Oberth-class Armored Missile Escort Ship (AMES)

Oberth-class Destroyer 1

ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker

edited by Tim Wing

Attachments:

  • Oberth-class reference file
  • Oberth-class gallery

Designation: Oberth-class Armored Missile Escort Ship (AMES), redesignated to Missile Corvette (MC) in 2013.

Names and disposition:

  • Oberth-class names and dispositions
  • 128 ships total, built in three flights
  • These ships were built at the L-5 Factory Station and entered service from 2005 through 2013.

Ship’s Complement:

  • Ships’ crew (50 men),
  • Air Group (4 men),
  • Troops (40 men),
  • Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 500 supernumaries (600 men total).

Dimensions:

  • Length: 200 meters
  • Height: 32 meters
  • Width: 89 meters
  • Mass: 41,500 metric tons, operational (typical)
  • Fuel Mass: 9,000 metric tons, maximum (typical)

Propulsion Systems:

  • Main power system: RRG Mk.3 or Mk.4 (from AMES-15) protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace. The powerplant of the Oberth-class vessel can deliver up to 251 Terawatts of power, and can operate for thirty minutes at maximum power before overheat initiates auto-shutdown.

(Pre-refit)

  • Main Thermonuclear Reaction Cruise Rockets (2): 2 RRG FuRT-3/3 mounted in the aft engine blocks facing aft.
  • Battle-Use Booster Rockets (2): Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters clusters with steerable nozzles. Two are located on the engine pods.
  • Retro-Rockets (6): RRG FuRT-4/3 mounted in the side engine blocks facing forward.
  • Vernier Belt (Mounted on Nose): Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters clusters with steerable nozzles located surrounding the forward hull.

(Post-refit)

  • Main Thermonuclear Reaction Cruise Rockets (2): 2 RRG FuRT-3/3 mounted in the aft engine blocks facing aft.
  • Battle-Use Booster Rockets (2): Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters clusters with steerable nozzles. Two are located on the engine pods, which were mounted on slip-rings allowing them to rotate through 360 degrees of attitude.
  • Vernier Belt (Mounted on Nose): Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters clusters with steerable nozzles located surrounding the forward hull.

(All)

  • Planetary Capabilities: The Oberth-class had no atmospheric capabilities and a minimum altitude above Terra of about 120 km.

Endurance and mobility limits:

The dry stores endurance was 10 months maximum; after that, the Oberth class needed to restock. Water stores were recycled almost totally, and hydroponic plants supplied the crew with a small supply of fresh fruits.

The missile magazines were typically empty after one major space battle.

The Reflex furnace could function for about 15 (Mk.3) or 25 (Mk.4) years at normal usage levels before an energizer rebuild is necessary.

At full power, the main propulsion systems can produce up to 4.97 Giganewtons of thrust at a minimal reaction mass efficiency profile, or as little as 113 Meganewtons of thrust at a maximum efficiency setting. At lower power levels, these thrusts are commensurately smaller.

At full power, the Oberth-class vessels can achieve a maximum delta-v of 263 kps at the cruising acceleration of 0.1 gees, a maximum delta-v of 52.6 kps at the battle acceleration of 1.0 gees, and a delta-v of at most 14.7 kps at the flank acceleration of 2.5 gees. At lower power levels, these ranges are commensurately smaller.

Weapon Systems:

(Flight 1)

  • RRG HPC-220 particle beam weapons (4): A large particle beam weapon with a yield of 4,000 MJ. Based partly on Terran technologies, these weapons are larger than comparative Tirolian weapons. Additionally, they are incapable of firing on other bearings than dead ahead. Their rate of fire is four salvo’s per minute, and they are mounted on top and to the sides of the hull in a fixed forward attitude.

(Flight 2 and 3)

  • RRG MBPC-2 particle beam weapons (2): A very large particle beam weapon with a yield of 7,000 MJ. Based partly on Terran technologies, these weapons are larger than comparative Tirolian weapons. Additionally, they are incapable of firing on other bearings than dead ahead. Their rate of fire is four salvo’s per minute, and they are mounted on the sides of the hull in a fixed forward attitude.
  • RRG HPC-220 particle beam weapons (2): A large particle beam weapon with a yield of 4,000 MJ. Based partly on Terran technologies, these weapons are larger than comparative Tirolian weapons. Additionally, they are incapable of firing on other bearings than dead ahead. Their rate of fire is four salvo’s per minute, and they are mounted on top of the hull in a fixed forward attitude.

