The design and construction of ships determines effectiveness of tactical battles. Many technologies directly affect the possibilities for ship design. Due to the randomised technologies in the game, ship sections and weapon type availability are not the same from game to game and thus a ship design save system is not present.
Ships cannot be refitted or upgraded once they have been built. However, you can scrap ships for a temporary production bonus at any of your colonies, so you can pretend your old ship is being refitted as you construct a new ship. Ships can also be repaired out of combat by specialized repair vessels.
Ship sections can be destroyed and will have a detrimental effect on the ship (e.g. a ship loses its engine section and now it can't move). Each section has an assigned number of hit points altered by technologies added during ship design. In the case of Destroyers and Cruisers the destruction of two sections will result in the ship's destruction. Dreadnoughts require all three sections to be destroyed to render the ship destroyed and each section will remain online until the ship is destroyed. In the case of Destroyers and Cruisers, each individual section can be disabled to prevent its use during/after combat by destroying that section.
One of the major, albeit subtle, differences between ships in SotS and the ships of previous 4X games is that they have been, almost, entirely mathematical constructs. Ship X cost Y stuff and has Z hardpoints which can swap a mathematical number of weapon types/sizes. In SotS, the ships are an evolution of the HW era of 3-D physical ship models. They are actual things...not a set of rules and math.
Starting Ship Sections
The difference in size between successive ship classes is a factor 3: a cruiser is three times the length of a destroyer and a dreadnought is three times the size of a cruiser. With destroyers having a length of approximately 30 meters, this means a cruiser has a length of 90 meters and a dreadnought is on average 270 meters long. A comparison between the different classes and other constructions can be seen in the picture below. Note that the human dreadnought appears to be slightly smaller than the expected 270 meters.
This category has the following 7 subcategories, out of 7 total.