The Kirov-class Battlecruiser is a highly versatile ship design which forms the backbone of the Soviet Star Union's war fleets.
The Kirov class is primarily designed for the role of Ship of the Lance. As it is not designed to participate in the main line of battle, the Kirov has lighter armor and fewer turret emplacements than larger ship designs of the Soviet Star Union. Its primary role is that of capital ship killer, as evidenced by its two massive axial railguns, which run down the length of the warship, through its center.
Despite this, the Kirov carries a respectable complement of strike craft and its capability for sustained close combat should not be underestimated, as the ship is also outfitted with a number of medium-caliber Plasma Lance batteries, as well as an array of heavy railgun batteries which can deal significant damage to an enemy vessel.
Complementing this assortment of weapons, are twenty heavy missile tubes, which can carry an assortment of anti-ship and ship-to-planet missiles, typically with a fusion warhead, although Kirov battlecruisers armed with antimatter missiles are not unknown.
Due to their lighter armor, Kirov-class battlecruisers are fast and very maneuverable for their size and very effective when using hit-and-run tactics, but they are bulky and cumbersome in atmosphere and their small number of point defense guns makes them vulnerable to formations of bombers.
The Kirov-class is powered by a matter-antimatter fusion reactor and it is capable of impressive acceleration. The Kirov is also capable of two methods of FTL travel. Within Soviet space, it uses a Type-8 Rift Drive for instantaneous travel from beacon to beacon, through Riftspace. Outside of Soviet territory, where Riftspace infrastructure is unavailable, or as a backup system, the Kirov uses a Mikoyan 435 Warp Drive which, although slower and dependent on Element 435 as a fuel source, gives the ship a high degree of mobility.
Kirov-class battlecruisers can carry up to 60 lance fighters, although typical strike craft complements for this ship class, consist of 48 fighters and 12 bombers. Additionally, the ship can carry up to 12 Aerospace Dropships, which can ferry troops, vehicles and equipment to a planet's surface.