A Dictator-class Cruiser is an Imperial Navy warship that has been retrofitted from heavily damaged Lunar-class Cruisers, with the aft Lance decks replaced entirely by heavy launch bays for large squadrons of Fury starfighters and Starhawk bombers.
Originally designed for launching Thunderbolts and Marauders against planetside targets, successive upgrades to the Dictator's communications and Auspex detection systems expanded its capabilities for launching long-range strikes against other capital ships in deep space. Increasingly, they were outfitted to carry Furies and Starhawks instead, until this became their standard complement of Attack Craft. In the Calixis Sector, several Dictators have been constructed from the keel up using this design instead.
The Dictator is a popular Imperial naval choice as a flagship for long range anti-piracy patrols, as its launch bays give it a significant degree of strategic flexibility. Pirates often lair in asteroid fields or within the atmospheres of obscure planetoids. The ability of Attack Craft to flush these parasites out and into the range of the warship's powerful Macrocannon macrobatteries is extremely useful, and Attack Craft also extend the Dictator's reach far beyond the range of its guns.
Rogue Traders value Dictators for these reasons, and they are much-coveted vessels amongst this diverse community. Depending upon the inclinations of the individual Rogue Trader, the void-capable (and expensive) Furies and Starhawks are often replaced with more economical Marauders and Thunderbolts, the better to intimidate defiant planetary populations into submission.
During the Gothic War, Dictator-class Cruisers proved invaluable for escorting convoys of vulnerable Imperial transport ships through areas threatened by Chaos warships. A single Dictator with a handful of Escorts proved an exceedingly flexible force capable of running down pirates and raiding hostile worlds with waves of Attack Craft. Of particular note was the Rhadamanthine which, in concert with the Skargul patrol, scored a series of spectacular successes against pirates in the Orar Sub-sector of the Gothic Sector.
As the demand for supporting Attack Craft in major actions grew, a number of badly damaged Lunar-class Cruisers were reconfigured as Dictators at the main fleet bases of the Imperial Navy in the sector. By the end of the war, seven more Dictators were in service, more than compensating for the loss of the Rhadamanthine and Archon Kort to Abaddon's Chaos warfleets.
The Dictator-class Cruiser comes pre-equipped with two Jovian Pattern Launch Bays that take up a port and starboard weapon capacity slot. These are built into the design, and nearly impossible to remove. A Dictator-class Cruiser's internal space has already been reduced to account for the incorporation of these fighter bays.
Notable Dictator-Class Cruisers
- Archon Kort - The Archon Kort was active during the Gothic War but was destroyed by Abaddon the Despoiler's fleet.
- Fortitude - The Fortitude fought during the Gothic War, where it participated in several major battles of the conflict, but distinguished itself during the Imperial Navy's victory at Pirates' Haven. The Fortitude was later destroyed by a squadron of Eldar Hellebore-class Frigates in the Picus Offensive.
- Rhadamanthine - The Rhadamanthine was active during the Gothic War, but was ultimately destroyed by Abaddon's fleet before the end of that conflict.
- Lord Solar Macharius - The Lord Solar Macharius fought and achieved great renown during the Gothic War, under the command of Flag-Captain Leoten Semper. Amongst his more notable feats were the rout of the Chaos armada besieging the world of Helia IV, the acquisition of the first proof and detailed Auspex readings of Abaddon's Planet Killer and securing Eldar assistance for the Imperial war effort at the end of the Gothic War.
- Hull: Cruiser.
- Class: Dictator-class Cruiser.
- Dimensions: 5.1 kilometres long, approximately 0.8 kilometres abeam at fins.
- Mass: Approximately 29 Megatonnes.
- Crew: Approximately 85,000 crew, 15,000 pilots and other support personnel.
- Acceleration: 2.5 gravities maximum sustainable acceleration.
- Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook, pg. 112
- Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pp. 24-25
- Execution Hour (Novel) by Gordon Rennie
- Shadow Point (Novel) by Gordon Rennie