The Battlestar

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The battlestar Pegasus.

Interesting military trivia: the aircraft carrier has supplanted the battleship in terms of usefulness and importance. The carrier's ability to project force thousands of kilometers away made most WWII aerial/naval battles in the Pacific happen completely out of sight for the carrier's crew. Missile technology itself and remote piloting may do this to the carrier as well, with designs for "missile ships" in the works.

In space, however, the standard top-of-the-line ship is a hybrid carrier/battleship. It has the heavy armor and big guns of a battleship, along with the fighters and point defense weapons of a carrier. This makes perfect sense, assuming carrying fighters in space makes sense, because:

  • A) It's awesome.
  • B) The extremely thin atmosphere and the huge amount of free space means that the range of weapons are enormous. (or it should, anyway).
  • C) Lack of gravity means you don't have to waste the entire top on runways and the entire bottom on being underwater.

The one, tiny, insignificant flaw in the sheer awesome that is the Battlestar that could never be exploited is it usually has such a large size and mass that it's significantly slower and less maneuverable than slimmer ships, and may present a larger target while being unable to move fixed guns quickly enough to track fast targets. Of course, these may be a non-issue if their propulsion/maneuvering system is so powerful mass doesn't slow them down, their guns have full coverage of all angles, the Battlestar has escort craft to protect it, or they have good point defenses. When these aren't the case, expect the heroes or villain to engage in strafing against the Battlestar.[1]

A type of Military Mashup Machine. Compare the Battlestar's "little brother", the Airborne Aircraft Carrier. This trope is named for the Battlestar class of warships from Battlestar Galactica, one of the first such depictions to reach widespread audiences. Has nothing to do with the elite Autobot fighters from Transformers Return of Convoy.

Often part of a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet. Naturally comes hand-in-hand with the Space Fighter.

This model is less silly than it might appear. A couple of points: First, given how planets move through space and the need for at least rudimentary slingshot orbits, trajectories are actually fairly predictable in time and space, therefore, combat is likely to be very short range, though you could send a bunch of missiles hurtling down this space "lane". Although fightercraft are less useful in a traditional role, they can bring weapons (e.g. missiles) closer, in under the target's point-defense range, and at this point in time we can't conceive of a spacecraft that could take a missile and keep fighting, but if we could take the missile out early, the most it could do could be irradiate the ship, and you can armor against that. You can actually make an argument for almost any weapon in space, though for kinetics you'd need a propellant that doesn't need outside air, and be willing to live with the fact that you're putting hyper-lethal debris somewhere, especially immediate if you're fighting in near-orbit.

Examples of The Battlestar include:

Anime and Manga

  • From 1974, the Ur Example is probably the Space Battleship Yamato. In 1979 the series was dubbed and broadcast in English as Star Blazers, with the ship renamed the Argo as a Shout-Out to a similar story from Greek Mythology.
    • Also more obviously the Lexington-class battleship carriers in the Comet empire series, which had two battleship turrets in front, and a carrier deck in the back.
      • The Lexington-class ships are based on the IJS Ise and Hyuga; see the Real Life section, below.
      • Even further borne out by the fact that the American Lexington-class of carriers from World War II were originally built to be battlecruisers.
    • In the Rainbow Galaxy battle, the Gamilons had a battleship/carrier that had a runway deck that flipped over to reveal laser cannon turrets.
  • Subverted in Legend of Galactic Heroes. While carrier-type ships do have cannons for ship-to-ship combat, they are not primary fighting units and use cannons mostly in self-defense and to protect fighters docking for resupplying. Ship-to-ship combat is mostly handled by dedicated battleships, of which the command ships are the most powerful (including Yang Wen-li's Hyperion and Reinhard von Lohengramm's Brunhild).
  • There are, many, many examples in Gundam, starting with the original Mobile Suit Gundam and its White Base. Basically, any Cool Ship in the saga has to be a carrier to launch titular Humongous Mecha (and normal fighters) but, depending on the series, can have more or less firepower to make it a battleship. Most recent Cool Ship from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is clearly more of a carrier since it can barely defend itself without Gundams. However, both Archangel from Gundam Seed and Minerva from Gundam Seed Destiny pack a serious punch, complete with integrated Wave Motion Guns.
    • It should be noted, however that in most Gundam series, these types of ship are usually limited to very short production runs. The original series's Pegasus class had less than ten ships of the line. In later series, we see the carrier elements becoming more prominent in ship design. Only two ships were built of Gundam Seed's Archangel class.
    • Also notable is the fact that The Federation from the original series followed the traditional "you can only have one or the other" mentality, with older ships even being forced to carry Humongous Mecha strapped to their hulls when the latter were introduced. This was the primary reason they came so close to being trounced by Zeon early in the series.
    • At any rate, considering that MS are giant humanoids, it might be better to think of the carriers as enormous APC-type vehicles rather than aircraft carriers.
  • The Dai-Gurren of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had twelve-inch guns as well as a hangar for Team Gurren's Gunmen.
    • The Chouginga Dai-Gurren used to be the fucking Moon, and did its job for a while before towing the original Moon back into orbit. It could also become an humanoid mecha that could shoot at all points of space and time. Simultaneously.
  • SDF Macross. Especially later versions like Battle Frontier, which had all sorts of cannons and CIWS mounts as well as its Wave Motion Gun.
    • Well, the SDF-1 even had a entire city in it! Since later ships of the line escort dedicated colony ships, though, they obviously have the room for even more/bigger guns.
      • The original SDF-1 Macross actually had MORE guns on it than the later New Macross-class ships such as Battle Frontier. It's just the animation budget wasn't up to showing them traverse and fire like they do in the newer shows so they end up being largely static decorations. Those four massive railguns on the docking assembly (the 'shoulder' in battle mode) are never once shown firing, for instance.
  • The Emperor Machines from Getter Robo, three ships that can combine into a giant robot and are made from Mars and the dinosaurs. Really.
  • The Estanatreich from Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko not only functions as this, it has an entire colony on its back. Justified as it is the one and only de facto territory of TERRA faction. Other ships exist as well, particularly the NESS carrierships.
  • The Exelion and Eltreum from Gunbuster are like this. Apart from the titular mecha, the former was equipped with a whole array of long-range lasers as well as a legion of Machine Weapons for self-defense. The latter went even beyond that in all kinds of ways.
  • The eponymous battleship of Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • The four (operational) Vaia Ships of Infinite Ryvius: the Black Ryvius, Blue Impulse, Crimson Dicastia and Grey Geshpenst. Each comes equipped with a Humongous Mecha capable of warping spatial reality, multiple MAC guns, and in the case of the Impulse a huge fuck-off Hyperion-destroying drill.
  • Heroic Age's Argonaut is a massive ship carrying numerous fighter and Humongous Mecha units, bristling with guns, and outfitted with entire orchards and other facilities to allow for it to support a rather large crew effectively indefinitely. Oh, and it can also turn into an enormous Wave Motion Gun aptly named the "Star Blaster".
  • The Nirvana in Vandread relies mainly on the Dread fighters and the titular Combining Mecha for its offense. At least until Bart figured out how to work the guns...
  • The Arcadia from Captain Harlock carries a fair-sized fighter complement. In fact, it sometimes looks like at least half of her forty-one-man crew is out there.

