Tou Redir class Zentraedi reconnaissance frigate
While Zentraedi ships have been assigned Terran naval/space type designators, it must be stressed that their size and armaments placed them in a class of their own, matched only by contemporary Tirolian and modern Terran construction of like designations. As such, their designations must be viewed as indicators of intent and use rather than absolute strength.
In addition, the proper translation of the Zentraedi vessel designations into English was never completely agreed upon; for instance, some texts call the Tou Redir reconnaissance sloop a 'tactical scout' or 'picket ship'. Some alien races classified these ships as 'battlecruisers' as they were roughly comparable in firepower to their own ships, but the Tou Redir was not a capital ship in Zentraedi or Tirolian (or, by extension, Terran) eyes.
These ships were built at numerous locations throughout the Robotech Mercantile Empire and entered service from 1243 through 2010 in at least seven consecutive versions, with older ships upgraded to the latest standard as they came in for refits. An exact number of constructed units cannot be given due to the loss of records in the Invid invasion of Tirol and the destruction of the final remnants of the Tirolian fleet over Earth. However, an estimated guess puts their number at 5,100,000 units.
Of this number, approx. 350,000 were destroyed or scrapped due to advanced age prior to 2010. The Ci'Vonian defection (1519) included approx. 250,000 Tou Redir sloops of which 225,000 were confirmed as destroyed during subsequent offensives and skirmishes. The fate of the remaining vessels is unknown. The Imperial Fleet contained approx. 500,000 Tou Redir-class vessels all sharing in the "infection" of that fleet. Of the remaining Tirolian controlled ships 3,440,000 were part of the Grand Fleet (of which they made up 80% of the total number). After the Zentraedi Holocaust, an estimated 670,000 Tou Redir ships remained intact or salvageable in the Zentraedi fleets and a 58 in the RDF Zentraedi fleet. Most of these latter were decommissioned due to protoculture depletion.
Note: only the types carried by the last three versions are mentioned. All older versions of the Tou Redir were refitted with these systems.
The Tou Redir is the smallest of all Zentraedi vessels, but by far the most numerous. This is a direct consequence of the vastness of even interplanetary space, in which it is relatively simple even for large ships to hide from active or passive sensor arrays. The Tou Redir is the recon vessel of the Zentraedi fleets, and carries a more extensive EM sensor suite than most larger vessels, for both active and passive sensor sweeps. The usual position for these ships was on the perimeter of a Zentraedi flotilla or combat action, extending the sensor coverage of the Zentraedi battlegroup into as much volume of space as possible. This task required numbers in addition to good sensors, and so the Tou Redir was designed to be small and cheap to produce and use.
The design of the Tou Redir features a main hull with four decks in the 'upper' part of the ship. These four decks are the main living spaces for the crew. Aft in the upper main hull are two blisters which contain the main reaction engines, and a great number of the attitude thrusters. Five secondary thrusters are spread over the upper hull and the upper side sponsons. The forward part of the sponsons contain the two largest EM sensor arrays. In the back of the ship, between the two upper thrusters, is the large access door to the Quel Quallie hangar. This hangar projects for 25% of the ship's length into the hull proper, a requirement to store the large auxiliary scout. Tou Redir ships constructed before the Quel Quallie was designed had probe launch facilities and an additional shuttle hangar in this location, but all Tou Redir ships were converted to the later standard.
Forward and under the main hangar is a third main EM sensor array. Further forward still one finds the fighter launch and recovery bays. Two forward facing secondary thrusters are mounted to the sides and below of the main hangar, and it is not advisable to launch fighters when these thrusters are firing. An additional forward thruster is located under the main hull, forward of the fighter hangar. Aft of the lower sensor bay is the pod for the lower main engine.
Because of the numerical requirements and limited size, and because of the expected operational profiles, the Tou Redir carried a strictly limited armament. There are no large anti-ship cannons, and the medium particle beam battery is puny compared to other Zentraedi ships. The heaviest weapons on board are torpedo's, launched by ten standard Zentraedi torpedo tubes mounted in the nose of the ship. Only the self-defense missile launchers have a satisfactory density. The Tou Redir does not carry troops as these are not required for its standard taskings, and only 50 fighters are carried for defensive purposes. However, the armament suffices the Tou Redir for its intended purpose.
The first Tou Redir was launched in 1243 as the first purpose-built scout for the fast growing Zentraedi fleets. As stated above, it was intended to be a cheap, mass-produced class with excellent sensor performance for service on the fringes of battles and capital ship formations, extending sensor coverage to find the enemy and thus bring him to battle, or preclude surprise attacks. At the time, an initial production run of 50,000 ships was envisaged. However, the expanding Empire and later the losses due to the Ci'Vonian disaster and the following battles with the Disciples of Zor, as well as the requirement to cover planets from Invid depravations caused an enormous increase in the number of vessels authorized and built.
As time went on, improved sensor arrays were fielded, and rather than design and commission a new class the Tou Redir design was upgraded with the new technology, which was then also retrofitted into the already extant vessels. The fact that even after seven and a half centuries the Tou Redir was still in mass-production speaks volumes about the soundness and adaptability of the original design.
The largest adaptation was the provision for a hangar that could house one Quel Quallie armed recon and assault craft, a small ship a fifth the length of the Tou Redir. This immensely expanded the scope of possible taskings for the Tou Redir; apart from its designed task as a sensor picket ship, the Tou Redir could now also function as a forward scout and small raider. With the Quel Quallie landed, the large hangar could be used to house mecha strike teams, intelligence specialist teams, or, most commonly, high value low-volume cargo for transport to or from larger Zentraedi ships.
The Tou Redir was never intended for battleline duties; the ship was designed to remain out of the line of fire of larger ships. As time progressed, however, the Tou Redir did find itself in a number of combat taskings. The Disciples of Zor used their captured Tou Redir class ships as commerce raiders, in which profession they had great success at first. The Tou Redirs could generally spot any enemy force capable of defeating it before the ship got too close to make its escape. Likewise, commercial ships stood little chance of escaping the sensitive eyes and ears of the sensor arrays. Also, the relative small size, high speed, common profile and (for micronians) sizable internal space made it a near perfect planetary raider, delivering a sizeable number of troops on lightly defended outposts and bases. The Tirolian forces used their Tou Redirs to guard their merchant convoys from the Disciples of Zor; they would generally spot enemy ships while still far enough away to make an escape. This lead to numerous battles between Tou Redirs of the belligerent forces. After Breetai had taken the main offensive Zentraedi fleet to Earth and subsequently became infected with its culture, Dolza had insufficient capital ships left to ensure his destruction. To stave off another Ci'Va catastrophe, he mustered most of the still fold capable Tou Redirs and assigned them to his Grand Fleet, boosting its numbers in order to overwhelm the Imperial fleet with quantitative superiority.
After the Zentraedi Holocaust an estimated 550,000 Tou Redirs remained in the service of the Robotech Masters, either incapable of spacefold or as guardships over strategic targets. However, most of these ships fell prey to protoculture depletion within a few years at the most after the Zentraedi Holocaust destroyed the majority of the class. A total of 70 surviving and captured Tou Redirs were part of the Combined human-Zentraedi fleet immediately after the Holocaust, but these too lost power within the next few years and were stored in solar orbit, to be wrecked by the Invid over two decades later.
See additional design notes.
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Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.Content by Pieter Thomassen
Copyright © 2004, 1998 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter