The Alpharite Class Frigates (or A Class as they are alternatively known as) are a class of Multi-Purpose Frigates in service with the Highlandic Navy. With design work dating back to 3570, the frigate was the first such naval project to be undertaken by the Highlandic Federation, and was the first ship to be designed with full integration of both Kinsekian and Republican naval technologies.
The A Class were designed invariably to perform a variety of tasks within the littoral combat zone, firmly establishing the Highlandic Navy as a green water power. The class was also designed to achieve economies of scale, with a near abundant budget 25 were ordered to complete a variety of tasks, (training, naval defence, patrolling, coast guard etc) and to replace the earlier Republican and Kinsekian class frigates, corvettes and patrol vessels which lacked any effective combat capability. Initially designed to be the forefront warships of the Highlandic Navy, the A class has since been rendered outdated from the current technologies of other nations, and currently retians operations within the Home Fleet along the coastline.
Previously in operation of 25 ships, the Alpharite class became the primary combat ships of the Highlandic Navy. Today they are the only combat ships still remaining in service, with only a several serving within the Highlandic Navy - their primary role is that of coastal defence, they remain extremely versitile, efficient and capable vessels. Being constantly maintained and upgraded with evolving threats and mission objectives.
After the 3566 treaty of bradley a proposal was put forwards to the ministries of defence for the Republic of White Highlands and the Union Of Kinsek respectively, for the requirement in the future to collaborate in developing a new class of ship aimed at technological integration. The Highlandic Naval review in 3568 also pescrbied naval power across the federation, "futile".
By 3569 the Naval Alliance Consortium was constructed around defence companies based around the Highlandic Trading Bloc. Led by smaller businesses and the defence corporations of TRAXUS Industries. Work on technology integration was initiated early on, with a formal request for a frigate with littoral combat capabilities officially announced in the February of 3570. The new frigate was aimed to replace a vast flotilla of near ineffective vessels across the Kinsekian and Republican navies, which had a armada of near useless patrol boats, fast attack vessels and coastal patrol ships. A near universal frigate had been designed in early 3575. With the Highlandic Federation passing a act (with the support of national governments) to initiate construction of the vessel.
The various components of the ship were designed from scratch to achieve commonality between Republican and Kinsekian components. All ships were assembled and constructed at the Northop Shipbuilding facilities within the Republic, which had at the moment recently undergone a massive expansion to construct more vessels.
General Characteristics and Machinery
The Ships of the Alpharite Class have a total length of 415ft, with a length of 380ft at the waterline. They displace approximately 2,900 tons at standard and around 3,400 tons at full load. The class is said to have a extremely tight tunr radius, of which the exact numbers remain classified. The Class also has a relatively high number of automation, with a minumum operating capacity of 90 - although the usual complement is approximatley 112.
Rather then being constructed in particular modules, the hull of the ship was constructed a a singular reinforced hull, which also consists of various watertight sealents on the inside of the hull. A primary focus of the vessel was to increase the level of modular components, particularly in the aspect of weaponry, components and the interior.
Originally, the Alpharite Class was deisgned with Zerbst 17000hp gas turbine propulsion system. This was powered by a variety of gas and diesel with the two operating shafts working independently from each other. Each shaft was also designed with invariable pitch propellers for greater efficiency through the water. This was able to ensure the ship travelled at around 33 knots.
These ships were optimised for a variety of combat roles. The primary anti-air system relies on the 12 x TRAXUS Sea Wolf missiles, which individually have capabilities to attack ground as well as air targets with exceptional efficientcy. The Point defence from cruise missiles, as well as other aerial projectiles is provided by the A-17 Defence missile system, which has commonality amongst most vessels. The Ships are also equipped with sea dart anti-ship missiles, fired from a harpoon launcher.
Defence against submarines relies on two torpedo launchers capable of firing Kinsekia S-1 torpedoes. Guns on the ships vary in caliber and size, though the main cannon consists of a 76mm Kinsekian gun, there are also 4 - 6 10mm Merkava close support guns situated at various points throughout the ship. Nearly all ships are fitted with a flight deck, which norally has the capability to operate a medium sized helicopter, though some have been known to sucessfully operate two helicopters. Helicopters provide AEWCS and anti-submarine support, as well as providing transport for naval kommandoes and delivering aid/cargo.
Sensors and Countermeasures
The Role of the Alpharite class in recent years has changed from frontline duty, to generic operations within the littoral combat zone. Therefore sensors, radar equipment and communications have been specifically redesigned and adapted to work with facilities on the ground, as part of a network of coastal defence and operational units. A large majority of the sensors on board the ship have been designed to detect aircraft and smaller naval formations, most radar has horizon to surface search capability - and are able to track numerous targets at shorter to medium ranges. When boosted by longer ranged Smart-H radar from more advanced ships the radar can coordinate to achieve stealth detection capability within a medium ranged radius.
As well as achieving common design over 25 vessels. In 3587 the Highlandic Quaternary Service requisitioned 5 ships of the class to achieve a Alpharite B-Batch, or as they are commonly referred to, the AB Class. Though not much was done in regards to the design of the hull, weapons or sensoring systems. Significant improvements were made to the propulsion system, and rather than being powered by gas or diesel turbines - was redesigned to incorporate dual hydrogen cells to power the ship. Complete with an electrolysis station on board, the ships are powered with an alternative and yet renewable source, and need not refuell. This does little to change combat speed or anything for that matter. Today these vessles are the last of the Alpharite Class to remain in service, they entered service with the hydrgoen cells in 3630 and have since served the Highlandic Navy without ever having to actively refuel.
The Alpharite Class was initially named the A class, simply referring to how it's the maiden class of ship to be designed and produced from within the Highlandic Federation. The name Alpharite reflects that partially, although Apharis was a ancient goddess, said to live within the White Highlands region according to Mordian literature. The Alpharite class therefore dervie a majority of their names from ancient mythical gods, quite often with their names beginning with A.
Since 3580 all 25 ships have served in a variety of operations. Organised into squadrons of six/seven and centered around a supply ship. Nearly all vessels have at least once taken part in Operation Kebirius, the ongoing anti-piracy and patrol mission currently underway throughout the Centurai Ocean. In 3587 it was announced that the Highlandic Quaternary Service would requisition 5 vessels of the Alpharite class for modification and testing on Hydrogen Propulsion systems. Since 3589 all active Alpharite vessels have been requisitioned and have since fully replaced Green Water operations, currently operating along the coastline of the Highlandic Federation for coastal defence and fishery protection.The Alpharite Class currently has only four ships in active service, with a fifth remaining in reserve and on standby. All of these vessels have been fully upgraded through the Alpharite B-Batch programme, therefore they need not refuell and can if necessary provide power to other vessels. All current ships serve as primary command and control centeres during patrol missions and manage the collective coastal defence of the Highlandic Federation.