Films -- Live-Action

  • The titular ship of the 2010 Live Action Adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato. Not only does the ship have enough conventional firepower to destroy an entire fleet and throw a wall of bullets around itself, it even has a BFG, the iconic Wave Motion Gun. Oh, and did we mention it also carries a squadron of marines and a top tier figher squadron?
  • The Star Destroyers from Star Wars.
    • The Prequels bring us the Acclamator-class and Venator-class vessels, which serve as army transports and spacecraft carriers respectively. Acclamators also end up as being used as floating carriers as well.
    • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, it seems almost all large warships are designed this way. (See Babylon 5 below.) Fighters have little effectiveness against capital ships, unless they have some specific weakness or a lot of fighters get together and use obscene numbers of missiles. Going by Star Wars: X-Wing, Empire at War and Rogue Squadron, bombers are effective, and many fighters' primary purpose is to deal with them. Some fighters have bombing capabilities, as well.
      • Alternately, the fighters do something VERY clever. (But said cleverness, as shown, isn't really user-friendly.)
      • This was how naval aircraft worked in WWII, dedicated fighters (F-4 Wildcat, F-6 Hellcat, [A6M] Zero) escorting or shooting down dedicated bombers and torpedo planes. Modern naval aircraft are dominated by space- and cost-effective hybrid "fighter-bombers""strike fighters" like the F-18.
    • The Death Star also qualifies: it has FTL propulsion, carries countless smaller fighter craft, has surface-mounted turbolasers for enemy fighters that get too close (although the first DS's turbolasers are ineffective at this), and the superlaser itself can take out large craft, as shown in Return of the Jedi. And, you know, planets.
      • Hell, take a look at this concept art for the Death Star. Yes, that is a dry-dock for Star Destroyers.


  • A staple in the Perry Rhodan universe from the beginning, with large capital ships inevitably carrying their complement of fighters and larger small craft (often up to nominal "light cruiser" size themselves) in addition to heavy weapons of their own. Said secondary crafts' actual combat effectiveness in any area where the big ships are busy engaging each other seems to be mainly subject to the needs of the plot—sometimes they're a genuine threat in and of themselves, sometimes the larger unit's commander refuses to even let them launch because of the risk.
  • C. J. Cherryh's warships in her Alliance Union 'verse do this in some cases, especially the Earth Company Fleet, whose main ships are "carriers", each of which has four "riders", smaller craft without FTL capability. They're not super-small, though, having a flight crew of four and the ability to carry some degree of cargo and passengers. They are atmosphere-capable, high-performance, and armed with powerful missiles and guns in combat. One book, Hellburner, covers events during the testing phase of these craft. The carriers themselves are heavily armed with guns and missiles, and do not rely on the riders for defense. Her earlier-written but much later in chronology Faded Sun trilogy features a carrier that has a single, much larger rider, which is not atmosphere-capable but is effectively an in-system cruiser.
  • The various planetoid-class Ships-of-the-Line in David Weber's Empire From the Ashes trilogy count (except for the Trosan-class). Massive ships the size of the Moon, capable of ridiculous speed, mounting extensive energy and missile batteries, and carrying a complement of parasite craft. Said parasite craft consist of separate battleships, cruisers, and two-man fighters. And the Fourth Empire had almost a million of them. Just 70 of these almost completely annihilate a millions-strong Alien Invasion fleet.
  • Honor Harrington has the Minotaur class of LAC carrier ships, and their successors. Although not intended to get directly involved in combat, the CLACs do carry some of the more traditional naval weapons in an acknowledgment of Finagle's Law.
  • In Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy series, most large human ships are Battlestars, able to launch at least some number of fighters. Smaller ships, including dedicated missile frigates are unable to do that, fulfilling more specialized roles. While there are no dedicated carrier ships (probably because the writer is Russian and is, therefore, influenced by Russian naval mentality). The largest (and most powerful) human ships are the flagship cruisers, able to launch dozens of fighters, as well as being armed to the teeth (missiles, plasma throwers, lasers, mass drivers). The defenses include point-defense systems, EM shielding against energy weapons, thick armor, and anti-boarding shield generators.
  • Although it doesn't start out with them, the Beijing in Lacuna receives a small fighter wing by the middle of the book.
  • The titular Merrimack from the Tour of the Merrimack. It is armed with missile launchers, beam cannons, and projectile barrels, and carries several flights of Marine Swifts.
  • Unusually averted in the granddaddy of all technoporn space operas, Lensmen. With the exception of some heavy cruisers and very fast scouts, virtually everything is a capital ship. There are no 'fighters' or light bombing craft at all.
  • Troy Rising's titular battlestation and its fellows, when fully armed and operational, not only have enormous quantities of missiles and lasers available to them, but also can hold within them an entire fleet of escort vessels, assault shuttles, and extensive support facilities like entire fabbers to repair battle damage and create more equipment, including missiles and escorting warships.[2]
  • Late in the Sten series, there's a newly built "battle cruiser" named Victory—which also carries a flotilla of twelve tacships (roughly equivalent to PT boats). Sten is dubious about this: he likes tacships, but carrying them makes the Victory vulnerable—lots of stuff that'll blow up; not enough space dedicated to armor to keep that stuff from blowing up; and having hangars at the rear of the ship interferes with placing sensors and weapons back there.

