Last updated on 2/23/98
Before the Dilgar war, the Earth Alliance considered its fighters to be direct combat support units. System defense, especially outlying systems, required more endurance then current fighters possessed. In addition, many of the rim systems did not have orbital support, which further limited the use of the non-atmospheric capable EA fighters. The Wolf class patrol boat was the Earth Alliance's answer to system patrol and defense. Its aerodynamic design allowed for unassisted takeoffs and landings from the planetary surface and it was heavily armed for its size. Crew comfort was minimal but the Wolf was robust and easily maintained.
The vessel proved very successful before the Dilgar war and patrols of two of these vessels could deter much larger vessels. However initial contact with the Dilgar proved less than successful for the Wolf. The Dilgar's excellent fighter design and their longer-range weapons meant that the Wolf's were often over whelmed before they could inflict any real damage to opposing vessels. The EA quickly updated the Wolf class by adding an interceptor system and installing several hard points on the hull for external ordinance, giving the Wolf a limited long range punch while improving its anti-fighter capability.
View the Control Sheet of the Wolf Class System Patrol Boat
Earth Force does not officially name its system patrol boats, merely identifying them with class numbers. However, this policy has not deterred the crews of these vessels from providing their own names. In addition, the long cherished tradition of nose art is continued on these vessels in particular, taking advantage of the lack of military protocol, which often occurs, in out-of-way systems.
Before there were aircraft, most major navies used smaller patrol vessels to monitor areas of interest or provide needed harbor or local area support. Much like the Coast Guard does now. In the early years of Babylon 5, fighters lacked endurance to provide system wide support, shuttles lacked firepower and both lacked versatility. Without orbital support, any vessel stationed in the area would need the ability to launch and land from a planet, carrying with it all the equipment needed to support its intended roll.
Looking at the control sheet, it may be that this vessel is too heavily armed for a Coast Guard type vessel. However, this vessel would expect little in the way of instant support and would thus be completely on its own. In addition, this vessel includes the refits, which gave it the external mounted missiles and the interceptor system. Both of which were in response to Dilgar action, both of which greatly enhance its combat effectiveness. Take those away and its firepower remains reasonably impressive, but at close range only. The version shown here is a vessel of war, patrolling systems near the enemy while freeing up larger, deep space vessels.
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