Aerospace Craft in the Cosmic Era
Aerospace Fighters are a very small slice of the aerospace craft available in the CE
1. Aerospace Fighters
Aerospace Fighters are high speed, armored, and heavily armed combat craft intended for a variety of military roles. They represent the pinnacle of performance, but are offset by being equivalently expensive.
2. Light Aerospace Craft
In the same general weight class as light and medium aerospace fighters, light aerospace craft cannot match the power, speed, or performance of the light aerospace fighter, but they are more numerous, fully intended for civilian purposes, and dramatically cheaper. These represent the personal craft owned by civilian pilots, hobby pilots, and light courier and light cargo craft.
3. Heavy Aerospace Craft
Under the general rules, aerospace light craft are going to be capped at 30-50 tons, while heavy aerospace craft can ramp all the way up to 500 tons or more and these represent the non-military large craft in civilian service. This includes commercial transports, large passenger craft, and a variety of cargo craft. Likewise, the military makes use of non-combatant heavy aerospace craft for patrol, search and rescue, basic cargo, and other non-combatant roles.
4. Large Aerospace Military Craft
Large military craft are not fighter craft, an often have the same roles as heavy aerospace craft but are built in the same fashion as aerospace fighters. This means stronger frames, higher performance, and the presence of armor, weaponry, and combat electronics. In a setting with flying warships, and space combat, large aerospace craft are the huge gravity bombers, and the craft that carry the enormous missiles (torpedoes in terminology to denote their anti-ship role) used to destroy ships, space fortifications, and so forth.
5. Long Range Craft
Long Range Craft are heavy aerospace craft that are intended for long duration missions, at least in terms of non-capital craft. These craft have spartan accomodations, but can sustain their small crews for several weeks of uncomfortable duty before either running out of fuel or food. This is typically used by intelligence agencies, patrol and guard forces, and by scientific research projects.
6. Aerospace Tramp Craft
ATCs are technically heavy aerospace cargo haulers, but unlike those craft, ATCs tend to have extensive modifications, including pirated military equiment, black market technology, and so forth. These craft exist in a gray area where they are not really civilian craft, but they do not have the performance to match dedicated military vehicles.
ATCs have a very important role in sci-fi, these are the heavily modified and customized rides employed by smugglers and ne'er do wells and include ships like the Serenity and the Millennium Falcon.
A-Craft exist in their own category and are unique in that they have no thrust based propulsion systems and rely entirely on a-pods (gravity manipulation). These craft have excellent VTOL and hover capabilities, but as they move away from a source of gravity, the less effective they become.
One of the fundamental aspects of the A-pod comes from an old discussion I had with my father. We talked about gravity based propulsion, and how a certain space fighter used this to be incredibly fast and agile, but this was limited to gravity wells. If the engine was close to a star or a planet, the fighter was a monster. But, in the space between, those same craft had anemic performance. They cant create gravity, only manipulate it, and the more there is, the more they can do with it. This mechanic is combined with the role traditionally played by helicopters and jump jets like the Harrier.
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