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The Drake-Class Carrier, also known as the Fleet Carrier, is a Capital Ship manufactured by Brewer Corporation. It is the largest and most expensive vessel available to independent pilots for purchase. It features a total of 16 Landing Pads to accommodate other conventional ships, and is jump-capable, allowing it to act as a mobile base with much of the functionality and services of a typical Station.
These high-value vessels are an all-new class of ship, soon to be available on the open market. Offering a range of customisation options, carriers represent a new era of spacefaring.
— Reveal description
Drake-Class Carriers are a model of Capital Ship designed to serve as Carriers for fleets of smaller ships. Pilots are restricted to owning only one Fleet Carrier each, and instead of piloting it directly as with conventional ships, they can command it to jump between different locations. The main feature of the vessels is their Landing Pads, which provide many of the same services as conventional Stations, including Refuel, Repair, Rearm, and more depending on what the vessel's owner has funded. Each Fleet Carrier possesses 16 total Landing Pads: 8 large, 4 medium, and 4 small. The owner controls the docking permissions, and can restrict who may dock. Each Drake-Class Carrier has a total cargo capacity of 25,000 t, which is used both to store commodities and hold the infrastructure necessary for various optional services, and a total fuel capacity of 1,000 t of Tritium.
Like the Farragut Battle Cruiser and Majestic Class Interdictor, the Drake-Class Carrier is equipped with a Capital Ship-class Frame Shift Drive, allowing it to jump between star systems. It has a maximum jump range of 500 ly and can travel anywhere in the galaxy, with the exception of permit-locked systems, and the owner can schedule a jump for any time that they wish. In order to undertake a jump, the ship must be supplied with a certain amount of a fuel called Tritium, that can either be purchased from Commodity Markets at Starports with a Refinery economy or mined from surface and sub-surface deposits on icy asteroids. Every jump that the Fleet Carrier performs inflicts a degree of wear and tear on the vessel, which incurs additional maintenance costs.
Jumps can be plotted through both the Galaxy Map and the System Map, and the destination system must be within the Fleet Carrier's maximum jump range. If the Galaxy Map is used, the vessel will arrive at a random body in the selected system. If the System Map is used, the owner can select a specific body within a system as the destination. Plotting through the Galaxy Map can be done regardless of whether the system has been charted or not, while plotting through the System Map is only an option if the system has been charted. Be aware that it is possible to jump a Fleet Carrier to a system it may not be able to depart from due to insufficient fuel.
Once the owner schedules a jump, there is a one-hour buildup period immediately preceding the jump, followed by a one-hour cooldown period after the jump completes. During the buildup period, the Fleet Carrier broadcasts a system-wide announcement notifying local pilots of the imminent jump, but the owner can still cancel the jump. During the cooldown period, another jump cannot be initiated. When a Fleet Carrier jumps, any active pilots in its vicinity can witness its departure, and any active pilots docked with the vessel will experience the jump.
Fleet Carriers have weekly upkeep costs starting at 10 million credits for a newly-purchased, unmodified vessel, and falling behind in these payments for a long enough period will result in the Fleet Carrier being decommissioned and scrapped. There are three types of expenses that make up the total upkeep cost:
- Core costs - Those crew members required to run the Fleet Carrier's core services and keep it operational.
- Optional costs - Those crew members required to run optional services at the owner's selected tier of quality.
- Maintenance costs - Degradation to the Fleet Carrier accumulated by performing jumps. This is a flat cost added per each jump made by the Fleet Carrier in a given week.
The owner can pay for upkeep directly from their available credit assets, and also with an income that can be generated from the vessel's available services, including refueling and the commodity market, by setting tariffs. The owner can raise or lower tariffs between 0-100% at any time in the Fleet Carrier Bank, a menu where all of the vessel's finances are managed by the owner. Any pilots other than the owner who use Fleet Carrier services with tariffs will consequently pay more for those services than at Starports, and the owner can use the profits to fund upkeep. Income raised by tariffs is dependent on how many pilots use the Fleet Carrier's services, and consequently Fleet Carriers stationed in high-traffic systems are more likely to generate more income.