Sten had experience with tools, vehicles, and ships that were ostensibly dual- or multiple-purpose. Almost without exception that meant that the tool did quite a number of things badly, and nothing well.

  • In the Legends of Dune prequel trilogy, the Ballista-class battleships are the main warships used by the League Armada. Besides formidable weaponry, they carry 20 troop transports, 15 shuttles, 50 patrol craft, and 200 Kindjal Space Fighters. Each one also has a crew of 1500. They are later equipped with Deflector Shields and Holtzmann drives in addition to their pre-fold FTL drives. Even then, many are still destroyed during the Robot War. After the defeat of Omnius, it can be assumed the Ballistae were retired.
    • About 80 years after the end of the Butlerian Jihad, 200 of these are given by a weak-willed Emperor to appease Manford Torondo, the leader of the anti-technological Butlerians. About half of these are destroyed during a space battle with Venport Holdings forces, not that Torondo cares about casualties. It's noted that, being 80-year-old mothballed relics, they are inferior to latest warships used by Venhold (just 20 Venhold ships are able to inflict massive damage to the Butlerian fleet) and, likely, the Emperor.
  • Animorphs had the Blade Ship of Visser Three, which carried a flotilla of Bug Fighters, and probably plenty of Dracon cannons, and the Andalite dome ships, which possibly doubled as The Mothership. They could split in two so that the front half could become the fighter ship, while the back contained crew living quarters in a dome.
  • In Dread Empires Fall, there's essentially one kind of ship, and the only differences are the crew (max G's they can pull) and the number of missiles they have and the number of launchers they have for them. Apparently even the largest ships only need a single missile to gut them. That said, missiles are used to counter missiles in this setting, so more launchers can be more safety. All of these ships carry a crapton of missiles (but there are notable levels of "crapton"), defense lasers of various kinds, and small crafts called "pinnaces". A pinnace is meant to travel a safe distance behind the missiles and update their trajectories - the mothership cannot make tactical decisions from a light-minute away, after all! Those pinnace pilots have a notably low survival rate in combat, though a few have absurdly high kill-counts, mostly from single engagements. There is no dogfighting of any sort, because inertia in space. In a given battle, by the time the two sides have closed with each other, usually one or both sides are left with only destroyed, irradiated husks. In one battle in a gravity well, where the two factions made very close passes at each other, it was horribly messy and casualties were staggering.

