by Max Barry

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by Earth orbit. . 42 reads.

National Federation Factbook - Military

Federal Military

Federal Military Seal

Motto: De quorum ex caelum
Branches: Space, Ground
Size: ~225,000 men (95% reserve)

Federal Military

The Federal military is best summarized in the words of one Maxtopian ambassador - "The Federation's military is both among the youngest in the world and the most powerful. Despite having seemingly pitiful numbers, they can shove more power around than almost any nation down here on Earth."

Federal military is broken down into two distinct branches - Space and Planet.

Space Branch

The largest branch of the Federal military by a considerable margin, the Space branch is concerned with the control and protection of Federal space. This includes fighter wings, combat vessels, station defense systems/personnel, and space-based weapons infrastructure (Godrods, asteroid diversion, etcetera).

Space branch rank structure is a similar, albeit simplified, version of traditional Naval branch ranks.

  • Ensign

  • Junior Lieutenant

  • Lieutenant

  • Lieutenant Commander

  • Commander

  • Captain

  • Rear Admiral

  • Admiral

  • Fleet Admiral

Fighters and Combat Vessels

Although Federal control of orbital space has not been challenged to any significant degree, the Federal military still maintains and regularly upgrades a fleet of naval spacecraft and fighter craft, ensuring consistent readiness for the day Federal space is invaded by a planetside nation.

Combat vessels are classified as any weapon-equipped spacecraft capable of carrying fighter craft. Fighters are classified as any weapon-equipped spacecraft that can dock with a combat vessel.

Potentia-class Capital combat vessel on a shakedown cruise. (FNV Michael Xi)

Potentia-class Specifications



376 meters


110 meters

Crew compliment


Propulsion systems

x6 Class-5 Military-grade Hydrogen Drive (manufactured by Pulse Propulsion Corporation)
∆v: ~500km/s
Isp: 51,020s in vacuum


x4 Arcus-class heavy railguns,
x8 Schismaticus-class auto-loading missile launchers (120 missile magazine capacity),
x32 Inpeditus-class 40mm point-defense cannons

Fighter craft

x6 Ictos-class light fighter craft,
x2 Proiciens-class stealth torpedo bomber

Auxiliary craft

x2 passenger drop-pod (rated for station docking and atmospheric entry/landing),
x2 military drop-pod (rated for station docking and atmospheric entry/landing),
x4 boarding pods (rated for forceful spacecraft/station hull penetration)

Proiciens-class stealth bomber (computer rendering)

Proiciens-class Specifications



61 meters


24 meters

Crew compliment


Propulsion systems

x1 Class-2S Military-grade Hydrogen Drive (manufactured by Pulse Propulsion Corporation)
∆v: ~250km/s
Isp: 25,510s in vacuum


x1 Foraminis-class light railgun,
x2 Schismaticus-class auto-loading missile launchers (20 missile magazine capacity),
x8 Inpeditus-class 40mm point-defense cannons

Fighter craft


Auxiliary craft


Additional notes

Utilizes stealth-alloy hull and internal batteries to run dark at will, becoming nearly invisible to sensors.

Ictos-class light fighter craft performing drill maneuvers.

Ictos-class Specifications



32 meters


15 meters

Crew compliment


Propulsion systems

x1 Class-1 Military-grade Hydrogen Drive (manufactured by Pulse Propulsion Corporation)
∆v: ~20km/s
Isp: 2,040s in vacuum


x1 Parvus-class light railguns,
x4 Inpeditus-class 40mm point-defense cannons

Fighter craft


Auxiliary craft


Station Defenses

Station point-defense cannons firing.

Stations, being both the heart of the Federation and utterly immovable bulks, are highly vulnerable to attack without protection - as seen in the destruction of Orbis Delta-12, caused by a fairly simple fusion missile. However, today, all Federal stations are equipped with state-of-the-art defense grid systems, and are consistently and continuously upgraded.

The core of every station defense grid are point-defense cannons - turreted rotary Gatling guns that spray out thousands of rounds per minute to intercept inbound projectiles in flight. Thanks to modern AI-assisted tracking and target behavior prediction, PDCs are capable of intercepting practically any volatile projectile with one hundred percent success.

PDCs are augmented by the presence of laser arrays and impactor turrets. Laser arrays are responsible for vaporizing large amounts of small, fast-moving projectiles, such as PDC rounds. Impactor turrets are used to divert large, nonvolatile projectiles, such as railgun slugs, by firing a "counter-slug" to impact the projectile, knocking it off course and away from the station.

Simulations and live test runs have shown that Federal station defenses are capable of perfectly protecting a station from a wide variety of attacks; they are even capable of defending against some more unorthodox methods, such as orbital shrapnel warheads (which are disposed of via a combination of laser arrays and missiles.)

Every major station also houses several detachments of Federal Marines at any given time. These detachments are responsible for putting down attempted boarding by enemy forces, and usually consist of 50 men assigned to each ring or interior face of the station. Marine detachments are also backed up by ordinary Federal citizens - the average Federal firearm possession rate is three per household.

Orbis and Coriolis-class stations are also equipped with limited offensive capability. Orbis-class possess several capital-class missile launchers, while Coriolis-class are provided with specially-designed railgun arrays on most exterior faces. Smaller installations usually possess two to four missiles and a single launcher; the energy and structural strain of a railgun is too great for smaller stations.

Space-based Weaponry

Perhaps most instrumental to the Federation's power and safety, space-based weaponry affords the Federal military unmatched power against every Earthside nation. Mainly using kinetic force in favor of nuclear or chemical explosives, Federal space weaponry is capable of both surgical attacks and widespread national devastation. However, it is often used as a last resort or in other extreme circumstances; the official position of the Federal government, military and people is against wanton deployment of such WMDs.

