Imperial CruiserCommander Makara's cruiser is capable of wiping out a planet. Fact. It's several times the size of X-Bomber, which isn't all that surprising given the number of ships it houses. Like the Earth and Minbari capital ships in Babylon 5 it's part carrier, part battleship, with some very nasty beam weapons. And a fin. And whiskers. Yes, it's a laser torpedo spitting space cat fish. With an attitude problem!
Quips aside, the cruiser really is bad news. It demonstrates its firepower very early in the series by wiping out all of Pluto Alpha Base's defence astrofighters with ease, before carrying on to Earth and destroying a few missile batteries for good measure. Its armaments are many and various...
The Alliance crest on the nose of the cruiser fires laser torpedoes and is frequently used in both ground attacks and ship to ship combat. It's the first weapon to be fired in the series as the cruiser eliminates a Star Fleet patrol craft.
The cruiser also mounts beam cannons (which may double as laser torpedo launchers) in a pair beneath the ship and one on either side of the forward section of the ship. The former are used againt EDF's missile defences and the latter against the Skull.
One weapon which we see prepared to fire but which isn't actually used is the Delta Laser. Captain Carter orders its use, much to Orion's surprise, and it is brought into position on the lip of the cruiser's launch bay. That means it's big, and it apparently has the power to destroy a planet. Unfortunately the Skull jumps Makara's ship before we see it in action...
An unusual weapon which is seen late on in the series is a sort of blue lightning attack from the "eyes" of Makara's ship. This seems to have the effect of disrupting X-Bomber's systems, so I'm tempted to use a Star Wars analogy and call it an Ion Cannon.
Makara's ship is capable of laying powerful mines in its wake. Although the scene was cut from the US tapes, in the uncut UK version X-Bomber runs into some of these mines and is damaged to the point that it has to make a forced landing.
Towards the end of the series, Caliban develops an energy shield for Makara's cruiser. Although this is successful in defending the ship against X-Bomber's primary laser cannons, Dai-X's more, ah, direct approach to penetrating the shield overwhelms it. Ironically, had the X-Bomber crew not been forced to use Dai-X at that point the cruiser might have survived beyond that episode!
The Imperial ships that the cruiser carried will be looked at elsewhere, but rather like the shuttles that never ran out in Star Trek Voyager, the number that the cruiser seems to have carried at any one time is rather large! However, in fairness, the cruiser tended to retreat for repairs on a regular basis and so it's possible that it received reinforcements during the course of its campaign to replace the ships lost in combat with X-Bomber and the Skull. Also, a comment by the Imperial Master suggests that other cruisers did exist although no others are seen in the series. The existence of other Alliance cruiser class ships is used in my Star Fleet sequel Genesis.
Last updated 14 December 2013