Live-Action TV

  • The Cylon Basestars from the remake of Battlestar Galactica are a subversion. Although they're not dedicated missile/fighter carriers, they tend much more towards carriers than battleships, being thin-skinned and reliant on standoff missiles and Raiders to do damage. In terms of sheer firepower and survivability in a ship-to-ship engagement, Battlestars are consistently depicted as superior, with even the obsolete Galactica being able to outfight them, although this may just be a result of the Rule of Cool limiting the useful range of a Basestar's missiles.
    • Differing design philosophies. The Cylons had the initiative in both wars, plus had the advantage of having no fixed home to defend. As a result, the Basestar is a purely offensive platform, designed to support the raiders that are its primary weapons—much like an aircraft carrier. The Colonials, by comparison, were almost always on the back foot, and did have homes to defend. The Battlestar is as much, if not more, geared towards defense as offens e— hence the massive volume of armor and point defense systems, reflecting the fact that it might have to hold its ground and absorb everything thrown at it, in order to shield its protectees. The role Galactica played at Ragnar — throwing up a near-impenetrable barrier between the Cylons and the fleet — can probably be regarded as the exact job it was designed for.
    • Don't forget the FTL issue. Cylon raiders are FTL-capable, so Basestars can lurk well behind the front lines, and just jump to a new rendezvous point if they are threatened. Battlestars have to go right to the front, and stay there, in order to support their STL Vipers. This leaves them vulnerable, since FTL allows an enemy to launch a point-blank range attack without warning. Consequently, Battlestars have to have armor and lots of point defenses, and have the ability to fight back in the event that its Vipers are otherwise engaged.
    • The novel "The Cylons' Secret" gives following explanation: Because of Cylons overtaking computers, fighters had to be piloted by humans, but there were not enough pilots to match the numbers of Cylons. Thus the battlestar was born, which could assist fighters with its firepower. The tactics was for Vipers to provide cover against Raiders until the battlestar got in close range with the basestar, which could then be destroyed.
  • Most ships in Babylon 5 have at least some fighter complement, and all uses beam weapons.
    • However, many of these these capital ships are a nightmare to maneuver. But since you require a big fucking ship to carry engines capable of opening their own jump points anyway—with the White Stars as sole exceptions—and furthermore large rotating sections to produce artificial gravity at least in the Earth Alliance's case you might as well put some weapons on it.
    • In fact, this forms the basic battle-strategy of Babylon 5. The capital ships launch fighters, with the fighters keeping each other honest, while the capital ships shoot each other. If one ship fails to launch fighters, then the fighters, while usually not having enough power to destroy a capital ship unless it's sitting there and taking it, can still damage some of the weapons and engines, or force the ship to stop paying attention to the enemy capital ships.
    • Depending on the alien race, the name they use for a Battlestar-esque ship varies, with the name typically being some variation on "Cruiser". The humans, meanwhile, use "Cruiser" for their smaller warships, and call their battlestar-esque ships "Destroyers." The name seems to be catching on, probably due to the humans' support of the Interstellar Alliance.
      • This is not entirely true, as both the Hyperion-class heavy cruisers and Nova-class dreadnoughts (the two main types of capital ships used during the Earth-Minbari War) carry plenty of fighters and have a lot of firepower. The Nova, in fact, has much heavier weapons than the Omega-class destroyers, the current EarthForce workhorse, whose design is an evolution of the Nova. It's just that they also have a shorter range and much higher power requirements. The Hyperion, designed by a different company, was supposed to provide a quick-strike alternative to the Nova, but turned out not to be very effective. The Omega is based on the Nova chassis, with the addition of the spinning sections, but is armed with Hyperion-type weapons. Additional sources seem to indicate that EarthForce has many other types of warships, including dedicated carriers.
    • Interestingly, the Shadows and the Vorlons mostly use Attack Drones for fighters, as they're unwilling to put so many capable pilots on the firing line. Of course, the Shadows don't even pilot their own ships, using Mind Raped humanoids for that.
  • The Saratoga of Space: Above and Beyond.
  • This is a staple of the Stargate Verse:
    • The Goa'uld Ha'tak motherships carrying Death Gliders in Stargate SG-1.
    • The Wraith Hiveships carrying Wraith Darts in Stargate Atlantis.
    • For the Tau'ri, the X-303 Prometheus, first of the line, and the the BC-304 class, like the Deadalus and Odyssey, carry a contingent of F-302 fighters.
    • The Ancients' City Ships (i.e.:Atlantis) also qualify with their Gateships Puddle Jumpers.
      • Interestingly, their Aurora-class battleships don't fit this trope, as they don't carry Puddle Jumpers. However, given that their primary weapons are swarms of guided drones, this makes sense.
    • Replicator ships go whole hog on this as they are made entirely of Replicators, as are all weapons they use—so their missiles are basically fighters.
    • The Ori Warships also carry small fighters.
    • Of the frequently seen ships, the only ones that do not seem to follow the trope are the Asgard ships. (That's probably got something to do with the fact that the Asgard don't have the manpower for combat pilots.)
    • The Destiny from Stargate Universe. It has had (at least) one armed and operational shuttle, and looks to be overloaded with guns including a giant triple-barreled main gun... good luck getting any of them to fire though.
    • The Starfish "Catfish" "Blueberry" Aliens Naka'i also from SG-U have ships that fall into this trope. Their big blocky destroyers appear to be capable of launching fighter craft that swarm and overwhelm enemy ships with their sheer numbers rather than out-and-out firepower.
    • The Berserk Drone command ships also carry (and control) a bunch of drones.
  • The title ship from Andromeda.
    • While the slipfighters (you can guess by the name that they're FTL-capable) are designed to be piloted by living beings, there's nothing stopping them from being piloted remotely using VR goggles, as Tyr often does in the first season. Of course, when you send a single slipfighter to hold off dozens of enemy fighters, you're probably better off being inside Andromeda's thick armor than in a flimsy fighter cockpit. This has more to do with the fact that the Andromeda, for most of the series, is operating with a crew that doesn't even qualify as a "skeleton crew".
  • Largely avoided in Star Trek. While many ships carry a small contingent of shuttlecraft which are the same size as small fighters, there are few ships that even resemble dedicated battlecarriers. Those few include the Scimitar in Star Trek: Nemesis, the Akira-Class, and the non-existent "Warship Voyager". Some ships that are called fighters are more akin to corvettes.
    • The lack of "space fighters" in Star Trek is mainly due to production costs and the laws of physics. In TOS, it was hard enough to afford the SFX for phasers, photon torpedoes, and a single shuttlecraft. In the movies, the reason was science advisor (and NASA engineer) Jesco von Puttkamer, who pointed out that physics doesn't allow fighters to maneuver in vacuum the way they do in atmosphere, never mind That Other Sci-Fi Movie Franchise over at 20th Century-Fox. To put it simply, anything a "space fighter" can do in an actual space battle, a guided missile can probably do better- not to mention cheaper. (It doesn't need a pilot, it can be stored in a magazine, and you don't have to worry about recovering it after you've used it.) Starships in ST, TV or movies, are basically the space-going equivalent of modern guided-missile cruisers, like the U.S. Ticonderoga class or the Russian Kirov class. Their job is to use long-range, precision-guided missiles (the photon torpedoes) to achieve "stand-off kills". Their phaser banks are technically secondary weapons, roughly equivalent to the cruisers' 5" (or in the Kirov's case, 100mm) turret guns, or their rapid-fire Close-In Weapon Systems for defense against the other side's anti-ship missiles. (It's interesting that only the Star Fleet Battles game ever picked up on this point.) The fact that they tend to end up in point-blank phaser duels more often than not is mainly due to Rule of Cool plus, frankly, writers who Did Not Read The Manual. (Yes, the Writer's Guide for The Original Series explains all this.)
  • Especially since in the series the larger ships actually went faster than the smaller ones. The Enterprise D/E was a fine example, having almost no real top speed besides the semi-unreachable Warp 10.0 Voyager, only a little smaller, had a top speed of Warp 9.975.
  • Ultraman Tiga has the Artdessei, a Carrier Battleship capable of carrying three GUTS Wing fighters and packing a Wave Motion Gun. It's a relatively small example of the trope, but since it's Twenty Minutes Into the Future...
  • The Alliance "city-cruisers" in Firefly appear to be these, carrying a large number of "gunship" fighters and also some heavy energy weapons. In Serenity, we also encounter another, fairly Standard Sci-Fi Fleet.
  • In Farscape the Peacekeeper Command Carriers belong in this category, being armed with batteries of anti-ship Frag Cannons and possessing a large complement of Prowler fighters and Marauder troop transports.
    • The mini-series Peacekeeper Wars starts with a Space Battle showing two Standard Sci Fi Fleets clash, sparking off the Peacekeeper-Scarran conflict, which has been brewing for years.

