Although the Alliance's practice of buying commercial and civilian ships for conversion to military vessels was proving to be a success, Alliance Command was concerned by the fleet's lack of any heavy carrier. Since no suitable hulls could be purchased on the open market, funding was poured into a massive expansion of the Rendrath Shipyards. Now, as well as producing fighters and bombers based on commercial blueprints, the shipyards began work on a truly ambitious project - a carrier capable of holding said fighters. Though codenamed the "Sparrow" during development to confuse enemy intelligence, Alliance Command was so amused by the contrast that they made it the official class name when the first prototype was completed. This prototype was first sent into combat at the Battle of White-rim, where it played a key role in the Alliance's plan.
First appearance: Page 02.17
Unusually for a carrier, the Sparrow Class is heavily armed - outgunning, for example the C.D.Fs Daimyo class Heavy Cruiser. Given the apparent absence of any Battlecruiser or Battleship classes from the CDF, this would appear to make the Sparrow their most powerful gun-armed class - although the lack of any lance armament would appear to exclude it from the first rate of ship to ship designs. Another key feature of the design, presumably not well publicized prior to being demonstrated at the Battle of Farhaven, was the fact that the forward section of the main hull, despite being well armoured, contains few if any vital systems and, although the long term survival of the crew may be impaired, the ship can still maneuver and fight with extensive damage to this area. Comments by Admiral Norvosi during the engagement indicate that this may well have been a deliberate design decision, providing the ship with a "damage buffer" which is deliberately positioned to attract enemy fire away from more combat critical systems. The standard air wing is unremarkable in numbers and suffers from the typical lower quality of Alliance fighter designs but is still a significant improvement over any of its predecessors.