Fleet Formation and Tactics
The Fugitive Fleet is a hodge podge of hundreds of ships of all designs, types and abilities. Though the Galactica and the other military vessels are capable of Hyper Speeds of around 10x Light Speed, the average Hyper Speed of the formation (Based on the slowest ships) is 3x Light Speed.
The minimum time between Hyper Speed Runs, during which ships recharge their Power Banks to a level able to activate the Hyper Speed drive, is 3.5 centars (3.5 hours) This is the amount of time for transports, small freighters and many liners. The warships can usually charge in about 50 centons.
The shortest Hyper Speed Run of any ship in the Fleet (the transports) is also about 3.5 centars (6,480,000,000 metrics) The longest run, mostly warships, is 10.5 centars (19,440,000,000 metrics)
The bulk of the Power Bank is drained when the ship initially goes into Hyper Speed. Eighty percent is used up in those first few moments, the remaining twenty percent is consumed sustaining the Hyper Speed.
This means that a ship that stays and fights, rather then running away, runs the risk of using too much energy from its Power Bank and being unable to get to Hyper Speed, or, if they made it, sustain it long enough to escape.
Because of these factors, the Fleet tends to make most Hyper Speed Runs in the void between systems where the odds of encountering an enemy are very slim. Approach to a system is slow and cautious.
A Viper is the smallest ship capable of Hyper Speed in the Colonial arsenal. Able to reach 10x Light Speed it can sustain Hyper Speed for 25 centons (45,000,000 metrics) The Power Bank reserve pemits a second run of 25 centons almost immediately (10 centon recharge) permitting the Viper to appear, strike and retreat with great speed.
Fleet formation, both at sub-light and Hyper Speeds, is very, very critical. Each ship has an assigned position and deviation at any speed, risks collisions and chaos.
The basic form of the Fleet is that of an elongated oval with a hollow core running the length. The point ship, at the center of the core and in the lead, is Galactica. The last ship in the formation, also aligned along the center of the core, is the heavy cruiser Prometheus Aegis. The hollow core, which is about 16,000 metrics in diameter (10,000 miles) extends the length of the Fleet formation. The purpose of the core is to allow Galactica and Prometheus to pass from front to back and reverse, as quickly as possible. It also provides a rapid deployment and regrouping path for Vipers responding to an attack, a killing area for enemy fighters that penetrate the formation and a safe area for shuttles to navigate with minimal fear of being run down by large ships.
The other ships are forbidden entry into the Core except in the event of an emergency. (When the Tanker Alecto began loosing speed, it moved into the Core, out of formation, until Prometheus caught up and took it into tow.)
The Destroyers and Assault Ships are spaced around the outer edge of the formation, positioned to quickly run interference between the bulk of the Fleet and an attacker. An outer cloud of Viper patrols, Over Watch, encircles and paces the Fleet at a distance of about 2,000,000 metrics (Active Sensor range for the warships.) The Viper’s sensors reach an additional 1,600,000 metrics.
Beyond this squadron are the distant Sentry ships. Four pairs of Vipers, staggered in spacing, placed in front of, behind and parallel to the Fleet, they range from 5,000,000 to 8,000,000 metrics beyond the Over Watch. Running only Passive sensors and linked to the Fleet by secured Neutrino communicators, they are the Early Warning System of the Fleet.
Most of the time, when the Fleet is at sub-light speeds it is coasting. Conserving fuel and recharging the Power Banks. As it approaches a system the ships will activate their thrusters, still coordinating speed and position, so as to be better prepared to scatter and run if the situation warrants. During periods running at probe speed the Electronic Warfare Ship Celestra uses its Field Damping equipment to reduce or eliminate the electromagnetic signature of the Fleet.
In the event of a major attack, where the survival of the Fleet is in question, the Commander may order the Fleet to scatter. The recovery coordinates are updated regularly, establishing locations for the civilian vessels to meet the military ships to reform the Fleet.
In the event of an attack on the Fleet, Galactica Control will scramble Vipers and bring the warships forward to meet the attack. All civilian ships, the Auxiliaries, go to combat status, powering up weapons and readying the torpedoes. As the enemy fighters approach the ships closest to the attack will begin launching torpedoes and engaging with lasers. The Vipers will advance, destroying targets and passing through the attackers to race towards the enemy base ships.
If the enemy attack passes the outer barrier of torpedoes and lasers the ships of the inner ring begin firing. If the enemy penetrates into the Core all surrounding vessels will add to the defensive fire. The Viper Reserve will engage the surviving enemy fighters then move to reinforce the attack against the Base ships or return to Reserve status as required.