The Thunderbolt class corvette was one of the Belt's most effective combatants during the war. At nearly 20,000mt dry weight , the Thunderbolt was big for a corvette, but it could hold its own against Martian Sirius class destroyers and it could, and did, tear apart Martian corvettes in single engagements.
The Thunderbolt was built for endurance, raiding and stealth, but with twenty drone tubes, it could also contribute greatly to major engagements, providing concentrated firepower in a single salvo. Rounding out its offensive capabilities were two spinal 30GJ cannons, six 3.8m 16GJ glasers and six triple turrets firing 100MJ guided munitions for both commerce raiding and point defense.
Its stealthed hull and its ten highly efficient 50TWe(max) fusion reactors linked to variable thrust ion engines, provided the Thunderbolt with a signature no greater than a Marauder and endurance, at least at lower accelerations, unequaled by any military vessel. Unfortunately, maximum thrust at full power was barely 100,000mt, providing little more than 4Gs acceleration with nearly dry tanks. This defect limited the Thunderbolt to a stand-off role and to commerce raiding.
Only twenty-six Thunderbolts were built before or during the Martian-Belter war, limiting their effectiveness. Kantor Shipyards on Psyche was the sole builder of the class and the firm's strict enforcement of patents on its drive train and hull coating technologies prevented additional procurement.
These limited numbers crippled Admiral Hauser's attempt to execute a "U-Boat" strategy against Martian military and civilian spacecraft. In him memoirs, Hauser insisted that he would have won the war with a hundred Thunderbolts, a questionable assertion that, of course, cannot be tested.
-- excerpt from Twenty-sixth Century Warships
, Dr. Lerona Basquelle, Artemis ePress 2609
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