Puppet Shows

  • The Supermarionation show Star Fleet gives a two-step variant: the huge alien mothership launches smaller carriers (looking like skeletal beasts) which then carry imperial fighters under their "ribcage" for deployment in battle.

Tabletop Games

  • Traveller had several "carrier" starships with spinal mount weapons and fighters. This was also true of the Tigress-class dreadnought, and indeed most Imperial cruisers and battleships.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has a few. Though they likely use manual labor to load the cannon shells. The Imperial Mars Class Battlecruiser is a pretty good example.
    • Then there is of course the Eldar Craftworlds which are planetoid sized Battlestars capable of launching fleets of "ordinary" Battlestars.
    • Since fighter-sized vessels (not frigates) in WH40K are often not FTL-capable, they are usually launched from a nearby carrier, some of which are quite heavily armed. Also, "stand alone" battlegroups such as Space Marine Battle Barges carry their own squadrons of fighters.
      • One, while Warhammer space fighters are big (jumbo jet sized), frigates are over 1.6 kilometres. Two, they are always launched from a carrier, be it a ship or a platform - fighter-sized craft lack the endurance to operate for any prolonged period of time. Three, I reckon you mean "stand alone" ships, such as the Oberon class battleship which was designed to operate without escorts. Battlebarges are usually accompanied by escorts, and only carry Thunderhawk gunships in compliance with their primary function - which is to deliver a company or three of Space Marines to a planet and then support them from orbit.
    • In Battlefleet Gothic game waves of bombers are powerful enough to destroy a battleship. Hence fighters are required to counter the bombers.
      • Indeed. However, the biggest carrier, the Emperor class, is still technically a battleship, and carries only marginally less weapon batteries (total; it can actually concentrate more firepower to one side due to most of it being carried in dorsal turrets) than the Retribution class, which is a dedicated "ship of the line". The difference is mostly the Emperor's lack of lances.
    • It should also be noted that many WH40K races are extremely keen on boarding actions and battleships can carry varying number of boarding pods to launch at enemies.
    • Also worth noting: vessels that in most other sci-fi universes are referred to as massive, huge, behemoth and such? At a 'mere' kilometer or two in length, they're roughly equivalent to 40K's tiny, single hit point frigates and destroyers. Anything truly deserving of the battlestar title in 40K (cruisers, heavy cruisers, battlecruisers, grand cruisers and battleships) is typically at least a good 10+ kilometers long and much more massive relative to its length than almost anything else in space.
  • BattleTech has its WarShips. Where plain old JumpShips are essentially immobile and unarmed targets only capable of ferrying DropShips from one star to the next due to about 95% of their mass being dedicated to their K-F drive alone, WarShips employ special "compact" cores that only weigh up about half as much and thus leave plenty of tonnage free to fill with maneuvering drives, guns, cargo, an organic fighter wing or two, more guns...and they can still carry DropShips with their own weapons and potential fighter assets just the same. (Just don't try to maneuver with the droppers still docked. You don't have magic "inertia dampeners" in this universe, so trying to accelerate at even 1G would basically turn your WarShip into a skyscraper with thousands-of-tons weights hanging from its sides by their docking collars...if your fleet is to go anywhere in-system, the DropShips will have to fly side-by-side with their big brother under their own power.)
  • One of the sample ships in GURPS: Spaceships is a massive dreadnought that carry 100000 tons of other ships inside, the idea being that it can carry its own escort fleet from place to place.
  • Jovian Chronicles: The Jovian Godsfire class super carrier and the CEGA Poseidon class Battleship. Somewhat justified that both were originally designed as battleships, but had exo and fighter bays added later on. The Valiant carrier qualifies due to its Wave Motion Gun described below.
  • The battleships of Star Fleet Battles exemplify this trope, with the greatest firepower in the game and large fighter contingents. "Historically" only the Klingons build them and they aren't very successful, but they're just so cool that every race gets a conjectural battleship and the Klingons get a conjectural super-battleship.
    • Many of the larger Hydran ships also fit the model, as the Hydrans are very fighter-happy and include them on most ships (even their tiny police ship carries fighters and launch tubes to get them out there fast).
  • Star Fleet Battles had their Space Control Ships, with their battleship level firepower and the ability to launch both fighters and "Fast Patrol Ships" (basically PT boats). One even includes a sensor scout in the mashup to be a SUPER Space Control Ship.
    • Star Trek: Starfleet Command maintains these for one race, as well.

