Gentlemen, in the last 72 hours, we have seen the Galilean Faction deploy no fewer than six warships we didn’t know existed. Our forces in the area were destroyed or surrendered in the face of this superior firepower. There is nothing to prevent them from bringing those ships here. Nothing to prevent them from taking over our space. There is nothing, gentlemen, to keep them from coming to Earth and blasting us off the face of this planet. I propose the Near Earth Space Superiority Act, henceforth known as NESS. This act will sponsor the rapid development and deployment of a defensive Space Navy as a new branch of the military. It will coordinate planetary defense with our allies and if need be, our terrestrial enemies. The time for decisive action is now. If we do not act it might be one of those space born despots who makes the decision for us.
Secretary of the Federation Navy, Adolf Stoddard, 2331
The Watchword of the nascent Space Navy, NESS propelled the development of space ships around the globe. Secrecy had to be maintained, it would do no good if the space factions knew of Terran armament plans. Instead of broadcasting the creation of the Space Navy, the Atlantic Federation instead made propaganda in the form of the now realized Star Wars program. The popularly called Zap-Sats were a series of geosynchronous orbiting satellites, each little more than a small reactor, a large laser emitter or missile battery, and a targeting system. While the deceit worked for a short time, the scale of the NESS project eventually failed and the Space Navy was discovered before it was launched.
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My grandfather remembered the depression after the gas stations all closed, everyone riding bikes, and praying that the main power would stay on a few more weeks, he said it was like the end of the world. He didn't have a job, and for a long time my father didn't either. It was hard times, hard times for everyone. Then those eggheads over in Russia came up with the magic reactors, and our eggheads came up with that damned big sling shot (Mass Driver). My dad, he worked down at the St. Louis slingshot, the one that put up the Zap Sats, and about half a hundred damned habs. Good work, good money. We survived, the whole country survived.
A few years later, I graduated from college, my parents were proud and old grandpop cried. Alot bad stuff happened too, up in space, some colonials shot up some other colonials, and then everyone is afraid they are going to come shoot us up. Next thing, there is the application going around, big time paying jobs popping up in strange places. The best were in Michigan, and Alabama. I ended up packing up my stuff and moving to the great frozen north. That was the first time I saw her. My heart went into my throat and I think I teared up.
She was our first warship. By god we weren’t going to roll over and show those damned arrogant space bastards our bellies. She wasn’t much more than a skeleton then, no hull plating, no engines, just that great arching centerline beam, iron ribs. She was a monster, 900 feet long, 750 across the widest point. I was just a welder from Oklahoma, and there I was, building our first damned space battleship.
Arthur Eastmorland, retired Welder
The American Class Warship
The America was the first ship of the American class, the first warship launched by the Atlantic Federation, and named for the Federation’s largest member. The ship was 310 meters from bow to stern, and 250 meters across the widest point of the hull. The ship was also some 105 meters tall at the tallest point, excluding antenna and radar masts. The ship had a prominent wedge shape, which some likened to the cult Star Wars saga Star Destroyers. This carried some weight for a while, but eventually ran out of steam. The prominence of the twin gun turrets and traditional appearing superstructure was more reminiscent of traditional warships and was was generally concluded that the Star Wars cult believed anything wedge shaped was of Star Wars significance, even pieces of cheese and snack chips.
The ship massed 24,000 tons when fully stocked, fueled and carrying her full compliment of spacers, spacecraft, and supplies. The hull armor plating was considerably thinner than the armored hulls of conventional maritime warships, but was made of ablative compounds and composite materials and deemed capable of surviving a hit from anything the Colonials could throw at it. The engines could generate sustained thrust of 2.25Gs, and could cruise non-stop at 1.5Gs acceleration.
The weapons complement of the America class was considered minimal against maritime warships as well. Primary firepower came from four type 35 Naval Lasers, mounted in dual turrets on the dorsal side of the ship. Secondary firepower came in the form of four forward firing missile/torpedo launchers, and an array of type 8 conventional lasers in quad mounts, computer guided machine gun blisters, and an extensive electronics warfare system including advanced targeting, long range radar, and counter-electronics.
For decades and longer, convention said that all proper space ships are built in space in space docks and spaceship yards. Counter to this, the America class was built almost entirely on the ground. The skeleton, hull plating and armor, and interior of the ship was knocked up and welded together at a secret construction facility in Michigan. Once the ship’s structure was built, the craft was loaded onto a river barge and sailed down the Mississippi river where was was transfered to Mobile, Alabama. There, the massive engines were installed in the ship. The laser arrays were also installed into the ship’s massive twin turrets in Alabama. The ship was 98% complete when it was transfered from the Mobile facility to a sea-barge bound for Panama.
Some considered it a change of eras, the most advanced ship in the world being moved by a barge, one of the most primitive ships in the world. At the canal, the massive America was delicately loaded onto the Panamanian Mass Driver, the largest and strongest in the world. It is estimated the three billion people watch the launch in HoloCast. The driver was turned to it’s highest output since it’s shakedown trials a decade earlier and the massive warship was flung into the air. As it hit the sudden incline, computer controlled boosters were fired, as well as the ship’s main drive was ignited.
It is remembered as the roar heard around the world. The ship, sans crew, was hurled into orbit, with naysayers left with their mouths hanging open. Many believed that the ship would fall back to earth, as common sense said that nothing that large could simply be thrown by a bunch of magnets.
She was hope, a shield against fear. She was our ship. I remember watching her come up from the Earth, you could still see the contrails from the solid rocket boosters. someone said it looked like a brick, but to me, she was an angel made of iron and steel, built by the greatest nation in the world. I though my heart would burst watching her rise, her very existence defiance to the Colonials, her rise a defiance to gravity.
We had six days to get her ready, six days to install everything considered too delicate to survive the massive sling into space. We were going to make sure that she made it right on time.
Lt. Gregory Santos, Federation Space Navy
The America was the first of no fewer than 17 America class warships. While she bore little resemblance to the last of her class launched, the ship would remain a symbol of national pride for decades. She also taught the engineers and the new space navy many important lessons that had not been considered when the ship was being designed and built. Her greatest tactical weakness was the placement of her laser batteries. With all the guns located on the dorsal side of the ship, they could not fire down, or behind the ship, only to the front and the sides.
As a first generation class of warships, the America class is viewed with mixed reaction. The class saw little action, as the deployment of a Terran armada was enough to deter the Colonial forces until they could also field warships, rather than modified freighters and small patrol craft. When the America class was pushed into combat, it was already a second line warship, and it’s thin armor and light weaponry did not serve it well. As a deterrent, the ship, and others such as the Eurasian built Ryuken, and European Consortium Dreadnaught, served admirably.