|SFB At MattNet "Playing SFB on the Internet" What makes a carrier?|
Star Fleet Battles makes the distinction between several different kinds of carriers in the body of it's rules. The operating doctrine of most empires results in three different types of carriers: Those who carry fighters, those who might trade a couple shuttles for fighters, and those without fighters. On the other hand the Hydrans (being the fighter race of the alpha octant) splits hairs a little further: Those with enough fighters, those too few fighters, those who didn't have room for more than one or two fighters, and those ships that are unprotected by fighters.
True carriers are a holdover from the game Federation & Empire to refer to a ship that carries full squadrons of fighters. In SFB this has largely lumped into the term "Fully Capable Carrier". When using this term, it is assumed that the unit is also a Fully Capable carrier.
When speaking of Hydran ships, those listed in (R9.N4) are "True Carriers" and treated here. Generally speaking, if the unit has an carrier escort table in it's Section-R description, then it is a true carrier.
Fully Capable Carrier
A fully capable carrier is a unit that has all of the equipment of a carrier (EW gear, weapon freezers, ready racks) and has the logistical train of a carrier (fighter pods, drone reloads, dash packs), but may not have the operational importance of a "real" carrier (as represented by escorts, MRS shuttles, or better fighters.)
Hybrid carriers are units that carry more than a couple fighters but are not strategically a carrier. These are "Fully Capable" carriers as above, but not "True Carriers" in the above sense.
Most Hydran ships qualify as Hybrid Carriers (those with the "V" note in the Master Ship Chart but are not True Carriers.) Other races define hybrid ships by (S8.322) and (S8.323).
Casual carriers are ships that carry fighters but don't have the equipment to effectively service or control large amounts of fighters. Casual carriers are defined by (J4.62). Generally speaking these are ships that carry a few fighters, don't need escorts, but can't lend the fighters EW and don't have many fighter supplies.
This category is where many HDWs find themselves, several WYN ships, and Hydran ships who excersize (R9.R6)
• Carries a lesser amount of fighter supplies (J4.621)