Video Games

  • All M1 carrier class ships in X-Universe games are armed to the teeth, and carry dozens of fighters. They'll still be eaten alive by M2 destroyers (sometimes even by M7 frigates!) if the fighters aren't launched or get gunned down by flak arrays. This is largely because they lack the shielding and laser generator capacity of M2s. But the Split M7 Panther introduced in X3: Terran Conflict is a classic (if miniaturized) battlestar: it carries 32 fighters (much higher than ships of its class) while still being fast and fairly heavily armed.
  • At least a few types of ships in the Halo universe are like this. Most notably, the Covenant Assault Carrier, a 5+ kilometer behemoth, as well as the 27 km Super Carrier revealed in Reach. Most human ships can do both jobs as well—but they usually get called "cruisers" or "frigates", and are tiny in comparison (1200 and 480 meters, respectively, though actual human carriers may be are larger, around 3 km according to the recently-released encyclopedia).
  • Averted in Homeworld. The Mothership has only a few small point defense weapons, and the later researched Carriers and Battleships are two distinct ships. It was used by the residents of the Garden of Kadesh, with their needle ships being capable of spewing hordes of fighters and firing at least two or more higher end Ion Beams each. This may be why their capital ships are among the only ships in the game you can't capture and incorporate into your own fleet.
    • There's also the Bentusi Tradeships, whose primary weapons easily outclass those of the Kadeshi Needles. The player faction doesn't see them launch fighters fighters until the semi-sequel, Homeworld: Cataclysm, however.
    • Homeworld: Cataclysm also features this for the player faction's mothership; it gets a Wave Motion Gun, in fact.
    • In Homeworld 2 battlecruisers can't manufacture fighters like Carriers or the Mothership, but they do have facilities where fighters can dock and repair.
  • Wing Commander had this in several games, including the second game's TCS Concordia, armed with a full carrier wing, the Phase Transit Cannon which would kill other ships in a single shot no matter their size, and eight Antimatter cannons.
    • Many warships of destroyer size and larger also have integral fighter wings, albeit with rather fewer fighters than dedicated carriers.
    • Wing Commander III introduces the Kilrathi dreadnaught, an enormous (22 km) warship with a carrier's complement of fighters and numerous weapons, including anti-ship missiles.
    • Wing Commander IV features super-carriers, the Vesuvius class, absolutely humongous ships (e.g. your base ship, the Intrepid, is absolutely dwarfed by them) designed to carry ten fighter wings, with a large number of point-defense weapons and anti-capship guns (in the Novelization), and such tough armor that to destroy one requires flying into the fight deck and trashing its innards. Oh and to add, these behemoths can turn on a dime. There are no super-weapons incorporated in the design... fortunately, since it's used against you.
    • Although it doesn't start off as such by design, after the TCS Midway acquires the fleet-killing plasma cannon from an alien ship in Prophecy, it fits this trope.
  • Pretty much anything Destroyer-class or bigger in the Free Space series comes with a bunch of fighters (it's never specified exactly how many, but pretty much "lots"; probably hundreds) plus beam cannons to take on other enemy warships.
    • Hecate-class destroyers are canonically stated to carry 150 fighters, a wing is usually four fighters, and a squadron is generally accepted as 12, so a Typhon-class destroyer carries 120, and the aptly-named GTVA Colossus carries 240.
    • May be less ridiculous than it seems : Freespace ships tend to scale towards the gigantic. A Destroyer is between one to two kilometers long, the Colossus is 6 km (to give an idea of how huge they are, it takes as much as ten minutes for your fighter to fly from one end of such a ship to the other at full speed without warp drive). They probably have the space to multipurpose. The balance between hangar-space and firepower shows true in smaller ships. The Moloch is the only canon corvette to have a fighter-bay, and coincidentally it's firepower is noticeably weaker than other ships of that class. User-made campaigns tend to follow this trend : if a cruiser or corvette happens to have a fighter-bay, it will sport much weaker firepower.
    • It's also typically implied that the Destroyers in Freespace are absurdly expensive, as losing a friendly one usually results in someone saying "Oh God"
      • Also, probably because of the sheer manpower required to staff a miles-long ship being massacred (3,000+ crew on the 2-km Orion-class, more than 30,000 for the Colossus).
  • All ships with fighter complements in the Escape Velocity series have more firepower than other ships their faction has access to. This is probably because fighter bays can be installed on any ship with enough room, and anything big enough to carry much heavy firepower tends to be enormous anyways.
    • The be-all and end-all of the EV Nova battlestars is the Polaris Raven, a 1.2 km, vaguely butterfly-shaped ship literally built around its Wave Motion Gun and a fighter bay with greater capacity than anything else in the game.
  • The Great Fox from the Star FOX games. Albeit smaller than most examples, but it has the same philosophy; houses a squadron of four fighters, and has some pretty big anti-starship guns.
  • Every Super Robot Wars game, virtually every mission, has you launching from some battleship or other. They both join in the fray as lumbering, slow (but rather durable) ships of the line, and provide a place for weakened mechs to dock and repair/refuel. The above examples from Gundam and Macross are common, as well as originals such as the Hagane and Shirogane. The Kurogane even has a giant drill on the front to ram things.
    • W's Valstork goes the extra mile by attaching one of its robot contingent, the Valhawk, to its Wave Motion Gun to amplify its power, and later actually combining with the Valhawk to form the giant ship-robot Valguard.
    • And then there's the Iron Gear from Xabungle, which in addition to packing an eight-inch gun, can just turn into a hundred-meter-tall robot and step on you.
  • Averted in EVE Online: Only carriers can carry fighters, and carriers cannot fit gun or missile batteries. Other ship classes can mix guns, missiles and unmanned drones, but cannot use fighters.
    • Then there's the Mothership and the even bigger Titan. They can carry players.
  • In the Naval Ops series, there is a class of ship called the Battlecarrier. It can mount a moderate number of battleship-class guns and has a flight deck to allow a likewise moderate amount of planes (or ducks) to be deployed in battle.
  • Averted by default in O-Game. Small fighters do exist but they are implied to fly alongside all the others ships in an attack fleet rather than in carriers which raises serious logistical questions.
  • In the Star Control series, the Ur-Quan Dreadnought can launch swarms of fighters to pick apart any ships its main gun can't obliterate. It's obviously meant to look almost exactly like the original Battlestar Galactica ... well, if it were green, and crewed by Scary Dogmatic Aliens who are the antagonists rather than the heroes.
    • To a lesser extent, the Orz Nemesis (with its Space Marines) and Chenjesu Broodhome (with remote-controlled drones) also qualify.
