The mainstay ships of the Kharadron Overlords' airfleets, Arkanaut Frigates can batter foes from afar with heavy ordnance, drop ground-pounding bombs or strike deep into enemy territory to deploy troops straight into the thick of the fight.
The Arkanaut Frigate represents centuries of refinement by the shipwrights of the Endrineers Guild. In its design, a balance was struck between speed, transport capacity and firepower to create a versatile craft that could serve as the mainstay for the airfleets. With its sleek hull and powerful buoyancyendrin, the Arkanaut Frigate is fast enough to escapea ravenous lumprey, and has enough power to pull clear from the gravitational drag of a density hole.[1a]
While a Frigate’s cargo holds are tiny compared to the massive aetherhulks or cloud-dredgers used for mining, those craft carry few weapons and move at a speed that can barely cause a flag to ripple. Among the core vessels of the airfleets, only the Arkanaut Ironclad bears more firepower than the Arkanaut Frigate. The Frigate’s maingun is mounted atop the foredeck in a turret that can be fitted with either a heavy sky cannon or harpoon-like heavy skyhook, weapons as devastating in war as they are in the Kharadron’s hunts for the monstrous creatures that prowl the sky-ways above Chamon. Bow-mounted ball turrets house aethershot carbines, their high-velocity salvoes laying down a deadly spray of shot, and the craft’s payload of grudgesettler bombs can lay waste to tightly-packed ground targets. Should attackers attempt to board the Frigate, detonation drills are released, tearing up the terrain in a chain of seismic blasts to stop the enemy’s manoeuvres in their tracks. The ship is similarly well defended against aerial threats – many a harkraken tentacle has snaked out of the clouds seeking to grasp an Arkanaut Frigate, only to be repelled by exploding skymines.[1a]
Arkanaut Frigates can be found throughout the airfleets. They form the backbone of the patrols that secure the airspace around every major sky-port. For lesser trade ventures, Arkanaut Frigates may even haul goods, although typically they act as escorts to the trade fleets. In small-scale mining operations, Arkanaut Frigates perform all the associated ship duties – hunting aether-gold seams, cloud dredging and siphoning, and transporting the unrefined gases. In larger operations, the Arkanaut Frigates are still used but their role centres around protecting the vulnerable mining trawlers and tankers. Yet the versatile nature of the Arkanaut Frigate should not distract from the fact that the Kharadron Overlords designed it as a ship of war, and it is in battle where the craft truly excels.[1a]
During the breaking of the daemon blockade of Barak-Zon, Arkanaut Frigates of all the sky-ports assumed a line abreast formation. They poured forth such prodigious firepower that not only was the arcane chain that threatened to strangle the floating city broken, but the flying daemon hosts were utterly obliterated. Beasts and tribesmen alike throughout the Kharzdon Mountains looked skyward to see strange flickering lights, ignorant of the fact that the phenomenon was caused by the daemons’ spectacular doom, visible even in broad daylight. Even a trio of Arkanaut Frigates possesses a terrifying amount of firepower, as was proven at the battle over Grimlock Pass. There, a small fleet out of Barak-Nar was enough to break the charge of Waaagh! Ironteef, saving several mountaintop trading posts in that region. No greenskins have dared enter the pass since.[1b]
An Arkanaut Frigate is armed with aethershot carbines, racks of grudgesettler bombs, skymines and detonation drills. Its main gun – mounted above its forecastle – is either a heavy sky cannon or a heavy skyhook. The crew of the Arkanaut Frigate operate these deadly armaments, but can always use belaying valves to defend their vessel.[1c]
Normally, an Arkanaut Frigate can carry 10 warriors, allowing them to move swiftly across the battlefield and in relative safety. However, it can actually carry up to 15 warriors, at the cost of a portion of its normal speed.[1c]