The Four Years War saw the need for large number of escort cruisers to be quickly commissioned. The Achernar and Tikopai classes of supplemental cruisers met this need. The Achernar class was adapted from the mark two versions of the standard Ptolemy (Achernar Mark 1) and Keppler (Achernar Mark 2) classes of Transport Tug. The Tikopai class was adapted from the mark two versions of the Dollond (Tikopai Mark 1) and Doppler (Tikopai Mark 2) classes. All four of these tug classes were in both Starfleet and Civilian service, and ships originally destined for civilian lines were diverted to this program.
The supplemental cruisers were created by the addition of a specialist pod with a hanger, enhanced sensors and weapons. The mother ship itself was unchanged, except for the impulse drive if it required upgrading and retained its own light weapons fit. This solution meant large numbers of the supplemental cruisers could be built quickly, as the Tugs were already mass produced in civil yards, and the weapons hull could be easily built by the smaller warship builders. These ships, although underpowered, were an invaluable asset in convoy escort duties throughout the war. Post-war these ships were all swiftly de-commisioned and converted to standard tug configuration, and then either sold off for commercial transport use, or used to replace wartime tug losses in the fleet.
The weapon pod contained 8 FL-4 Lasers in 4 banks, with 2 banks covering each arc of fire, a pair of FAC-3 accelerator cannons was positioned on the sides of the pod to fire forward. These ships provided a valuable role escorting convoys, often hiding amongst innocent looking standard configuration tugs to lure attackers in. The main criticism that could be levelled at both of the classes was the weak shielding systems, but the adoption of more advanced shielding systems would have prevented the construction of the ships in civilian yards.
|Ship Source:||Franz Joseph Designs/FASA||Ship Datasheet:||Download PDF|
|The design is based on the FJ tugs, the name is from FASA to provide a way for these classes to serve in the four years war prior to the commissioning of the heavy cruisers.|