  • In Sins of a Solar Empire, as capital ships level up, they gain the ability to house squadrons of fighters or bombers. Even the capital ships labeled as "carriers" still have enough firepower to, at least, fight off frigates and cruisers, although another capital ship will outgun it. The Advent Halcyon-class carriers are armed with powerful beam weapons, allowing them to Beam Spam on par with the other Advent ships.
    • Averted with the cruiser-type escort carriers, which have no weapons beyond their ability to construct and launch 1-3 wings of fighters or bombers.
    • It should be pointed out, though, that the Advent use Attack Drones instead of actual Space Fighters.
  • Sword of the Stars plays with this extensively:
    • There are no true fighters or bombers, only assault shuttles, planetary bombers, and unmanned Attack Drones. Most of these are riders mounted outside the ship rather than launched from an internal hangar or bay.
    • Destroyer or cruiser carriers lack the firepower to be true line combatants. The closest are dreadnought carriers. The Morrigi (who else) flagship exemplifies this trope.
    • One twist comes from the Morrigi, who mount drones on more ship types than other races that need special drone carrier sections.
    • Another comes from the Tarka, whose admittedly late-game Hunter Battle Riders are cruiser-sized - normal riders are dwarfed by destroyers - with the attendant firepower that implies, though Sequel Escalation is in effect as the races have gone up to dreadnought riders on Leviathans by the second game.
  • Military starships are divided into four main types in Mass Effect:
    • Dreadnoughts, kilometer-long behemoths with an 800 meter long mass accelerator capable of taking down the shields (it spams nukes more or less) of any ship in Citadel space.
      • As revealed in Mass Effect 3, any ship can be classified as a dreadnought if it's fitted with powerful enough guns. Outfitting all civilian ships (including 3 massive liveships used for all food production) with the powerful Thanix cannons counts, although not according to the quarians themselves.
    • Carriers, similar in size to Dreadnoughts but armed only with fighters. Similar to modern aircraft carriers (a well-placed shot in the hangar will gut the carriers, and general strategy is to defend them at all costs). An entirely human innovation and one of many examples of Humans Are Special. Because Carrier construction is not limited by the Treaty of Farixen (see the Washington Naval Treaty), the human Systems Alliance builds as many of them as it can.
      • In this case it's more of "only humans are crazy enough to Zerg Rush a ship with anti-fighter lasers to a point were they overheat allowing heavy bombers to come in".
    • Cruisers, mid-size ships that also carry a small number of fighters. They lack a dedicated hangar and therefore fit them into the spaces between layers of armor. This is the closest the Mass Effect has to The Battlestar, athough the in-game codex call them "The poor bloody infantry" of space warfare...
    • Frigates, which carry no fighters and instead operate in "wolf-pack" flotillas.
  • In the Star Wars game Empire at War, this is The Empire's hat: Any Imperial ship bigger than a corvette has several free fighter compliments. The logical conclusion is the Executor, from the expansion, which can launch a squadron every few seconds, on top of being the biggest ship in the game.
  • The Behemoth-class battlecruisers in StarCraft in Expanded Universe act as carriers for Wraith-class fighters, dropships, and other small craft. This is not, however, shown in the game, probably because the game unit scaling is way off, showing the fighters to be a third of the size of the battlecruisers.
    • Protoss carriers are also shown to have formidable weapons in Expanded Universe and the intro of the original game. Not so much in the game. A fan-made video shows the Ganthritor (Tassadar's flagship) One-Hit Kill several Behemoth-class battlecruisers withotu even launching its interceptors.
  • Star Patrol in Tachyon: The Fringe have cruisers which appear to combine the characteristics of several different classes: speed/maneuverability of a frigate, firepower of a cruiser, and fighter-carrying capability of a carrier. Unfortunately, their capabilities are never shown in the game, which is focused on fighter combat.
  • The Durandal of the Xenosaga trilogy, a 4,000m-long penis extension sword-shaped battleship belonging to the Kukai Foundation. It possesses advanced weaponry that outstrips even the Federation's special forces and is regularly seen kicking the crap out of fleets of enemy ships. It made its debut in Episode I by ramming an enemy vessel, for crying out loud. It serves as home base for the protagonists for much of the series until its absorbed by the Eldritch Abomination Abel's Ark and is turned into a twisted and grisly Nightmare Fuel-providing wreck.
  • Star Trek Online has two carriers for the Klingon side - the Vo'Quv and the Kar'fi; both are battle-stars as the Vo'Quv carries 6 guns, and the Kar'fi 7. The main 'battleship' types in the game carry 8, so they aren't far behind at all, and the Vo'Quv is exceptionally tough.
  • Infinite Space has several classes of battleship that have catapults and so can be equipped with fighters. Some cruisers have them as well, but equipping them with fighters is usually less efficient as they have less space to spare.
  • All battleships in Freelancer are implied to be Battlestars (at the very least, you can land on them, and I think other fighters do as well). However, fighters are so independent in the game (capable of their own hyperjumps, and often seen prowling on their own all over the Sirius sector) that it's more likely that a battleship is supposed to be escorted into battle by fighters, rather than launch fighters upon entering battle, therefore staying on the very edge of this trope.
    • The fighters also tend to be incredibly overpowered compared to capital ships. During the campaign, there are plenty of missions where you have to take out cruisers and battleships almost all by yourself. Better hope you packed your torpedo launcher this morning.
  • The largest ships in the Space Empires games are baseships, quite literally moving starbases. Being so spacious, they can accommodate lots of fighters as well as standard ship weaponry.
  • If you've researched or otherwise acquired fighters in Master of Orion, you can put them on just about any ship. Since fighters can take quite some time to get to their targets and can be shot down on the way, Battlestars may be more viable than true carriers.
  • In Star Ruler you can tack ship bays together with guns on any spacecraft you design, as well as construction bays to add Mobile Factory ability if you wish. However, since capacity scales with ship size, you will only get useful strikecraft complements with big capships. It helps to use Quantum Compressors to make Clown Car Bases. Then you get into ever-larger supercapital craft that use capitals for parasite complements... Behold. The famous Galactic Armory mod adds two hulls meant for this; the Carrier Hull, like the name suggests, leans more to normal carriers in being relatively thin-skinned and trades some space away for having strikecraft bays integrated right into the hull, while the Mothership Hull is closer to a Battlestar, trading out some space and not having the option of extra ship bays in order to accommodate more weapons and stuff.
  • Averted for the players in Battlestar Galactica Online. Escorts and Lines are pure combatants while Carriers have no business being at the front.

