Banshee-class Super Dimensional Destroyer (SDD)
by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker and Rob Morgenstern, edited by Tim Wing
Banshee-class Reference File
After the Zentraedi Holocaust and the Malcontent Uprisings, the UN Spacy started rebuilding the Terrestrial defenses and assembling the Reconnaissance Expeditionary Force (REF). During this period, two almost identical requirements surfaced; one for a medium destroyer capable of engaging a Tou Redir sized and armed ship and one for a medium destroyer with additional missile armament to support larger anti-ship patrols. The UN Spacy therefore combined these requirements and the results were the Banshee and Gremlin classes, the first one being built in larger numbers. Relatively few compromises were required, as the different requirements could be addressed by designing two slightly different versions of the same ship. In a later refit (to which new units were built from 2028 onward), the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) expanded the particle beam firepower of its ships by upgrading the existing cannons, adding two more and replacing one with a doubled version. The REF did not use the Gremlin class, as the Banshee, with its larger mecha complement, provided more flexibility.
Although designed to fight the Zentraedi, the destroyers’ most important and best known battles were waged against the Robotech Masters and later against the Invid. The comparable vessel in the Tirolian Forces was the Tirolian Assault Carrier, a vessel far superior in mobility and versatility to the Terran design. However, the destroyers were part of mixed battle groups, and relatively few exclusively Assault Carrier vs. destroyer encounters were fought, usually with regrettable results for the Earth forces. Against the heavier Tirolian ships such as destroyers and the Motherships themselves the results of Banshee/Gremlin actions were usually disastrous for the Terran destroyers.
After the heavy losses of the 2nd Robotech War (in which 70% of all destroyers were lost), the classes had little resistance to offer against the Invid, whose numerical tactics were ill-suited to the Banshees and Gremlins anyway. A number of these ships were in the outer reaches of the system and thus escaped destruction (10 vessels) or managed to flee the Invid assault (5 vessels) by folding into interplanetary space. However, as their supplies dwindled, these fifteen ships were forced to alight at the Saturn or Lunar bases, which had sufficient life support capability to last the crews for decades. Before these ships were shut down to avoid attracting Invid attention, though, they were used to evacuate the Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter outposts, which were not sufficiently self-supportive. As a result, no personnel of these bases were present when the life support in the bases ran out of resources.
The few remaining vessels with the REF, now called the United Earth Expeditionary Force (UEEF) were no longer considered front line vessels, and served as guard vessels for the Factory Satellites or as command vessels for planetary raids. All surviving vessels were laid up immediately after the war.
These ships were jacks-of-all-trades. As the smallest major combatants available, they aid larger ships with mecha defense and add their anti-ship firepower to that of the larger ships. There were two versions of the same basic design. The Banshee class is a general purpose destroyer, the Gremlin class mounts additional missiles, replacing half the mecha complement in compensation.
Banshee’s had a hull form reminiscent of a Second World War submarine, as with the hulls of their larger contemporaries. However, there was no conning tower, but a raised deck at the back, the front of which housed the main bridge. Beginning at about half length, there were also two side sponsons that housed the main engines. The Banshees and Gremlins featured a two level fighter hangar amidships. In the Banshee, a large release chute is built into the lower nose, protruding slightly below the keel. In the Gremlin, the mecha release chute was mounted in a bottom-mounted sponson, which made the Gremlin incapable of belly landings without crushing this chute without proper ground bracing to accommodate the chute protrusion.
The armament was mounted to cover all arcs, with priority given to the upper forward sector. In a refit that was ongoing throughout the 2nd Robotech War, the Southern Cross modified the main engines to the RT-80Q standard, which was more efficient in its fuel use. In addition, an additional two particle beam turrets were installed in the side sponsons, and all turrets were upgraded to the more reliable PB-4b system, and one turret was replaced with a PB-5 turret, although the new turrets were not yet available in quantity at the beginning of the 2nd Robotech War and some craft temporarily mounted 7 PB-4 turrets instead. All ships mounted three or five Spacelord anti-ship missile systems.
Names and Disposition:
The Banshee/Gremlin vessels were named after mythological monsters. The United Earth Government procured a total of 190 Banshee and 55 Gremlin class destroyers for the UEDF, and a total of 102 Banshee class destroyers for the REF. In total, 347 Gremlins and Banshees were produced in the L5 orbital factories, on Moonbase Luna and in the Yarrow aerospace yards from 2013 to 2033. Both classes served with the UEDF from 2021 to the Invid Invasion. The Banshee vessels with the Expeditionary Forces served from 2013 to 2045.
Of the UEDF vessels, 193 were destroyed by the Tirolian forces in the Second Robotech War, 37 were destroyed by the Invid in their initial invasion or during the occupation, and 15 ships deactivated themselves on various outposts such as the Saturn station and the Lunar bases to avoid detection and destruction by the Invid. These ships are now mothballed in the Tranquility Sea storage depot.
Of the Expeditionary Forces vessels, 22 were destroyed prior to 2031, another 40 were destroyed by the Tirolian Forces after being send back to Earth in the various Earth Reclamation Force waves, 22 were destroyed in the Invid Invasion; the remaining 18 survived the 3rd Robotech war in second-line duties and were mothballed after the war in 2045.