When upkeep costs are not paid, the Fleet Carrier will go into debt. Indebted vessels will automatically disable all optional services to reduce expenses until the debt is fully paid. After the owner pays off the debt, they can reactivate those services.
When the owner of a Fleet Carrier fails to regularly pay upkeep costs and their debt exceeds a set limit, the owner will have one week to resolve their finances or their Fleet Carrier will be automatically shut down and slated for decommissioning and scrapping, at which point it can no longer be recovered by paying off its debt. When a Fleet Carrier is scrapped, the owner is refunded a majority, but not all, of the Fleet Carrier's total value, based on the value of any enabled services and stocked items as well as the vessel's distance from the nearest Carrier Construction Facility, with greater distances reducing the refund. The owner can also choose to decommission a Fleet Carrier of their own accord at any time. Individuals who have their Fleet Carriers decommissioned for any reason are never barred from purchasing another Fleet Carrier.
When a Fleet Carrier is slated for decommissioning, it enters "pending decommissioned" status for up to a week, with a timer notifying the owner when it will be decommissioned. If the owner voluntarily initiated the decommissioning process, they can still cancel it before the timer expires. During this period, the owner can still dock with the vessel, sell off individual services if the vessel is stationed in a system with a Starport with the Carrier Management service, retrieve stored cargo, and sell commodities. The owner will be unable to purchase new services, hire crew, or schedule a jump.
When a Fleet Carrier enters "decommissioned" status, any pilots who have stored modules and ships on the vessel will receive a notification and can transfer them to the station of their choice for the standard fee. If the vessel is scrapped before they are able to do so, their modules and ships will be automatically transferred to the nearest Starport with the Carrier Construction service for free. Decommissioned Fleet Carriers are taken over by a recovery crew and dismantled, after which the former owner receives their refund.
All Drake-Class Carriers provide a selection of services for pilots who dock with them. Beyond the vital core services, the owner can decide which additional services to bring online and fund based on their cost, how much of the vessel's 25,000 t cargo capacity they will occupy, and whether or not they are suited for the role the owner envisions.
- Commodities Market/Secure Warehouse
- Allows visiting pilots to purchase and sell commodities, including stolen commodities. The owner can also request specific commodities from visitors by placing a purchase order, in which they can set a finder's fee to be rewarded to visitors who sell those commodities. Fleet Carriers have a unique economic designation called "Private Enterprise".
- Tritium Depot
The owners of Drake-Class Carriers can enable additional services aboard their vessels by using the Carrier Administration Service found at certain Starports, which allows new Fleet Carrier services to be installed, existing services to be restocked or sold off, and crew members to be hired and managed. Once installed, optional services can be suspended and resumed at any time. Each optional service includes its own upkeep cost, which is reduced while suspended, but the crew for suspended services remain aboard the vessel and must still be paid a retainer fee unless the service is sold off.
- Redemption Officer
- Advanced Maintenance
- Includes the Refuel Station, Repair Crews, and the Armoury services for docked ships.
- Allows visitors to purchase, sell, and store modules. The owner determines which modules to stock by choosing from multiple quality tiers, which more expensive tiers offering better module selection. Module stocks are finite and can only be replenished by the owner.
- Allows visitors to purchase, sell, and store ships. The owner determines which ships to stock choosing from multiple themed packs; for example the Cargo Advanced Ship Pack includes the Type-6 Transporter, Type-7 Transporter, and Type-9 Heavy. Ship stocks are finite and can only be replenished by the owner.
- Allows visitors to purchase and sell illegal goods.
- Crew Members
- All services are run by different crew teams, and each team is led by a Head Crew Member, such as the Deck Officer, who is in charge of the day-to-day management of the Fleet Carrier. Head Crew Members can be replaced as desired.
- Docking Access
- The owner can restrict who may dock with their vessel. General options include All, Squadrons only, Friends only, and Squadrons and Friends only. Owners can also allow or deny pilots with any Notoriety.
- Engineering Blueprints
- Pilots with pinned Engineering blueprints can view them in the Commander interface window.
- Displays the Fleet Carrier's current location, Tritium reserves, and current jump range.
- Owners can set tariffs on goods and services to provide income for the Fleet Carrier Bank.
- Fleet Carriers have a variety of Livery options that can be purchased with ARX.
