At present the best human Faster Than Light transmitters are limited to no more one point five pulses per second. With such low bandwidth, the role of the courier has always been essential for maintaining contact between Earth and its colony worlds. The K Class began to enter service in 2057, replacing the I class by the beginning of 2060. Currently the fleet’s primary courier, the K Class is a modified version of the highly successful Boeing 235 family; it continues the fleet policy of buying in and militarizing commercial courier designs as opposed to developing an in-house design. The K Class is the most numerous jump capable vessel in service and expected to serve to the end of the 2060’s.
As with all courier designs, the K Class is very spartan. A light weight hull wrapped around the very minimum systems required to make high speed runs from Earth to Landfall and Dryad. With the reactor and engines housed in the bulbous rear mount and the jump drive in the prominent ‘chin’ which has given rise to the class’s nickname of Desperate Dan. The most significant difference between the K Class and their civilian counterparts is to be found in the machinery spaces, with the original three vent sub light engines replaced with a five vent system. This gives the K’s a twelve percent acceleration advantage over the civilian models, making them currently the fastest human vessels (excluding dedicated racers). However the structural strength of the hull has not been increased to compensate and at full power there is a danger of full structural failure. This is a matter Fleet policy that couriers should be as fast as possible, with speed being their principal defence. However in peacetime the class is subject to restrictions limiting maximum thrust to seventy five percent of maximum.
With no centrifuge and minimum the K’s are not considered to be standalone starships. A minimum of two crews are assigned to each ship, flying alternate missions. In addition to courier duties, the K’s are used to make high priority personnel transfers, with space for up to four individuals in addition to the crew.
In addition to its peacetime role a conversion pack has been developed to allow the K’s to serve as deep space scouts, thereby freeing up larger vessels for combat roles. The K Class has also been the basis of the A Class Escort Boat and B Class Strike boats, although these have only been produced in small numbers to date.
Length: 38 Metres
Beam: 8 Metres
Height: 10 Metres
Crew: 6 + 4 passengers
Endurance: 20 days
Number Built: 28 + 4 under construction.+