Ever since the Novus Initium Republic took to exploring the star cluster during the Expansion Era of 4614 A.D. through 4946 A.D., the Republic Navy had to evolve to where if produced as little waste as possible despite the fact that the Republic had access to a large amount of resources. Whether this involved ammo or ships in general, weapons and defense development eventually led to the creation of powerful laser weapons, defensive energy shields, and nanobot armor repair systems currently in use today. This occurred after the Republic Senate passed the Resource Conservation, Preservation, and Recycling Bill of 4761 A.D. The bill called for the creation of weapons that did not produce waste such as ammo and shell casings as well as missiles that used propellant. The bill also called for the preservation of existing constructs to protect them against harm whether they were natural or artificial. The energy shields and nanobot armor repair systems were developed for that purpose. Lastly the bill called for the recycling of existing constructs to reduce the need for additional resources. What that means for the military is that when a new ship design is made available, the existing ships are taken to dock, torn down, their materials melted and recycled, and finally modeled into the new ship designs. The process is completely automated to reduce turnaround time. The designs are also modular so that new components can replace existing ones without the whole section or the entire ship having to be rebuilt. This is why ships can be in service for over a hundred years at a time. The bill also pertains to the civilian sectors such as homes, buildings, technology, and vehicles.
The laser beam weapons come in three different sizes depending on the ships they are usually installed on but are generally dual barrel to offer the maximum amount of damage at a target as well as to consolidate the number of turrets needed. Small beam lasers are currently found on destroyers and cruisers. The recently introduced frigates are also equipped with them later on. Medium beam lasers are also found on cruisers alongside the small lasers, but they are also found on battleships. The large beam lasers are only found on battleships due to their size and power requirements. All beam laser turrets share common traits despite their size. They were designed to collapse when not in use, looking like blisters on the hulls. They also use standard beam lenses which produce a visible yellow beam when fired. However, the lenses can be switched on the spot within the turrets to range from radio to gamma for different ranges and level of damages applied depending on the mission parameters and target range. There is also white multispectrum lenses but they are the shortest range and the most lethal of the lenses. They are only used when lethal destructive force is needed. The lasers also have two different settings: beam laser mode and pulse laser mode. The beam laser mode reduces the tracking speed of the guns in exchange for a powerful focused long range shot. However, this is also the slowest of the two modes when it comes to rate of fire due to the amount of energy being fired. The pulse laser mode increases tracking and rate of fire but the range is almost cut in half. This mode is designed more for close-range engagements and point defense system against smaller targets. While the beam that is fired is also weaker by almost half in order to achieve the higher rate of fire, that increase in rate of fire means that the damage over a period of time is equal to the beam laser mode over the same duration.
The energy shield system was designed to work as a defensive field against threats both artificial and natural. It also serves as the first line of defense against said threats. The strength of the shield will normally vary on the size of the ship that is using it. The shields are designed to be able to take impacts from various things such as directed energy and projectile weapons as well as small rocks and debris. While the shields can only take so much damage before they fail, there are shield booster modules on board the ship that divert power from the ship’s capacitors to strengthen the shields. However, this may divert some power away from other systems including the weapons depending on what systems are drawing power at the time. The same can be said for the nanobot armor repair system. As the name states, nanobots are used to repair armor and hull damage to the ship in the event that the shields fail. The armor serves as the second line of defense and thus is crucial for the survival of those on board should the armor be completely breached. Because of the small size of the nanobots, there are a massive number of them stored on board but they also require energy via remote wireless transfer in order to function when repairing armor and hull damage. While both the shield boosters and nanobots can run at the same time, they draw a significant amount of power from the capacitors forcing the beam lasers to shut down. Otherwise the capacitors would be completely drained faster than the antimatter reactor can replenish them. Both should only be used if the ship is not in combat and is trying to repair any damage it was inflicted.
