM1+2 (that was the Dralthi II). The Bloodfang may well be a term for "Thrakhath's elite fighter", (kind of like "Air Force One" means "the President's aircraft") rather than implying a specific unchanging class (one would imagine that his fighter actually get's upgraded pretty frequently). And the Fralthi II is also a very different class than the Fralthi I of WC1.

It's hard to say. Certainly the Confederation uses the American system you've mentioned... but who knows about the Kilrathi? The Dralthi IV certainly feels like a different spacecraft... but the difference between a Dralthi and a Dralthi II is slim.

The Kilrathi Saga manual implies that the two Strakha are the same; the Confederation's intel document on them shows sketches of both and (IIRC) identifies one as the prototype and one as the production verson. (At the same time, the fact that 'Strakha' was used for the sensor-cloaked-ship on Wing Commander Academy also implies that it may just mean 'invisible fighter.')

I beleive; and if some one could double check; one of the books says that Thrakhath actually has a whole squadron of Bloodfangs for him and his elite bodygaurds. So the fighter is a bit more then just a one off creation. Besides he wouldn't hide behind a codename as that would be an affront to his warrior code and honor.

Nothing like this in any of the books... I think it's a fan creating some backstory because there's a squadron card for the Bloodfang in the Wing Commander card game. Note that the name 'Bloodfang' only ever appears in the Wing Commander III documentation and the CCG. While Wing Commander II uses the name internally, you never SEE it because the fighter is identified as Thrakhath when you battle it. I don't think the 'Air Force One' idea is right, though; he flies a Grikath on Wing Commander Academy and I believe refers to it as such (also the tone of that TNC broadcast is that Bloodfangs are a new Kilrathi fighter that will be rolled out, not something special the Prince has had all these years.)
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
While I agree that this MAKES SENSE, we are specifically told that "Sivar" is the Confederation's codename for the dreadnaught in The Secret Missions.
That's true - I had that fact in my head while writing the previous post, but somehow it never got into the post itself. I think it doesn't matter too much, because we can see that it's an exceptional situation - there is no way for Confed to discover what the real name of the Sivar is. I won't use that phrase "the exception proves the rule", because in this case it certainly does not prove the rule. Still, I think the weight of the linguistic argument overrules the idea that in fact, Confed codenames all Kilrathi ships. It's just hard to imagine how that could make sense, with those names.

Then there's WCP - nobody confirms this in the game, but we can only assume that all those Nephilim ship names are made up. And those are all English-language, and all stick - more or less - to one naming scheme. Though it must be said, some of those are pretty weird - I can understand Moray, Squid, Manta... but Devil Ray? Leviathan, Hydra? Did Confed's Intel set out to deliberately intimidate its own pilots?

It's hard to say. Certainly the Confederation uses the American system you've mentioned... but who knows about the Kilrathi? The Dralthi IV certainly feels like a different spacecraft... but the difference between a Dralthi and a Dralthi II is slim.
In some ways, this is like the British system - the differences between the various numeric revisions of the Spitfire could be small, but they could also be pretty large. But even within that system, there was a limit beyond which somebody would say, "right, let's give this thing a new name".

Nothing like this in any of the books... I think it's a fan creating some backstory because there's a squadron card for the Bloodfang in the Wing Commander card game. Note that the name 'Bloodfang' only ever appears in the Wing Commander III documentation and the CCG. While Wing Commander II uses the name internally, you never SEE it because the fighter is identified as Thrakhath when you battle it. I don't think the 'Air Force One' idea is right, though; he flies a Grikath on Wing Commander Academy and I believe refers to it as such (also the tone of that TNC broadcast is that Bloodfangs are a new Kilrathi fighter that will be rolled out, not something special the Prince has had all these years.)
The Bloodfang is entirely unique also in the sense that it is the only Kilrathi fighter we ever see that's named in English. A codename, like the Sivar?
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Then there's WCP - nobody confirms this in the game, but we can only assume that all those Nephilim ship names are made up. And those are all English-language, and all stick - more or less - to one naming scheme. Though it must be said, some of those are pretty weird - I can understand Moray, Squid, Manta... but Devil Ray? Leviathan, Hydra? Did Confed's Intel set out to deliberately intimidate its own pilots

