As part of the upgrade to the Khurian Imperial Navy, something had to be done with the outdated vessels. Enterprising scavengers at heart, the solution was simple- convert them into orbital defense platforms. ODPs do not require the expensive jump engines nor conventional gravitic engines required by warships, as they are primarily static gun platforms. The newer weapon systems were relatively cheap, and thus the cost of converting older ships into defense platforms turned out to be a fraction of the cost of producing new ones.
The process involves taking Ka’ahlid-class frigates and Danuur-class destroyers and chopping them down to the core, removing most of the maneuvering and jump engines, stripping much of the internal support infrastructure, adding expanded hanger bays and the new weapon systems, and then parking them in orbit. The end result is a comparatively high-mobility defense platform that has turned out to be surprisingly successful.
The Ka’ahlid-class defense platform- since the platforms carry the name of their former warship class- is a prime example of the results. Two older fusion engines are slung underneath, fed by an integral hydrogen ramscoop. Three of the new heavy PPC turrets have been added, and the pre-existing MAC gun spinal mounts have been moved back into the core section, giving the defense platform substantial firepower. The original medium PPC and particle beam turrets have been kept, though some have been shifted around to mounts on the expanded hanger bays. Two six-shot ASM batteries have been added to make life hell for any capital ships that come within range, but due to the expense of Terran-built ASMs (all stolen) means that these are weapons of last resort.
The Ka’ahlid is also home to four squadrons of Vlarash fighters, eight fighters to a squadron. These are housed in the expanded hanger bays, which also act as the recovery bays as the platform is static. Since the crew quarters for the full complement of the original frigate’s crew remain, the Ka’ahlid-class platform often houses twice as many pilots as it carries fighters to ensure that there is a fighter crew on alert at all times.
The armour of these defense platform has not been upgraded, and it does not take many hits to penetrate. However, the new shield generators based on stolen Skree designs have been doubled-up on the Ka’ahlid, ensuring potent energetic defenses. The rapid refresh rates of these shields means that an enemy must maintain a constant bombardment on a platform or strike it with a very powerful weapon to overwhelm them. Considering that these platforms are deployed in clusters of twelve, this means that the other eleven are pounding on the attacking ship while it is engaging one of the platforms.
In the recent battle between the mercenary firm PMSC and the Khurian navy, these defense platforms accounted for many of the damaged vessels the mercenaries received. However, they discovered and exploited a weakness to the deployment of the platforms, ending their threat quite effectively. Due to their use of fusion instead of gravitic engines, the Ka’ahlid platforms are extremely susceptible to the effects of gravity. Deploying a class III gravity mine, the PMSC crews were able to suck the platforms into a single point and eradicate them with spinal mount weapons fire. It is unclear whether the Khurians will pony up the money required to replace the fusion drives with much more expensive gravitic ones to counter this problem.
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