EDF ShipsThe focus of the series is, of course, X-Bomber and its crew. However, it isn't the first EDF ship seen in the series by a long way. There's been some recent discussion on the forum about the EDF craft seen in the series, at which point it was realised that there are actually a surprising number of subtle variations for a relatively short series. So, here's the run down based on a close examination of the various ships seen...
This is the first EDF ship seen in the series. Now, in the English dub the pilot calls the ship a "Star Fleet cruiser". However, this ship actually looks suspiciously like a Pluto defender fighter with an AWACS style radar dome glued on top of it. So although the speech suggests a bigger ship (and of course scale is difficult to judge in space!) the likelihood is that this is simply a reconnaissance craft on patrol.
The next ships which appear, although not for long once they've met up with Makara's ship, are the astrofighters from Pluto Base. They give the impression of being built for atmospheric battle as well as space battle, and somehow look older than the other types of fighters seen in the series. A nice touch is the launch sequence - they don't just magically appear. A comment by one of the pilots suggests that these fighters fire laser torpedoes.
The Ocean Fleet is the next group of EDF fighters to engage what it thinks is the enemy - who are actually holograms. Current thinking on this fighter type is that it looks a lot slicker than the Pluto Defender and may be designed purely for air/space superiority, whereas the Pluto Defender is more of a multi-role craft.
Believe it or not, this really is a different fighter to the Ocean Fighter. Look closely. It's launched from Mars to try and buy time for X-Bomber to scramble when Makara's cruiser penetrates the Solar System for the second time. Given its similarities to the Ocean Fighter, the Mars Fighter is probably a variant of the same space frame - but note that it has vertical control surfaces like the Pluto Defender, making it a cross between the two other fighter types to some degree.
We see the Ocean Defender and the Mars Fighters one more time at the end of the series when General Kyle sends everything the EDF has out to combat the Imperial Fortress. Another small put interesting touch here is a hangar launch sequence which isn't stock footage.
Just to wrap this section up, there are a couple of non-combative ship types which I assume are EDF-affiliated rather than being civilian. The first is the Earth-Moon shuttle that delivers the X-Bomber's crew to Moonbase. The second is the cargo freighter / personnel transport that's used to resupply Pluto Base. Quite a few of these are seen both in space and landing on Pluto at the start of episode five. The design of their engines is consistent with X-Bomber's. They're also the largest EDF ship class we see, X-Bomber excluded.
Considering all of the above, it's clear why Professor Hagen decided the X-Project was needed. Even allowing for some attrition due to Space War 3, it seems surprising that Star Fleet Command has no combat ships that are larger than fighters. Although fighters are probably cheap and quick to produce, no amount of them can destroy an enemy ship whose armour they can't penetrate. It's possible that up to this point Star Fleet Command simply hadn't encountered a hostile force its fighter fleets weren't capable of dealing with.
This may also suggest that most of humanity's conflicts have been internal, and limited to the Solar System. Capital ships probably wouldn't be vital for intra-Solar System conflicts, but of course an invading alien task force would need a mobile base of operations. Enter Makara's cruiser, a threat Star Fleet Command hadn't previously had to face...?
Last updated 14 December 2013