Designed by Stephen Huda
The Fleet 2300 Project was a revolution in naval technology and design. A century of haphazard design and construction of new classes had left the American navy with divergent capabilities that did not always complement each other. One class might boast a new hyperdrive while another had improved deflection grids but lacked the smartest missile launchers. It was the Shiny Toy Syndrome, and in the century after Contact we had many Shiny Toys to discover. To further exacerbate issues, it was often difficult to upgrade the ships since many of them were designed as more test bed projects than fully-realized modern warships. These ships did their duties well despite the difficulties, but the complaints of captains and crews were often legendary. The Fleet 2300 Project ended the series of sporadic upgrades and placed every advanced technology we knew how to build into the action. The Austin-class destroyer, Los Angeles-class heavy cruiser, and Empire-class battleship were the most successful results of that project.
The Los Angeles-class heavy cruiser was the last of the Big Three designs to come out of the Fleet 2300 Project, and very nearly did not make it into production at all. Design goals changed often over the twenty years it took to bring them to space. One administration would ask for heavy weapons. The next would ask for fighters. Another would say it has to be a command ship. Another would say it would have to operate independently. And many a congressman slipped some new requirement into the design proposal after a well-timed meeting with a major corporate donor. The shifting requirements were legion, and the plans changed all the way up through and after final production. Everybody wanted their fingers in on what everybody knew was the future of the American navy.
The prototype Los Angeles sailed out of Yosemite Yards in 2295 and promptly broke down. A year of rigorous testing and redesign helped the ship to set sail successfully in 2296. But stray harmonics in the hyperdrive nearly tore the ship apart when they tried to test it. Another year fixed that, but the maximum power engine test in 2297 resulted in three of the engines ripping away from the ship and burying themselves in the Lunar surface. The fourth engine held fast but refused to shut down, sending the ship into a dizzying acrobatic display that made most of the congressional witnesses throw up. The ones not inside the ship. Those inside would spend months in and out of the hospitals recuperating.
Desperate to save the flagging design, Yosemite Yards sought accomplished fleet captains and experienced crewmembers to help them nail down all the gremlins. That was when Captain Olivia Wyatt joined the project. The experienced naval personnel explored the prototype from stem to stern and tore almost every cubic centimeter apart during the twenty-six month process. Congressional oversight nearly cancelled the project a dozen times and corporate protests against their favorite system being torn out, sometimes through brute force, filled the halls of Congress. But the prototype set sail again in early 2301 and passed every naval test.
The prototype did not enter service though. After six years of cutting, prodding, and poking, the admiralty noted distrust that the ship could be spaceworthy, despite the protestations of her crew, and refused to christen her. They did authorize the first construction run of eight new cruisers based on her though, and Yosemite Yards went to work. The eighth ship of the class had recently launched from her docks and was undergoing space trials on June 15th, 2304 with her sisters when the Shang attacked and destroyed Yosemite Yards. The War had come.
The surviving admiralty quickly rechristened every ship of the class in honor of cities destroyed or badly damaged by the Shang attack. They renamed the class after destroyed Los Angeles and even rushed the prototype into deployment. She became the USS Los Angeles. Those original cruisers and others soon built by other yards became the backbone of the American fleet in the early years of The War, and continued to serve until Wars End. Most have been retired since then, though they are still seen in system and corporate guard squadrons.
The Los Angeles comes equipped with two heavy spinal gravitic cannons and six forward-firing capital-class laser cannons for anti-ship use. Thirty-eight heavy missile turrets and dozens of anti-fighter weapons make her a more powerful warship than any Earth ship before the Fleet 2300 Project could boast. The hangar bay behind the armored wedge easily supports a squadron of Hellcats, numerous shuttles, and an armored Marine company. Her cargo bays can carry enough consumables for six months of deployment without resupply, and ships of this class often carry enough to maintain smaller warships attached to them.
She is a true multi-role warship and the lessons learned in her design and construction are followed to this day.