Battlecruisers are a class of starship designed for ship-to-ship combat and endurance, and are notably diverse in their capabilities, with a secondary role in fleet command and communication. They occupy a middle ground between cruisers and battleships in terms of size and displacement, and have a wider engagement profile than most starships. This has made them very popular as lone vessels, and are a mainstay of fleet warfare. They possess two advanced variants; the Fleet and Field Command Ships.
Battlecruisers were designed relatively recently. They were introduced to break the stalemate of cruiser warfare, where battleships would prove too cumbersome and costly to deploy. Their design was remarkably adaptive, able to be outfitted for a wide variety of different combat roles. They could engage cruisers with ease, and proved themselves capable in making a credible stand against larger vessels.
As with destroyers, battlecruisers were operated mostly by military forces, until public demand from the increasing number of private fleets necessitated their availability to the wider markets. A battlecruiser is the largest vessel that minor corporations will typically operate, a notable deterrent against would-be marauders. The first capsule-compliant battlecruisers were released for pod pilot use in YC 107, alongside destroyers.
Battlecruisers seek to combine firepower, speed and defenses, while remaining adaptable and flexible to a variety of different combat situations. As a result, they are larger than cruisers, while remaining smaller than battleships. They are also designed with long endurance in mind, and are perfect for solo operations by navies and corporations for this reason. Their diverse nature means that battlecruisers can have the offensive capabilities of battleships, or the speed of some cruisers. These starships typically outfit an arsenal of cruiser-sized weaponry, though recent variations have battlecruisers capable of outfitting large weapons designed for battleships.
Battlecruisers have plenty of space for its various crew sections, with multiple accommodation and recreation areas. Engineering areas can take up multiple decks, while gunnery and combat stations are dispersed across the vessel. The dedication to combat systems, however, means that the corridors are not quite like the concourses found on battleships, and are only slightly larger than the passageways found on cruisers. The class’ long endurance means that more design stock was placed in the size of living areas as opposed to the corridors.
On some deployments, battlecruisers can be outfitted with additional communication and command systems without sacrificing their firepower or offense. This is common when a battlecruiser is deployed with a squadron of smaller vessels or a wider fleet. The commander of a subcapital-sized task force generally uses a battlecruiser as their flag vessel, as a larger vessel is often too prime a target for enemy fire.
Battlecruiser crews number in the few hundreds and quite less than a thousand, with capsule-fitted variants shifting the figure to the lower end of the spectrum. The combat-orientated nature of battlecruisers sometimes means that not every crew member gets their own personal quarters, but more automated variants allows this to be so. Typical crew complements include a larger-than-average combat segment, along with navigation and engineering.
The experience of battlecruiser crews vary. With the ship’s high survivability, as well as the reliance on a less concentrated personnel pool, means that rookie crew members can be assigned to battlecruisers. Ship captains vary in their background and experience, with battleship captains filling in for particularly slow battlecruisers, while agile vessels require captains with experience in both the command of smaller vessels.