The Expanse: Leonidas Class Battleship – Official Breakdown


Though already decades into its service, the
Leonidas Class Battleship remains one of the newest designs in the United Nations Navy,
introduced as part of a poorly funded and largely unsuccessful attempt to modernise
the fleet, before it began to fall into complete stagnancy.
At a length of 270 Meters, the Leonidas is very compact for a Battleship, presenting
a smaller target for hostile weapons during long-range engagements. Much of this advantage
is lost however, as a result of the ship’s extremely slow rate of acceleration, this
is a product of the vessel’s outmoded S-250 Series Epstein Drives, a famously unreliable
drive unit that was considered outdated even before the Leonidas was commissioned. The
Leonidas Class carries a standard crew complement of 920, in addition to an unusually large
contingent of United Nations Marines. On paper, the weapons complement of the Leonidas
Class seems incredibly formidable, carrying a staggering 32 Torpedo Launchers, supported
by a pair of Dawson-Pattern Medium Railguns and a huge grid of 25 PDCs, only ten fewer
than the defence grid of the far larger Truman Class Dreadnought. In reality, this arsenal
is the result of low quality targeting suites, both for the ship’s torpedoes and PDCs,
with the system’s unreliable accuracy demanding a larger number of weapons to improve torpedo
hit probability and point defence. In regard to the PDC’s at least, this was something
of an overcompensation, and the result is an extremely effective defence grid that makes
the ship essentially unassailable by torpedoes. The huge number of weapons equipped on the
Leonidas drastically increase the ship’s overall mass, and when combined with the vessel’s
low-quality drive units, they result in an extremely unfavourable thrust-to-weight ratio
and manoeuvrability rating. This lack of agility has inspired certain naval personnel to mockingly
nickname the vessels ‘Brick Buckets’ or ‘Lead Leo’s’.
Like many ships of its era, the Leonidas Class carries turreted railguns that cannot be rotated
or otherwise articulated while the ship is under thrust. For this reason, the ship is
often used to slowly strafe across an engagement zone on a single vector, before adjusting
to perform another run. Some captains also chose to disregard evasive tactics entirely,
and instead bring their vessels to a relative halt upon entering weapons range, using the
ship’s huge point defence grid to protect themselves as they adjust and fire their railguns.
While the Battleship’s defence grid provides a highly reliable shield against missile weapons,
the ship remains extremely vulnerable to railguns as a result of its poor manoeuvrability, and
is essentially incapable of engaging any railgun-equipped warship without firing from far beyond effective
range. Though the vessel was not designed as an assault
ship, the unusually large cargo and shuttle bays of the Leonidas Class have resulted in
the vessel often being selected to serve as a troop deployment craft, with a number of
additional modular barracks and mission operation centres being installed on a mission-specific
basis. The 8 M-Type APC Skiffs carried aboard the vessel are substantially larger than conventional
L-Type Dropships, and are able to deploy sizeable boarding parties and ground excursion teams
in short order. When pushed to maximum capacity, a Leonidas Class Vessel can be loaded to carry
hundreds of marines, often exceeding the troop complement of certain purpose-built assault
vessels. Though certainly an effective and reliable
warship, the Leonidas Class Battleship is perhaps the greatest symbol of the UN Navy’s
decline into stagnancy. When compared to the cutting edge Donnager Class Battleships of
the Martian Congressional Republic, the Leonidas Class is outmatched in almost every measurable
sense, and serves to underline the UN’s desperate need for a drastic modernisation
of their entire fleet.

100 thoughts on “The Expanse: Leonidas Class Battleship – Official Breakdown

  1. I imagine many of you book fans were expecting this ship to be named 'Xerxes Class' as that name is mentioned in the books. After a lot of consideration I decided that the stated specifications and implied age of the Xerxes in the book didn't match this ship very well, especially given that it was present as far back as the Anderson Station Massacre. With that in mind I decided to flip it on it's head a little and submit "Leonidas Class". – Daniel

  2. Slap on some newer, better engines, replace the old turrets and upgrade the targeting suites… how would that influence its performance?

  3. Wish i could watch this but im still waiting for the Series 3 release on Netflix as i havent seen it yet 🙁 (no sci fi in my country and no amazon prime as well)

  4. Question: in the expanse series the camera angles of space vessels appear to show ships moving forewords with their engines first instead of the nose of their ships. Like a sail boat moving foreword with its rudder first. How does this work?

  5. So basically: Rip out the old drives, put in new ones and replace the targeting computers and guidance systems and you have one of the best ships in 'The Expanse'? 😉

  6. The captains of the Leonides ships have this tendency to scream, "THIS. IS. SPARTA!" whenever someone hails them in the comms.

