The Stalwart-class light frigate is a UNSC frigate class suited for planetary defense, fleet escort duties, and troop deployment.
The Stalwart-class frigate is meant mainly for fleet and/or planetary defense, such as Earth's home fleet. They are typically used en masse, but are still rather weak, compared to even the smallest Covenant warships. However, some frigates, such as UNSC In Amber Clad, played an important role in the Human-Covenant war, mainly the Battle of Installation 05. It was a multipurpose ship, evenly balanced between troop transportation and fleet support. However, usually they are only powerful in numbers.
The bridge is located near the back of the MAC shaft. Its interior consists of the Captain's chair behind the two main consoles, and several other consoles behind them. The bridge has been noted to require a crew of about 30 people. The four bridge stations are Navigation, Operations, Weapons, and Communications.
A frigate has up to 12 SOEIV bays near the rear for the deployment of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. The bottom has a cargo bay that is about as wide as a Sabre fighter. The front of the frigate also has a structure of sorts on each side, which are thought to just house more rooms or maybe the vehicles.
The Stalwart-class frigates is the smallest class of UNSC frigates, only 478 metres (1,570 ft) long. It and the Paris-class heavy frigate share the height of 112.3 metres (368 ft).
The frigates use thermonuclear fusion reactors that use deuterium for fuel. The engines use the energy from this to create thrust out of the exhausts on the frigates. There are two types of exhausts on frigates, large and small. Stalwart-class have 2 large and 2 small exhausts. It is assumed the frigates have high maneuverability in all dimensions. Also, they possess the ability to simply hover over land. This was seen on Installation 05. It is possible the UNSC used captured Covenant made antigravity mechanism, but unlikely as they have done so since prior to the Human-Covenant War.
A Stalwart-class light frigate carries the following armaments;
- 1 Magnetic Accelerator Cannon that fires one round per charge. It runs between one- and two-thirds of the ship's length.
- 40 Archer missile pods. Each pod carries 30 missiles, adding up to 1200 missiles in all.
- 12 50mm M910 Point-defense guns function as a last defense against other ships or for antimissile fire.
- 1 Shiva-class Nuclear Missile
A frigate's crew is not necessarily very big, but they can still carry standard personnel. The bridge alone requires 30 members, and of course the rest of the ship still needs a deck and technical crew. Frigates also carry detachments of marines and pilots, and of course Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. Overall the personnel of a frigate can reach the low thousands. A frigate has 80 escape pods, and each can carry 3 men. This allows 240 personnel to escape at a time.
The armor of a Stalwart-class frigate is poor compared to its larger cousins or counterparts such as the Destroyer. It has only 60 centimetres (24 in) of Titanium-A battle plate, which is rather weak against the advanced Covenant weaponry. This is one of the reasons why frigates are better in numbers, but their real strength lies in their speed and maneuverability, as frigates can be much faster than other UNSC ships. The overall structure helps it make the trip in and out of atmosphere safely. These frigates also have hard points on the top so another ship could come along, dock with it, and carry the crippled ship away.
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