Romulan SparrowHawk-A Light Cruiser - a Detailed Analysis

I just wanted to add a comment here... I'm really, really starting to learn lots o' stuff by cracking open my ShipEdit and comparing similar classes from different races... particularly in multiplayer, it really helps to know instantly "ok, here's my basic tactic against this race and this ship."

In this article, my looking at the power curve showed me a whole new strategy when using the SPA... on with the show:


Romulan SparrowHawk-A Light Cruiser
Designation: R-SPA
Year available: 5 (Early Era - Mid for multi)

The SPA and her sister ships (SPC, SPE, SPG, SPJ, SPL, and SPZ) represent the most diverse and versatile ships in the Romulan arsenal. The SPA is the first of the line and it evolves into very capable scouts (SPC), commando cruisers (SPG is best in game), PF tenders (SPE could be scary with upgraded PFs), assault cruisers (SPJ is underpowered), command cruisers (SPL is a beefed up SPA), and acceleration cruisers (SPZ has fastest acceleration in game, 0 hold costs, and incredible short-range crunch power).

In Dynaverse 2, I'll be trying to get my hands on a SPG (less phasers, a boatload more marines), but it's a very rare ship. If you can't get an SPA or SPG, the SPC is a fine ship (the best scout in the game) with a few less phasers and power but more labs and 5 transporters (capture anyone?).

We'll only be looking at the SPA here. The things I love about the early SparrowHawks are that they begin the true 3rd generation plasma ballet Hawk ships and they are relatively inexpensive (bvp and/or prestige).

BVP: 125
Turn Rate: B
Move cost: .67
Cloak cost: 15
Accel: 10

The SparrowHawk is all speed and can almost turn on a dime. It's HET starts at 100%. If the SparrowHawk has a problem, its cloak cost is high.

Hull: 7 forward - 8 aft
Armor: 0
Excess Damage: 6

Although it doesn't have armor, the SPA can take quite a beating for a light cruiser. It actually matches up better than some of it's contemporaries in other fleets. (It almost has as much hull as a KHK, which shows how delicate the KHK is.) And remember, it always seems the back P3s are the first hard points to go... and that's a single P3 on each hard point.

Shuttle bay: 3 - Launch 1
Marines: 10/20
Transporters: 3

The SPA has a standard layout for a light cruiser. In Dynaverse 2, I plan to fill up with marines even if I never intend to use them (preventing easy capture).

Tractors: 2
Shields: 1:30; 2/6:24; 3/5:20; 4:20 = 138

With P3s and 2 defensive tractors, the SPA is a hard ship to hit with drones. Add to that an ability to outrun all but the fastest drones (and still charge plasma), and the SPA is a tough ship to hit. It's shields are similar to larger Hawk ships. They tend to have heavier shields up front, weaker in the back.

Weapons: 1 Pl-G, 2 Pl-F, 5 P1s, 4 P3s
Mines: 4/8; 2 NSM
Power: 31

Comparing this ship's power curve to the Snipe is like looking at a Pinto's engine versus a Corvette. The SPA has real giddy up and go power. It also has a much better phaser suite for drone defense, including 4 Phaser 3s. The 5 Phaser 1s match well against any similar light cruiser of it's era.

Notes on power:

Charging weapons: 12.6 energy; SPA spd 19.1 max. - 0 excess power
Charging plasma: 5.6 energy; SPA spd 31 max. - 0 excess power
Charging 1 Pl-F : 4.00 energy; SPA spd 31 max. - 1.7 excess power
Charging 2 Pl-F : 5.60 energy; SPA spd 31 max. - 0 excess power
Charging 1 Pl-G : 2.33 energy; SPA spd 30.1 max. - 0 excess power - 4 pts ECM
Charging 1 Pl-F/G : 4.00 energy; SPA spd 31 max. - .7 excess power - 1 pt ECM
Holding weapons : 2.33 energy; SPA spd 31 max. - 3.3 excess power
Holding cloaked : 2.33 energy; SPA spd 13.6 max. - 0 excess power

As you can see from the power analysis, it doesn't matter if the Plasma G is charging or holding. The Plasma Fs make the difference in power fluctuations. Firing just the G (range 17.99 or less will still get you dmg of 10) is really an optimum kill setting. You can fly around at spd 30.1, recharging the G and still have 4 points energy for ECM!