I still get highly annoyed that despite the best efforts to make the Nephilim 'alien' - they are still too Earth like. The names of their ships must be codenames given to them by Confed at short notice, but why do they all have to be resemblant of stuff from the oceans of Earth? It annoyed me, as the game advanced, that the names and ship designs got more and more fish like. I was half expecting the Kraken to actually be a giant Loch Ness monster with an engine and fighter compliment. I'm aware the concept spawns from 'fluid space' - and this is cool because it's...'alien'...but it doesn't go far enough.

I also thought Prophecy would be much cooler if the Nephilim didn't learn English so quickly, they were much more intimidating speaking in their own tonal dialect.

The Bloodfang is entirely unique also in the sense that it is the only Kilrathi fighter we ever see that's named in English. A codename, like the Sivar?

Could it be a literal translation? After all, the Cats are rather fond of teeth and claws and blood...
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
Then there's WCP - nobody confirms this in the game, but we can only assume that all those Nephilim ship names are made up. And those are all English-language, and all stick - more or less - to one naming scheme. Though it must be said, some of those are pretty weird - I can understand Moray, Squid, Manta... but Devil Ray? Leviathan, Hydra? Did Confed's Intel set out to deliberately intimidate its own pilots?

I could buy that -- a terse psychological reminder not to engage without the appropriate backup.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Could it be a literal translation? After all, the Cats are rather fond of teeth and claws and blood...
But why not name it Bloodfang to intimidate humans? Thrakhath lost his father thanks to the human's in SM2, and he might have chosen a name to intimidate humans(And it sounds better then "bugsbunnykiller")
 

starfox1701

Petty Officer
We are not going to assume that Confed is thinking like the US military, though - why on earth would we?

Because the guys that made the game where Americans and fans of the US military. It makes sence that the knowledge they already had would influnce the creation of these new systems.

The very fact that we see Dralthi, Jalkehi, Vaktoth, Ekapshi, Ralatha and myriad other tough-to-pronounce names that seem to have nothing in common except for sounding alien should be enough to tell you that, no, Confed does not think like the US, and no, these are not codenames.
Bandit LOAF said:
While I agree that this MAKES SENSE, we are specifically told that "Sivar" is the Confederation's codename for the dreadnaught in The Secret Missions.​
That's true - I had that fact in my head while writing the previous post, but somehow it never got into the post itself. I think it doesn't matter too much, because we can see that it's an exceptional situation - there is no way for Confed to discover what the real name of the Sivar is. I won't use that phrase "the exception proves the rule", because in this case it certainly does not prove the rule. Still, I think the weight of the linguistic argument overrules the idea that in fact, Confed codenames all Kilrathi ships. It's just hard to imagine how that could make sense, with those names.

Ok can you translate any of thoughs names into english? I can't and without knowing what they actually mean you can't actually make that deduction because you have no evidence to support it and therfore linguistic argument. Dralthi could mean frisbee for all we know. I can't imagine the Kilrathi naming one of their fighters after a human childs toy. I'm not tring to be rude here but that one hell of a leap assuming that just because the word is Kilrathi that the Kilrathi gave it that name.

The truth is that we are never given any hard date on exactly what naming conventions are for any of the aliean ships so everthing is our personal best guess. We know that Confed does know a great deal about Kilrathi language and culture so the probably pic names from that info that they feel best discribes these ships and fighters. That way you don't have to worry about pilots confusing kilrathi ships for confed ones in radio chater. But I cant prove that, and by the same token no one here can disprove that. Its all supposition.


