Updated: Aug 14
Although every Cruiser-class vessel in the Aquarian Fleet is capable of carrying at least two wings of strikecraft, complete with internal hangars for full operational and resupply, AFN High Command, on behalf of the Angel-Sector Fleet Command's direct request, put forward a request for a fast cruiser that could carry a dozen Strikecraft wings, Corvette and Gunship-class vessels and provide support for Frigates in the field.
The Federal Navy recognised the need for a smaller, lighter and cheaper to produce vessel that could provide dedicated fighter support without the need to commit the Fleet's only dedicated carrier; the much larger Evolution-class Fleet Command Carrier.
As such, ARAS Shipyards, Lorentis, put forward a proposal in 2111 FDS for a vessel only barely bigger than existing heavy Destroyers such as the Sleipnir-class, but with much more powerful engines, a lighter hull design and a multitude of dedicated internal hangars to operate and support up to 12 wings of strikecraft, with 8 interceptors or bombers each, a further dozen corvettes or gunships and two Frigates, docked externally. The result was the HY-AX, or Hydra-class Light Fleet Carrier.
Hydra-class Carriers are considered Cruiser designation by the AFN, and operate with fleet cruisers such as the larger Revolution-class, often accompanied by several destroyers or frigates. The development of the Hydra-class Carrier lead to the development of modifications of existing cruiser classes - having hangars replaced with additional weapons capacitors and more turret hardpoints. A development of the Revolution-class, known as RV-AX-S2 is currently undergoing field trials with significantly expanded firepower capability at almsot the same mass, due to no longer requiring Strike Craft Hangars.
As such, Hydra-class Carriers are expected to be pressed into service with every element of the Federal Navy within the next few cycles.