Sketches – North American Cruiser

The Guadalcanal-Class Multi-Role Cruiser was one of several designs serving in the North American Navy. Built around a core battery of laser mounts and an extensive VLS system, and supported by a reasonable point defense grid, the Guadalcanal could effectively handle most duties that could be expected from a line cruiser. Enhanced by a series of command and control systems unique to UNA ships, the Guadalcanal could engage battlecruisers one-on-one and expect to come out on top.

If the Guadalcanal has a design flaw, it is best expressed in her extensive use of VLS launch systems. While powerful, they put a hard engagement clock on the design, and once they are empty then the Guadalcanal has no more firepower than a destroyer, a ship barely half her displacement. Later versions (the Block II and Block III) would trade out some VLS systems for conventional launchers and magazine systems, trading off some “alpha strike” capacity for longer engagement times and the ability to apply continual pressure in the expected battlespace. Most of these design decisions would go on to inform development of the UN Io-class Heavy Cruiser.

In broader terms, the Guadalcanal is a prime example of UNA design philosophy. Layered decks take full advantage of artificial gravity, while hard-patches on the hull provide (comparatively) easy access to critical ship components while in dock. The hull form itself is a holdover from pre-drive-field combat environments. Originally built to help deflect active sensors, it allows a skilled captain to convert incoming damage to less damaging “glancing” blows. While not likely to be usable in larger fleet engagements, it offers independent patrols a little more protection. UNA electronic warfare systems are second to none, and the Guadalcanal makes use of systems a full generation ahead of similar systems in service with the UN and EU fleets.

The UNA ship design was the second of the Terran designs that I made (the first being the UN/EU/Terran Dominion Io-Class Cruiser), and the one most easily identifiable with “modern” designs. The initial concept was driven by modern stealth warships like the Visby and Zumwalt classes. Smooth lines, few breaks on the outer hulls except for what is strictly required. Flying trapezoids are a bit boring however, so I broke the overall hullform with the twin superstructures amidship. Smaller ships have one of them right on the dorsal line, while larger ships (battleships and larger) have two of them on the ventral side, mirroring what the Guadalcanal has on the dorsal side. Even larger ships (such as the proposed Barringer-Class Monitor) would have featured a full eight of these superstructures.

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