Independence-class Super Dimensional Carrier (SCV)
by Tim Wing
Names and disposition:
- SCV-07 UES Independence, commissioned in 2034, destroyed over Earth, 2042
- SCV-08 UES Ikazuti, commissioned in 2034, destroyed over Earth, 2042
- SCV-09 UES Graf Zeppelin, commissioned in 2034, destroyed over Earth, 2042
- SCV-10 UES Vengeance, commissioned in 2035, destroyed over Earth, 2044
- SCV-11 UES Shangri-La, commissioned in 2035, destroyed over Earth, 2044
These ships were built at the Robotech Factory Satellite and the Robotech Repair Factory. Their names are written with the ‘UES’ prefix.
- Ships’ crew (1302 men),
- One mechanized division (5350 men),
- Air group (600 men),
Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 800 supernumeraries (7900 men total).
- Length: 832 m over all, 748 m excluding engine shielding blades.
- Height: 172 m over all.
- Width: 153 m over all.
- Mass: 1,480,000 metric tons, operational (typical).
- Fuel Mass: 147,000 metric tons, maximum (typical).
Main power system: RRG Mk16 protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace. The powerplant of the Independence-class vessel can deliver up to 3.38 Petawatts of power, and can operate for seventy-two minutes at maximum power before overheat initiates autoshutdown.
Maneuvering Thrusters (8): Fusion-plasma reaction thruster clusters mounted on the bottom, top, and sides of the main hull, halfway to the bow and the stern.
Reaction-mass Thrusters (4): Rolls-Royce/P&W SP-25 Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters with protoculture energizer.
Secondary Reaction Thrusters (2): Rolls-Royce Kestrel Mk3 Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters with protoculture energizer.
Anti-gravity System (1): 27 RRG Titan anti-gravity pods.
Space Fold (1): RRG (Robotech Research Group) Mk9 spacefold. This system generates a spherical fold bubble and can transport 30 to 40 subluminal ships in its fold radius.
Planetary Capabilities: The Independence-class has atmospheric capabilities through its reaction thrusters and anti-gravity system. The ships’ structure has sufficient strength to let the ship land; however, any particle gun turrets under the hull would be crushed by the weight and, without previous preparation on the ground, damage to the hangars will occur. Therefore, when landing its troops, the ships are advised to generate a -99% of the local gravity counterforce with their anti-gravity systems. Note that the ground underneath should still be as firm as possible. The ship will float in an ocean, and this is the preferred landing method for extended planetary operations. Unfortunately, the main hangars access doors will be submerged.
Endurance and mobility limits:
The dry stores endurance is 2 years maximum. After that time, the Independence-class will have to restock its supplies. Water stores are recycled almost completely. The hydroponics installations on board will provide the crew with a reasonable amount of fresh food, but the ship, while far better equipped than the smaller Garfishes, is not completely self-sufficient.
The mecha consumables supplies (missiles mainly) are reasonably extensive, and can sustain continuous combat operations for over twenty days against the Invid. However, a battle against Zentraedi or other forces with a capital ship capability will swiftly drain the stores of anti-ship missiles, as these are not usually carried in very large numbers. The ship launched missile magazines should suffice for two large battles or three or more skirmishes.
The Reflex furnace can function for about 30 years at normal usage levels before an energizer rebuild is necessary.
At full power, the main propulsion systems can produce up to 34.5 Giganewtons of thrust at a minimal reaction mass efficiency profile, or as little as 1.34 Giganewtons of thrust at a maximum efficiency setting. At lower power levels, these thrusts are commensurately smaller.
At full power, the Independence-class can achieve a maximum delta-v of 204 kps at the cruising acceleration of 0.1 gees, a maximum delta-v of 40.8 kps at the battle acceleration of 1.0 gees, and a delta-v of at most 11.4 kps at the flank acceleration of 2.5 gees. At lower power levels, these ranges are commensurately smaller. Ultra-high efficiency modes will extend the delta-v, but always at the cost of very low accelerations and hence extended travel times.
The fold systems are not navigationally guaranteed for any single jump beyond 10 kiloparsecs (32,600 ly). If longer voyages are required, the ships must conduct multiple fold jumps. These jumps can however be made in quick succession.
The maximum sustained atmospheric speed is limited to subsonic values. During a re-entry, the ship will exceed this, but flight control is sluggish and the speed is always reduced to subsonic speeds as soon as possible. The maximum hover time on the anti-gravity systems is limited only by the protoculture supplies and maintenance requirements.
PL-1e Point Defense turrets (12): Mounted the top (8) and bottom (4) of hull behind movable panels, these close in weapon systems can fire 63 MJ of particle energy four times per second. Typically, these weapons are used against enemy mecha.
Mk.253 MLS missile systems (2): This is a VLS missile system. Each system has 10 individual rotating silos which contain 6 missiles each. The missiles are launched through one firing port per silo; and the upper cover of the launcher is armored, thus exposing only one missile per silo directly to enemy fire. The ready magazines under each silo cluster store another 120 missiles, and the magazine can reload the silo launchers while these are in use. The missiles typically used in these launchers are the Warhawk and the Spacehawk. These are usually the standard HE, nuclear reaction anti-warship and nuclear reaction re-entry capable versions. Both launchers are mounted on the bottom of the hull, amidship.
Air group and mecha complement:
Standard air group:
- 144 VF-6 Alpha fighters in quick-reaction launch bays.
- 100 additional VF-6 Alpha fighters.
