Tristar-class Super Dimensional Heavy Cruiser (SCB)

Tristar-class Super Deminsional Heavy Cruiser 1

ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker and Rob Morgenstern

edited by Tim Wing

Attachments:

  • Tristar-class reference file
  • Tristar-class gallery

Designation: Tristar-class Super Dimensional Heavy Cruiser (SCB), Argonaut-class Super Dimensional Heavy Battlecruiser (SBH)

Names and disposition:

  • Tristar-class names and dispositions
  • These ships were built at the Robotech Factory Satellite (a.k.a Space Station Equality), and after 2023 at Moon Base Luna and entered service from 2015 through 2030.

Ship’s complement:

(Tristar-class)

  • Ships’ crew (400 men),
  • Air Group (700 men),
  • Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 1000 supernumaries (2100 men total).

(Argonaut-class)

  • Ships’ crew (400 men),
  • Air Group (350 men),
  • Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 1350 supernumaries (2100 men total).

Dimensions:

  • Length: 461 meters (Tristar), 465 meters (Argonaut)
  • Height: 101 meters
  • Beam: 107 85.6 meters (94 meters over-all main body)
  • Mass: 459,000 metric tons, operational (Tristar typical), 426,950 metric tons, operational (Argonaut typical)
  • Fuel Mass: 52,000 metric tons, maximum (typical).

Propulsion Systems:

  • Main power system: RRG Mk.12 protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace. The powerplant of the Tristar-class vessel can deliver up to 526 Terawatts of power, and can operate for sixty-seven minutes at maximum power before overheat initiates autoshutdown.
  • Maneuvering thrusters (24): Fusion-plasma reaction thruster clusters with steerable nozzles. Four are located in the bottom, four each on the sides of the nose, four on each sponson and four on top of the vessel.
  • Reaction-mass thrusters (4): Westinghouse RT-82 fusion-plasma reaction thrusters with protoculture energizer mounted in a diamond configuration in the rear of the main hull.
  • Emergency thrusters (4): SNECMA BCET-6T fusion-plasma reaction thrusters with protoculture energizer paired in a vertical arrangement outside of the side main reaction thrusters.
  • Anti-gravity system (1): Three RRG Titan anti-gravity pods.
  • Space Fold Drive (1): RRG (Robotech Research Group) Mk.3 spacefold. This system is the Tou Redir-type Zentraedi fold system, adapted to generate a fold-bubble (of limited dimensions) rather than a conformal fold.
  • Planetary capabilities: The Tristar-class has atmospheric capabilities through its reaction thrusters and anti-gravity system. The hull has sufficient structural strength for the ship to make a cold landing on it. Note that the ground underneath should be as firm as possible. The ship will float in an ocean, but many of the ingress and excess hatches will be blocked by the ocean, greatly hampering access to the ship.

Endurance and mobility limits:

The dry stores endurance is ten months maximum; after that, the Tristar needs to restock. Water stores are recycled almost totally, and many EF crews added hydroponic plants to unused spaces, providing the crew with a limited supply of fresh fruits, but this is insufficient to provide for the crew indefinitely.

The mecha consumables supplies (mainly missiles) are limited; in EF service the Tristar is unable to sustain continuous combat operations for much more than 20 days. The SC, with its lesser reliance on missiles, could sustain combat operations over a longer period, but rarely felt the need to do so as they operated near the Earth.

The missile magazines for the ship’s own launchers are typically empty after two major space battles or Hive assaults.

The Reflex furnace can function for about 25 years at normal usage levels before an energizer rebuild is necessary.

At full power, the main propulsion systems can produce up to 10.7 Giganewtons of thrust at a minimal reaction mass efficiency profile, or as little as 0.26 Giganewtons of thrust at a maximum efficiency setting. At lower power levels, these thrusts are commensurately smaller.

(Argonaut statistics in italics) At full power, the Tristar-class can achieve a maximum delta-v of 166 kps (171 kps) at the cruising acceleration of 0.1 gees, a maximum delta-v of 33.2 kps (38.2 kps) at the battle acceleration of 1.0 gees, and a delta-v of at most 9.3 kps (10.7 kps) at the flank acceleration of 2.5 gees. At lower power levels, these ranges are commensurately smaller.