  7. Actually it seems fairly good support battleship as it can be used as a missile screen and a bullet sponge.

  8. You know what this ship is like ?

    The USN's slow-as-shit BB Colorado

    Hopefully, just like real life, their will be a highly modernized version to follow (North Carolina class BB)

  9. I hope we get a chance to see some more medium sized ships in the coming seasons. Most of what we've seen on the show have been capital ships and patrol vessels. Where are the destroyers and cruisers?

  10. reminds me alot of the magellan class from gundam.
    Better armed than just about anything but not agile enough to put it to god use.

  11. This video could've been 4 mins shorter if you could list whats good about it…

    First 10 secs is the intro

  12. So I've been seeing a lot of Expanse videos lately and I haven't seen the new season yet. I still love the channel's content and am wondering if the new Expanse videos are spoiler safe?

  13. Uh, did the folks in The Expanse universe forget how to make lasers and other energy and particle weapons? Because all I see aboard these ships, in spite of them using what appears to be a highly-developed inertial fusion drive engine (which use lasers to fuse pellets of hydrogen), are projectile weapons.

    The biggest issue with using laser weapons on Earth is the atmosphere. In space, there is no such constraint. And with a powerful fusion drive able to deliver plenty of energy, powerful lasers (or other energy or particle weapons) ought to be standard armament.

  14. Spacedock, you have forgotten to specify the width of the vessel.

    Also, why M (medium?) type skiffs are larger than L (large?) type skiffs? That's weird.

  15. In my opinion, the first thing is to update its outdated Esptin Drive with modern, more efficient one. Second, upgrade the railgun so that it can fire while during manuver. Also, update its targeting suite.

  16. I'm always surprised how short the ships are in this series. 270 meters for 920 crew plus marines? seems pretty cramped.

  17. This is why the expanse suck. Explained to me how the UN allow both Mars Independence and for their Navy (which would be the primary force in space warfare) to become such a joke? Oh, wait because the novels don't make a damn bit of sense.

    I give it one more season, maybe two more, before the joke of a series is canceled again. I fucking hate some elements the expanse., those I do like some things.

  18. Were all of the UNN ships engaging the MCRN fleet over Ganymede both during the initial skirmish in Season 2 and the battle we briefly see at the beginning of Season 3 Leonidas Class ships?

  19. Why can't the railguns be used while under thrust? I assume its because of an inadequate power grid. I can't think of a physics reason why not.

  20. Would it make sense to call this the Leonidas class battlebrick?

    Edit I like seeing the combat ships of the expanse I wasn't a big fan of your Razorback video but don't take it wrong I will definitely tune in for any Expanse vid.

  21. I don't understand… why can't the turrets be rotated when under thrust??? And if that is the case then why even bother with gun turrets. Might as well go with a much more powerful spinal mount.

  22. God, its basically the f-35 of space warfare… They wanted a ship that could do everything, but ended up with a ship that was great at nothing

  23. Suggestions for changes:

    Leonidas Class Battleship – Weapon suites which are inaccurate by modern standards, this battle ship was designed for a prior war where the number of Torpedoes, and PDCs dominated the conflict, not necessarily the quality of them.

    Possible flaws with Torpedo systems:
    1) In ability to use Torpedoes to shoot down enemy Torpedoes.
    2) Torpedoes once launched can't be redirected at a new targets/attack vectors.
    3) Fire and forget, but not redirect.
    4) Can remote detonate, but not redirect in flight.
    5) Lack of onboard tracking systems, requires the ship to maintain Torpedo lock on target or communication with the Torpedo. (Also limits the number of torpedoes that can be fired at a time from a single ship/targeting computer.)

    After the introduction of highly accurate, long range rail guns, makes even this smaller battleship a relatively large, and slow target.

    Possible flaws with railgun systems:

    1) Limited firing arcs (can't point gun at target, unless ship is in specific angles of attack.) Limited amount of Gun depression, Gun elevation, limited Left Right traverse
    2) Lack of ability to fully articulate, (can not shoot behind.)
    3) Slow movement of turrets (requires the ship to slow, and maneuver to point the gun accurately.)
    4) Tracking system inaccuracy at high speed. (requires the ship to slow, and maneuver to point the gun accurately.)
    5) Combination of all these flaws.

    Recent attempts to modify, and modernize the fleet have resulted in an overweight, underpowered, vessel with poorer than average manuverablity.

