The Tristar-class Large Cruiser were the among the first new generation capital ships developed during the Reconstruction Era, and it was featured in the series Robotech: The Masters. During the Second Robotech War, one of these vessels served as Major General Rolf Emerson's flagship during the Second Offensive against the Robotech Masters.
In profile, the Tristar-class had almost exactly the same silhouette as the Ardennes-class heavy destroyer. However, there were important differences: the engines were moved out of the sponsons and into the main hull, where they were mounted in a diamond pattern; the sponsons mated to the hull much more gradually, and the overall size was dramatically enlarged. The main mecha hangars, four double level bays, opened to the front of the sponsons.
Technology and Combat CharacteristicsEdit
The cannon armament was extensive, and was concentrated on the forward dorsal deck. From front to aft are a rail gun turret, one heavy and two medium particle beam mounts, then another rail gun turret after which the command tower rises from the deck. Laser turrets covered all other firing arcs. The missile armament was formidable, with heavy rocket launchers for the powerful Skylord forward, and medium Spacelord anti-ship missiles more to the rear. The weak point of these vessels were the limited point defense capabilities, and the limited firepower that could be brought to bear to the rear and ventral arcs.
As one of the smallest ships capable of independent operations, the Tristars were equipped with a fold drive.
The Tristar-class large cruisers were one of the smallest fleet command ships ever operated by the United Earth Forces, and the heaviest units in the Tactical Space Corps. The Robotech Research Group designed the class initially as a recon cruiser, intended to scout systems for enemy presences. This was very useful in the recon operations that tried to uncover the precise location of Robotech Masters' homeworld. After this, the fleet was divided under the Army of the Southern Cross(ASC) and the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF), while series production for the Southern Cross continued within the solar system. Their designated task in the early phases of the Pioneer Mission was to act as heavy escorts and escort commanders for the larger ships, to be capable of leading a detached battle group of destroyers on independent operations, and to give support for the Tokugawa-class of landing ships. In the Southern Cross, they were the flagships and main battle line units of the Tactical Space Corps.For these tasks, the Tristars carried a number of mecha, and a powerful anti-ship missile armament. Yet, to use as few resources as possible, the Tristars were made as small as was feasible without compromising their combat efficiency. Because of this, several compromises had to be made: the heavy anti-ship armament was concentrated on the dorsal and bow, with only minimal attention to the other arcs, and the ships themselves were considered cramped by their crews. However, the class performed as designed, and if there are comments on their performance, blame must be laid solely with their design criteria.
To improve the missile firepower of the Southern Cross, a variant of the Tristar was procured, the Xenephon-class Strike Cruiser. Because of the cramped living conditions and too concentrated armament, further series production by the REF was not pursued, with that service designing enlarged Tristar variants, a design and building proces that lead, through numerous paper designs and small numbers of intermediate ships, to the large and capable (not to mention more comfortable) Ikazuchi class large cruiser. For all its faults, though, the Tristars and Xenephon were fine vessels that were fought gallantly by their crews, no matter the circumstances.
Because of the high importance of the Pioneer Mission, at least twenty-two Tristar-class cruisers built by the date of the Super Dimension Fortress-3 Pioneer's (SDF-3) departure were assigned to the REF task forces, either as escorts for the REF flagship or as command ships for the out-system flotillas searching for the homeplanet of the Robotech Masters. This initially left only eight Tristars as the largest operational ships in the Solar System, until production of additional vessels increased this number.
The Southern Cross vessels of the Tristar class suffered even heavier losses than the REF allotment. The class ship, Tristar, became the flagship of Major General Rolf Emerson, and was destroyed in the latter stages of that war when she was fatally damaged and then hurled by her crew into a Robotech Masters' Mothership, where she self-destructed.
The Invid surprise attack a few months later claimed almost all other Tristars within the Solar System, most before they had even had a chance to open fire.