The Mk.3 fold systems are not designed to be used for folds of distances greater than approximately ten kiloparsecs, for safety reasons. If longer voyages are required, the ships must conduct multiple fold jumps.

The maximum sustained atmospheric speed is Mach 3. The maximum hover time on the anti-gravity systems is limited only by the protoculture supplies and maintenance requirements, but the system is too weak to lift the ship against gravities of more than 1.1 g without assistance from the reaction thrusters. In fact, even at 1.0 gravity the bottom-mounted maneuvering thrusters are always used to aid the anti-gravity systems.

Weapon Systems:

  • (Tristar-class through SCB-21)
  • Oto-Melara LRC-220 (RT-60) 220mm double barreled rail gun (2): a turreted version of the cannon mounted on the Battle class destroyer. This weapon is a close range, heavy but slow firing weapon. It can fire a 1.69 kg heavy projectile at speeds of around 60 kps and at a rate of 12 rounds per minute. Each round will impact relatively stationary targets with a kinetic energy of 3040MJ. However, due to the nature of the weapon, its effective range is less than 400 km. Two types of projectile are available: The Kinetic Core Penetrating (KCP) round which will impact and penetrate until its energy is spent and the Kinetic Penetrating Incendiary round, which vaporizes into a directed plasma jet after breaching the outer armor of a target. The LRC-220 turrets are mounted directly in front of the command tower, one behind the particle beam cannons, the other directly in front of them.
  • HPC-D220 (PB-45) particle beam system (1): This twin cannon, with an effective range of 300,000 km, is designed to suppress other large spacecraft. It can deliver 4500 MJ per salvo, each barrel firing once every three seconds in a high intensity pulse or in a long duration beam. This cannon is mounted forward of the HPC-D220 mounts on the upper hull.
  • LPC-QC105 quad-barreled rotary 105mm particle cannon (4): Nitrogen cooled, four barrel rotary particle cannon based on a Zentraedi space weapon design for their capital ships. Primarily used in the anti-space ship roll, these were close range weapons with maximum effective range of only 32 km.
  • TDSH-10 heavy missile array (2): Skylord launchers, a ramp type launch system for Skylord ship-to-ship rockets. The SLBM-sized Skylord is a rocket with a special 3 MT nuclear fusion warhead that accelerates at 10 g throughout its flight and has a delta-v of 8 kps. A conventional warhead can also be mounted. The two double ramps are located in the forward dorsal hull. Mounted on the dorsal side of each sponson is a ten tube missile launcher firing radar guided anti-spaceship guided missiles with reaction warheads. 20 missiles are located in the launchers with 20 additional missiles in the ready magazines, with an additional 600 missiles in the reserve magazines.
  • RRG CIWS-L-20 (PB-4) laser turret (15): A fast firing medium caliber CIWS-L-20 laser cannon in a low lying round turret. The cannon can fire 400 MJ per second of particle energy as short duration beams or as enclosed particle packets (‘disks’) with an effective range of 300,000 km. This cannon is not quite capable enough to be effective against larger ships than Re-entry pods, Assault Carriers or Shell-dor carriers. Six mounts are located near the forward terminus of the sponsons; one dorsal, one ventral and one to the side on each beam. The other four are mounted one to each main engine.
  • MDS-H-10 anti-ship guided missile launchers (4): SMS-10 Spacelord vertical missile launch system. This missile system consists of two rows with five launch tubes for Spacelord missiles. The launcher is fed from two hull magazines containing 120 reload missiles each, each magazine serving the two launchers on one beam. The typical warheads are 150 kT reaction warheads for anti-ship use or a high explosive directed energy warhead. These systems are located in the dorsal and ventral side sponsons.
  • MDS-L-10 close in weapons system missile launchers (4): Located in the aft sponsons, two vertical launch, anti-mecha missile systems with 40 missiles each. An additional 360 missiles were stored in ready magazines.

(Tristar-class from SCB-22)

  • Oto-Melara LRC-220 (RT-60) 220mm double barreled rail gun (2): a turreted version of the cannon mounted on the Battle class destroyer. This weapon is a close range, heavy but slow firing weapon. It can fire a 1.69 kg heavy projectile at speeds of around 60 kps and at a rate of 12 rounds per minute. Each round will impact relatively stationary targets with a kinetic energy of 3040MJ. However, due to the nature of the weapon, its effective range is less than 400 km. Two types of projectile are available: The Kinetic Core Penetrating (KCP) round which will impact and penetrate until its energy is spent and the Kinetic Penetrating Incendiary round, which vaporizes into a directed plasma jet after breaching the outer armor of a target. The LRC-220 turrets are mounted directly in front of the command tower, one behind the particle beam cannons, the other directly in front of them.
  • HPC-D220 (PB-45) particle beam system (1): This twin cannon, with an effective range of 300,000 km, is designed to suppress other large spacecraft. It can deliver 4500 MJ per salvo, each barrel firing once every three seconds in a high intensity pulse or in a long duration beam. This cannon is mounted forward of the HPC-D220 mounts on the upper hull.
  • PB-25 particle beam system (2): A faster firing, but less powerful weapon than the PB-45, this cannon has the same effective range of 300,000 km. Each salvo can deliver 2500 MJ, and the mount can recharge every two seconds. Two mounts are installed abeam from each other between the PB-45 system, and the RT-60 turret and bridge tower.
  • RRG LT-15 Double Laser Turret (6): Installed in a low lying turret, this double barreled weapon has an effective range of 300,000 km, and delivers 1500 MJ of laser energy every two seconds at the highest rate of fire. Two turrets are mounted abeam of the command tower. Two more are mounted on each side of the main hull forward and lower than the centerline of the sponsons, and the last two are mounted on the dorsal main hull.
  • RRG CIWS-L-20 (PB-4) laser turret (15): A fast firing medium caliber CIWS-L-20 laser cannon in a low lying round turret. The cannon can fire 400 MJ per second of particle energy as short duration beams or as enclosed particle packets (‘disks’) with an effective range of 300,000 km. This cannon is not quite capable enough to be effective against larger ships than Re-entry pods, Assault Carriers or Shell-dor carriers. Six mounts are located near the forward terminus of the sponsons; one dorsal, one ventral and one to the side on each beam. The other four are mounted one to each main engine.
  • RRG RG-2 Point Defense turret (4): The RG-2 mount is designed to deliver heavy firepower on very close targets. A double barreled rail gun with a round sensor between the barrels, the RG-2 is stored inside the hull, but elevates upwards from under movable panels into firing position. The RG-2 fires 0.227 kg KPI rounds at 25 kps, giving the rounds a kinetic impact energy of 71 MJ. Maximum effective range for this system is 20 km against mecha sized targets, maximum rate of fire is 120 rounds per minute. Four of these cannons are mounted in the hull, near the curvature of the side sponsons.
  • Oerlikon PD-2 Point Defense turret (4): The PD-2 is 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 delivers 50 MJ of laser energy four times per second. They are mounted around the engines (2) and the forward hull (2), behind movable panels.
  • MDS-H-10 anti-ship guided missile launchers (4): SMS-10 Spacelord vertical missile launch system. This missile system consists of two rows with five launch tubes for Spacelord missiles. The launcher is fed from two hull magazines containing 120 reload missiles each, each magazine serving the two launchers on one beam. The typical warheads are 150 kT reaction warheads for anti-ship use or a high explosive directed energy warhead. These systems are located in the dorsal and ventral side sponsons.
  • TDSH-10 heavy missile array (2): Skylord launchers, a ramp type launch system for Skylord ship-to-ship rockets. The SLBM-sized Skylord is a rocket with a special 3 MT nuclear fusion warhead that accelerates at 10 g throughout its flight and has a delta-v of 8 kps. A conventional warhead can also be mounted. The two double ramps are located in the forward dorsal hull. Mounted on the dorsal side of each sponson is a ten tube missile launcher firing radar guided anti-spaceship guided missiles with reaction warheads. 20 missiles are located in the launchers with 20 additional missiles in the ready magazines, with an additional 600 missiles in the reserve magazines.
  • TDSH-15 heavy missile array (2): Skylord launchers, a system almost identical to the SRS-2 described above, save that there are three ramps rather than two. The triple launchers are located in the side sponsons.

(Argonaut-class)

  • The weapons fit of the Argonaut class was identical to that of the late Tristar-class from SCB-22 onwards, save that it mounted four TDSH-10 missile launchers and four TDSH-15 missile launchers instead of two of each. This resulted in a roughly 50% reduction in hanger space.

