Thuverl Dalem class Zentraedi Cruiser
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 Thuverl Dalem-class cruiser a 'frigate' or 'light general purpose warship'.
These ships were built at numerous locations throughout the Robotech Mercantile Empire and entered service from 1363 through 1565 in three major versions. All older ships were upgraded to the newer version as they came in for refits, and the final configuration only is described here. The number of constructed units is 116,588.
Of this number, approx. 60,300 were destroyed or scrapped prior to 2010. The Ci'Vonian defection (1519) included 43,119 Thuverl Dalem ships of which approx. 41,990 were confirmed as destroyed (this number includes units with action damaged assessed to be so heavy to become probable total losses) during subsequent offensives and skirmishes. The fate of the remaining vessels is unknown. Of the remaining Tirolian controlled ships approx. 6,650 were part of the Grand Fleet. No ships of this class were part of the Imperial Class Fleet. After the Zentraedi Holocaust, an estimated 6,000 Thuverl Dalem-class ships remained intact or salvageable in the Zentraedi fleet and left Earthspace. Most of these failed or were decommissioned due to protoculture depletion prior to 2020.
(Note: only the types carried by the last version are mentioned. All older versions of the Thuverl Dalem were refitted with these systems).
The Thuverl Dalem was the most common Zentraedi warship prior to the Ci'Va disaster. Shortly after the defections, the class was replaced in the yards with the Thuverl Salan class.
The central hull of the Thuverl Salan and the Thuverl Dalem had the same basic shape, although the Thuverl Dalem-class did not have the raft-mounted forward sensor platform of the Thuverl Salan or its transom stern. The superstructure mounted the main armament, in this case a heavy, variable-frequency pulse laser cannon. The engines were not in the small side blisters completely, but also extended to within the hull proper. The ventral and side attitude thrusters were significantly larger that on other Zentraedi ships, but this added control did not contribute significantly to the ship's superiority over enemy vessels and the feature was deleted from subsequent classes and sub- versions of older designs. The troop release hatch was mounted in the ventral hull, forward of the large attitude thrusters.
The armament included the standard Zentraedi weapons, although in the case of the Thuverl Dalem-class the heavy anti-ship cannon was not a large particle beam but an older laser design. It was mounted in the superstructure and fired in the forward dorsal plane. The rest of the armament was typical for Zentraedi vessels, with multiple medium cannon batteries, large offensive torpedo launchers and an extensive defensive missile suite. The old design age of the ship made her inefficient in the use of her internal spaces, and the torpedo racks had only 75% of the capacity of larger Zentraedi designs.
As with most Zentraedi ships, the Thuverl Dalem also carried a sizeable troop contingent for mecha defence and planetary raids. The troop numbers were not really large enough to make much difference in an invasion, however.
Internally, there were six deck levels, with the lowermost deck level dedicated to the troop mecha hangars and the air group launch and maintenance bays. The command deck, in marked contrast with other Zentraedi ship designs, was mounted in the superstructure. The deck levels between those carried the ships' equipment, crew quarters and installations. The aft-mounted engines were decidedly inferior in power and fuel efficiency when compared to newer designs as installed in newer ships or retrofitted into older ships such as the earlier versions of the Tou Redir. Although this could have been rectified during the regular refits it was never carried out, as the expense was not considered to be worthwhile.
The Thuverl Dalem was the predecessor of the famous Thuverl Salan cruiser design, and the class filled many of the functions of that large class before the latter were constructed. As such, the class was the mainstay of the Zentraedi fleets prior to and immediately following the Ci'Va disaster. As the most voluminous exploration effort mounted by the Tirolians took place before this event, the Thuverl Dalem was for many races the first Zentraedi ship type encountered. The Thuverl Dalem was based on an older, Tirolian sized cruiser design known as the Thuverl Rilstaedir (the last of which retired from service approximately seven centuries ago), but was of necessity much larger as the full-sized Zentraedi required far more internal space than was available in the older design.
As a reliable, relatively cheap combat vessel design the Thuverl Dalem was a success, and for almost two centuries the class was in continued series production. The Thuverl Dalem-class was one of the first designs to incorporate a reasonably sized troop contingent in her standard complement, a development carried much farther by successive designs. During this time, the intensity of the conflicts fought by the Thuverl Dalem was low enough that the classes' weak, by modern standards, weapons array, sufficed. However, as time went on the class was more and more outmatched by later designs.
The final straw in this process was the Ci'Va defection disaster. Many of the defecting ships were Thuverl Dalem cruisers, and thus a complete match for the first-line combat vessels of the Tirolian Mercantile Empire, which very often were Thuverl Dalem vessels as well. Shortly afterwards, the class was examined for upgrading, with most of the effort devoted to upgrading the engines and weapons. While it would have been possible to refit the ships with newer, more efficient engines, and use the thus freed mass for additional and more modern weapon systems, the edge thus gained was not significant enough for the Tirolian Masters. In addition, although produced in large numbers, the Thuverl Dalem was, not as simple to built as would have been the case had the ship been designed for this from the outset. As a result, the Thuverl Dalem was replaced in the building docks by the Thuverl Salan cruiser, which carried more than twice the troops and effectively more than thrice the armament on a hull weight less than double that of the Thuverl Dalem. In addition, the Thuverl Salan cruiser was far simpler to construct (although the larger size actually increased the individual unit building time).
The Thuverl Dalem ships were not retired en masse, as one would expect, but were kept in service until their hulls reached their designed operational lifetimes, after which the vessels were retired on an individual basis. At the time of the Zentraedi Holocaust, the total number of Thuverl Dalem vessels was not much higher than 13,000, half of which fought in the Grand Fleet. Afterwards, the remaining vessels either reached the end of their designed life soon thereafter or, most commonly, fell prey to the lack of protoculture that took the Empire in its grip at about the same time.
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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