The L-class (known in Prevania as the I class) is an airship that was designed in 1964 and entered production in 1971. it is a designated Air-Destroyer, so is equipped for the defence of other airships from aircraft , with a very small internal payload for attacking ground targets. It was originally intended to escort the lightly armed Comrade-class Aero-Ordinance-Cruiser, yet now sees roles as an air defence platform and as an escort in air flotillas.
It is not often used in combat, due to the fully defensive qualities of a Consul-class airship, but still has been unsed in operation where none have ever been shot down and only 1 has been critically damaged.
The L-class AirDestroyer is a small, quick airship 240m long and 40m in diameter. It is a rigid airship, made with an internal skeleton of aluminium alloy with a coating of plastic film to stop corrosion. The entire thing is lightened to allow for very high speed and for specialist anti-air systems.
This skeleton holds a light skin of 25mm of self-healing foam underneath a 5mm layer of nylon. While unable to protect from the internal damage of small-arm fire, it does not lose much in the way of lift if strafed by a heavy machine-gun since the holes seal themselves as the projectiles fly through.
Internally, the airship is divided into three by a firewall of 5mm kevlar, the only armour the airship gasbag holds, to lessen the spread of catastrophic destruciton in the case of a fuel-air bomb and to keep hte airship rigid if an entire section is destroyed. This is all radiated from a central beam of aluminium re-enforced with carbon fibre, that acts the internal conduit and the backbone of the gasbag. The internal spaces are divided into 125 m^3 cells by 2mm aluminized mylar with a backing of 4mm latex to allow for moderate flexibility inside the cell.
The airship houses a pair of gondolas for propulsion and control. The control gondola is a small structure set at the front of the airship, made from CRP with internal enforcement of aluminium wire to allow for ultra-light bulletproof/shockproof armour. It is divided into 5 sections: a control room, a crew area, a galley, a toilet area and the stowage area. The control room is almost entirely made from triple-layered military-grade polycarbonate, with the crew able to see in a field of up to 110 degrees in either direction. This polycarbonate is impregnated with photochromic agents to protect the crew from extremely bright light and is polarised to reduce glare on the crew.
The crew area takes up the 3 quarter of the gondola, and consists of 3-level bunks, a set of lockers, a communal dining bench and (optional) a television screen for viewing on those long voyages. The left of side of the crew area is taken up by the table and the galley, which holds a refrigerator, a pair of microwave ovens, a boiler and a sink. It also 5 large lockers for carrying the food for the voyage. Behind, the stowage area has a tiny toilet unit with a sink for washing and shaving, as well as many floor hooks and locker units for storing equipment, weapons, ammunition and supplies. This area takes up a quarter of the gondola, and is a vital area for the engineering staff who pick up their emergancy repair kit as they pass into the envelope itself through the roof.
The engine gondola is made in a similar style to the control gondola, from wire ren-enforced CRP. However, this unit holds the lifting-gas reservoirs as well as the fuel for the engines, mounted on small wings either side of the gondola. This gondola is filled with tanks, in which is stored under high pressure the fuel and gas.
The missile gondola is used on the L-class instead of an internal bay. It is a structure similar in size to the other two gondolas, with the entirity of its sides covered in small ejectable panels. These conceal the internal racks of modified SAMs, which are pointed facing outward either side. The gondola is unarmoured, since the system of firing missiles makes armour pointless, and SO is made from plain CRP.
The main armament is the missile gondola of the airship, which guides missiles to their targets via the SkyScape airborne object tracker that uses RADAR, infared cameras and countermeasure detectors to plot a 3D map of the sky, and to designate using IFF systems between friend and foe. It can then scroll thorugh its weapon arsenal and reccomend to the missile system controller the weapons for use against the hostiles. It can track up to 30 hostile targets similtaneously, with any additional targets being prioritised for inclusion later
The airship also carries a 20mm autocannon on the engine gondola, controlled by the SkyScape system with a manual override. This is used both to take out enemy aircraft and to shoot down incoming missiles, and is an integral part of the defence system. It is fed by a large drum, with a capacity of 600 rounds.
The airship uses 6x PA HAFh 94 turbofans for propulsion, each generating 305 kN of thrust.
Turning of the airship is done via the use of a large CRP tail on the rear of the airship, that provides adequate turning power with a very low weight.
The airship is lifted by helium and hydrogen mixed 3:2, giving a lift of about 1.3kg per square metre. This is fed via a system of pipes about 8mm in diameter, made from lightweight plastic, linked to an internal spine network of 40mm artery pipes, which can control large groups of cells: the pitch cells, the roll cells and the other cells (very technical). Gas is released under its pressure into the system to increase lift, and compressed again via a large pump when removed form the system.
The tanks for the fuel have a capacity of 220 m^3 at RTP and the tanks for lifting gas have a capacity of 200 m^3 at RTP, and at an operating pressure of 80 bar can carry 17600 m^3 and 16000 m^3 of gas repsectivly.
Countermeasures, Defence and Damage Control
The entire airship is protected under an electronic warfare, the transmitters for which are found on the engine gondola, above the autocannon. This system includes a RADAR jammer, a radio jammer, an infared dazzling system, an active cancellation system and ECCM systems on the communications channels. These systems can all of course be switched off when firing missiles and when there is the threat of a radiation-seeking missile.
More physically, it has 5 Hailstorm missile defence launchers mounted along its length, that use explosive charge and bits of shrapnel to destroy missiles, as well as the standard flare, chaff and decoy launchers across the entire envelope, that as well as defending against inbound projectiles can put on a brilliant fireworks display.
In case of an impact, the five onboard engineers can be called out to put in place quick repairs to the system to allow it to survive a battle. Tools of the trade include fire extinguishers to suppliment the gondola-based fire supression systems (using water with added extras), cell patching guns, cable launchers for securing parts of the structure together and the trustworthy Swiss Pen Knife.
To escape in the event of irrepairable critical damage, the crew are provided with parachutes to jump to safety, with the option of taking survival equipment in locked parachests kept inside the stowage area.
Volume: 284 837 m^3
Empty Mass: 140 tonnes
Volume: 540 m^3
Empty mass: 12 tonnes
Volume: 450 m^3
Empty mass: 16 tonnes
Volume: 480 m^3
Empty mass: 7 tonnes
Lifting Power: 365 tonnes
Normal Payload: 130 tonnes
Maximum payload: 185 tonnes
Cruising speed: 80 km/h
Maximum speed: 110 km/h
Normal range: 1200km
Maximum range: 4000km
Operational ceiling: 2000m
- Weapons system controller
- Defence system controller
- Navigations and communications controller
- 3 engineers
Cost: $140 000 000
Tax Band: C