Air group and mecha complement:

See Naval air group compositions for a detailed summation.

Tristar-class, UN Spacy (2017):

  • 148 veritech fighters and space fighters,
  • A combined squadron of 15 AEW planes, reconnaissance planes, and a cargo shuttle.

Tristar-class, REF/UEEF (2022):

  • Approx. 195 veritech fighters and space fighters,
  • A combined squadron of approx. 15 AEW planes, reconnaissance planes, and a cargo shuttle.

Tristar-class, UEDF (2026):

  • Approx. 220 space fighters or veritechs or (until 2030) approx. 160 space fighters and 40 attack planes.

Argonaut-class, UEDF (2030):

  • Approx. 100 to 120 veritechs and space fighters.

Note: The Tristar can accommodate 72 additional fighters by using the launch bays as additional hangars, 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 caused this method to be discontinued.

Design Notes:

In profile, the Tristar-class has almost exactly the same silhouette as the Battle class heavy destroyer. However, there are important differences: the engines are moved out of the sponsons and into the main hull, where they are mounted in a diamond pattern; the sponsons mate to the hull much more gradually, and the overall size is dramatically enlarged. The main mecha hangars, four double level bays, open to the front of the sponsons.

The cannon armament is extensive, and is concentrated on the forward dorsal deck. From front to aft are a rail gun turret, one heavy and two medium particle beam mounts, then another rail gun turret after which the command tower rises from the deck. Laser turrets cover all other firing arcs. The missile armament is formidable, with heavy rocket launchers for the powerful Skylord forward, and medium Spacelord anti-ship missiles more to the rear. The weak point of these vessels are the limited point defense capabilities, and the limited firepower that can be brought to bear to the rear and ventral arcs.

The Argonaut sub-class replaced the two smaller mecha bays with additional Skylord rocket launchers, backed by the large magazines required to provide six missiles for each launch ramp. This reduced the mecha complement with almost 50%, but provided the Southern Cross, the only service to commission these ships, with a heavy battlecruiser that could provide sustained missile barrages. In addition to this, the bow section was redesigned with a longer, but lower and lighter superstructure which made for better range, at the cost of less crew quarters. However, since the crew on the Argonaut was smaller than that on the Tristar in any case, the net result in habitability was negligible.

As the smallest ships capable of independent operations, the Tristars and Argonauts are equipped with a fold drive.

History:

The Tristar-class large cruisers are the smallest fleet command ships ever operated by the UEEF, and the heaviest units in the UEDF Tactical Space Corps. The UN Spacy designed the class initially as a recon cruiser, intended to scout systems for enemy presences. This was very useful in the recon operations that tried to uncover the precise location of Tirol prior to the departure of the SDF-3. After this, the UN Spacy ships were divided under the UEDF and the UEEF, while series production for the Southern Cross continued on the moon. Their designated task in the UEEF was to act as heavy escorts and escort commanders for the larger ships, to be capable of leading a detached battle group of destroyers on independent operations, and to give support for the Tokugawa class of landing ships. In the Southern Cross, they were the flagships and main battle line units of the Tactical Space Corps.

For these tasks, the Tristars carried a number of mecha, and a powerful anti-ship missile armament. Yet, to use as few resources and money as possible, the Tristars were made as small as was feasible without compromising their combat efficiency. Because of this, several compromises had to be made: the heavy anti-ship armament was concentrated on the dorsal and bow, with only minimal attention to the other arcs, and the ships themselves were considered cramped by their crews. However, the class performed as designed, and if there are comments on their performance, blame must be laid solely with their design criteria.

To improve the missile firepower for the Southern Cross, a variant of the Tristar was procured, the Argonaut-class heavy battlecruiser, described above. Because of the cramped living conditions and too concentrated armament, further series production by the UEEF was not pursued, with that service designing enlarged Tristar variants, a design and building process that lead, through numerous paper designs and small numbers of intermediate ships, to the large and capable (not to mention more comfortable) Ikazuchi class large cruiser. For all its faults, though, the Tristars and Argonauts were fine vessels that were fought gallantly by their crews, no matter the circumstances.

Because of the high importance of the Pioneer mission, twenty-two of the thirty Tristar-class cruisers built by the date of the SDF-3’s departure were assigned to the UEEF task forces, either as escorts for the UEEF flagship or as command ships for the out-system flotillas searching for the home planet of the Robotech Masters. This initially left only eight Tristars as the largest operational ships in the Solar System, until production of additional vessels increased this number.

During the search missions, several Tristar-class cruisers met with untimely ends. The Tiamat was destroyed during the first engagement of the SDF-3 Pioneer, when she ran afoul of an automated Tirolian defense system using laser satellites. The T’ien Shan was destroyed in 2025 by a Zentraedi missile barrage, and the Tradewind (in 2027) and Theseus (in 2029) were destroyed when they stumbled on Tirolian colonies that retained enough protoculture to power their defenses for a short period. Also in 2029, the Takao was destroyed by an alien rail cannon emplacement.

Eight UEEF Tristar cruisers left with the assault waves against the Robotech Masters on the relief expeditions for Earth. Of these eight, the Tenacious, Thebes, Twister, Tisiphone, Trenchant and Tiger were destroyed in the various Southern Cross offensives against the Tirolian fleet. The final two, Thutmosis and Taranis, were destroyed in the Invid Invasion. Immediately following that invasion, all UEEF vessels, save for a few guard vessels for the Robotech Factory Satellite, left in the counterattack against the Regess. Of these, Thunderbolt, Turbulent, Tone, Thunderer, Ticonderoga and Torbay were grounded on Earth in the liberated enclaves, to serve as logistics centers for the forces and as emergency evacuation vehicles, should the troops be overrun. When the Invid attack came, only the Tone and Thunderer made it to Moon Base Luna. One other UEEF vessel, Tyrant, became part of the Earth System Defense fleet, operating from Moon Base Luna during the Invid occupation and patrolling the system against off-Earth Invid incursions (which never materialized). After the war, these three ships, together with the Turgon and Tsunami, which had stayed behind as guard vessels, were placed in reserve in 2047. They are, with the Southern Cross Trident, the only survivors of 41 commissioned Tristar vessels.

The Southern Cross vessels of the Tristar-class suffered even heavier losses than the UEEF allotment. The class ship, Tristar, became the flagship of General Emerson, and was destroyed in the latter stages of that war when she was fatally damaged and then hurled by her crew into a Mothership, where she self-destructed. Other Southern Cross ships to be destroyed by the Tirolians were the Triffid, Trireme, Titania, Tigris, Tesla, Terrible, Triumph, Tallyho, Temeraire, Texas and Talent.

The Invid surprise attack a few months later claimed almost all other Tristars in the Sol System, most before they had even had a chance to open fire. In a matter of a few hours, the Thor, Talon, Thorn, Truculent, Teutates, and Trout were destroyed, most with all hands. The single Southern Cross survivor of this class is the Trident. Damaged in the Second Robotech War, she was undergoing repairs at Moon Base Luna. However, she had not yet completed her refit at the time of the Invid Invasion, and she remained in her drydock until the yard personnel finished her after the REF counter attack, whereupon she joined the Earth System Defense fleet, and entered the reserve in 2047 with the other Tristar survivors.

The Argonaut subclass fared even worse against the Robotech Masters. Of the 12 vessels, no less than 10 (Argonaut, Achates, Antietam, Anzio, America, Ayanami, Akagi, Asmodean, Aurora and Albion) were destroyed by the Tirolian fleet, and the two survivors, Audace and Ark Royal, were heavily damaged. After the war, interrogations showed that the Tirolians had assigned targetting priority to these vessels, the most capable ship killers in the Southern Cross fleets. The two survivors were under repair on the moon during the Invid invasion, and the rest of their life was comparable to that of Trident. They too, are now in reserve in the Tranquillity Sea ship depot.

 


 

Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (R) is the property of Big West Advertising, Tatsunoko Studio and Ammonite studio. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: Kogawa Tomonori, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Miyo Sonoda, Hiroshi Ogawa, Hirotoshi Ohkura and Takashi Ono

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 – Robotech RPG 2nd edition The Masters Saga

Content by Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker with Robert Morgenstern, edited by Tim Wing

Copyright © 2004, 2001, 1999 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; 2016 Tim Wing

 

 

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