The Niranjan-class is the official name for a class of stealth assault carriers developed by the Earth Alliance for use in special operations.
Officially, development of the Niranjan-class was halted in CE 73. In truth however, construction continued in secret on the first two ships of the class, the first of which was rolled out at some point between CE 73 and CE 75. This is the SCV/XA-SO1 Nana Buluku, operated by the Atlantic Federation's 81st Independent Battalion and commanded by Ian Lee. The second ship of the class is the SCV/XA-SO2 Alakhshya, commanded by Natarle Badgiruel.
Initial development of the Niranjan-class drew heavily from the Archangel-class assault ships as well as the venerable Agamemnon-class carrier. Unlike the Archangel, the Niranjan-class is designed exclusively as a space battleship, and therefore it lacks the ability to enter or operate within Earth's atmosphere. However, it does retain its predecessor's heavy armor and firepower as well as the ability to carry, deploy, and supply a large number of mobile suits. Additionally, the Niranjan-class has a total of four linear catapults, double that of the Archangel-class, allowing it to deploy its mobile suits more swiftly than any other vessel in its class.
Because the Niranjan-class was designed for special operations, it is equipped with several systems that enable it to evade detection by enemy sensors. In addition to an extensive ECM/ECCM sensor suite that does include a Neutron Jammer for communications/sensor disruption, it is also equipped with a Mirage Colloid Stealth System, in spite of the fact that military use of N-Jammers as well as Mirage Colloid technology were both outlawed by the Junius Seven Treaty of 72. Finally, it is equipped with a low-temperature gas propulsion system as well as with equipment allowing the ship to reduce its heat signature, allowing it to evade detection by infrared/heat-sensitive sensors. It can also increase its range by means of a pair of arms carrying high-capacity propellant tanks, which can be attached to its outer hull.
The Niranjan-class's armament is similar to the Archangel's, although it lacks the latter's enormous linear cannons. Instead, it equips a larger number of dual beam cannons, positioned in such a way as to cover the ship from literally any direction, as well as large numbers of missile launchers and CIWS turrets. Combined with the same positron cannons used by the Archangel, this makes the Niranjan-class one of, if not the most heavily-armed ship of its kind.
An array of powerful beam cannons identical to those of the Archangel-class. Four of them are mounted to the top and bottom of the bow, covering the front and side of the ship, while the other two are mounted to the rear, able to rotate so as to cover the ship's stern as well.
“Igelstellung” 75mm CIWS x16
Like the Archangel-class, the Niranjan-class is equipped with a large number of CIWS turrets for close-range interception of enemy missiles, though the guns' large caliber make them highly effective anti-MS and anti-aircraft weapons as well despite their limited range.
VLS(Vertical Launch System) missile tube x38
“Lohengrin” positron cannon x2
Like the Archangel-class, the Niranjan-class is equipped with a pair of devastatingly powerful positron cannons mounted laterally in its bow.
The Niranjan-class can also be equipped with a specialized stealth system, which uses jets of ambient-temperature gas to propel the ship. Since this gas doesn't emit any heat, the ship is able to avoid detection by thermal sensors, though its speed while using this system is much lower.
Mirage Colloid Stealth System
Although illegal under the Junius Treaty, the Niranjan-class is equipped with a stealth system utilizing Mirage Colloid particles. It is supplemented by a powerful ECM/ECCM suite, including a Neutron Jammer, as well as a system designed to significantly lower the ship's hull temperature. Combined with its gas propulsion system, this alows the ship can enter enemy territory and attack enemy units without being seen or detected.
To attach itself to objects in space, the Niranjan-class is equipped with a rocket anchor mounted on its main body. This anchor can be fired upon a target, like an asteroid, allowing the ship to quickly attach itself to the object.
Though theArchangeldeserted the Alliance and destroyed its sister-ship, the Dominion, during the Second Battle of Jachin Due, the effectiveness of the class as a heavy, powerful frontline vessel was proven. The Archangel-class was discontinued following the end of the First Junius War, but work was begun on a successor, a vessel designed to serve in a capacity similar to that of the Dominion, as a flagship leading other ships such as the Agamemnon or Nelson -class spaceships. The new vessel was to be heavily-based on the Archangel-class, but whereas the Archangel-class's layout was heavily derived from Morgenröte's Izumo-class, much of the new vessel's internal layout would instead be carried over from existing Alliance vessels such as the Agamemnon. Additionally, it was decided that the vessel would operate in space exclusively, and so transatmospheric capability was removed.
Very little is known about the development history of the Niranjan-class, which was created in near-total secrecy by the Alliance some time between CE 72 and CE 74. At some point early in the vessel's development, its primary role was shifted towards stealth and special operations, as the decision was made that the first vessel of the class, the Nana Buluku, would serve as the primary base of operations in space for the 81st Independent Battalion, the secretive special forces unit known as "Phantom Pain", and is constructed at Daedalus, the Atlantic Federation base on the far side of the moon. Thus, a Mirage Colloid Stealth System was added, despite the illegality of the technology, as well as propulsion systems intended to allow the ship to move without being detected by enemy thermal sensors. At the asteroid base Artemis, construction was also begun on a second ship of the class, which would likewise equip the same technologies. For this reason, neither ship bears no identifying markings whatsoever, providing the Alliance with plausible deniability as to their activities.
The Nana Buluku's first known action is its deployment into the Debris Belt to investigate the movement of Junius Seven, where they were able to observe the placing of flare motors onto the colony in order to deliberately drop it, as well as the battle between those forces and those of the Jule Team. The Nana Buluku's mobile suit team, consisting of Lukas O'Donnell's TSX-MA24F Chaos, Stella Loussier's GAT-X388 Gaia, and Auel Neider's GAT-X731 Abyss, deployed alongside a small number of Daggers and attacked both sides, unintentionally hindering the demolition efforts, though they withdrew when Junius Seven split apart and it became apparent that they were dealing with two opposing forces - one seeking to drop Junius Seven, one attempting to stop it from doing so - a decision also partially motivated by the Niranjan-class's inability to enter the atmosphere.
This information was subsequently relayed to Lord Jibril, who used it to manipulate the Alliance into war by blaming the drop on the PLANTs, despite the PLANTs' relief efforts and statements explaining that the terrorists responsible were dead.
After this operation, the Nana Buluku withdrew to its homeport at Daedalus Base on the moon, and O'Donnell's team were sent down to Earth.
The second ship of the class was to be named Alakhshya, and unlike the Nana Buluku, was not constructed at Daedalus. It was built at Artemis, and therefore was completed by the Eurasian Federation military. This vessel was, late in the war, assigned to the command of Natarle Badgiruel, and its first combat sortie was in the battle of Theophilus, in lunar orbit, where it played an instrumental role in the capture of the base, as well as providing a base from which the Eurasian Federation's new CAT1-XG Hyperion-G mobile suits were deployed in their first combat sortie.
The Alakhshya would subsequently participate as part of the joint Eurasia/PLANT fleet that attacked and captured Daedalus Base during the First Battle of Daedalus. During the same battle, the Nana Buluku, attempting to flee the base, is spotted and destroyed by ZAFT. After this the Alakhshya would return to her homeport at Artemis, from which it would deploy some time later as part of a massive joint ZAFT/Orb/Alliance fleet for the Second Battle of Daedalus, which would be the final battle of the war.
After the war, the Alakhshya is stripped of its Mirage Colloid Stealth System.