Confederation Ranger class Light Carrier (Wing Commander):

The Ranger class light carrier is an aging carrier design which was designed and built in the early part of the 2580's. As such, the carrier design predated the beginning of the Kilrathi war by over fifty years. At the time, the mainstay of the Confederation fleet were battleships and the light carriers were developed to provide secondary support for the larger warships. In this role, the Ranger class light carriers carried light reconnaissance craft and bombers which operated in the space to ground role to support ground troops; but they did not carry a fighter wing for anti-ship strikes or for fleet defense.

As might be expected, the light carriers were considered obsolete even before the beginning of the Kilrathi War. While they are externally similar to the larger Concordia class fleet carriers, which are the mainstay of the Confederation fleet, they are fall smaller and mass less than half of the fleet carriers. As well, the design has many problems such as a lack of fighter capability including missiles and spares, structural weaknesses, and design complexity which makes operation far more expensive to operate than a more modern design. As a result of their obsolete status, the light carriers were mostly struck from active duty. The majority of the carriers were mothballed although a few were retained as training carriers. In these rolls the carriers would like to have continued except for the extremely heavy loss of carriers during the Battle of Earth, the Confederation had no choice but to reactivate the old vessels.

During reactivation, the Ranger class light carriers were upgraded as much as possible. This included adding additional armor where possible, refitting the ship with more modern shield generators, upgrading sensors to modern standard, and mounting new point defense weapon mounts. The rebuilds are makeshift and it is easy to tell due to their rundown appearance. The Ranger class light carriers carry less than half the fighter compliment of a fleet carrier and the fighter compliment is only marginally more than the Wake Island class escort carrier, which is far smaller. The Ranger class light carriers require around four times the crew of the escort carriers due a lack of automation in the design compared to newer designs. As well, the light carriers lack the secondary bridge of larger carrier designs such as the fleet carriers. Originally the Ranger class light carrier could carry up to eighty-fight light reconnaissance craft, an excellent complement for their time, but fighters have become far larger and require both more hanger space and logistical facilities. As well, the fighter compliment was cut further due to the need for larger magazines to support ordnance for the embarked craft.

Even with upgrades, the Ranger class carriers are not well protected compared to their Kilrathi opponents such as the Bhantkara class fleet carrier. As well, the fighter complement of the latest Kilrathi fleet carrier is over three times as large. Even though the Ranger class is at a severe disadvantage when compared to these fighter, the Confederation has no choice but to operate these carriers in the fleet carrier role. As might be expected, losses of these light carriers have been severe.

Notes of game conversion:

Because of the nature of the Video Game / Novel series “Wing Commander” and the needs to put the starship into game mechanics, the starship has several modification compared to the Video Game and Novels. The most important change it to change top speed to acceleration. Like fighters in Star Wars and original Battlestar Galactica, the fighters appear to act as if they are in the atmosphere even when they operating in space. This is incorrect. The Television series Babylon 5 and the new Battlestar Galactic are good series to watch to get a clearer idea on how space vehicles would probably maneuver although still not a perfect perspective. The starship has been modified to uses my revised phase world starship rules and can hold their own against most C.A.F and Kreeghor starships. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.

Model Type: CVL-01
Vehicle Type: Light Carrier
Crew: 2000 (50 Officers, 70 Chief Petty Officers, and 1880 Enlisted)
Troops / Passengers: 60 fighter pilots. Can embark up to 200 marines for assault missions although the carrier is extremely overcrowded.

Fighter Compliment:

16Light Starfighters (Normally F-96B Arrow Light Fighter)
12Medium Starfighters (Normally F-86C Hellcat V Medium Fighter)
8Heavy Starfighters (Normally F-66A Thunderbolt VII Heavy Fighter)
6Heavy Fighter / Bombers (Normally F/A-76A Longbow Fighter / Bombers)
Other vehicles:
6General Purpose Shuttles

M.D.C. By Location:

Heavy Laser Cannon Turrets (11):300 each
Cruise Missile Launcher (1):500
Hanger Bay (1):2,800 each
[1] Bridge:3,000
[2] Engineering section:6,000
Main Engines (2):3,200 each
[3] Main Body:18,500
[4] Variable Force Field:6,000 per side (36,000 Total)

[1] In reality this is how much damage needs to be done for a weapon to hit the bridge through the ship’s armor. This ship does not have an auxiliary bridge. Even if the bridge is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but ship is -3 to dodge and all weapon systems will be at local control. Weapon hits near the bridge that do not penetrate the ships integrity can injure crew members on or near the bridge.
[2] Destroying the engineering section means that ship FTL propulsion systems are destroyed and maximum sublight acceleration is reduced to ten percent of normal (using navigational thrusters).
[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the carrier out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support and internal gravity. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck.
[4] Shields positions can be varied and all could be combined in one shield. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (1,800 M.D.C.) per melee.

Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 60 percent of the speed of light. Star Ship can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.32 percent of light per melee.
Atmospheric Propulsion: The light carrier cannot operate within an atmosphere. If the ship enters an atmosphere, it will crash.
Stardrive: The light carrier mounts a jump drive which is capable of jumping instantly from a fixed point in a system to another fixed point in a system. These points are weaknesses in the fabric of space and have been mapped in most cases. Fuel is hydrogen which the escort carrier scoops from space to fuel the jump engine.
Maximum Range: Effectively Unlimited by either drive system. The carrier has about one year worth of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:
Length: 2,362.2 feet (720 meters)
Height: 207.7 feet (63.3 meters) for hull and 278.9 feet (85.0 meters) including antenna
Width: 433.7 feet (132.2 meter)
Weight: 30,900 Tons (28,000 metric tons) fully loaded
Power System: Fusion with a 20 year life span. The ship normally only goes 5 years between refueling.
Cargo: Cargo holds are scattered about the ship that allows for carrying up to 1,500 tons of cargo in addition to standard compliment of supplies and ammunition. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ships officers have more space for personal items. Most of the ships spaces are take up by extra ammunition, armor, troops, weapons, engine, and other equipment.
Market Cost: The Ranger class light carrier costs around 12.5 billion credits to manufacture and refit not including fighter compliment. Fighter compliment cost approximately 2.3 billion credits.


  1. Eleven (11) Heavy Point Defense Lasers in Dual Mounts: Eleven total on top, bottom, port, and starboard side. All can fire forward and aft. Each Turret can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire. Individually more powerful than the lasers mounted on fighters and have a longer range. Compared to point defense weaponry carried on most starships within the Three Galaxies, the weapon mounts have a longer range.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,971 miles (8,000 km) in space and 24.85 miles (40 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega-Damage: 4D6x10 M.D.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the Gunner (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited
  2. One (1) Cruise Missile Launchers: Missile has a top speed of Mach 25 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 10% of light per turn (far faster than any starship). Since star ships will no longer engage at rock throwing distances, whether weapons can be shot down is calculated from the speed of target, launcher, and missile. When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless set to self destruct but has very low odds of hitting star ships (Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile, when unpowered, is at -25% to be detected.) Cruise missiles have penalties to hit small targets but are all considered smart missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: Missile range is 8,000 miles (12,875 km) in an atmosphere and 4,000,000 miles (6,437,376 km/ 21.5 light seconds) in space.
    Mega-Damage & Properties: See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details (Anti-Matter does 4D6x100 M.D.C.).
    Rate of Fire: One per launcher per melee attack
    Payload: 20 cruise missiles total.

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CGI / Artwork of starship created by Zohrath. Picture taken from Wing Commander CIC.

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Rifts Conversion Copyright © 2006, & 2013, Kitsune. All rights reserved.