- 60 fighter-bombers such as the VF-5 Condor and the VF-12 Beta
- 68 Elint Legioss ESM reconnaissance craft,
- 4 EC-32 Eyrie AWACS shuttles,
- 10 RC-4 Rabbit light personnel and cargo shuttles.
Ground forces mecha (if embarked):
- 210 Destroids (various types),
- 4500 Cyclones (various types).
Notes: This is a typical complement c. 2043; only 144 Alphas and 72 fighter-bombers are part of the Naval Combatants Air Wing, while the other mecha belong to Tactical Corps or Marine units stationed on board. The exact number and type of mecha vary somewhat due to operational realities. About 660 large mecha total is normal, but there is storage and hangar space for 800+ craft. However, this would cause overcrowding in the launch bays.
The Independence-class was developed from the Nergal-class cruisers, which they resemble to a large degree. However, the Independence-class is larger and more capable overall, as well as more suited to receiving upgrades without undue removal of other systems. The Independence-class had a short production run, before being developed into the Ikazuchi-class.
The Independence series of large cruisers are vaguely rectangular in shape, with a gravity-well attitude that might remind one of a brick flying on its side. The hull narrows considerably in the center, effectively making for an hourglass-silhouette when viewed from the bow or the stern. The four main thrusters are located astern, one on each of the corner-points. The two auxiliary engines are located in sponsons that run along the port and starboard hull, beginning amidships and running along aft until the end of the ship. There is also a command citadel on the upper port side of the vessel, with an observation deck on top of it. Six Alpha launch bays are located on the sides of the ship, capable of launching up to 144 Alphas in battloid mode. The main hangars and their movable blast shield doors are located in the lower amidship levels. The doors cover the exits of three hangar decks and roll toward the stern of the ship when craft are being launched or retrieved.
In the lower stern of the hull is a rapid launch bay. This bay is a 140-meter triangular tube used to accelerate aerospace craft during combat launches using an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). This system can accelerate an aerospace craft to 720 kph by the end of the launch track. This translated into a .2 kps increase in delta-v for the aerospace craft. While this was a significant increase in overall delta-v, the down side is that the system takes up allot of space: the entire forward lower deck. The system is only able to launch one aerospace craft at a time, and then only one every three minutes. This made for slow scramble times, and huge variances in remaining delt-v for the aerospace craft involved, as each succeeding mecha would have to accelerate exponentially to catch up with the lead craft. This, combined with a 7 to 8 G load on the pilot and airframe, which no-one likes, doomed this system as a concept. By removing it on the follow-on Ikazuchi-class, naval-architects were able to increase hanger space by a third.
The command citadel houses two command decks, the main hull 12 main decks, though deck 12 is just a small outcropping on the underside of the vessel, usually used as a Horizont shuttle hangar and staging area. The main decks serve the following purposes: deck one is mainly crew and officers’ quarters, and this deck houses the navigation computer and the Astrogator and his mates. Deck two contains crew facilities and the port and starboard launch bays. Deck three consists of the senior officers’ quarters and the engineering block, which includes the hyperspatial communications array, life support, auxiliary gravity control, and quarters for the engineers’ mates. Decks four and seven include much of the quarters and facilities for the crew, as well as the ship’s stores. Decks five and eight are mainly used for the Planetary Forces troops, though there are also cargo holds and crew and officers’ quarters as well. Decks six and nine contain the auxiliary systems, as well as quarters for the Veritech pilots. Decks ten, eleven, and twelve are mainly hangar facilities for the ship’s mecha.
The absence of an extensive point defense capability was the most serious flaw of the pre-refit version of this design. This is even odder when one considers the rather extensive AAA installations on the SDF-1 and 2, and on the Armor series orbital platforms. This lack of attention to anti-mecha operations in the original design would prove to be very costly. The later Ikazuchi-class suffered from the same short fall, which was corrected in the refitted version which added no less than 24 additional defensive cannon emplacements, in a brute-force approach to increase the defenses against Invid ramming tactics.
The Independence-class was the forerunner of the Ikazuchi-class, which became the mainstay of the United Earth Expeditionary Force (UEEF). In 2032 the UEEF found themselves depleted both in vessels and in manpower, though they did possess, in the Robotech Satellites, the means to rebuild the fleet. Since the demographic make-up of the UEEF delayed significant reinforcements for almost ten years, the Expeditionary Force design bureau decided not to proceed with emergency construction of the existing Nergal-class cruiser, but to design a new cruiser, incorporating new advances in warship engineering.
Because of conceptual problems with the Independence-class’s rapid launch bay, the type was redesigned shortly after its initial deployment. Only five ships of this class were built before production shifted to the improved Ikazuchi-class. Like the Ikazuchi-class, the Independence-class suffered from deficiencies in their air defense capabilities. All five ships remained in service until their destruction over Earth during the UEEF’s reclamation attempts.
While the rapid launch bay was considered a failure, it did demonstrate some advantages when launching reconnaissance and electronic warfare aerospace craft. Since these types typically operate alone or in pairs, the need for following craft to expend reaction mass in order to catch up was attenuated. Because of this, the Independence-class was not retired nor refit. Rather, one Independence-class was assigned to each battle group to act as the primary ship for electronic attack squadrons, reconnaissance squadrons and other electronic warfare squadrons.
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (R) is the property of Fuji Television, Artmic Studio and Tatsunoko Production. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Yoshitaka Amano, Shinji Aramaki and Hideki Kakinuma
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.
Content by Pieter Thomassen and Peter Walker, edited by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2016 Tim Wing