(Post 2018 refit)

  • Makral Mossil 918 combination cannon (4): Rather than the Terran derived MBPC-2s and HPC-220s, the refit Oberth-class ships mounted four standard Zentraedi Makral Mossil 918s. For centuries this combined particle beam and laser weapon has been the standard medium cannon armament on Zentraedi vessels. The laser was originally provided for pulse firings in an atmosphere, to ‘drill’ a vacuum channel through air through which the particle beam could then travel without significant loss of impact energy to atmospheric scattering. However, the laser was upgraded to be as potent as the particle beam, so that the actual discharge medium could be chosen as the optimum for the local target and environment conditions. Because of the slow recharge time of the larger weapons, this cannon turret is the most often utilized weapon system on board Zentraedi vessels. For ground support, it is the only effective weapon as the other systems are to heavy to be used around own troops. As most Zentraedi beam weapon systems, the cannon has an effective range of 300,000 km. Each full-intensity shot has a yield of 1000 MJ, and the cannons can cycle through their firing sequence once every three seconds. Though this yield was significantly less than the 4,000-7,000 MJ output of the original armament, the rate of fire was around 20 shots per minute, versus 4 per minute.

(All)

  • MDS-H-18 anti-ship missile launchers (3): A sextuple launcher for the heavy Trident F4 anti-ship ballistic missile. Each missile has a delta-v of 7.5 kps and five separate fusion warheads in the 300 kt range. The missile launchers are mounted on the aft dorsal.

Oberth-class Destroyer 11Electronics:

  • The Oberth’s were equipped with a crude and low-ranged hyperspace communication system which allowed real-time transmissions within their operational area (the Sol system).

Air group and mecha complement:

  • 1 RC-4 Rabbit personnel/cargo shuttle. Note: this shuttle was not always carried, though the hanger bay was (barely) big enough to accommodate one.

Oberth-class Destroyer 6Design Notes:

The Oberth-class of System Destroyers was the first Earth design for a space warship, and was during the first years of the 21th century the prime vessel for the further exploration, examination, exploitation and transport of, for and between the planets of the solar system. As the first design and with only partially understood technologies, it had its flaws, but it served faithfully before, during and after the First Robotech War.

Like the Armor-class Space Carriers, the Oberth-class was designed to fight the Zentraedi fleets as they were hypothesized from the wreckage of the SDF-1: one large mothership of the SDF-1 type, and a number of smaller escort ships, which might or might not have fold-capability. As such, the Zentraedi Tou Redir came reasonably close to the escort ships of the military theorists’ pipe dreams, but even these smaller ships were far more powerful than had been anticipated, and the Oberth-class, designed to fight these ships, was usually overmatched against even these types.

Deck one contained an observation deck and the Captain’s briefing room. Deck two contained the radio and sensor room, navigational computers, and the Captain’s space cabin. Deck three was divided into three disconnected sections, all of which were accessible from deck four. In the forward section of deck three the main bridge and fire control was located. The mid-ship region contained access ways to the gun machinery for the topside particle beam cannons. In the aft section of deck three was the service access to the triple ballistic missile launchers. Deck four was the main deck; here were the sick-bay, officers’ and crew quarters, and the mess area located. Deck five was the main engineering deck. The main computers, the environmental support systems, the side gun machinery, machine shops, and aft, main engineering were located here. Deck six, which had no gravity, was the shuttle bay and service deck.

The vessel was manned by 12 officers and 38 enlisted personnel. There was often a Marine platoon of 36 men stationed aboard these vessels for landing actions (such as the incident on Mars Base Sera before the Zentraedi arrived) as well as the boarding of derelict craft. Four technical specialists were typically attached to the Marines. In addition, almost 100 personnel could be carried on board for short periods, and this capacity was used for the embarkation of scientists, and for when the vessels were used as transport vessels between the various planets of the solar system.

There were three flights in the production run; the first flight of four ships, named after space pioneers and famous women from world literature, having four identical forward cannons. The second flight, named after famous physicists, had two of its cannons replaced with more powerful versions, and also featured an enlarged hangar. The third flight were built from the three remaining hulls that were still under construction at the time of the Zentraedi Rain of Death. These ships were identical to the ships of the second flight.

The Oberth-class was well-armed for its size and design era, with 4 powerful forward fixed particle guns, multiple point-defense lasers, and 18 deadly anti-warship missiles. Nevertheless, it was still easily outmatched by the most comparable Zentraedi vessel, the Tou Redir scout, which was more effectively armed, armored, and faster. An Oberth-class ship can prevail against this smallest and most numerous of Zentraedi vessels only if it utilized its maneuverability to avoid the scout’s guns while it tried to bring its forward battery to bear. However, the limited field of fire of the main gun battery made the Oberth’s attack run fairly predictable for Zentraedi fire control parties, with usually unpleasant results.

