Operators: TOG Navy, Naram Republic, Free Naram
Mass: 966,620 tons
Cost: 5,883,678,300 talents
Right Engine Rating (25,000)
Center Engine Rating (25,000)
Left Engine Rating (25,000)
B Spinal Mount (F)
25 37.5/20 (F)
25 37.5/20 (L)
25 37.5/20 (R)
25 37.5/20 (A)
50 15/30 (L)
50 15/30 (L)
50 15/30 (R)
50 15/30 (R)
Fighters: 48 at 300 tons (Two Flights)
Small Craft: 4 at 1,000 tons
Cargo: 5,000 tons
The Bantha was originally built in the Naram Republic prior to annexation by TOG in 6726. An older design, the Bantha was initially underpowered and under-armed. TOG designers spent the better part of a year rebuilding the engine compartments and weapons bays of two Banthas submitted for testing. The result was a craft more in line with standard TOG tactics.
Though the design retained the overall flexibility of the original, key changes made the frigate a more potent machine. The spinal mount was upgraded to a Type B. The laser bays were decreased in size but increased in firepower, with the addition of higher quality weapons. The craft's original speed was retained, with the center engine upgraded. The Bantha is named after a relentless Naram predator as a TOG gesture of goodwill toward the newest members of the empire.
When preliminary testing was completed, the newly redesigned frigate was crewed almost exclusively by Narams. Not long after, a mutiny occurred aboard the Reborn, a Bantha Class ship, in which rebel elements of the new crew overwhelmed loyal TOG officers and threw them out the airlocks. The ship then attempted to flee to Commonwealth-controlled space. In several weeks of running battles, the Reborn was finally destroyed when it refused to yield to the 6071st TOG Battleship Squadron patrolling the Commonwealth border.
Despite these early ill omens, the Bantha class has gone on to serve successfully with the TOG Navy. TOGSOG (Terran Overlord Government Strategy and Operations Group) considers the ship a cost-effective means of delivering two flights of fighters into a conflict, and shipyards produce Banthas in nearly all parts of the realm. The simple Naram design also makes the Bantha an easy ship for regional shipyards to construct, spreading the use of the class even further.
The ship has no real weak areas; except for the lack of a missile system. It suffers from a lower flicker shield rate in the left and right aft sections of the ship, but this is a common problem for all frigates.
The Bantha can perform a variety of duties well. Its overall mix of weapons, fighters, and speed provides it with excellent tactical flexibility. The main weapon system is the Type B spinal mount, which has twice the range of a Type A and a heavier projectile. Supplementing the spinal mount are the 25-gun 37.5/20 laser bays mounted fore, aft, and along the sides of the ship. They provide all-around firepower that allows the Bantha to operate independently. The primary advantage to the 37.5/20 lasers is their increased range. Able to strike at opponents to a range of 1,500 kilometers, the guns of the Bantha are normally blazing away as the ship maneuvers. Also along the broadsides are twin bays of 50-gun 15/30 lasers. Though these weapons lack the long range of the larger 37.5s, they are more potent at a shorter range, providing the Bantha with increased firepower as far away as 450 kilometers.
The original Naram design contained a Class B missile system, but it was eliminated to make room for the larger 15/30 laser bays mounted on the sides. After test runs, commanders reported that the modification was efficient. The lack of a missile system occasionally limits the Bantha's deployment.
The Bantha carries two full flights of fighters and sufficient missile reloads to arm both flights for three sorties. Fighter flights are normally a mixed lot, with greater numbers of medium fighters, such as the Spiculum and the Pilum. Standard equipment for a Bantha usually contains a full flight of Pilums, two squadrons of Spiculums, a squadron of Arcuses, and a squadron of Arcubalistas. Four small craft assist with normal fighter operations, rescuing disabled fighters and serving as transport shuttles when the Bantha is docked. Unlike many small craft, these ships do not normally engage in boarding actions.
The Bantha is often called upon to act as an official escort, ferrying important TOG officials or dignitaries to distant systems. The larger number of cabins also allows the most important politicos to travel with their normal entourage.
Banthas now serve in increasing numbers among TOG units fighting the Commonwealth. Constructed in numerous star systems, these craft usually arrive in the Commonwealth as replacements for losses suffered in the bitter fighting all along the front. Banthas are especially numerous in Shannedam County, where they serve with two battleship groups.