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Huntress XL - Frigate by EonSquirrel Huntress XL - Frigate by EonSquirrel
NOTE: I’ve edited the name and description of this ship in light of recently learning that I had the sizes of frigates and destroyers confused. Destroyers are larger ships than frigates, not the other way round. The following description has been edited to reflect that.

The Huntress XL class frigate is a starship in service with the Terran Union’s starfleet, first introduced in the year 2510 of the Fifth Age. The Huntress XL is a variant of the Huntress class frigate, first introduced in 2504, with more advanced weaponry and shielding in addition to warp capability, making the Huntress class the first (and only) class of warship built in the Terran System to be modified for warp speed. The Huntress XL class frigate is the second type of military starship built by the United Nations of Earth and was introduced in part to act as an escort ship for the Invincible class heavy cruiser, which had hitherto relied solely on fighter support in combat missions. The Huntress XL played an important role in reinforcing the warp capable arm of the Union Fleet in the final days of the Earth-Mars War of 2510, which was Earth’s greatest advantage and is widely agreed to be the reason for Earth’s victory. Since its introduction, construction of the older, sub-light Huntress class frigates has been discontinued and all future Huntress class vessels will be of the XL variant, while many older vessels may be upgraded for warp capability. The Huntress XL class is sometimes referred to as the “Olympian class”, after the first vessel of its kind, which belongs to the United Nations Jedi Order; however, the military prefers to call it the “Phoenix class”, after the U.N.S. Phoenix, flagship to Admiral Miranda Fairchild during the Earth-Mars War, which was the first pre-existing Huntress class frigate to be refitted with warp drive, having been badly damaged during the Battle of Jupiter on January 1, 2510. Nevertheless, neither of these names is official. Continuing the experimental legacy of the original Huntress class, the Huntress XL class was introduced to determine whether it was possible to modify an existing ship for warp capability. At the time, there was some discussion in the United Nations Defence Force’s central command as to whether or not it would be more economic to modify existing ships for warp flight rather than investing in the extensive research and development needed to build completely new classes of ship. Nevertheless, while the results were positive, any plans to upgrade other existing classes of warship have been indefinitely scrubbed in favour of new ship designs, which include the Shadowfax class destroyer, the Hypatia class light cruiser, the Excalibur class heavy cruiser, and the Minotaur class dreadnought. As a result of the Terran System’s unification following the Earth-Mars War, a much stronger economy has been established with a more plentiful supply of resources at its disposal, making the potential savings of modifying existing ships fairly negligible. However, the Huntress XL-class is considered a success and many more are planned; they serve as patrol ships, both in local space and the neighbouring star systems, often as escorts to the larger Invincible-class heavy cruisers.

Sharing the same dimensions as its predecessor, the Huntress XL class frigate is the smallest capital ship in the Union Fleet; from bow to stern, the Huntress XL measures 75.2 metres, and it has a wingspan of exactly 40 metres, making it smaller even than the Cornerian Federation’s Alacrity class frigate. Thanks to its small size, relatively low mass, and its powerful set of four turbo ion engines, the Huntress XL is currently the fastest type of capital ship in the Terran System, both in space, where it can exceed 5.9 percent light speed, and in atmosphere, where it can cruise at Mach 2 (in standard terrestrial conditions). An additional feature of this experimental class of ship is the incorporation of mass effect field generators to allow for maneuvering without the need for more primitive chemical rockets. This technology was adapted from the G-diffuser system of the AV-501 Starblazer, which was itself designed by reverse engineering two Cornerian Mark V Arwings; as a result, the Huntress XL class has superior maneuverability to its predecessor, both in space and atmosphere, and to other vessels that still rely on maneuvering thrusters. Thanks to the success of G-diffuser technology aboard the Huntress XL class, it is being incorporated into all future Terran starship classes and has been included in the refit of the Invincible-class. Naturally though, the most significant enhancement included in the Huntress XL class is its ability to travel at warp speed. This required the installation of a larger power plant, with a matter/antimatter reactor at its core, rather than the conventional fusion reactor, in order to supply power to the warp field, as well as the addition of warp field generators, which are visible on the aft section of the ship near to the main sub-light engines. The warp drive of the Huntress XL class was specifically calibrated to match the speed of the Invincible class, although advancements in warp field mechanics have allowed for a ship that is slightly faster, able to reach a top speed of 5.1kc for brief periods, and with an optimum speed closer to 4.2kc.

