(Frigate) FR-EL-Type/Eel-class Assault Frigate
A light warship of the frigate class designed by the Imperial Navy for light escort / assault and sector patrol roles. Like all frigates in the AIN, it lacks a JDA and any form of FTL capability. As such, it is often used in-system or deployed by 'piggybacking' from HY-class carriers when used in harasser capacity against subsystems on larger ships in CQC range, thanks to its ability to carry a single B-type heavy weapon hardpoint on the ventral mount.
Role: Light Assault / Escort
Mass: 80,950 - 81,500 T
Length: 160 M
Max Speed (Impulse Cruise): < 5.6 KM/s
Max Speed (Hyper Cruise): < 7300 KM/s
Max Range (JDA): N/A
Date: 4403 A.D / 2 I.D.S
Origin: Origin: Aquarius Imperial Naval Shipyards, Lorentis System
Crew Complement: up to 25 Enlisted, 5 Officers, 120 Marines
Primary Armour Plating: Nanopolymer-based low-ferrous metallic composite construction
Primary Armour Thickness: =< 0.22M (Main), =< 0.2M (Secondary) =< 0.175M (Tertiary & Pressure)
Spinal/Axial Armament: 6x Hornet M/SRM Launchers
Primary Armament: 1x HAL/SSC-1B Single Heavy Solid-State Cartridge-fed Laser Cannon Turret
Secondary Armament: 2x PDS Clusterfire CIWS
Tertiary Armament: 6x FLARE Electronic Countermeasure Launchers
Shielding: S03-I2-FR MKI Shield Modulator
Sensors: E03-I2-FR Quad-linked Broad-spectrum Array with 4x external antenna (port, starboard; dorsal)
Propulsion: 2x Quad-stack Helium Plasma Reactive Drives, dual-stack Helium Plasma Reactive Auxiliary Drive (lower)
Powerplant: P03-I2-FR (MK68/RJ3) 800MW Integrated Helio-Barycentric Cold Fusion Reactor
An ATIS Imperial Navy design based on the UAS Federal Navy's cancelled Barracuda-class Light Assault Frigate project. Despite physical resemblance to the Barracuda, Eel-class Frigates are an entirely new design with greatly improved internal systems, powerplant, shielding and firepower. Designation 'FR-EL' Type in the Imperial Naval Register, or just 'Eel-class', these assault frigates are designed to full the functional gap in the Fleet between the larger SP-class Heavy Destroyer and the smaller ships of the corvette class, under 100 metres in length. Unlike the SP-class, Eel-class Frigates are not equipped with an independent Jump Drive Array, a trait they share with the corvette classification. As such, these warships are primarily deployed as in-sector patrol group leaders or as light escort for larger warships in a screen formation - a role typically performed by the original 'destroyer' class of Old Earth water-Navies.
At 160 metres, Eel-class is very small, weighing in at just over 80 thousand Mass Tons, it is one of the lightest independent warships in the fleet. As a result, it is a highly agile combat platform, being able to intercept the fastest threats, or out-run opponents it is not able to defeat in combat. While Frigates are not typically used in deep space operations, like her sister class the Mako-class, Eel-class frigates are able to externally dock with larger ships such as HY-class Fleet Carriers, who enable them to perform linked FTL transitions in a practice known as 'piggybacking'. As such, multiple frigates of this class can be deployed to remote sectors for patrol or escort operations, or as strike-groups for harassing larger ships at CQC ranges.
The primary difference between Eel-class frigates and the visually similar Mako-class, is the presence of the large B-type ventral hardpoint on the former. While B-type designation in size, this hardpoint is incapable of equipping standard Imperial Navy B-type weapon platforms; instead it uses a specially-designed modification of the B-type hardpoint for use exclusively with this design. The standard armament is a HAL/SSC-1 Solid State Cartridge-fed Laser Cannon turret with a single emitter. The HAL/SSC-1 design was purpose-built for use on Frigate class vessels or ships lacking a sufficient powerplant to provide direct power to the powerful capacitors required to operate the larger HAL1/2 Heavy Laser Cannons. As such, the SSC-1, hence the name, uses solid-state cartridges containing super-conductive batteries with all the required electromagnetic energy used by the weapon system discharge - an ammunition-fed Laser Cannon. Deployment on such a mobile platform with similar firepower to the HAL1, but with a shorter range allows Eel-class frigates to harass larger ships at CQC ranges and effectively target sub-systems during such engagements while being fast enough to out-turn their long-range weapon systems, and possessing a shield generator large enough to resist dedicated anti-frigate weapons fire from tertiary armaments or PDS.
Despite this capability, Eel-class frigates are most often deployed in an escort or light assault capacity against static installations in low-intensity conflicts and counter-terrorism operations by the Imperial Navy Rapid Response Forces in and around Central Aquarius.