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Escort Ships Overview
In the final 3 episodes of Space: Above and Beyond, three new, unnamed Earth Force ships can be seen, escorting the much larger carriers. Unfortunately, the appearances of these ships are very brief, the craft are seldom in the foreground and the footage is very dark, making the ships very difficult to discern. In order to get a better look at them, I took some screen captures from these scenes in Media Player Classic and boosted the contrast in Photoshop. In many cases, Photoshop had so little contrast and to work with that the image just became scrambled, at which point, I tried to boost the contrast by a lesser degree manually.
Type-A - Missile Cruiser / Electronic Warfare Vessel
The Type-A has a mostly rectangular hull with a steeply sloping front, two large engine pods on downward-sloping pylons and a large, raised bridge module at the rear. They clearly have a large number of protrusions on their decks; possibly small turrets or missile doors. This makes me think that this ship may be a guided missile cruiser with a vertial launch system. The front of the ship is covered with many forward-facing yellow antennas. On the deck are a large number of protrusions, which appear to be missile doors or small, pop-up turrets. The hull has a large hangar bay door in its side towards the bow, apparently large enough for an ISSCV to enter. While this ship is a tiny fraction of the size of a carrier, it is still a very substantial size, judging from the number of decks indicated by its window lights. Interestingly, the window lights are all towards the back of the ship. This makes sense in terms of protecting the crew from head-on attack. Two small domes are visible on each side of the bow; possibly point-defence guns or sensors. The rectangular engine pods feature four intakes at the front and a circular engine port with 24 individual thrusters. There is also a pod or structure underneath the hull. This appears to have two exhaust ports facing rearwards.
Type-B - Stealth Cruiser
From a distance, this ship can be confused for the one above but on closer inspection there are a number of differences. This ship is condiderably flatter, with a much more compact profile and appears to be slightly smaller and more compact in general. The ship has a much flatter, alligator-like snout. Near the front, is a pod on either side of the hull, supported on upward-sloping pylons. These look to be the right size to be torpedo launchers. On the deck are two smaller long pods, which again appear to be weapons, along with a number of other greebles. The front half of the ship and and weapons pods are well illuminated with several bright exterior lights. The two engine pods are attached directly to the hull and feature more rectangular engine ports, an intake on the front and a running light on the top. Above this, an interesting-shaped, wide, flat bridge module is attached directly to the hull.
Type-C - Destroyer
This the most distinctive of the three. It has a broad, heavily-armoured twin bow and a slender tail section. The ship clearly features a large gun on its deck and four small turrets around the bow, flanking the main gun at the top. There are two small missile launchers turrets along its spine, situated between the main gun and the bridge at the back. The ship appears to feature a number of medium-size guns underneath the bow and two similar guns, facing rearwards, roughly midships. Lastly, there appear to be two small guns or antennae at the back, directly behind the bridge. The three engines are integrated into the hull, rather than into separate pods. Two engines are mounted in an interesting, diagonal configuration, while the third engine, below, is mounted horizontally.
While these vessels appear to be armed, none are ever seen to fire, even when under attack and, strangely, seem to rely on the carriers for protection. I suspect that these craft were created in a hurry for inclusion near the end of the series. I think that time constraints probably prevented their designers from giving them the relevant action points and animations that would have been needed to make them fire, whereas this work had already been done for the carriers.
Maintenance Drone and Freighter
A small drone is shown, in only one shot, among the escort ships. It has a spherical head, pods along the fuselage, a large, circular dish on its back and fins at the rear. It is hard to make out anything more about this small vehicle since it appears only fleetingly and its shape is obscured by the carrier behind it. On watching the show again more recently, I think that this is the same vehicle that appears near the bridge of the Saratoga in many shots throughout the series. I get the feeling that the show's creators intended it to be similar to the WSKR drones from SeaQuest. Lastly, a number of freighters; either identical or similar to the Macarthur from episode 5 form part of the battle group.
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