Where the Huntress class frigate was the first Earth-built ship to use particle beam weapons, kinetic barriers, and eventually the phase cannon, the Huntress XL class is also the test bed for new kinds of weapon, in this case the pulse cannon. The phase cannons of the old Huntress class have been replaced with 3 Type 1 pulse cannons (2 fore, 1 aft), which use the same principles of the phase cannon, but can deliver shots in short bursts rather than a contiguous beam; more energy is channelled into each burst, which means more energy is delivered to a target faster, making the weapon much more powerful against armoured hulls. However, the pulse cannon also has a beam setting, which is generally more accurate and may be more effective against more heavily shielded targets. Finally, the Huntress XL class retains its predecessor’s 2 forward-facing torpedo launchers, which can launch the usual variety of torpedoes, such as explosive ship-to-ship torpedoes, flak torpedoes to screen against enemy fighters and incoming missiles, and anti-materiel torpedoes intended for strikes against enemy armour groundside. However, because of the small size of the frigate, the amount of torpedoes that can be carried aboard is much more limited than on larger vessels; they tend to be used sparingly and a frigate will seldom carry more than one type, which is dependant on the nature of their mission. Where possible, frigate captains tend to prefer using the main guns.

Being such a small ship, the Huntress XL class usually has a small crew of about 24, though there is enough space aboard for up to 34 (and twice that amount if the crew “hot bunks”). The two crew quarters are tightly packed with bunks for up to 16 people, while the captain and executive officer have more private (and spacious) quarters. Nevertheless, on the occasion that a Huntress XL class ship is required to transport important officials, the executive officer or even the captain may be obliged to vacate their comfortable quarters and bunk with the crew. Needless to say, the Huntress XL-class frigate places utility ahead of luxury. The cargo hold is typically used for provisions and additional artillery if needed, and may be used to carry a small shuttle to transport goods and personnel on and off the ship in situations where the dorsal docking port cannot be used. Since the Huntress class can land on just about any planetary surface and dock with most larger ships or stations, there is little practical use for a shuttle to be permanently assigned to the frigate; however, ground-based rovers or infantry fighting vehicles may be useful.

The Huntress XL class frigate is, naturally, a variant of the Huntress-class frigate, which you can see here [link] and was created by Kompi and Katsuni for my comic, where it first appeared in issue #255 [link] and featured regularly since then; the XL variant first appeared in issue #795 [link] and featured prominently after that alongside its predecessor. This was fairly straightforward to do and only really required a bit of recolouring and altering the patterns on the wings to match the “war paint” style I’ve decided to adopt for Terran ships starting with the Minotaur-class, which you can see here [link] for yourself. I also altered the shape of the guns, since they’re meant to be a more advanced type of weapon than the original Huntress-class’s phase cannons. In this version, which I’m tempted to call “final”, I’ve added landing gear and a loading ramp that actually works (the cargo bay “doors” on previous versions were physically impossible to open), which also necessitated re-doing most of the cargo bay, but I think it looks way better now; I smoothed out most of the edges to get rid of unnecessary lines, the same way I’ve done on the Apollo, Minotaur, and Invincible models.
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:iconstardust-phantom:
Stardust-Phantom Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011   Digital Artist
This loks fantastic! Awesome work!
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:iconeonsquirrel:
EonSquirrel Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! *hugs* :)
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:iconstardust-phantom:
Stardust-Phantom Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011   Digital Artist
*hugs back*
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:iconeonsquirrel:
EonSquirrel Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*nuzzles* ^^
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:iconstardust-phantom:
Stardust-Phantom Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011   Digital Artist
:)
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:iconrachburns:
RachBurns Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Veery good. You do an excellent job on these ships of yours, I'm so jealous. :XD:
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:iconeonsquirrel:
EonSquirrel Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm really pleased with this one, not least because it has easily been the hardest to do...
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:iconrachburns:
RachBurns Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haahaha, yes. Yes the harder the piece is makes it all the more to enjoy afterward. It's awful like that, isn't it? XD
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:iconeonsquirrel:
EonSquirrel Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, really. This one was probably tougher than the others because A) I didn't design it and B) it has a much more organic shape than anything I would design.
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:iconrachburns:
RachBurns Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Who designed it? Looks very much nice, no matter who designed or what.
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:iconeonsquirrel:
EonSquirrel Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kompi and Katsuni designed it together. :3
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:iconrachburns:
RachBurns Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Did a great job with it, they did. @@ Granted I'm saying this and have no idea how much work was needed other than "a lot", but so neat stuff.
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:iconshadedpanda:
ShadedPanda Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
. . .

Your perspective work is incredible.. 'O' And it's soo clean... great job!!! :D How long did this take you?!
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:iconeonsquirrel:
EonSquirrel Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well... Let's see... I started work on it early in February and I'm kind of sort of thinking of it as finished now, so that's, what? Eight months?

Seriously, I've not been working on it the whole time though... Just tweaking it now and then to get from from this [link] to what I have now. Honestly though, this ship is probably a bad example, because it's easily the hardest one I've made... It has a much more organic shape than anything I'd design entirely by myself, so that presented a unique challenge. But I just liked it so much I had to persevere. ^^;

Anyways, thank you so much! I appreciate your comments. *hugs* :3
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:iconshadedpanda:
ShadedPanda Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem!! :D and I'm glad you perservered! It was definately worth it. :)
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:iconeonsquirrel:
EonSquirrel Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! ^^
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