Macronesian Aleus class Escort Carrier
Aleus Class Escort Carrier (SCVE)
Estimated Construction Cost:
Approximately 1.5 Billion USD per unit
Approximately 16,200 tonnes
Unknown. Speculation based on Alliance ship building techniques implies a double Titanium hull with composite armour/sound attenuating external plates.
Composite steel support frame.
Estimated at 15,000 feet
1 Deon Intl. fusion reactor (Mark IV-A) powering four large, aqua-return propulsion drives
Top speed unknown, but observed at speeds of 80 knots.
Deon Systems fiber optic network. (Class XII-A)
Internal: Hypersonar; active and passive sensor suites
Effective Range : Approximately 170 nautical miles
Hypersonar technology relies on a combination of 'traditional' acoustic monitoring equipment such as active and passive sonar, and laser-based range finding, it stands for Hypersonic Navigation and Ranging; as the name implies, it uses faster-than-sound technology to detect shipping, map terrain and aid in navigation. The Aleus class mounts a single large parabolic hypersonar array on the bow, with two arrays mounted astern on the port and starboard, providing nearly total coverage (a pattern established by the Orion). The specifics of these systems isn't well known, and are suspected to be constantly subjected to upgrades and improvements as refit cycles permit. The Aleus' systems are significantly less advanced than present UEO military-specification sonar, but otherwise work on the same principles.
Operating passively, hypersonar sensors use broad-spectrum laser sensors to build up a 3D picture of the environment while an integrated passive array intelligently detects and identifies acoustic signatures within that environment. This is the preferred method of operation, as it maintains complete stealth capability for the submarine while still providing at least a marginal picture of the environment around the vessel - while there is no guarantee that a submarine will be detected by the passive components of the array, the laser array ensures that even if targets cannot be identified, they will be detected, ranged and targetted.
Used actively, hypersonar becomes a double edged, but ultimately infallible sword - First sweeping the area with a high-sensitivity laser array to gather preliminary data, the ship's computer then isolates targets of opportunity which are then battered with a series of uni-directional audio pings, the system literally bounces sound waves off specific solid objects in the water repeatedly and reflects them back to the array, with each ping building up an incredibly detailed picture of the target in real time. The only draw back to this system is that the target being 'illuminated' will also have access to the same information - acoustics work both ways.
Nonetheless, the system is a marked improvement over first-generation active sonar technology used throughout the later part of the 20th century where a single ping could be detected by any submarine in the area. The new directed-array used in hypersonars will limit the 'saturation' of the ping to one specific vector, thus maintaining the submarine's stealth against any other target in the area. Only a sophisticated inter-ship battle network (Such as the encrypted, globe-spanning communications system used by the UEO military) would be able to make use of another ship's sensor information in real time, and forces which do posess such communications ability are very rare; most certainly, the Battlenet has been one of the UEO's major advantages over the Macronesian navy's own (and significantly less advanced) command and control network.
Combining active hypersonar on a single ship with such a network between a taskforce would enable an entire battlegroup to receive real-time and incredibly detailed target information without revealing their locations.
6 auto-loading 21" torpedo tubes
2 short-range Pulse Particle Lasers
Intercept Torpedoes (deployed from 4 independant tubes along the port and starboard sides)
ECM Packages and Noise Makers
Constructed roughly the same time as the Orion class attack submarine, the Aleus featured a similar pattern of design. Being a carrier, of course, the submarine did not rely on a force of its own armaments to engage the enemy, but nonetheless retained the 'six-shooter' bow torpedo tube pattern that was common to the preceding class of SSN, while removing the aft torpedo tubes to make room for the vast internal hangars. Like the Orion, Aleus is capable of firing many kinds of ammunition that are compatible with the 21" design used commonly by Macronesia, including missiles, which goes some way to making up for its immediate lack of VLS tubes, despite the fact is is seldom deployed in this role. Defensively, the Aleus is equipped with 4 dedicated intercept torpedo tubes located on its port and starboard sides. These tubes are designed to free the main bow armament of defensive duties, giving the ship a completely independant delivery system of launching torpedo countermeasures. The Aleus class otherwise featues a standard suite of noise makers, acoustic decoys and other equipment commonly found to defend against torpedo attack.
