"It's the most ridiculously over-armed thing I've ever seen!" -- A random fleet admiral.
About this creation
Commissioned as of 2279, Q44 Quarks are a new and baffling way to make your enemies flee in terror. The amount of stuff that has been mounted onto this tiny frame is just ridiculous!
Armaments: 2x Medium-Light Pulse Lasers, 4x Light Plasma Missiles, 1x Medium-Light Railgun (spinal-mounted)
Shields: 250MJ Electromagnetic
Armour/hull: 3-inch titanium-aluminium honeycomb plating, 5mm thermal ceramic coating
Propulsion: 400KN Fusion Thermal Ion Rocket (FTIR) with magnetic thrust vectoring
Other: Short/long range sensors, Jump drive (not a warp drive)
In all technicality, the Quark is just a light fighter; it is about 9 metres long and none of its weapons rate above Medium. However, the amount and variety of weapons is what makes the Quark scary, classifying it as a multi-role ship.
The lasers are typical fighter weapons, as are the plasma missiles, but the spinal railgun is far from typical for a ship of this size. Medium-Light railguns are normally found on heavy fighters, gunships, and prowlers (a cross-breed between heavy fighters and gunships). The mounting of such a weapon on the Quark is a terrifying prospect for enemy capital ships.
Quarks aren't quite as well protected as other recent fighters though, being equipped only with Electromagnetic Shields as opposed to Particle Shields; this allows for laser weapons to hit the ship itself without impediment. However, it's a necessary sacrifice in order to maintain the weapons, and it's not bad; EM Shields are still reliable, dependable methods of protection on every ship ever built (they also protect from solar and cosmic background radiation).
FTIR's are interesting engines. Typically, high-thrust ion engines (HTIE's) have been used on ships for propulsion, but the power demands are extremely high, hence the inclusion of nuclear fusion reactors on most ships. FTIR's are different in that the hydrogen fuel is passed through a super-heating chamber that utilises heat from the reactor. This now superheated and ionised gas is electromagnetically accelerated out to an expansion nozzle, where the heat will cause the plasma to expand hugely. The combination of expansion and linear acceleration is what provides thrust in a highly fuel-efficient manner.
The magnetic thrust vectoring for the FTIR is achieved by means of eight electromagnets surrounding the expansion nozzle that can alter their field strengths; in doing so, the plasma exhaust is attracted in the direction of the strongest field, shifting the centre of thrust out of alignment with the centre of mass of the ship and allowing the ship to turn. Of course, the Quark also carries RCS thrusters just behind the cockpit.
Quarks do not have the ability to go to warp speed, though. They are, however, equipped with short-range jump drives that allow a maximum of 1xC (C is the speed of light) for about an hour. As such, they are strictly carrier or station-based.
The wings aren't there for manoeuvrability, but to shift the centre of mass closer to the engine nozzle as well as house fuel and systems such as targeting sensors for the missiles.
Comfortably seats one pilot.
"You know, we could have had a dozen fighters for what it cost to build this thing!" -- Another random fleet admiral.
Hold on, let me just check... MOTHER OF-- This is my first post since January 27 last year. What. WHAT.
Actually, it will probably happen again after I'm through with posting this one; I haven't had a lot of motivation on this front lately, but I did feel like making something, sooo... yeah. Something was made. What you make of it is entirely debatable, but I'll leave that up to you guys to decide. Enjoy!