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Panther Pursuit Ship

Built for use with the newly-formed Federal Law Enforcement Agency (FLEA), the Panther Pursuit Ship was a general purpose patrol ship designed to fulfill a variety of roles. Formed in 2009, the FLEA provides support for the various peoples, companies, colonies and other government agencies within the sphere of influence of the then WTA (World Trade Authority) which at the time encompassed the solar system. The Panther Pursuit Ships were used for law enforcement, rescue work, emergency transport and courier work between the colonies on the Moon, Mars and space stations orbiting Earth as well as the mining sites in the asteroid belt. Eventually, a lot of these functions were split between the Space Patrol and Interstellar Rescue, but in it's early days the FLEA's remit covered a multitude of roles.

Introduced in 2010, the Panthers had 6 human crew and had enough emergency berths to accomodate 12 passengers along with the necessary rescue gear and emergency medical facilities. The ship's main drive is supplied by a Consolidated conventional liquid-hydrogen drive which provided 150,000lbs of thrust, which would support about a months active patrol. The craft were based in Skybases (see Spacecraft 2000-2100AD by Hamlyn Publishing) dotted around the Solar System where crews would have a three month tour of duty. Defence was provided by 10cm Duralloy armour - which should be noted is only about half as effective as modern plastisteel and is about 40% heavier.

Two Panther crews earned themselves the medal of honour when in November 2015, a desperate rescue call was made from a mining crew operating in the Asteroid Belt. A reactor overload on their ore processor started a thermal runaway effect which would destroy the ore processor and most of the asteroid field the miners were working in the resultant nuclear explosion. The FLEA crews rushed to the scene under maximum power and even though they sustained damage to their own craft dodging asteroids, they reached the ore processor crew with hours to spare and lifted them to safety. Minimum safe distance was reached just as the reactor exploded, the Panthers limped back to the safety of the nearest Skybase.

Panthers were in service until 2024 when they were replaced by its successor, the SSF 21D Cutlass. Though more than eighty were built very few survive as most were broken up for materials to supply the massive battle fleets during the Proxima Wars (2048 - 2068AD). Only one complete example exists for public viewing, at the FLEA headquarters in New York and it's known that one or two ageing examples are used by mining companies in their original theatre of operations, the Asteroid Belt. The scene here depicts two Panthers leaving lunar orbit for a deep-space patrol in late 2012.


Manufacturer - Various
Classification - Local Patrol Ship
Main Drive - Consolidated liquid-hydrogen drive CAE 8E 150,000lbs thrust
Secondary Drive - Consolidated liquid-methane drive CM5 30,000lbs thrust for long-range cruising
Personnel - 6 crew, 12 emergency crew berths
Armament - Various conventional missiles
Defence - Duralloy armour 10cm thick
In-service date - 2010

About this image:- December 2004, POV-Ray 3.5, Bryce 4.1, Photoshop 5.5.
Based upon an original image by Colin Hay / Spacecraft 2000-2100AD (c) Hamlyn Publishing 1979

All images © S. Attwood / Digital Waterfalls
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