USS Cumberland: Overview

Type:  Destroyer, Penetration and Attack, Khyber Class

Registry Number:  DPA-0004

Nominal Complement:  215  (figures subject to minor variation due to casualties, promotions, and unforeseen personnel vacancies)

—-Officers:  15

—-Enlisted: 150

—-Marines:  12

—-Midshipmen:  38

Specifications:  Mass, 16,200 metric tons (light loadout–this is the nominal mass), 30,800 metric tons (full load); length, 97 meters; beam, 9.5 meters

Internal Configuration:  Decks:  3; Frames:  12

Performance:  top sublight speed, .963 c; compression drive, 1575 c cruise, 2120 c emergency; maximum acceleration, 150 G (intertially compensated); turn rates, 38 degrees per second in pitch and yaw, 92 degrees per second in roll

Maximum Unsupported Endurance:  75 days.  In practice, this stated endurance is optimistic.  Under combat conditions, the ship would exhaust its stores of consumables, particularly fuel and munitions, in 45 to 60 days.

History:  First Spaceframe Weld: 25 October 2312; Initial Fission Reactor Criticality 28 March 2313; Initial Fusion Startup:  2 April 2313; Launched:  4 April 2313; Space Trials, Pre-Commissioning Availability to Contractors, Shakedown Cruise:  4 April-22 May 2313; Commissioned:  29 May 2313.  First Commanding Officer, Commander Allen K. Oscar, relieved for cause 17 January 2315; succeeded by and currently under the command of Lieutenant Commander Maxime Tindall Robichaux, installed 21 January 2315.

Lead Design Firm:  The Boudreaux and Thibodeaux Aerospace Corporation, Arceneaux City, Planet Nouvelle Acadiana

Prime Contractor:  Hephaestus Fleet Yards and Naval Constructors, Inc., 40 Eridani A IV

Power Plants

     Main:  Svavarsdottir & Sigurdson Astrodynamics, GmbH, Model SSNR F-104 Fusion Reactor,  1.8 Terawatt Rating

     Aux:  Westinghouse Space Systems, Inc., Model OS15W Pressurized Water Fission Reactor, 50 Megawatt Rating

Initial Weapons Installations:  [TO BE ADDED]

Class Naming:  Ships in this class are named for strategically or historically significant mountain passes and ocean straits.  As of May 1, 2315 the following ships of this class have been commissioned:  Khyber, Gibraltar, Messina, Cumberland, Hormuz, Khardung La, Bosphorus, Manassas, Malacca, and Brenner.  The projected size of the class is 85 ships.

8 comments on “USS Cumberland: Overview

  1. Kudos for a great couple of books, I and am eagerly awaiting the next installment. I was looking over your “Specifications: Mass, 16,200 metric tons (light loadout–this is the nominal mass), 30,800 metric tons (full load); length, 97 meters; beam, 9.5 meters”. These dimensions seem small for the mass listed.

    For example an Ohio class submarine is 170 meters long and has a 10.8 meter beam but masses only 17,000 tons. Crew of 160.

    If we take the mass of a cylinder to represent the Cumberland h=97m d=9.5m the volume will be approximately 27,488 cubic meters.

    If 1 ton of water is 1.7 cubic meters and every square meter is filled with water the total mass is 16,169 tons. Very close to your light load-out.

    I realize that the Cumberland is constructed of denser stuff than water and futuristic components could be disproportionately dense but empty space is required for the 215 crewmembers.

    Doubling the mass for the “full load” would equate the Cumberland to a solid cylinder of iron.

    Thanks again for the great stories.

    • Thank you for the compliment and for your thoughtful analysis of the mass and dimensions of the Cumberland.

      I find it very interesting that you started with the dimensions and displacement of the Ohio class submarine because the starting point in my thinking was very similar: the Los Angeles and Virginia class submarines. You are absolutely right, if we are talking about 21st Century materials. Your comment specifically makes allowances for advances in metallurgy, but I am positing that materials will change much more than you are accounting for. Basically, I’m assuming that there are truly huge advances in materials and metallurgical technology in the 300 years between now and then (think of the differences in materials available to us in 2014 versus those available to a ship builder in 1714)–particularly that there will be ultra-hard, ultra-dense materials from which to construct warship hulls that will stand up to the fusion plasma in pulse cannon blasts and to near misses from thermonuclear warheads. That kind of resistance, as well as resistance to the radiation and electromagnetic flux produced by those weapons, would absolutely materials as dense as those that would yield the listed displacements for a ship of the dimensions of the Cumberland. In other words, for the ships to stand up to the punishment they take in Books I and II, they have to be made out of stuff as dense as I posit in the specifications.

      In Book III you will see a brief mention (unless the editors snip it) of quantum orbital manipulation technology which allows the creation of such materials, one of which is named Michiganium in honor of the great university where it was invented. This technology allows the creation of molecular matrices in which the atoms of the alloy are packed much more tightly together than in non-manipulated materials and that combine materials that could not otherwise be combined. Hence, Union factories can produce Michiganium, which is a manipulated alloy of iron, carbon, uranium, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, and trace amounts of other elements.

      Thank you for writing and for the analysis that went into your comment. I am flattered that my humble forays into galactic combat are taken with such seriousness. I work very hard to achieve a high level of verisimilitude in my writing and it is quite gratifying to see that readers take the details as seriously as I do.

  2. Wow, thanks for the detailed response. Michiganium, great name. Now, that the nagging mass question has been laid to rest I’ll go back to waiting patiently for book three. Once again thanks for a great series and congratulations on your success.

    • Yeah – you don’t have to worry about a Great Resizing like Weber had to do with his ships. HPH is a bit obsessive in his planning.

  3. That seems like a small vehicle to fit 215 people in. The British Astute class submarine is about the same dimensions as the Cumberland, but has less than half the people (~100). The Russian Akula is larger, yet has less than 1/3 (~65-70).

    • 1/3 of a modern nuclear submarine is taken up with engine spaces, another 1/5 with machinery, air circulation equipment, etc. 25th century starships need only devote about 1//6 of the internal space of the ship to those spaces, leaving more space for personnel.

  4. The figures for midshipmen and Marines seem backwards to me. Is the high number of children/adolescents because the Union needs a space going orphanage system to deal with the effects of the Gynophage plague?

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