The Hornet Class Pocket Carrier was developed in the year 2565, ten years after first contact with the Ugokin race and the commencement of the Ugokin War.
The design was developed as a response to a frightening wave of deep strikes by Ugokin fighter carriers against Federation convoys. With Federation resources stretched on the front lines, insufficient protection could be provided against the fighter-heavy tactics of the Ugokin forces. It was determined by the High Command that they needed to devise a cheap and effective strategy to counter these costly attacks.
Thus, a new class of ship was developed - the "Pocket Carrier" - a small and nimble capital ship that could hold its own against a small attacking force AND provide some additional punch with its own fighter wing.
Many designs were prototyped, but the Hornet Class became the most popular and went into mass production. The Hornet Class was small enough to keep pace with the fast Destroyer Escorts and packed enough firepower to dissuade anything short of a Battlecruiser from engaging it directly. In tandem with its own complement of fighters and a heavy shuttlecraft, the Hornet became a potent weapons platform and ships of this class saw off many of the Ugokin deep strikes with punishing counter-attacks, effectively ending the Ugokin strategy of resource deprivation and securing the Federation's vital rear areas.
As a result, the Hornet Class became much sought after, and not just for rear echelon defence, but on the front lines as well. Hornet Class carriers proved to be valuable for the flank defence of roving Federation battlegroup squadrons, and could also assist with Marine deployment to a planet, capable as they were of entering the atmosphere of a world and escorting the vulnerable troop transports almost all the way down to the surface of a planet or moon.
The production shipyards allocated to the Hornet class soon had difficulty satisfying the Federation Government’s constant demands for more hulls and licences were granted to private companies to produce additional carriers. Within a few years, the class became a common sight in the expansion zones at the edge of the galaxy, either as part of a convoy or even on their own.
One of the corporations producing the Hornet was Sinister Industries, a division of Sinister Incorporated, a company originally founded in the 20th century.
As the fifteenth of her class to be built by Sinister Industries (and the 63rd Hornet Class), the Europa was built in record time, only six months from keel-laying to final fitting-out. As a nod to the corporation, and recognition of its efforts to produce new ships as quickly as possible, the Europa was given the unique prefix of "I.S.S."
The Europa is currently assigned to Blade Squadron, a special/black ops division of the High Command, tasked with undertaking missions of a top secret or sensitive nature.
This is the ISS Europa, a LEGO Neo-Classic Space starfighter carrier measuring over 100 studs long, with four auxiliary craft, an illuminated hangar bay and a crew of 17. The following picture is illuminated solely by the 16 LEGO Power Functions lights installed inside the Europa's hangar bay:
After nearly 7 months of planning and acquiring the brick (I posted my original sketch online on October 17th, 2009), it is finally complete. Please check out the video linked above to see a demonstration of all the working features, or view the entire imageset on Flickr to see the development of this creation and explanations of the concepts behind the design.