Originally designed in 1095, and first laid down in 1098, the Valuta-class Assault Landing Ships are larger and faster than earlier LSAs, and represent a complete departure from the previous concept of Orbital Assault Landing Ships. The traditional two-piece bow doors, which have characterized LSA construction since the first vessels of this type were built, were replaced by a 40-ton bow ramp supported by two distinctive retractable derrick arms. The hull form necessary for the attainment of the hypersonic in-atmosphere speeds of contemporary assault squadrons would not permit two-piece doors. The conventional flat bottom hull was redesigned to a hypersonic lifting-body form enabling the ships to attain speeds in excess of Mach 25 in the upper atmosphere. This feature enables her to operate with modern high-speed assault landing forces. A stern gate also makes possible off-loading grav vehicles while in flight.
The Assault Landing Ship (LSA) mission is to load and transport cargo, vehicles of all types, and troops to a combat area, and under modern considerations, to do this faster than ordinary grav vehicles can lower themselves to the planet's surface. These ships can launch grav vehicles via a stern gate as well as land vehicles, cargo, and personnel to an undeveloped location via a bow ramp. Troops and equipment can also be transported via grav vehicle. Two ten-ton articulated booms offload cargo to other ships or a pier. Valuta's lift capacity includes 30 grav vehicles and over 500 troops and their equipment.
The ship has an additional cargo capacity of four 100-ton bays, with additional access to interior storage of 154 tons. If the ship is not carrying vehicles, it has a total cargo capacity of 854 displacement tons, most of which is readily handled by the ship's cargo booms. The main vehicle deck floor is also optimized for moving cargo. The floor itself has built-in gravitic suspension tracks to automate movement of vehicles or containers. The vehicle bay covers 19,000 Square Feet (1,767 Square Meters), and runs through the center of the ship, with exits at the front and rear ramps. The ship itself is 160 meters in length.
Valuta-class ships saw heavy service in the Fifth Frontier War, and were especially valuable in the raid on Ninjar (Chronor 0608), and Calit (Vilis 0705).
In a Imperial proposal dated 1112-156, the Naval Administration proposed the transfer of 1500 Valuta-class assault landing ships to a number of entities. The design was considered obsolete, especially its power plant, and even though the design was only in service for less than 15 years, there were replacements rapidly coming on line that were funded by political fears raised by the recent Fifth Frontier War.
The 1500 LSAs in the proposal were among a total of 2000 that were commissioned. These ships constituted a significant part of the Imperial military shipping fleet as they transport grav vehicles, other heavy vehicles, engineering equipment, and supplies. The LSAs were relatively young in terms of their age and have impressive capabilities, as demonstrated by the interest of local navies and shipping lines in them. The administration's proposal to transfer 1500 LSAs to various entities would have reduced the amount of lift available to transport vehicles to only 73 percent of the "float capacity" goal in fiscal year 1113.
In response to the concern of various ducal authorities, the Navy proposed a new concept for maintaining the required "float capacity" of vehicle space in the military shipping fleet. In this concept LSAs were retained in a reserve status that would enable them to be available for active service in a few weeks. More LSAs were stored in a nesting arrangement in which several months could be required to make them available for an emergency. The Navy's plan for these LSAs was intended to maintain the necessary fleet lift capability. Fleet lift capacity is defined as the ability for such ground assault forces to keep up with the Imperial Navy's standard jump distance. Subsequently the Imperial Navy authorized the five most pressing LSA group transfers for systems in the Spinward Marches. In these cases, non-Imperial crews were already training in the Imperial Navy.
The remaining ships of this class, 800 in all, are now assigned to the Imperial Naval Reserve Force Active as the only remaining ships of this class. These ships will serve with the Reserve until about 1152, when sufficient numbers of new LPA Hunter-class multi-purpose orbital assault ships will be available bringing the Active forces back up to its full lift capability. Imperial Naval Reserve Force Active (INRFA) ships are leased by the entity at a vastly reduced rate in exchange for accepting certain crew for reserve duty training. One month out of the year, the ship is mobilized to training duty. Under mobilization reservists assigned to a particular ship are activated, complementing the civilian and active duty personnel. At the conclusion of the ship's reserve obligations, most of which end in 1152, the ship is to be transferred permanently to the civilian entity. The Imperial Navy provides ship's maintenance until the reserve obligation expires. This means that for a ship picked up in 1113, there are significant cost savings on the ship's operations for duration of the lease period.
Currently, these ships are most commonly found in frontier areas, where the ability for a ship to operate without a standard port facility (with cargo handling support), the ability to jump to remote locations, and use unrefined fuel are required capabilities. Most are in the hands of merchants in these areas. A few have been leased for mercenary unit service, and still more are in use for disaster/humanitarian aid transport.
The ship also sees service as a large passenger vessel. The accommodations during the lease period cannot be removed, so passengers have to make do with the marine accommodations. Usually, this results in a ticket price that is slightly less (10% on average) than the usual Middle Passage ticket. On the other hand, many economy minded people who dislike the idea of Low Passage take advantage of this, especially business travelers.
The ship is not heavily armed, but its size and speed make it a challenge for non-Naval combatants such as pirate vessels. The ship is fitted with two 50-ton bay mounted fusion weapons for self-defense. As per military requirements, the ship is fitted with a primary bridge and an auxiliary bridge, and a computer with fiber-optic backup.
The price for leasing the ship (and eventually owning the ship) is 3.49Mcr per month for 40 years. This represents a 66 percent discount on the price of the ship. Reserve obligations end in 1152.
The minimum civilian crew is: 11 Command, 23 Engineering, 5 Gunnery, 11 Flight, and 18 Services (total crew: 68, roughly 340,000cr/month, depending on individual salaries). Life support consumable costs are 56,800 credits per trip. Currently, the maintenance costs for the ship run to 5 million credits per month if the ship is not under Imperial maintenance.
Valuta LS-H1445D3-000000-09000-0 MCr 6,286.372 8.792 KTons Bat Bear 2 Crew: 568 Bat 2 TL: 14
Cargo: 154.000 Fuel: 3,956.400 EP: 439.600 Agility: 4
Craft: 30 x 10T Armored Vehicle
Fuel Treatment: Fuel Scoops and On Board Fuel Purification
Backups: 1 x Model/4fib Computer 1 x Bridge
Architects Fee: MCr 62.864 Cost in Quantity: MCr 5,029.098
- 8,792.000 tons standard, 123,088.000 cubic meters, Needle/Wedge Configuration
- 14 Officers, 54 Ratings, 500 Marines
- Jump-4, 4G Maneuver, Power plant-5, 439.600 EP, Agility 4
- Bridge, Model/4fib Computer
1 Backup Bridge, 1 Model/4fib Backup Computer
- 4 100-ton bays (empty), 2 50-ton bays (fusion weapons)
- 2 50-ton Fusion Gun Bays (Factor-9)
- 30 10.000 ton Armored Vehicles
- 3,956.400 Tons Fuel (4 parsecs jump and 28 days endurance)
On Board Fuel Scoops, On Board Fuel Purification Plant
- 287.0 Staterooms, 154.000 Tons Cargo (plus 4 x 100-ton bays, plus vehicle deck of 300 tons, for a total of 854 tons)
- MCr 6,349.236 Singly (incl. Architects fees of MCr 62.864),
MCr 5,029.098 in Quantity
- CONSTRUCTION TIME
- 158 Weeks Singly, 126 Weeks in Quantity