Shout out to the oft-forgotten capital ships of Wing Commander Arena!
Shout out to LOAF for this elegant reminder that the capships from Arena definitely exist - and they're wild! A Midway class ship appears in the game's gauntlet mode where you must defend the ship from aggressors. Note that this particular example is the TCS Port Broughton, which was a famous carrier from the Nephilim War. It now serves a critical lifeline in the Epsilon Sector. The shots below compare the original render from Sean Murphy to the embellished model in Arena.
The Indomitable and Kiranka class battlecruisers are next. Between the ship renders and a handful of in-game screenshots is NinjaLA's cool sketch of the game's capship battles. Read up on their backstory from Star*Soldier below. Which one do you like better?
Battlecruisers - Pure Firepower
As the war against the Nephilim grew bloodier, both humans and Kilrathi realized the need for a heavy weapons platform capable of facing down the massive alien hive fleets.Thus was born the bat- tlecruiser, a new kind of warship for a new kind of war. Built for broadside actions and designed to operate in giant squadrons, battlecruisers consist of row after row of plasma cannons powered by ex- ceptionally strong engines. All power is focused on these central weapons, abandoning classic shield- ing in favor of heavy layers of armor plating. Anti-starfighter defense is provided by laser and missile turrets which dot their hulls in record numbers..
Overpowered, overloaded and requiring a new naval doctrine reminiscent of the one developed for Texas-class battleships of the 2630s, battlecruisers nevertheless left an indelible mark on the war: from the signing of the Terran-Kilrathi alliance on the deck of the TCS Conqueror to the last desperate line during the defense of Ardai. At Dakota a single human battlecruiser held four Kraken squadrons at bay until reinforcements could arrive. During the evacuation of Torgo, the KAS Vrax’hmal alone closed the alien wormhole long enough for the transport fleet to escape. It was a proud fleet of bat- tlecruisers, painted white and blue, which carried President Harrison to Kabla Meth on .222.
The most famous battlecruiser of all was unquestionably the TCS Lawrence, which rescued the TCS Midway after Zhrtx’s Doublecross. Her sudden arrival at the height of the battle prompted Colonel Casey himself to exclaim that she was “the ugliest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” The Lawrence went on to serve as the head of the 34th Task Force, the first group which penetrated 100,000 ly into the Aligned People’s homeworlds. She continues to serve today, defending Farragut Naval Station from foreign foes.
Two primary battlecruiser designs served with the allied navies: the Terran Confederation’s Indomi- table-class and the Kilrathi Assembly of Clans’ Kiranka-class. Both ships are visually similar, owing to the technology-sharing agreement established by the alliance treaty — though the natural ‘battering ram’ purpose of the ships makes their similarities less jarring than the so-called ‘Kilrathi Midway’. The indomitable brings additional plasma guns to the fight while the Kiranka expends additional armor to include an elaborate system of vacuum tight hull compartments.
Produced by the thousands, war-surplus battlecruisers now occupy hundreds of boneyards and mothball facilities across the galaxy. The staggering amount of Durasteel used in their construction is enough to provide armor for an entire fleet of starfighters. Many others have become the center- pieces of private fleets on the frontier. Crewed by warlords, mercenaries and pirates, the ships have given a literal meaning to the concept of gunboat diplomacy.