I hate to be snide, but you're really walking into it :). Maybe what you say is obvious to anyone who mods games... but anyone who mods Wing Commander games will tell you something else entirely. We don't, of course, know how many polies the original WC1 models had - we never got our hands on them. I don't remember offhand what the polycount was like on WC2 models either, though these are available to look at. What I do know is that someone specifically tried this experiment - namely, to create a convincing WC2 model within the limits of WC3's polycounts (200-300 per model). The effects were more than good enough. Similarly, I can tell you that when you're making models for WCP (where the polycounts can reach about 1000), it doesn't matter whether you're working on a WC3 ship or a WC1 ship, you'll still find enough detail to fill those 1000 polies - it's not the ship, it's the poly limit that determines the number of polies.

If you think about it some more, you'll realise that this notion (admittedly, very widespread within the WC community, even after a decade of trying to explain otherwise) is entirely absurd because it was proven wrong before it was even first uttered: Wing Commander Armada, released before WC3, included great-looking polygonal representations of two of the most complex WC2 ships, the Wraith and the Jrathek. And of course, during this same time period, Origin released a whole slew of air combat games - Strike Commander, Pacific Strike, Wings of Glory. Each of these games included convincing, low-poly representations of any number of complex aircraft. None of them needed to be flying bricks to fit within the poly limit...

WC3's ships looked different to WC2 because Chris Roberts wanted them to look different - period. He had a chance to "reset" the series' look and feel. Where previously, ships were something of a mishmash, here he had a chance to create a game that would be visually unified. For better or for worse, he took this chance and changed everything. Personally, I never liked the results - but WC3's unity of style is impressive when contrasted with the previous titles. I'm sure that blockiness was considered an advantage within the constraints of a poly-based engine - but it clearly could not have been the determining factor. More likely, it was thought that making blocky, wing-less ships would be uniquely different to Star Wars and most other sci-fi series... and also would help get across that we're dealing with spaceships rather than space planes.

I stand by my conclusion because I have years of experiance making, converting and polyreduing models for older video games. Perhapse the biggest evidence in support is WC Armada. Dispite the fact that WC3 had improved graphics over Armada they went back and used lower poly meshes and with the excption of the Dralthi and Arrow none of the Armada ships are used even though they had the meshes and it would have saved time and improved contiutity.

You are correct in saying 3 is different because Chris Roberts wanted it that way. My explanation provides a logical reason why Chris Roberts wanted it that way. WC has always boasted great graphics for its time and being on the cutting edge of PC gaming tech. I know first hand that know matter how good you are at modeling making low poly means making compromises that textures can't always cover up. Going with the ships from WC 1 and 2 in 94 would have ment making those visual compromises and the fans might not have understood and been forgiving of that. Would you take that kind of chance with your million doller nest egg? The other games; Strike Commander, Pacific Strike, Wings of Glory; didn't have the same "established look" problem to contened with. WC had a very established fan base and they had very high expectation for a game that carried the WC name. That; in my profesional oppinion; is the reason for the change in the look. Tring to find a fictitious technological reason to justify may not be entierly possible. This is an instance where the visual evidence is in direct conflict with all earlier evidence and so the "cannon" is the contiuity problem. That is ultamately the problem. WC2 and WC3 don't fit together seamlessly from a visual stand point and Origin never provied a compelling in-universe reason why. It's WC's Klingon forhead problem.


Nothing like this in any of the books... I think it's a fan creating some backstory because there's a squadron card for the Bloodfang in the Wing Commander card game. Note that the name 'Bloodfang' only ever appears in the Wing Commander III documentation and the CCG. While Wing Commander II uses the name internally, you never SEE it because the fighter is identified as Thrakhath when you battle it. I don't think the 'Air Force One' idea is right, though; he flies a Grikath on Wing Commander Academy and I believe refers to it as such (also the tone of that TNC broadcast is that Bloodfangs are a new Kilrathi fighter that will be rolled out, not something special the Prince has had all these years.)

I found where I saw it. its on the CIC ships datbase page for the Bloodfang
Bloodfangs served from the mid-2650s to the end of the war. They were flown only by Prince Thrakhath and members of the elite Blood Most Noble squadron. Only three Bloodfangs were ever reported lost: two in personal combat with Col. Blair and a third in a hard landing on a human colony (the pilot survived the landing only to be killed by a local laborer; the fighter was never recovered).
 
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