In order to cut down on transit times, expeditions to the outer planets always started with orbital slingshots around the Moon and the Earth, sometimes even around the Sun. This experience of the UN Spacy in slingshot maneuvering would later be of great use in the return voyage of the SDF-1 to Earth. It was the intent of the UN Spacy to mount a fold system on the class as soon as these drives could be safely replicated; however, this never happened.

From 2017 to 2018, the nine remaining Oberth-class ships were refit for use in the Pioneer mission. The modifications included, most prominently, a second hull designed to look like a ship of Zentraedi origin. In addition to the cosmetic changes, the ship’s main particle beam cannons were replaced with standard Zentraedi Makral Mossil 918 combination cannons. This greatly increased the ship’s rate of fire, in exchange for a large decrease in over-all yield. The propulsion system was simplified by removing the six retro rockets, and replacing them in operation by a movable engine pod. This allowed the main engines to also act as retro rockets, thus reducing weight and complexity. These ships continued to be non-fold capable, and were generally transported within the fold-bubbles of larger ships.

Oberth-class Refit Missile Corvette 1History:

Designed to patrol Earth’s solar system and to escort the far more vulnerable Niven-class ARMDs, this class entered service in 2005, four years before the launching of the SDF-1. Though most were destroyed by the Zentraedi immediately after they entered Earth orbit and when the SDF-1 attempted to link up with Armor 1 and Armor 2, or later when they were recalled to Earth just before the Zentraedi Holocaust, some survived and continued to patrol the solar system until being refit to act as picket ships when the SDF-3 UES Pioneer departed for Tirol, with the exception of Tsjolkovsky which was lost in 2014 in the destruction of the SDF-2 Odyssey.

This vessel was fairly spacious, and was popular with its crews before the Zentraedi arrived, but proved to be woefully under-armed to deal with the far larger and deadlier Zentraedi vessels. They also served to evacuate the personnel of Mars Base Sara because of the threat made by anti-unificationist terrorists that caused the abandonment of the base. The Koroljev was captured by these terrorists, who used it to destroy the Oberth, which was carrying part of the base’s complement and was unprepared to resist; all hands were killed. The Goddard was then dispatched after the Koroljev, which had entered a Lunar orbit and was making propaganda broadcasts aimed at the Earth. Shortly before entering Lunar orbit herself, the Goddard ejected several of her Trident missiles. The ship then proceeded in a high orbit and on a standard attack course towards the Koroljev. This ship’s hijackers, fully expecting the Goddard to make a head-on attack (the only attack they thought possible in space) prepared for this. They were thus caught completely of guard when the undetected, previously ejected missiles used their occultation by the moon to ignite their engines, and then made a parabolic orbit with a periapsis at a mere 1500 meters above the moon’s surface, coming up behind the Koroljev at high speed and using the moon as radar background. Koroljev’s crew never even saw them coming. This case was later hailed by Spacy officers as an excellent example of using the particulars of celestial bodies (in this case, the Moon’s lack of an atmosphere which made the very close fly-by possible) in space tactics.

Later on, the Oberth-class vessels served admirably in their patrol role after the destruction of the SDF-1, and were instrumental in rooting out and destroying several Zentraedi destroyers and pickets that had escaped the Zentraedi Holocaust. However, they were only assigned these duties as the hunted vessels were damaged and underpowered already, and because allied Zentraedi vessels were standing by to help them out if necessary.

The cosmetic refit in 2018 was of dubious value, since the persons this subterfuge was meant to fool (the Robotech Masters) would know full well that they never designed any ships of this type. Still, against all reason, the refit went through, and all nine ships were assigned to Mercury Fleet to act as picket ships for the SDF-3 UES Pioneer and her battlegroup. The majority of these ships were destroyed during the first battle with the Invid shortly after the SDF-3 and the rest of Mercury Fleet entered Tirol-space. The few ships that survived carried on in non-combat roles within the Valivarre System, until they were decommissioned in 2028. The sole exception to this was the UES Semyonov, which accompanied the Sentinel’s Task Force and was destroyed along with the rest of its battle group above the planet Praxis.

 


 

Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (R) is the properties of Big West Advertising and Studio Nue. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: Shoji Kawamori, Miyatake Kazutaka, Haruhiko Mikimoto and Hidetaka Tenjin; Tim Wing

Acknowledgement is extended to the work of Egan Loo and the Macross Compendium. Egan Loo is given all credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the Macross Compendium that has been utilized in this publication.

Images Courtesy of Chad Wilson (Marchly) and the Macross Mecha Manual. Chad Wilson is given all credit for all images from the Macross Mecha Manual that have been utilized in this publication.

Acknowledgement is 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 in this publication.

Images from – Macross Perfect Memory (1983)

Content by Pieter Thomassen with Peter Walker, edited by Tim Wing

Copyright © 1998, 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen; 2016 Tim Wing

 

 

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