Unlike the Snipe B, cloaking has serious consequences to speed and power. However cloaking is preferable to taking plasma or drones into an uncloaked shield. On the other hand, if you keep your speed at 30, the enemy should have a very hard time delivering plasma or drones.

The enemy:
(Comparable bordering races' light cruisers that appear around the same time period)

Klingon D5 - BVP 111 - Year 5
4 Dis-3, 2 Ph1s, 2 Ph2s, 4 Ph3s, 2 DroA, 2 ADD12

Why compare the D5 instead of the D6? I feel the D5 is a better ship than the D6 with it's weak shields. Fighting the D5 involves either getting fairly close to it for a plasma strike -or- going slow and cloak to make him come to you. Either way, a fight could take quite a while. I suggest firing only the Plasma G unless he gets close. In a knife fight, the SPA will kick the D5s butt, especially with your superior hull, phaser suite, and crunch power.

Watch out for a gorn anchor/scatterpack. Don't forget ECM to foil his disruptors.

Federation NCL - BVP 116 - Year 7
4 Phot, 6 Ph1s, 1 DroG, 1 ADD6

The SPA has 2 years of blowing up the F-CL series until the NCL comes out (make the most of it captain). The NCL is one tough ship with great shields all the way around (unlike the glass shields in the CL). Try doing all you can to stay outside range 8 against this ship. I suggest firing your Plasma G from range 15 and peeling off, repeating until he starts hurting. This ship has 10 center hull and can take a beating. Keep your ECM up!

If he goes slow, slow yourself to spd 15ish, max. ECM, envelope the G to start ripping his shields off, then start punching holes with normal G and Fs. Save your phasers for any drones he fires. Once you have a hole or two... envelope the G again.

ISC CMP - BVP 133 - Year 5
1 PPD, 2 Pl-G, 6 P1s, 4 P3s

Once again, the ISC counter the Romulans with a frightful ship. A daring captain may charge right in and try knocking down a shield to H&R the Plasma Gs (on one hard point) and PPD. A cautious captain realizes this tub sucks power with it's huge weapons array. If the cautious Romulan captain only gets to range 17 to fire a Plasma G, he'll receive little damage in return. If the ISC decides to speed up and chase you, shut off the Plasma G and start lobbing Fs to your heart's content.

The CMP is actually very comparable to the SPA in terms of hull, compliment, etc.

Be careful.

(Sign a treaty with the frogs, you fools!)

Gorn HDD - BVP 111 - Year 7
1 Pl-S, 2 Pl-F, 5 P1s, 4 Shuttle (launch rate 3)

The G-HDD can out gun you with her Plasma S, but the SPA has a slight advantage in power, turn rate, shields, and cloak. A few tactical cloaks (or running away) when the HDD launches plasma and the SPA should have a slight edge. Just remember that you actually have the stronger hull and many more hard points if it comes to a knife fight. Watch out for an anchor, suicide shuttles, and that glowing red ball coming at you.

I suggest only a +1 ECM shift against this Gorn, put the rest in speed, weapons (enveloping G anyone?), or shields.

Get ready for a potentially long, hard battle unless he goes slow and starts firing off all his weapons. In which case, ballet him to death from range 15.

Note: G-CL would be comparable in years 5 & 6. It's much like the F-CL. Glass shields. In the G-CL, I'd watch out for an anchor and/or suicide shuttles (Thanks Taldren for hold cost with suicides). If she's going fast with no ECM/ECCM, watch out! Get a G or two down her before you lay her on the floor.



I've said it before, the SPx are some of my favorite early to middle era ships. They fly fast and strike hard. Once middle era rolls around, try and get your hands on an SPA+ or SPL+ with it's Plasma S. It can slow you down, but offers more punch at a longer range.

The only light cruiser I like as much as the SparrowHawk is the KDR, but we'll save that for another time and another Era.

Good luck captain.