    Examples of how to add it into the context:

    Adding long range railguns of it own has done little to improve it's weapon compliment, as their limited firing archs and lack of ability to fully articulate, requires the ship to slow, and manuver to point the railguns accurately.

    This is compounded by the ships targeting systems being incompatible with the newer AARSSRR (All Aspect Remote Start Stop Redirect) missiles leaving the ship's defenses largely based upon the Point Defense Cannons.

  24. Apparently they got dumber in the future. Smart missiles only need a look to get a lock on target and guide themselves to target after launch. They even have bullets these days that do the samething which up until about a year ago you could buy if you had the cash.
    https://www.cnn.com/2015/04/29/us/us-military-self-guided-bullet/index.html
    https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/05/15/184223110/new-rifle-on-sale

  25. so happy bezos saved this show, and still amazed it doesnt have a bigger backing after 4 years, i remember watching the first season thinking this show was really gonna take off, maybe its just "my cup of tea", the books are pretty amazing too

  26. Spacedock, where are all the rest of the UNN’s ship types? We know from the books that they have at least two other classes, and there are a similar two classes shown (but unnamed) in the show. In addition, their design philosophy seems to merit keeping old ships in service even after new classes are introduced, meaning a larger diversity of ships.
    When will we see these ships? Will Force Recon ever show them or will we be left in the dark about these ships indefinitely?

    On a side note, that maneuver with the fusion jets in the pilot of the Sojourn was great.

  27. we are in space so what's up with the effective range? Unless it is a timefactor that makes the enemy able to move to avoid, there shouldn't be such a thing as effective range on the projectiles it self. Maybe targeting range?

  28. Sounds like all dusty warehouse leftovers of bygone failed projects found their common resting place and someone is sentenced to try somehow to keep it space-worthy. I can see this actually happening. Just when you think The Expanse has oddly charming realism woven into it you get more pleasant surprises like this.
    If there was ever a space MMO game in the Expanse universe, I'd fly this death trap without exception.

  29. ………..What is it with me and instantly falling in love with something that is absolute crap……….

  30. Whoever wrote the bio for this ship is brilliant, it sounds like a typical military build, overdesigned and underpowered.

  31. 02:32 Um what bullshit is this? This is space. Fire a solid mass such as a tungsten round with a railgun…. It will travel to the ends of the universe

  32. As much as it sucks in combat, why not take off the rail guns, leave the PDCs and make it a hard to kill transport for assault.

  33. I wonder why none of the factions in this period of the story made any investments in drone figher carriers?
    Deploying these in conjunction with torpedoes would slaughter any enemy ship unfortunate to be within effective range.
    I am also certain that drone AI's would be decent enough to lessen the micromanagement factor for the drone pilots/overseers.

  34. I still don't get it.

    Ships HAVE to have their components removed, repaired and/or replaced by technicians every time they enter dry-dock. If the UN HAS better Epstein Drives, why can't they simply be replaced? Did the specs for the drive cradles not permit anything BUT the out-dated and poor-thrust drives it's currently equipped with? Or is the funding on this type of war-ship so minimal the UN's bureaucracy more content to let their investment waste away into obsolescence?

  35. Well, it was the rusty but numerous Shermans that won WW2, not the superior but fewer Tigers.
    It may be less than a Donnager, but you can give the Martians a run for their money if you field bigger numbers.

  36. The fact that the marvins are more advanced then earthens is bullshiet, author need take, a page from the story of killzone with vekta and helghan , Alfa-centauri would have been a better seting for the expanse , so the martians are independent because reasons…the epstin thing-of-ma-bob would make communication easy for force projection ,one round of Rods from god bye..bye rebels,Terra aeterna gloris,…and stuff……but if it was light-years away all green… because… isolation.. dah :).The tech is made were you have resources and you would need terraforming tech to make it…mars workable as a colony …living in domes or things is to much work and for what …nothing for jack fucking shit,so tech is made by earth and they are more primitive what the hell , another soft sci fi with some flavor of hard sci fi a grog..or pussy thined wine with water.Point defence but no laser point defence,no rocket battery like missile cruisers….No large anti-ship missile,no brain machine interface with gel gravity coach capsule,no drones, coilguns should be the point defence,the energy source of every ship should be a nuclear fusion reactor core,even reactive armour for the hull,ablative Armour ,more use of plasma particle acceletor cannons or free electron lasers,but no use of mass rocket fire…is a big no..No.even simple kinetic kill vehicle are not here,no active defence system for close in interception or the use of missile in point defence.

  37. Hot damn that is an ugly ship. Which by itself wouldn't be a problem if it was effective in it's role. As it is, sounds like a glorified "static" artillery platform of so-so utility.

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