Saturn Syndicate Ascendancy
Warp Dynamics (Naval) WDN-113 Strix Frigate
During the the early engagements following the succession of the SSA, it became apparent that the SSA fleet was lacking in medium-range weaponry, particularly for anti-shield operations. The HAM-119 Spider Wasp was originally intended to fulfill that role: indeed, it functioned well at both long or close range with its particle pellet guns. But it could not do both at once. It was usually only deployed in sufficent numbers to do one job or the other and tended to be used in the longer-range role. The WDN-113 Strix Frigate was hastily designed to fill the gap. Plagued by problems in the deisgn stage due to a little too much haste and too many shortcuts, while the initial design prototype was built in only twenty months, it was nearly a year later before the Strix’s problems were finally solved. In the end, nearly all the short-cuts used in the design were scrapped and had to be redesigned properly. The need to the Strix to be put into the field meant that a considerable amount of additional money had to be spent, making it in the end one of the proprotionally expensive to develop vessels the SSA has ever designed. Once finally in the field, however, the Strix has so far appeared to have escaped the shadow of its problematic origins.
The Strix’s armament centres around two heavy ultrabeams either side of the main hull. While the arc of fire is necessarily limited, unlike a hyper-ray blister, the ultrabeam’s longer firing time allows considerably more energy to be imparted to the enemy craft. In addition, as the Strix has the standard manouverability and speed of all SSA lighter craft, it has little problem getting a target in its sights.
The power requirements of the ultrabeams preclude any other primary weapons: aside from the size and mass of the weapons itself, the Strix has to have a proportionally larger power-core, leaving less room for ancillary systems. The larger power core does give the Strix one advantage: while the excess power is not sufficient to power any anti-starship weapons, it is more than enough to support several light hyper-ray blisters for point-defence. The hyper-ray blisters also require slightly less space (due to the lack of ammunition) than the SSA’s more typical particle pellet point defences. With space being at a premium due to the power core and ultrabeams, the Strix is not as comfortable as many of the other vessels in the SSA fleet and even that marginal saving of space was important.