The Banshee-class was crewed by30 men and women. They typically carried two squadrons of Veritech or space fighters, which would account for an additional 68 pilots and maintainers (UEDF) to 75 pilots and maintainers (Expeditionary Forces). Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 200 supernumeraries (circa 300 men total).
The class’s main power system was an RRG Mk10 protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace. The powerplant of the Banshee and Gremlin-class vessels could deliver up to 45.6 Terawatts of power, and could operate for thirty-nine minutes at maximum power before overheat initiated auto-shutdown.
The maneuvering thrusters consisted of 11 cluster and 12 singles. The clusters were fusion-plasma reaction thrusters with steerable nozzles. Two were located on each side, six were mounted underneath the hull (with three thrusters each) and one was located on top of the vessel. The singles were also fusion-plasma reaction thrusters with steerable nozzles, five of which were located on each side of the nose behind blast doors and two were in the side sponsons facing forward.
The three main reaction-mass thrusters were built by Westinghouse. Originally this consisted of two Westinghouse RT-80M fusion-plasma reaction thrusters with a protoculture energizer in the rear of the main hull and the sponsons and one Westinghouse KYDS-4 secondary fusion-plasma reaction thruster with protoculture energizer in the lower center rear of the main hull. Later, the UEDF refit all Banshee-class vessels with upgraded Westinghouse RT-80Qs in place of the RT-80Ms.
All ships were fitted with two RRG Atlas anti-gravity pods.
Though omitted in some UEDF intersystem vessels, all fold capable Banshee-class vessels were equipped with an RRG SHJ-1 space fold generator. This system generated a hull-conformal fold.
The Banshee-class had atmospheric capabilities through its reaction thrusters and anti-gravity system. Five landing legs could extend from the lower main hull and support the vessel, provided the ground surface could carry the load. When this was not the case, then the hull had sufficient structural strength for the ship to make a belly landing on it.
The Gremlin-class has the same landing leg system, but was not capable of belly landings without crushing the launch chute underneath the ship. Both ships would float in an ocean, but the main access ports in the lower hull would then be submerged.
Endurance and mobility limits:
The dry stores endurance for a Banshee was one month maximum; after that, the ship needed to restock. The dry stores endurance of the Gremlin class was four months maximum. In both classes water stores were recycled almost totally, and many Gremlin crews added small hydroponic plants to unused spaces, providing the crew with a smattering of fresh fruits, but this was insufficient to provide for the crew for more than a few days.
The mecha consumables supplies (mainly missiles) were limited; the destroyer was unable to sustain continuous combat operations for much more than twenty days. The UEDF, being less dependent on missiles and operating near Earth almost exclusively, used much of the magazines as additional berthing and storage spaces, and habitually carried supplies for five days of continuous combat operations.
The missile magazines for the ship’s own launchers are typically empty after one major space battle.
The Reflex furnace could function for about 25 years at normal usage levels before an energizer rebuild was necessary.
At full power, the main propulsion systems could produce up to 1.13 Giganewtons of thrust at a minimal reaction mass efficiency profile, or as little as 19.8 Meganewtons of thrust at a maximum efficiency setting. At lower power levels, these thrusts were commensurately smaller.
At full power, the Banshee-class could achieve a maximum delta-v of 273 kps at the cruising acceleration of 0.1g, a maximum delta-v of 54.6 kps at the battle acceleration of 1.0g, and a delta-v of at most 15.3 kps at the flank acceleration of 2.5g. At lower power levels, these ranges are commensurately smaller.
The Gremlin class had a similar endurance, with a 16.6 percent penalty in delta-v due to the increased dry mass of the ships. Refitted ships of the UEDF, with the RT-80Q engines, had an identical acceleration, but the engines were more efficient, which translated in a 21% better endurance than equivalent non-refitted vessels.
The maximum sustained atmospheric speed was Mach 3. The maximum hover time on the anti-gravity systems was limited only by the protoculture supplies and maintenance requirements, but the system was too weak to lift the ship against gravities of more than 1.2g without assistance from the reaction thrusters. In fact, even at 1.0g the bottom-mounted maneuvering thrusters were often used to reduce the strain on the anti-gravity systems.
Banshee vessels completed 2013-2015:
The first run of Banshee-class Destroyers mounted a ZNPC-01 (Makral Mossil 918) particle/laser cannon. These cannons were salvaged from wrecked Zentraedi vessels after the First Robotech War, shipped to the Moon, and mounted on the Banshee vessels as Terran designed weapons of the required size and firepower were not available yet. For centuries this combined particle beam and laser weapon had been the standard medium cannon armament on Zentraedi vessels. Two different beam weapons (variable frequency laser and particle beam cannon) were provided on one mount so that the discharge medium could be chosen as the optimum for the local target and environmental conditions. Both weapons had the same yield. The laser could be fired in a low power mode directly before the particle beam fired, this setting was typically used to burn a vacuum path for the particles through an atmosphere. The cannon had an effective range of 300,000 km. Each full-intensity shot had a yield of 1000 MJ, and the cannons could cycle through their firing sequence once every three seconds. One of these cannons was mounted in front of the command tower.
