|Build cost:||2000 RU|
|Build time:||280 sec|
|Maximum speed:||75 m/s|
|Turning rate:||8.0 deg/s|
|Squadron firepower:||43.9 HP/s|
|weapon type||count||RPM||damage||individual firepower||total firepower|
As the journey to the homeworld passed the outer rim and into the empire proper, the Mothership's engineers were faced with new opportunities and new challenges. The military minds of the fleet hungered for an answer to the imperial carriers, something that could ease the logistical burdens on the Mothership, or even conduct fully independent operations. Designs for super-capital scale ships had been on drawing boards since the mothership's primary construction bay had been designed, but matching the example set by the imperial and turanic carriers involved in the attack on Kharak initially seemed out of reach, even after studying the available data on those ships.
The limiting factors were reactor and hyperspace core size. To act as an effective carrier required a long range hyperdrive, and while the Mothership's hyperdrive had range to spare, it was also titanic and power hungry. Captured and dismantled hyperdrives, along with the debris of destroyed ones, brought both information about modern hyperdrive design and the materials needed to experiment. A firmer understanding of the realities of hyperdrive war also led the design teams to cut down the requirements, now knowing that the mothership's long stride was typically wasted by early interruptions or nearby destinations. Along with much improved large-scale fusion reactor designs and novel construction techniques purchased from the Bentusi, by the time the fleet emerged from the Kadesh nebula they were ready to attempt the carrier idea at last.
Even with all the advancements, the first generation of Imperator carriers were cramped. Many pilots joked that they had more room in their cockpits than their quarters, squeezed out by the construction and resource-processing bays. But the ship proved it's worth. The hangar bays were far more battle-ready than the motherships's bottle-necked layout, with far more ships being able to dock or launch from it simultaneously without fear of collision, a fact that saved lives and battles more than once. As a resource extraction shepherd it was as effective as the mothership at a fraction of the size, though it lacked the full construction capability of it's parent.
The Imperator left it's mark on history. Three carriers were deployed during the Homeworld War, and their commanding officers went on to be prominent leaders in the post-landfall days. When the mothership was converted into shipyard after the war, the Imperator was the ship it produced the most of, seeds of fleets for any Kiith that could afford them. The Daiimid's direct approval was, and still is, required for such a construction project, both due to the amount of the shipyard's capacity it occupies, and due to the implications of carrier ownership. No amount of software safeguards can keep an operation carrier construction system from turning a so-inclined owner into a strategic player.
On it's inception the Unitied Navy was granted full rights to use and modify the Imperator design at will, and we have continuously modernized the ship. Modern Imperators are the hearts of any operation that doesn't call for a full Mothership intervention, and much more comfortable places to live than their ancestors. Around the galaxy the Imperator is an instantly recognized symbol of Kushan power, be that welcomed or not.
Commanders must however always keep in mind the fragility of a carrier. A livable base for pilots on top of all it's other functions leaves little room for defensive weaponry or armor, making it an extremely appealing target for attack, especially if the enemy has access to hyperspace inhibition technology to keep the carrier trapped and reinforcements from responding quickly. For this reason, doctrine recommends that carriers be accompanied by heavy escort whenever outside of well-controlled zones such as Higaara itself.