Believed to vary from vessel to vessel, but commonly thought to include two full combat squadrons of SA-29 Lysander class, SA-33 Broadsword, and/or more rarely, SA-35 Nosferatu stealth subfighters. This is in addition to a standard complement of maintenance craft, launches and speeders.
350, including officers, crew and fighter group. Ocassionally believed to embark marines who will often take up and subsitute a considerable portion of the ship's normal fighter operations, bringing the crew total to 380 for short durations.
Development history and class background...
The Aleus class represents the first dedicated carrier deployed by the Macronesian Alliance Navy. Designed specifically to provide dedicated, extended support to groups of Lysander class submarines deployed extensively by the Alliance throughout the later 2020s and then 2030s, it was built primarily on the basic design of the Orion class SSN. Lengthened, widened and redrafted to accomodate the massive hangar sections necessary to support subfighters, the design would prove both versatile and popular as the following Tempest and Cepheus class warships were built from many of the lessons learnt of the Aleus; more specifically, the Cepheus itself was essentially the same hull as the Aleus, having removed the hangars and replaced them with a vast array of fast-tracking anti-fighter particle lasers. The Cepheus sub-class is comparitively rare, deployed only in areas where the Alliance expects to meet large concentrations of enemy subfighter forces for the purpose of fleet defence.
For the better part of the 2030s, the Aleus and Orion class formed the single most common taskforce pairing in Macronesia; pairs of SSNs providing close support to another pair of Aleus class escort carriers that would form a core of naval power in any given area of responsibility. Between them, the ability to launch 48 combat fighters in to a contested area was unmatched by the UEO, who would not produce a carrier large enough to answer this capacity until 2039. Despite being a carrier, the Aleus class is one of the most numerous classes of capital warship in the entire Alliance navy, and by 2040, over 80 (With some suggesting nearly 100) were in operation. (This outnumbered the UEO's fleet of Poseidons by a ratio of 2.5:1)
As a result of this, the Aleus is a very common sight throughout the territories of the Alliance. By no small coincidence, pirate and smuggler activity is completely non-existent in areas where these vessels operate, and they provide the Alliance with a very long range and very flexible platform from which to operate fighter squadrons. The mobility of Aleus task forces across the Pacific has meant that the UEO has had a difficult time keeping track of where the vessels are at any given point in time, and more than one ocassion, UEO fighter squadrons have found themselves outnumbered by more than 4 to 1 simply because intelligence on their whereabouts was only days out of date. Indeed, there have been confirmed reports of Aleus taskforces being mobilized to new areas of responsibility that are sometimes thousands of kilometers away from their previous location, with just hours notice, and then only a couple of days being necessary to complete their redeployment.
It's because of this that the Aleus is also the most valued carrier in the Alliance arsenal. While the much larger Honorious class is able to hold many times the subfighters of its smaller cousin, the resources and cost it takes to maintain these vessels and keep them deployed in even limited areas of responsibility has made them one of the least flexible arms of the Alliance fleet. Just the same, it is not an uncommon sight to see a pair or even a trio of the escort carriers acting in company of the much larger Honorious; a force which is able to totally deny an area of ocean to the enemy by just its presence alone, to speak nothing of the subfighter forces onboard.
In 2041, the Alliance carrier fleet was dealt a severe blow when nine of its Honorious class submarines were sunk in a large-scale subfighter raid orchestrated from the Atlantis DSV. This represented nearly half of the Honorious fleet, and since then, the Aleus class has been forced to pick up many of the duties that were normally relegated to the Honorious class, with the larger carriers now forming the flagships of specialized battlegroups across the Pacific. While the Honorious fleet is slowly recovering, the Aleus has taken center-stage in the Alliance's continued ability to deploy and maintain subfighter forces on the front line.
While the Alliance has lost a fair number of Aleus class submarines to fighter attack and protracted fleet engagements with UEO cruiser squadrons, their numbers continue to grow. The Aleus continues to be one of the most difficult vessels to hunt down for the UEO, and is one of the least encountered by its fighter forces. (Despite this, the Aleus has continued to make its presence felt through its own fighter forces abroad.)