The GTCa Monarch was one of the first true combat vessels of the subspace era. Built to patrol trade routes and protect the growing Terran presence in the outer system, the Monarch could originally carry four of the old Spartan class fighters, and with its its four defensive turrets, could effectively defend itself against the pirate and terrorist attacks that it was expected to face. The then still un-unified Terran nations and alliances built Monarchs in large numbers. However, as the outer system became more and more difficult to control, and the conflicts breaking out between various groups of colonists could no longer be dismissed as mere skirmishes, it became increasingly apparent that neither the Monarch nor the Spartan class fighter it was designed to carry were suitable for the tasks that the navies of the time were being called on to perform. The larger, more advanced Canberra class was developed as a more generalist replacement, more suited to the civil war that many feared might transpire in the coming years. Monarchs began to be displaced as a combat vessel almost immediately, and many were mothballed.Welcome to the GTT Monarch! As the tech description makes clear, this is an old military carrier that has been repurposed into an intersystem ferry. You can see how that works in the pictures below with a bunch of Mercurys. I thought that was a cool, early GTA sort of concept, so I ran with it when a 2322 mission called for a transport ship. In the end, it might be too well armed for that role, but removing the turrets shouldn't be an issue if I decide the mission warrants it - at present it's actually slightly better armed than a Canberra, though much weaker hhitpoints wise.
When intersystem subspace travel was discovered a few years later, the Monarch fleet received a new lease on life. As one of the few ships large enough to mount the early intersystem subspace drives, the newly re-badged GTT Monarch became an interstellar ferry, carrying ships across the threshold to Delta Serpentis and beyond that would otherwise have been unable to make the jump. In a somewhat ironic twist, the substantial supply of these spaceframes that the newly formed Galactic Terran Alliance had inherited from its constituent member states meant that bottlenecking of Terran traffic at the node was minimised - this has been cited as one of the key factors that allowed early Terran extrasolar colonisation to proceed as quickly as it did. As the colonisation project relieved the ever growing population pressure on the Sol system, many of the tensions that had been driving unrest among the population also receded, eliminating the risk of civil war that had seen the GTA replace the Monarch in the first place.
Speaking of the Canberra, one of the things I realised as I was first making this ship was that the Canberra is actually pretty lonely in the Frontlines fleet. There's the obvious Fenris lineage in the Titan and Jupiter, and the Goliath will be Orion derived, but the Canberra looks completely unique and kind of out of place. With the Monarch, the idea is to fix the Canberra firmly in a much older ship design philosophy, the generation before even the Jupiter. Those two ships informed the modelling phase a little - the boxy design and a few of the greebles (mainly the turrets) are similar to the Canberra, while the elevated bridge and separate, fin-protected engines evoke the Jupiter. The texturing though was pure Canberra, and I'm pretty happy with how it went overall.
For what it's worth, I have some plans for this mesh into the future. As I was building it, I realised that the basic shape had potential as more than just a transport or a carrier - it could be repurposed as a freighter, which would be pretty basic. In fact, it already has a couple of hidden cargo spaces (see below). More interestingly though is its potential as a recovery ship - something to grab crippled capships and fly them away from the battlefield. I have most of the geometry for that particular refit sorted, but the details of getting it to work (and the amount of animation coding I'm going to have to do) might mean it gets delayed a little bit. Not too long though, hopefully - as I said, I have the geometry, and I could definitely find a spot for it in a future FL mission (though probably not in 2322).
Anyway, I hope people like (and have a use for) the Monarch. I'm quite pleased with it. DOWNLOAD: http://www.mediafire.com/file/axa5u29m01l3kr9/Monarch.7z