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Excerpt from Modern Galactic War by Paul Malthus, 3rd Edition , Made available for Extranet Scholastic Use by The Institute of War and Diplomacy, Vancouver Metroplex, North American Union, Earth, 2190 (1st Edition published by Banabar Books – 2184).
The Turian Navy
The Turian Navy, or Space Forces, posses the largest single combat fleet in the galaxy (10,000 units prior to the Reaper Invasion, current estimates stand at 3,300 units of all types) making it the single most powerful force in the galaxy. As the junior service within the Turian order of battle, the Navy’s roles are as follow:
- Support the Army in extra-planetary/out of area operations.
- Patrol the borders of Turian/Citadel space.
- Provide Peacekeeping support to Citadel species.
- Secure lines of communications/trade between Turian colonies as well as to and from Turian space.
To fulfill these mission parameters, the Turian Navy relies on a large number of cruisers (estimated at 85% of the total force) to conduct missions within its areas of operations. Cruisers are the backbone of modern navies due to their balance of endurance, firepower and protection at lower costs per ton than other types of ships. The turians expanded the “jack of all trades” nature of the cruiser by adding more cargo space and forward firepower at the expense of some armor, decreased broadsides and inferior point defense systems. This cargo space is used to carry a larger contingent of troops plus shuttles and/or fighters. This allows commanders to “combat load” ships to fit different missions. A cruiser may carry a company full of troops plus shuttles/gunships on a pirate suppression operation while a cruiser geared for fleet action may carry a full squadron (8-12) of strike fighters.
To compensate for their lighter armor and weaker defensive armament, doctrine calls for the deployment of cruisers in groups of threes. These triads try to engage enemies at closer ranges than other ships of their type, so as to bring all their forward firing weapons to bear on the enemy. A Turian cruiser main armament is similar to that of other navies, a pair of spinal mounted mass accelerators backed by smaller caliber guns on the “wings” (three each for a total of six in the current generation) and disruptor torpedo launchers on the wing’s root. In combat the triad closes in with the enemy firing all forward weapons at a single target: the spinal mounts target key systems such as propulsion, navigation or point defense systems, secondary batteries use their higher rate of fire to batter down the enemy’s kinetic barriers and the torpedoes, which are larger versions of those carried by fighters, finish off disabled enemies while the triad shifts fire to a secondary target. The close proximity of the triad allows the ships to combine the broadside and GARDIAN laser network to protect the formation.
Frigates wolf packs serve to screen triads in combat from enemy fighters, tactical reconnaissance and in-system patrols. Frigates are considered too light to handle long range independent missions. They lack both the endurance and firepower to deal with most situations. Instead, it is up to the cruiser, with its contingent of troops and vehicles to handle such missions. A single cruiser can easily dispatch a small group of raiders or destroy a pirate base. On the rare occasions that it encounters an enemy force it can not deal with by itself, it can call on reinforcements or retreat to safe territory.
Fighters are also used along side cruisers in “Big Wing” formations. The fighter squadrons from multiple cruisers band together in wings composed of 2-3 squadrons. They fire torpedoes outside an enemy’s GARDIAN network effective range, not to destroy the ship, but to overheat its laser network, opening the way for the larger torpedoes fired from the parent cruisers while minimizing risks to themselves. When supporting troops on planet’s surface they use similar tactics to disrupt enemy ground units by targeting aerospace defense networks, communication nexus and drone control nodes. Turians are in the process of upgrading their fighter tactics in light of the introduction of Alliance carriers to the galactic scene. Naval strategist realized that the large number of fighters carried on Alliance carriers allowed them to overwhelm any defensive screen. A carrier could jump in, unload their fighter force and leave before a defender could retaliate. The fighters in turn could slash through an enemy formation, destroy key targets and rendezvous with the carrier at a secondary jump point. Also carriers can be combat loaded like cruisers, but with a much larger contingent of troops, fighters or supplies. To this end Turian shipyards have stepped up carrier production and turian aerospace companies are developing new fighter variants such as interceptors (for escort/defense), strike fighters (to attack ships or installations) and electronic warfare support.
Dreadnoughts still retain their position as the premier unit in the Turian Navy. However, heavy loses during the Reaper Invasion mean that even after the annulment of the Treaty of Farixen the Navy does not have the resources to replenish, let alone, increase their numbers. For now planners are concentrating on rebuilding the cruiser force and complementing it with new carriers and frigates.