Lastly, new ships usually have a lifespan of around 100 years before the newest design is introduced. There are two reasons behind this time frame. The first is the fact that the modules on board are modular and thus can be switched out for the newest systems without much change or refitting. The second is that every part of a recycled ship was at one point a previous ship or more. When a ship is scheduled to be recycled, every component on board is stripped and melted according to what the components are made out of. They are cleaned and strengthened before they are made into solid components again for the new ship. Depending on the size and structure of the ship, new parts and components are also added alongside the recycled ones. On average, a “new” ship may be comprised of up to 95% recycled materials. The logic behind this was due to mankind’s excessive waste since the 20th century on their home planet of Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy. In order not to repeat those same mistakes, the Republic deemed this bill necessary. Thus there is little strip-mining involved on the planets where excavation and resource gathering is being done. The average turnaround time for ships being recycled through the automated system is 1 day for destroyers, 5 days for cruisers, and 10 days for battleships. The new frigates introduced after the First Interstellar War should only take half a day once the next centennial ship upgrade occurs in 5500 A.D..
Finally, each ship has in storage some Salire Purpura crystals with enough to achieve a single jump. This was meant solely for emergencies when a ship can no longer move on its own or has an emergency where the use of the on-board interplanetary warp drive and local star gates would be deemed too long to get to its destination. The range of the jumps is limited to 12 Light-years in any direction. Once the jump has been completed, the crystals are disintegrated and the ship will have to use conventional means of travel to get to their destination.
When the centennial ship upgrade rolled around in 5400 A.D., Horribilis Industries stood ready to submit their three ship designs for approval and in the end won the contract. Wanting to once again show they make the best ships in the Republic compared to their rivals, their entry into the battleship category proved by far to be the most powerful warship in Republic history. Called the Paladin-class battleship, this 1500-meter-long vessel is equipped with the heaviest firepower and defenses ever seen on a ship of this size prior to the First Interstellar War. It was also the largest battleship ever made in the Republic requiring a longer turnaround time and additional resources to build them in the same numbers as their predecessors. Propelled by ten large engines, this ship is still rather slow compared to its cruiser and destroyer counterparts that were introduced at the same time. Designed for anti-cruiser, anti-battleship, and anti-installation combat, the Paladin is more than well equipped for such roles. The ship is equipped with 16 dual large beam laser cannons for anti-battleship and anti-installation combat. The ship also comes equipped with 48 medium dual beam laser cannons for use against cruisers and later battlecruisers. However, the one weapon that was included for the first time ever on a battleship was the vessel's primary weapon: The Dual Giga Beam Laser Cannon. This weapon is by far the most power beam laser cannon ever made and was designed as a one-shot ship killer as well as an effective anti-installation weapon. However, the power requirements for the weapon is rather massive and can only be fired once every couple of minutes. It is believed that this weapon alone was the reason for the ship’s massive size in order to hold the multitude of reactors and capacitors to keep the weapon firing even if the other weapons and shields were active. The cannon has a limited arc of fire, though, and can only fire forward with up to 15 degrees either to port (left) or starboard (right). The Paladin also has 4 large bays, 2 on each side of the ship, that not only allow for shuttles and small transports to land but also allows for troop transports to be deployed.
While sporting impressive offensive capabilities, the Paladin’s defensive capabilities are nothing to scoff at either. In a rare manner, the ship sports both a primary and secondary shield systems where the secondary shield will activate once the primary is depleted. Both shields can get stronger with the equipped shield booster modules. Should an enemy survive long enough to get through the Paladin’s shields, they must then go through the 1600mm layered steel plates in order to make any significant damage along with the nanobot armor repair system activated by that point.
There are only two roles that the battleship is designed to fulfill: to serve as the flagship of a fleet and to provide heavy firepower when the situation calls for it. It is rarely ever seen alone, usually with Crusaders, Guardians, and the new Sentinel-Class Frigates (after the Yintaka Conflict) escorting it. This is due to the one weakness of the Paladin which is the lack of anti-frigate and anti-destroyer weapons, though it can take out such targets at a distance with its available guns. Paladins are the fewest in number compared to their smaller counterparts (9:3:1 ratio of Crusaders per Guardians per Paladin respectively), not to mention their importance. The lowest rank to command a Paladin is a Rear Admiral (Lower Half) and higher with very few exceptions. Because they are much fewer in number, they are given official names rather than referred to by designation numbers. These names are given to the ship by the first commanding officer and will stick to that name for the remainder of the ship’s service through consecutive commanding officers. There has been some speculation as to whether or not the Paladin will continue to be in service after the next centennial ship upgrade due to its capabilities. While that is still a long way off, much of that decision will be up to the rival companies who compete for that contract and whether they can show they can do better than what the Paladin is currently capable of.