Web Comics

  • Schlock Mercenary has Battlestars on practically all major sides. With the advent of advanced gravity control and AI present in the series, capital ship battles appear to be decided by who is able to project the most force in as many different ways as possible, on the upper end of the scale one-trick ponies give way to ships that can do many things at the same time, as a consequence of gravitic shields and power being provided by the same annie plants (huge ships with huge powerplants are far too expensive to leave them idle when there's no need in the one primary function).
    • Tausennigan Thunderhead Superfortress - carries 16 warships, has everything from point-defence to bombardment weaponry, crew of 200, plus up to 10,000 soldiers. The second ship of the protagonists was a decommissioned Thunderhead they named the "Post-Dated Check Loan" (formerly "Sword of Inevitable Justice"). Smaller than a battleplate, but already fits («as much firepower and carriage as any two of our carrier groups put together»).
    • Later we get introduced to the UNS Battleplates, which are equally fitting. They started as a way to protect planets from impacts (whether stray asteroids or projectiles moving at relativistic velocities), which is why they are named after impact craters. But they end up as more mobile bases than ships. A battleplate can hold and launch not just one-man fighters, but a "small" fleet of starships. It can carry well over 100,000 people total, from fleet command staff to civilian contractors and dependents. The "usual"spoilers! choice for headquarters of military forces, intelligence agencies etc — including Sol System customs service. After introduction of teraport the possible uses of battleplates drifted even more from system defence vessels, and now internal modules with non-essential crew and facilities, commercial sector, etc can be ejected before moving into a battle zone - and the given rounded numbers of remaining combat personnel for different battleplates were 30,000 and 50,000.
    • The (probable) crowning example would be the so-far only seen Ob'enn "plate-class" ships, which seems to have similar purpose: "Cloak of Untrammelled Dignity" is orbiting their homeworld and apparently serves as the flagship (their king has a whole throne room there). At little over one thousand kilometres in length and a total size of five hundred thousand cubic kilometres, it is roughly about five thousand times larger than the "Morokweng" (assuming the "Morokweng" was about twice the size of the "Tunguska", one of the oldest and smallest battleplates at a 'mere' 32 cubic kilometres in size). It's visibly composed of modules, however — each comparable to a battleplate.
  • The eponymous "Moonhawk" in Starship Moonhawk is a prime example of both a Battlestar and a Wave Motion Gun. However, the latter has (thus far) only appeared in bonus art.

Western Animation

  • From Exo Squad we have the Resolute and Resolute II which are cool starships. They double as Exo-Frame Carriers and both carried huge guns into battle, making them Battle Stars.
  1. Which will get very hairy if their fighter screen is intact.
  2. the stations are also serving as Earth's shipyards, as being much easier to defend than shipyards in orbit around a world