For close in defense, the early ships carried six RRG AML-10 laser cannons. A somewhat bulky but effective anti-mecha and anti-missile laser, this weapon fired a 10 MJ pulse every second. Six of these weapons were mounted, two each on the superstructure, dorsal and ventral hull. These weapons and their on-mount sensors are protected by a folding hatch when not in use.
The Banshee-class had two Mk.249 MLS missile systems. This was a VLS missile system. Each system had three rows of 20 vertical launch tubes. The launchers could not be reloaded except by lengthy extra-vehicular activity, effectively limiting the load-out for a battle to what had been placed in the launchers. The missiles typically used were the Warhawk and the Spacehawk. These were usually the standard HE, nuclear reaction anti-warship and nuclear reaction re-entry capable versions.
This armament fit was replaced on the production line from 2016 onwards, and existing ships were refitted to the following configuration:
All ships commissioned from 2016 onwards:
The Mk.249 MLS missile systems were replaced by Spacelord SMS-10 vertical missile launch systems (three for Banshee, five for Gremlin). This was vertical launch system that fired medium anti-ship missiles and consisedt of two rows with five launch tubes for Spacelord missiles. The launcher is fed from a hull magazine containing 20 reload missiles for a total of 90 missiles. The typical warheads were 150 kT reaction warheads for anti-ship use, or a plasma device or a high explosive directed energy warhead. These missile systems were located forward of the upper cannons and firing sideways from the port and starboard side sponsons. The Gremlin-class mounts an additional two in the lower hull, before the mecha release chute.
Expeditionary Force and UEDF pre-refit vessels had five RRG PB-4 particle turret. A fast firing medium size particle beam cannon in a low lying round turret. The cannon could fire 400 MJ of particle energy per second as short duration beams or as enclosed particle packets (‘disks’) with an effective range of 100,000 km. This cannon was not quite capable enough to be effective against larger ships than Tou Redirs, Re-entry pods, Assault Carriers or Mollusk carriers. There are two on the upper hull, two on the forward hull sides, and one on the ventral hull.
Post-refit vessels of the UEDF upgraded to PB-4b standard, and added an additional cannon. The RRG PB-4b particle turret was an improved version of the PB-4 with a protruding muzzle and greater reliability. The operational characteristics were identical. There were two on the forward hull sides, one on the upper hull, two on the side sponsons and one on the ventral hull. In addition, the refit Banshees had one RRG PB-5 particle turret; a twin barreled version of the PB-4b, with twice the firepower, mounted forward on the upper hull.
All Banshee-class and Gremlin-class vessels, regardless of commissioning date:
All ships had two RRG RG-2 Point Defense turrets. The RG-2 mount was designed to deliver heavy firepower on very close targets. A double barreled rail gun with a round sensor between the barrels, the RG-2 was stored inside the hull, but elevated upwards from under movable panels into firing position. The RG-2 fired 227 gram KPI rounds at 25 kps, giving the rounds a kinetic impact energy of 71 MJ. Maximum effective range for this system was approximately 20 km against mecha sized targets, maximum rate of fire was 120 rounds per minute. The range limitations were based not on the actual distance that a round could travel, but by the fact that any modern mecha could easily maneuver out of the projectiles path if given a whole second to react. Because of this, ship gunners, according to standard operating procedure, only engage with this weapon system at distances under 20 km. Two of these cannons were mounted in the superstructure.
Three Oerlikon PD-2 Point Defense turrets were mounted on the dorsal hull and one on the ventral hull, behind movable panels. The PD-2 was a double-barreled laser cannon, with an on-mount multi-spectral sensor. Designed for point defense against mecha, missiles and small vessels, the PD-2 deliverd 50 MJ of laser energy four times per second.
Air Group and Mecha Complement:
Banshee-class generally carried two squadrons of Veritechs or space fighters for a total of 24 mecha. This was for medium size mecha, such as the Alpha fighter. Larger mecha, such the AF-2 Chimera and the VF-1 Super Valkyrie, could only be accommodated in smaller numbers; usually 18 fighters total. The Gremlin-class had a smaller hanger area, and usually only had a single squadron of 12 mecha.
It should be noted that the Banshee could accommodate 12 additional fighters by using the launch bay as an additional hangar, with the mecha tied down for storage rather than in stalls. However, this was universally unpopular with the pilots as recovery of the additional fighters was not possible, unless a loss rate of 33% was exceeded. Adverse effects on morale effectively killed the method.
Length – 195.1 m over all.
Height – 32.8 m over the main hull; 41.4 m from the launch chute to the antennas.
Width – 51.4 m over the main hull;
Mass – 39,600 metric tons (Banshee class); 42,340 metric tons (Gremlin class).
Fuel Mass – 7,500 metric tons, maximum (typical).
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Original artwork by: Tim Wing
Acknowledgement is also extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized on Robotech Illustrated.
Content by Tim Wing, Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Rob Morgenstern
Copyright © Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Rob Morgenstern; 2013 Tim Wing