- The local system authority, if any, will send security vessels to patrol Fleet Carriers in their system. If the owner or visitors participate in illegal activity in proximity to the Fleet Carrier, patrols will be increased. The Fleet Carrier's security level is dependent on its reputation with the system's superpower (Federation, Empire, or Alliance) and will increase over time if no illegal activity takes place, reducing patrols.
- Fleet Carrier owners and visitors can view a summary of the vessel's cargo capacity, available services, and superpower reputation.
- Fleet Carrier owners can set the vessel's focal role, such as mining, bounty hunting, and piracy, with the Set Current Activity option. This implements a visual change to the interface to reflect the role.
- Pilots who dock aboard a Fleet Carrier can refuel, repair, and restock all at once with a single button without having to enter Carrier Services.
- Owners can transfer commodities directly to their Fleet Carriers when docked with them.
- Owners can remotely manage their Fleet Carriers in their personal ships via the Carrier Management menu, an option that appears in the right HUD panel after a Fleet Carrier is purchased.
Drake-Class Carriers will be available for purchase from select systems. Starports that sell them are visually signified by a Carrier Construction Facility stationed a few kilometers away, and feature the Carrier Construction service in their Starport Service menus under Contacts. Once a Drake-Class Carrier is purchased, the owner can find it orbiting a body in the nearest available system.
- The Drake-Class Carrier will be released with the Fleet Carrier Update in June 2020. Purchasing it will not require owning Elite Dangerous: Horizons.
- Drake-Class Carriers are persistent objects in the game, and will remain present regardless of whether the owner is online or offline, or playing in Open, Solo, or Private Groups. If a player is docked with a Drake-Class Carrier in Solo and it jumps, the player will jump with it.
- Like Stations, Fleet Carriers are indestructible and possess defensive capabilities in order to defend themselves and nearby non-hostile ships from attackers.
- Fleet Carriers were conceived as early as 2017. During that year's Frontier Expo, the Frontier Developments art director stated that carriers had not been designed yet, but their functions had been decided. Fleet Carriers were originally planned to be included in Chapter Four (3.3) of Elite Dangerous: Beyond alongside the Squadrons feature, but were delayed.
- Fleet Carriers were originally planned to be tied to Squadrons, and a Squadron would have been able to purchase and operate a Fleet Carrier collectively. This was changed to allow individual players who may not belong to a Squadron or desire to join one access to the Fleet Carrier feature.
- In the original December Update content reveal in July 2019, Fleet Carriers were planned to be tailored to specific roles through the acquisition of Support Vessels, which would have changed the Fleet Carrier's loadout of available services and modules. Support Vessels did not possess Landing Pads, and accompanied the main Fleet Carrier in formation as a visual indicator of the Fleet Carrier's role. A Fleet Carrier would only be able to have one Support Vessel active at a time. Support Vessels were dropped during development prior to April 2020 in favor of giving Fleet Carrier owners more direct control over their vessels' loadouts and services.
- Players with the Kickstarter backer in-game discount will have that discount applied when they purchase a Fleet Carrier.
- Fleet Carrier maintenance costs are deducted during the weekly server downtime period, at 7:00am UTC every Thursday. Any Fleet Carriers slated for decommissioning will also be removed during this time.
- ↑ YouTube: Elite Dangerous Fleet Carrier Gamescom Reveal
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Frontier Forums: Fleet Carriers - Content Reveal Announcement
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 YouTube: Fleet Carriers - Content Reveal (2 April @ 18:00 UTC)
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Frontier Forums: Fleet Carriers - Content Reveal Recap
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Frontier Forums: Gamescom Reveals - Fleet Carrier Details, post #939
- ↑ PC Gamer: Elite Dangerous is finally getting fleet carriers in June, with beta tests next month
- ↑ Frontier Forums: Community Update (22/10)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Frontier Forums: Gamescom Reveals - Fleet Carrier Details
- ↑ Announcement Lavecon 2019 Content Reveal
- ↑ r/Elite Dangerous: So is this really concept art for Fleet Carriers?
- ↑ Frontier Expo 2017 Live at 1:35:30
- ↑ Frontier Forums: Important Community Update