CLASS NAME: BHU-1
DESIGN & STATS: Dallas Reinhart & Jeff Willoughby (collaborators),
BHU-1 "Salamander" Class V Light Destroyer
NOTES: The story of the ill fated Salamander Class destroyer is considered by most interstellar shipbuilding historians to be one of the most disastrous in Gorn history.
Though the Gorn had already proven that they were capable of creating massive designs and powerfully armed warships, such as the BH-2 battleship, their shield, photon and warp technology research were all still sorely behind that of the other major races of the Alpha Quadrant. Gorn ambition had outstripped Gorn technological development, stranding many advanced designs on the drawing board because Gorn contractors were unable to provide sufficiently advanced equipment to the Gorn shipyards.
The solution, according to Gorn Alliance shipbuilders, was not to create larger vessels to compensate for their naval weaknesses, but to make them smaller. Compact vessels like the MA-12 and the SS-3 were successful designs, but were slow and clunky compared to the other races more nimble ships. The Gorn needed a vessel that could go toe to toe with the smaller ships of the United Federation of Planets, the Klingon and Romulan Empires, and even the light footed Orion privateer fleets. Though one of the designers suggested that they stay true to their shipbuilding doctrines, building brutish, slow-moving battleships, the rest of the design team thought that a fast ship was needed; a ship that could strike quickly and hard. They named the project 'Salamander', after an amphibious species from the Gorn homeworld--a species reputed for it's nasty temper, agility, and swiftness.
The first design of the Salamander was insufficient, due to gravametric stresses it suffered at the connection points between the warp nacelles and the main
body of the ship.
The second design of the Salamander worked well under warp, but its torpedo guidance systems were prone to malfunction. While under test trials, the Salamander accidentally disabled a Gorn freighter when its Friend-or-Foe Recognition systems (under control of a new type of computer at the time) mistook the freighter for a Federation Firestorm class destroyer. Afterwards, it was scrapped because the ship's systems would only work on the new computer system. Bugs in the system prevented the use of a standard 1DG computer.
The third design corrected the nacelle structural integrity and incorporated a more reliable version of the 1DG computer. However, the new ship's warp core
critically self destructed, destroying the prototype. Investigation later found that a flaw in the warp core's casing, combined with a crack in the dilithium chamber, caused a breach in magnetic containment and started the catastrophic explosion.
The designers finally got it right when they released the 'U' prototype. Though coming from a lineage of fault prone battleships, the BHU-1 Salamander class destroyer was the best variant yet.
The BHU-1 incorporated the newest in torpedo and blaster designs, topped off with a satisfactory shielding system. The ship was sturdy due to it's strong structural supports, and it was faster than anyone expected during mock firefights. One of the more successful test trials saw the BHU-1 destroy two Gorn dummy ships simulating Larson class vessels, in only eight minutes of pitched fighting.
Satisfactory combat results were not enough to appease the Gorn Alliance command, however. The Salamander Project had already gone through three prototypes, and the reports of their shortcomings were causing grumbles at high levels. Upon review of the vessel, the Gorn high command was not satisfied with the weapons configuration on the BHU-1 ship. They found the Salamander too lightly armed compared to their contemporary designs.
The high command's opinion's were not based on speculation, but on mock battle data itself. The Larson simulations were far from challenging, and the Salamander truly was underarmed. It only had two blasters--a pitiful amount of energy based weapons according to rival ship
designers--forcing to rely almost entirely on its missile weaponry. The three GP-2 launchers were fairly powerful, but unspectacular compared to other races' photon torpedo systems. Not to mention the fact that spreading out the torpedo bays in two different arcs eliminated the possibility of concentrating all torpedo fire into a single arc for killing blows.
The Salamander team tried to explain itself.
The reason behind the BHU-1's limited weapons was due almost entirely to mass restriction; again, an imposition placed upon the team by the inferiority of key ship components when compared to peer products from the UFP, Romulans, and Klingons. In order to make the Slamander relatively fast or agile, the total mass had to be kept relatively low. But Gorn manufacturing processes could not produce sufficiently compact equipment along the lines of the Federation or the other advanced governments, thus the overall potency of the Salamander suffered.
The Salamander was also deemed an expensive ship to operate and maintain. Its reliance on torpedo launchers meant that the Salamander had to be equipped with extra photon torpedoes, but due to minimal cargo space, the ship only had half the photon compliment that the high command desired for the class. The high command came to the conclusion that the Salamander could not operate as a fast striking destroyer unless it was escorted by larger ships, or freighters supplying more photon torpedoes, thereby neglecting the primary contract pre-requisite that the Salamander be capable of totally autonomous operation during offensive maneuvers. Also,
the ship's light structure required maintenance every five years, as well as computer refurbishing every three years; almost half the norm of most Gorn ships.
It was ultimately decided that the Salamander project would be cancelled. The Salamander was placed on the reserve fleet, then mothballed.
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