In the Year 53 GE, the Federation began to realize that certain star systems now under its jurisdiction will need to be patrolled to maintain peace and security in the early years of its formation. While the Danbira-Class Battlecruiser was introduced earlier in the year as the flagship vessel of the Federation, the Federation Senate was reluctant on the idea of having destroyers used in patrolling the numerous systems liberated from the Liekans and Dexigalians. A smaller more affordable vessel was needed for the task, and Proxima Industries who was now the premier ship maker of the nation was quick to offer its solution in the form of the Datsu-Class Frigate.
Looking like the little brother of the Tanken-Class Destroyers, the ship was reduced in size in all three dimensions to give it a smaller profile. The Datsu can be found at any populated location in Federation space and can regularly be seen patrolling logistical and civilian routes alongside the Tanken. It can also be seen in use as a law enforcement vessel with many of its weapons ammo switched to disabling ordinance over lethal. The Datsu is 308 meters long at its longest axis, 40 meters shorter than the Tanken. The Datsu is lightly armed in terms of the number of offensive weapons compared to the Tanken, but this is contributed to the size and cost reduction of the vessel and its role as a frigate. Among the Datsu’s armaments are 2 quad missile launchers mounted on the ship’s highest and lowest weapon mounts dorsally and ventrally respectively. These launchers generally hold missiles used for medium- to long-range engagements and the Datsu will have up to 96 missiles on board for those launchers. The missiles’ flight range is up to 100 kilometers. The Datsu’s main artillery batteries consist 4 twin-barrel 1460-millimeter turrets with 2 forward firing turrets mounted in front of the missile launchers and 2 rear firing turrets mounted behind the missile launchers. These artillery turrets are larger and more sophisticated than the projectile turrets used by the United Earth Colonies prior to the First Interstellar War, able to fire larger rounds at a greater rate of fire with high precision. The Datsu can easily broadside its targets by bringing 2 of its turrets to engage either to port or starboard. If the target is large, all 4 turrets can be used on a single target. Each turret can be preloaded with up to 24 rounds before needing to reload and they can be reloaded up to 8 times before the ship runs out of ammo. Generally, Datsu captains will limit the number of turrets firing at targets in an engagement to stretch their ammo supply before being forced to retreat or rely on their other weapons systems. For close-range engagement, the Datsu is equipped with a pair of 16-tube light missile launchers mounted on each side of the vessel’s forward hull. The missiles are short-range able to hit a target 45 kilometers away. They are capable of firing 5 missiles per tube before being depleted. For point defense against missiles and possibly small craft, the Datsu is equipped with 32 twin 275-millimeter autocannons mounted in key areas on the hull. These guns can continue to fire nonstop for up to 10 minutes before their ammo supply is depleted. However, they only fire once the tracking systems identify viable targets and will usually fire in spurts rather than nonstop to stretch the ammo supply as well. The small craft bay (discussed below), ammo storage bay, and supplies are in the forward section of the ship. Engineering, the Combat-and-Control Center, graviton engines, the Fold Drive, and auxiliary systems are found in the center of the ship. Crew compliment is 100 with accommodations and amenities are in the rear of the vessel along with the escape pods. This low number in crew based on its size is thanks to automation handled in several areas of the vessel.
The Datsu has two PITGED units mounted on each side of the ship. These are the main sublight drive units of the ship and are based on the current engine design introduced 20 years ago by the Columna Lumen Development Center and later handled by Gallonigher Industries. The Mark II version of the engines allow the ship to generate gravitons for thrust by manipulating space-time around the vessel. These gravitons are ejected through the two main thrust engine nozzles located in the “wings” as the ship’s main propulsion. They also provide the artificial gravity on board, power the ship’s Fold Drive, and energize the nano-laminate armor. Located in the ship’s mid-section is the Fold Drive system, the ship’s main faster-than-light (FTL) drive. While originally salvaged from the wrecks of Liekan and Dexigalian ships, the Federation-built Fold Drive is more optimized to be powered by the vessel’s PITGED drives providing continuous power unlike their Liekan and Dexigalian counterparts that must stop for a time to recharge. The subspace manifold coils are located under armor plating on each side of the PITGED units to optimize the subspace field used to protect the ship during transit. The speed of the drive is 1 Light-year every 6 minutes, allowing ships to travel between star systems within minutes or hours. However, unless on patrol to other systems or reassigned to a different fleet, a Datsu will rarely leave the star system it is assigned to and will usually use the Fold Drive to reach other locations within the same star system or nearby in a hurry. Multiple thrusters and the properties of the PITGED unit also make the Datsu highly maneuverable despite the ship’s size and mass compared to other vessels of similar size.
A small craft bay is mounted in the front of the vessel located between the forward cannons. Originally meant for shuttles to load and unload supplies and personnel, the bay has been remodeled to also house a small number of Kunai fighters. Up to 4 craft can be stored on the Tanken but the bay is neither pressurized nor under gravity. This means pilots and crew will always have to wear space suits and flight suits while in the bay.
Assignment to a Datsu Frigate when it was first introduced was not considered favorable by those who served aboard them. Many of officers and crew have complained about the “cramp” conditions of the vessel and the corners that were “cut” to produce it, even “claustrophobic.” Most of this directed animosity towards the vessels was due to the original crew count being 150 which was the estimated crew count needed to operate the vessels according to Proxima Industries. After a review of the Datsu’s overall functions and performance, it was decided to reduce the crew count of the vessel down to 100 and alter the crew accommodations to be more “spacious” than before. While this has helped tempered most of the complaints about the vessel, the initial history along with the rather Spartan interior still sees the vessels as a less-than-ideal vessel to serve on. They are also often used as training vessels for new academy cadets due to those conditions. Many commanding officers of such vessels assigned to that role find the assignment “humorous” as many cadets quickly assume that they will land a “cushy” assignment aboard a Naifu Cruiser or a Danbira Battlecruiser, only to find themselves on a cramped Datsu instead. It has been said that Datsu captains on training vessels get a perverse enjoyment seeing the “glow” in cadets eyes fade away when reality sets in that they will serve on a frigate long before they ever set foot on a destroyer or larger. However, more optimistic and realistic cadets have also looked at the vessel as a stepping stone towards command positions on larger vessels, and Datsu commanding officers take interest in these individuals knowing they will make fine officers in the future. Current commanding officers who have reached their position in the past 10 to 15 years have served on a Datsu Frigate coming out of the Federation Navy Academy, and have reported that their experience on such vessels was both an eye-opener and a game-changer in their military careers.
In a fleet assignment, frigates can range in number between 4 up to 32 depending on the size of the fleet and its needs as the frigates are the most numerous vessels by the time of the Second Interstellar war. However, this makes them the most numerous class destroyed in the initial months of the war as well.