Sharlin Class Warcruiser
A Sharlin class warcruiser
|First appearance||In the Beginning (chronological)|
|Fighters||15 Nial class fighters |
|Armaments||6 Neutron Cannons
1 Electromagnetic Pulse cannon
Minbari stealth device
|Propulsion||Stalasha gravimetric drive |
|Power||Fusion Reactors |
First appearing in the season one episode, And the Sky Full of Stars, the computer generated 3D model was designed and built by the Emmy Award winning co-founder of Foundation Imaging, Ron Thornton. Taking inspiration from nature in order to portray the vessel as, “proud and impressive like a lionfish, but be more vertical like a sunfish”, as with a number of other vessels designed for other alien races which appeared on the television show, he also included visible links to the physical appearance of those races in order to create a design aesthetic which was unique to each of them. In the case of the Sharlin, he included rib like structures along the hull to mirror those which appeared on the ‘head bone’ of the Minbari.
The Sharlin Class Warcruiser is the main starship used by the Minbari Federation in the fictional Babylon 5 universe. Also commonly known as the Minbari War Cruiser, the Sharlin class is very large but conflicting sizes have been noted by different resources. The accepted size figure of 1,600 meters in length and roughly 1,900 meters in height was first noted by fan writer Brandon Bray, who worked as a consultant for Mongoose Publishing, producers of the official Babylon 5 Roleplaying Game. This size was officially accepted by Mongoose and published in their game line.
Sharlin class ships do not use conventional engines like rockets or ion propulsion. Instead, the Minbari War Cruiser used a combination of gravitational and electromagnetic fields for propulsion, a system called a gravimetric drive system in the episode "Mediations on the Abyss". This, described by Minbari Ambassador Delenn in the episode "Matters of Honor", was used to provide propulsion and artificial gravity. No canon information exists on what powered Minbari ships, save for some vague references to fusion reactors. Material from Mongoose Publishing suggests that Minbari warships use an artificial quantum singularity for its main power, while fusion reactors provide a secondary reserve power for this type of vessel. The Sharlin class is very well armed, having gravitic and electro-magnetic cannons. The ship also makes use of stealth technology which allows it to become effectively invisible to the scanners and targeting systems used by the younger races seen in the TV series.
These ships can hold up to 8,000 people. In peacetime the Sharlin class ships only have the 190 person regular crew. In combat situations there can be 60 additional combat personnel, such as pilots, gunners, and other support officers, and about 8,000 ground troops. The low crew requirement is due to the advanced computer system in place. The Valen'tha—a specially equipped Sharlin class—is home to the Grey Council, the leaders of the Minbari government.
The Sharlin class ships have a special holographic chamber. The chamber provides a complete 360 degree 3D image of the space around the ship. Normally it is used as a command center during battle situations. This chamber allows the commander to view the battlefield. A similar chamber is used by the Grey Council.
Among the younger races of the galaxy, the Sharlin class has no equals. During the Earth-Minbari war only a few Sharlin class ships were lost, typically by ramming, while the Sharlin class inflicted heavy casualties on the humans. However, the Sharlin class was no match for the more advanced First Ones—the Shadows were able to destroy a number of Sharlin class ships during the course of the war with ease through the use of planet killer missiles and slicer beams. In Babylon 5: A Call to Arms, a Sharlin is annihilated as it intercepts a planet killer missile aimed at the IAS Excalibur.
Known Sharlin Class Ships
- Drala Fi (Black Star) - The Minbari Flagship during the Earth-Minbari War. Destroyed by Captain John Sheridan on board the EAS Hyperion earning him the title of "Starkiller" by all Minbari, and making him the only publicly known Earth captain to have destroyed a Minbari Cruiser and survive. Since the Minbari lost many ships in the 2-year war, it's almost certain many Earth captains also survived battle with the Minbari, but Sheridan is the only one actually shown "on screen" defeating them. In a later episode, Susan gives Sheridan a piece of the Black Star that EarthForce now had for over 10 years post-war, and EarthForce likely used it to study the Minbari ships and was maybe how Earth managed to break their stealth technology after the war ended, as seen in Season 3 and Season 4 EarthForce ships were able to achieve a full weapons lock onto Minbari ships.:31
- Trigati - This ship participated in the Battle of the Line. When the order to surrender came, the ship's captain committed suicide rather than obey. His crew took the ship into hyperspace, and spent the next ten years in exile. In 2259, after John Sheridan took command of Babylon 5, the Trigati reappeared and tried to provoke Sheridan into firing on them in the hopes of restarting the Earth-Minbari War. When he refused, another Minbari vessel came out of hyperspace and attempted to force the Trigati's surrender. The Trigati's crew committed suicide rather than obey.:174
- Ingata - This war cruiser came to Babylon 5 in 2258 while carrying home the body of the deceased war leader Branmer.:148
- Valen'tha - a specialized advanced war cruiser that serves as home to the Grey Council. It was this vessel that was severely damaged and basically destroyed by EarthForce (the humans) at the disastrous first contact between the humans and Minbari. The EarthForce Hyperion opened fire on the Minbari war cruiser, completely ripping through and destroying the Minbari armor in only one volley, and it ripped apart the Minbari warships hull. The damage done to the Minbari warship by the EarthForce Hyperion was so severe it had rendered the Minbari warship completely disabled and useless, and resulted in the death of the Minbari leader Dukhat along with the majority of the Minbari crew on board. This started the war between Minbar and Earth.
- Dogato - John Sheridan and Delenn commanded the first major battle of the Army of Light against the Shadows in sector 83 from this ship.
- Enfili - This vessel also participated in the first major battle against the Shadows in Sector 83.
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- "Points of Departure". Babylon 5.
- Ron Thornton. (2008-03-22). "B5Scrolls interview extract. Explaining origins of the design.". B5Scrolls. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Ron Thornton. (2008-03-22). "B5Scrolls interview. Describing link with Steve Burg's design for the Minbari aliens.". B5Scrolls. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Bassom, David (1997). The A-Z Guide to Babylon 5. Dell Publishing. ISBN 0440223857.
- Lane, Andy (1997). The Babylon File:The Definitive Unauthorized Guite to J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0753500493.