A Capital Ship is the largest type of ship, and includes a variety of both military and civilian models and classes. Other distinguishing characteristics are that they are not directly piloted like smaller vessels, but directed by a captain and command crew, and they can only dock with specialised Capital Ship Docks instead of facilities with standard Landing Pads.
The Federal Navy and Imperial Navy utilize unique Capital Ships primarily designed for combat and fleet coordination called Battlecruisers. They are capable of transporting and deploying squadrons of smaller ships and Ship-Launched Fighters.
The Farragut-Class Battle Cruiser is the mainstay Battlecruiser of the Federation. Heavily armed with classified weaponry, the Farragut stretches over two kilometers long. The backbone of the Federal Navy, it also forms the central core of the Federation Intervention fleet.
The Majestic-Class Interdictor is the Empire's Battlecruiser. It has an array of weaponry including Modular Interceptor Guns and Railguns. It is slightly under two kilometers long. Although less heavily-armed than the Federation's Farragut, it is also designed to project soft-power through diplomacy and features a rotating ring capable of simulating gravity.
Civilian-operated Capital Ships are generally classified as Megaships. There are many subtypes that fill a variety of specific roles. The three main types are Bulk Cruisers, which are used for anything from freight transportation to prisoner incarceration, Flight Operations Carriers, which feature five Landing Pads, and Generation Ships, which are antiquated, pre-Hyperdrive vessels once used to transport interstellar colonists at sublight speeds.
Fleet Carriers are Capital Ships with Landing Pads that can accommodate smaller vessels. They can be purchased and operated by Pilots Federation-licensed pilots, who are responsible for commanding and paying the crew. The only existing Fleet Carrier model is the Drake-Class Carrier, a product of the Brewer Corporation.
Other types of Capital Ships include:
- Battleships - The largest and most powerful military vessels ever fielded, more heavily-armed and slower than Battlecruisers.
- Thargoid Mothership - Capital Ships reportedly used by Thargoids.
- In The Commanders Livestream, a viewer asked "any chance of playing capital ships in the future?", David Braben answered: "it's on the list, but a long way down it, because there's a lot of gameplay to make it work. The issue is what we call the difference between direct control and executive control. Where rather than flying by the seat of your pants you're giving orders to a giant ship. Because you can't expect it to change course very rapidly and that sort of thing. So it's certainly a long-term possibility, but it's long-term."