Civilian ships in Privateer 2 divide into several ranges or families, each of which generally includes a ladder of light, medium and heavy fighters or a group of ships of a similar type (ie, all transports and all shuttles.) Ships in these families are numbered, though there are two apparent missing designations in the ML family (ML04 and ML05.)
In every case, the ships increase in role (but not necessarily sticker price) with each iterative number. We also know from the civilian designations that related/follow-up ship designs use the same number and add a letter: ML3A Faldari MK II, ML6A Freij MKII, PL3A Skecis MK II, CR1A Gea MK II and CR3A Ilia MK II.
- PL - low-end ships
- PR - lower mid-range ships
- ML - higher mid-range ships
- KN - higher end ships
- CR - all of the larger freighters
- SH - pirate shuttles
- PLM - partial series of pirate fighters
- PRH - partial series of pirate fighters
- MLA - partial series of pirate fighters
Pirate and military ships, with some exceptions, use the same designations. When ordered with the civilian ships, an implied relationship comes to the surface. They even fill out missing numbers in the ML series! Analysis and very sexy charts follow:
The PL family is centered around the 'low end' civilian lineup, ranging from the Straith (the cheapest ship in the game) to the Kalrechi (the cheapest heavy fighter.) The only aggressor which fits into this family is the Kindred PL4B Blade heavy fighter. This suggests that the Blade is a development of the Kalrechi, which is further borne out by the visuals (and the shared heavy fihter classification.)
The PLM family is exclusively pirate fighters. It is possible they are connected in some way to the PL family (the existence of the PR/PRH family, below, seems to support this.)
The PR family represents a mid range' set of civilian ships. Shuffling in the pirate fighters suggests that the Testmos and the Ecantona are outgrowths of the civilian Shaman. The visual connection isn't anywhere near as close as the Kalrechi/Blade, but it does seem to be intentional. The ships all have similar prows and engine intakes, with the 'shape' of the central 'hole' changing from model to model. Two of the pirate cruisers add to this list, further suggesting that the families may refer to ships from a specific company (as their roles are completely separate.) There is also not a strong connection between the look of the PR06 Cruiser and the PR6B Cruiser.
The PRH family is exclusively pirate fighters. It is possible they are connected in some way to the PR family (the existence of the PL/PLM family, below, seems to support this.) The roles of these two ships are similar, but they do not seem to be visually connected.
The ML family is the biggest group, It includes higher tier, seemingly military-oriented civilian ships, a variety of pirate ships and all of the military fighters. And they shuffle together in a very interesting way! The designation may indicate that these are ships of a military origin; if the families refer to different shipbuilders, ML must be Ares Systems (established to be the manufacturer of the Freij MK II in a news story.)
The ML01 Duress/ML1B Light and ML02 Heretic/ML2B Medium connections are clearly intentional. It's less clear how the ML3B connects back to the two civilian Faldaris (it looks, if anything, like a pirate Tacon.) The 04 series is a mess, including four seemingly different ships in totally different roles (including a military destroyer!)
Note on the military ship names: the four class names come from somewhat-inconsistent CCN booth entries. These show the military ship pictures with civilian ship names, and in two cases (the light and medium) give two different names in different entries. D'oh! Another one to note: X674 354G displays an ML04 Heron and describes a ML4D Salvia destroyer. Maybe there's a real connection in the ML04-series after all?
This family includes only the Kowan Leighat medium fighter. It may be connected to the ML family. At least it'll be cited properly!
The KN family seem to be the 'high end' fighters, including the most expensive design in the game (the Danrik.) The fact that the Kinded operate Drakkars in cutscenes and the fact that this list, when shuffled, includes the Vendetta suggests that the 'KN' may refer to the Kindred (though this wouldn't make too much sense in-lore.) Jury is still out on the connection between the KN01 and KN1B; there are some visual similarities, but the role does change.
The CR family refers primarily to the four (six) types of transports available for rental in the game. Oddly, two pirate cruisers shuffle right into the middle and are implied to be developments of teh CR02 Ogan transport!
The SH family includes all four pirate shuttles. When ordered by designation, there is a clear connection between the two sets. We are left wondering whether or not there are civilian 'origin shuttles' somewhere, as the designations would imply...
These designations are primarily for the one-off military capital ships. Their class names come from the CCN database entries for individual ships of the same class. The hated Jincilla Skull is an odd (though clearly intentional) outlier! The name Previa for the civilian transport comes from the CCN booth text.