The Drake-class is a light escort battleship for the Earth Alliance space forces. Lightly armed and lacking any internal hangar space for mobile weapons, it is used mainly to supplement the larger Agamemnon- and Nelson-class ship or to carry out reconnaissance missions.
By far the most heavily-produced ship of the Alliance space force, the Drake-class is designed to escort larger ships and makes up the bulk of most Alliance fleets.
Despite lacking any internal hangar bay, the Drake-class was typically deployed with four TS-MA2 Möbius mobile armors stored externally on its hull. This also held true of mobile suits, once the Alliance began producing them. In spite of its lack of a hangar, the Drake was also updated after the First Junius War with two externally-mounted linear catapults, allowing it to deploy its mobile suits more rapidly. Late in the second war, some Drake-class ships are fitted with large positron reflector shields mounted to their bows.
The Drake-class has been in service since long before the outbreak of the First Junius War in CE 70. Built to escort larger battleships, it ship saw action throughout the War, as it makes up the bulk of the Alliance's space forces. However the ship's small size and light armor and armament makes it vulnerable to attack from mobile suits carrying heavy weapons or other, more heavily-armed ships. For this reason, although it lacks a hangar of its own, it usually transports four TS-MA2 Möbius mobile armors secured externally to its hull, which must it deploy prior to going into battle. These are replaced with mobile suits once the Alliance begins mass-production.
After the end of the war, the Alliance began a program to refit its ships to more effectively deploy mobile suits. As part of this, the Drake-class ships were fitted with two externally-mounted linear catapults. Like the Nelson-class, the Drake-class is incapable of carrying the necessary equipment to support and maintain Striker Packs, meaning that its mobile suits are stored with their Striker Packs already attached, and are unable to exchange or replace them if damaged. All currently active Drake-class ships were refit accordingly, and new ships that were rolled out since the refit follow the same design.
In CE 75, war once again broke out between the Alliance and the PLANTs, and the refit Drake-class ships were deployed for the first time. Drake-class ships were a large part of the main attack fleet in the first battle of the war, which was a diversion intended to allow the Peacemaker Force to launch a nuclear attack on the PLANTs. The attack was thwarted by ZAFT's Neutron Stampeder, and the entire Peacemaker Force was destroyed. The remainder of the fleet, many of its ships damaged and its mobile suit forces decimated by ZAFT, withdrew back to Daedalus lunar base.
The Drake-class would go on to participate in all major engagements through the end of the war, near the end of which a number of them are fitted with large-scale positron reflector generator arrays to serve as defenses in places such as the Daedalus Lunar Base or the relay stations of the superweapon Requiem. Many of them would be lost when Daedalus Base is destroyed.