Phoenix-class colony ship
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The Phoenix-class is a colony ship classification used by the Unified Earth Government, with a hull classification symbol of CFV. In addition to ferrying colonists to newly settled worlds, they are used to carry equipment such as prefabricated colony starter units, hydroponics and other facilities. Known ships of the Phoenix class include the UNSC Skidbladnir which colonized Harvest and the UNSC Spirit of Fire which aided in the colonization of Arcadia and was later converted into a warship.
First commissioned in 2362, the Phoenix-class ships were designed to transport thousands of colonists from an Inner Colony such as Earth, as well as terraforming equipment necessary to alter the existing atmosphere and/or biosphere to better suit human habitation. Once the terraforming is completed, the colonists settle the planet. On at least one instance, a colony ship was decommissioned to aid in the development of a colony. On Harvest, the Skidbladnir's fusion reactor was used to power the first settlement, Utgard and its data processing storage housing the Agricultural Operations AI, Mack was also utilized. The ship's AI, Loki, became the Planetary Security Intelligence, sharing a core with Mack, and was tasked with covertly monitoring the colony for trouble by the UNSC. Whether this was a common fate for colony ships tasked with settling new worlds is unknown.
At least one Phoenix, the UNSC Spirit of Fire, was modified for wartime use by the United Nations Space Command and redesignated a Phoenix-class support vessel. The refitted ships carry vehicles, troops, and supplies as support for ground forces. It also carries the resources necessary to build firebases, with the base structures being repurposed colony starter units.
Once converted, a Phoenix-class ship becomes an extremely effective troop transport and orbital support ship, with the ability to carry large amounts of ground troops and ample supplies to sustain them in the field with little to no external contact for considerable amounts of time. It is also able to utilize its deck guns to rapidly conduct multiple "MAC-blasts" in support of ground troops.[note 1] The ship plays a vital role in battle by dispatching D82-EST Darter dropships to quickly and efficiently distribute supplies near hostile areas, while D20 Herons deploy prefabricated firebases to reinforce places of interest. However, despite the conversion of the Phoenix-class from a colony transport ship to a warship, it still lacks the capacity to operate as a front-line ship-to-ship combatant; despite the addition of armor plating, the outer edges of Spirit of Fire's hull was ripped away when the ship collided with a CPV-class heavy destroyer, with no damage being inflicted on the opposing ship.
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