Many newer stealth weapons platforms are now run autonomously by Personae AI. Rather than having to know the location of weapons platforms to send firing orders, a tactical risk in the event of a data breach, the Federal military simply releases the platforms and instruct the onboard Personae to place the platform into a random, unknown orbit using maneuvering thrusters. Once this is done, the platform goes into hibernation, awaiting an open-broadcast firing order.

Federal Godrod launcher charging up for a launch. The "purple energy" is a manifestation of St. Elmo's fire.

Godrods, based on the concept of "rods from God" that has existed since the 20th century, are relatively simple weapons designed for small-to-medium scale precise bombardment of planetary targets.

A Godrod consists of two parts - a static electromagnetic launcher, and an iron-encased tungsten ammunition rod. When the fire command is given, an ammo rod is loaded into the launcher, and power is diverted from a dedicated reactor to charge the firing capacitors. Once the launcher is fully charged (after approx. five seconds), the capacitors are discharged into the launcher coils, accelerating the ammunition rod to high velocity before it exits the launcher. After this, the rod travels along a ballistic trajectory, punching through the atmosphere and impacting with the target. The average yield of a Godrod is one kiloton, but this can be scaled up to 50 kilotons or as low as a ton. Several variants of ammo rod exist, such as penetration rounds (designed to destroy underground installations) and scatter rounds (which separate into tens of thousands of small, dispersed chunks before impact, like a shotgun blast).

Godrods are typically placed in arrays of four to eight launchers on a pivoting platform, widening the firing arc from directly below the launchers to almost 180 degrees along two axes.

In unusual circumstances, Godrods could be used as overpowered railguns in space combat; simulations have indicated that scatter rounds could help turn the tide of an orbital battle.

Artist's depiction of the first-ever weaponized asteroid diversion, targeted at the World Assembly space center.

Asteroid diversion - the ultimate superweapon. Several Federation weapons platforms - aptly nicknamed "slingshots" - are hidden in top-secret solar orbits, each containing a few dozen carefully selected, cut, and technologically enhanced asteroids. When the order to fire is given, the station in the most opportune position will program a navigational course for an asteroid and fire it off. Within twenty-four hours, the asteroid will impact with its designated target, having been accelerated to a decent fraction of light-speed. Although asteroid diversion attacks are not capable of laying truly large-scale waste to an entire region, they are still capable of doing far more damage than any single nuclear weapon could.

Asteroid bombardment is generally viewed as the option of last resort, or when total annihilation is the only option for peace and safety. The World Assembly has been divided on the use of such WMDs; many argue that the same damage could be done by simply deploying multiple nuclear missiles, while others assert that the potential scalability offered by asteroid weapons is too dangerous to ignore. The Federal government adheres to the former argument; technology has not yet advanced to the point where no nuclear force could match the potential damage of an asteroidal weapon.

Planet Branch

The smaller branch of the Federal military by a significant amount, the Planet branch is concerned with Earthside force projection and military engagement - this includes ground, naval, and air combat.

Planet branch rank structure is a similar, albeit simplified, version of traditional Army branch ranks.

  • Second Lieutenant

  • First Lieutenant

  • Captain

  • Major

  • Lieutenant Colonel

  • Colonel

  • Lieutenant General

  • General

  • General of the Planet

    Ground Combat

    Manufacturing rendering of Federal power armor.
    Mounted weaponry not shown.

    A Federal military dropship headed Earthside.

    In ground combat, the Federation does not have anywhere near the leg up it does in space; this issue is further compounded by the relative difficulty in deploying large amounts of troops Earthside in a timely and safe manner. The difference is somewhat made up in the use of power armor - highly modular exoskeletal suits that augment the wearer's strength and senses while protecting them from damage and providing them with an array of powerful weaponry.

    Standard power armor allows the wearer to weather significant firepower, while the standard dual Gatling guns can dish out two hundred rounds (of varying types, including explosive, incendiary, and penetrative) per minute. Other weapons include sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and standard-issue handguns.

    There are approximately 175,000 trained Federal soldiers in reserve.

    Nota bene on mobilization bottlenecking: The Federation can only transfer so large a volume of soldiers from orbit to ground at any given time; this is largely a function of dropship design. The ideal dropship must be fast and nimble, capable of being safely on the ground within minutes of launch. To achieve this, a dropship must be made of relatively lightweight materials and possess a high-power, space-hungry hydrogen drive. However, a dropship must also be able to defend itself from hostile countermeasures and carry an appreciable amount of soldiers. This requires stronger materials, extra equipment, and free space... which cuts into the nimbleness and speed of the dropship. It is therefore necessary to find a balancing point - a craft that is agile, but still useful.

    This has been worked out to produce dropships that carry approximately 120 soldiers and their equipment, with an average landing time of ten minutes. With this information and extensive simulations and drills, the maximum rate of mobilization to a specific area on Earth is around six thousand soldiers every ten minutes - a considerable force, to be certain, but easily outmatched by planetside nations.

    Air and Naval Combat

    Perhaps the Federation's greatest weakness; rather than producing and controlling any naval or air assets, the Federation relies on borrowing and purchasing such items from its allies. This is an unfortunate necessity, as the Federation has no Earthside infrastructure for constructing, maintaining, and storing naval and air forces.

    There are approximately 30,000 trained Federal pilots and sailors in reserve, split evenly between the two.

    Images acquired from The Expanse, Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition, Elite: Dangerous, and Google Images, in no particular order. All are edited to some degree.

Earth orbit