Class: Space naval vessel
Crew: 400, with an additional air group of 700
Mass: 459,000 tons (dry, typical)
Range: Full solar system transit capability, unlimited fold range
2 x 2-barreled rail gun turret, one fore and one aft of the command tower
1 x 2-barreled particle beam cannon, forward of the fore rail gun turret
2 x 4-barreled particle beam cannon, one mounted to the port of the centerline between the forward two main turrets, and the other starbord of the centerline between the forward railgun and command tower. Turrets are retractable.
6 x 2-barreled point defense turret
10 x 1-barreled point defense turret
4 x Anti-warship strategic reflex missile launchers on the dorsal forward main hull and side sponsons. Total of 10 missiles.
4 x 10-tube vertical missile launchers on the side sponsons, for a total of 120 missiles
8 x 2-barreled light anti-aircraft turrets.
Approx. 220 fighter craft, usually a mix of Veritechs (Logans early in the 2nd Robotech War, AGACs later) and Chimera non-transformable fighters.
Several shuttles and other launchers.
The Tristar-class cruisers often served as flagships of the Southern Cross, and led squadrons of vessels in the REF. The ship is the largest put to space by the Southern Cross, and was a formidable vessel. With a large air group, heavy turrets, and a battery of reflex and anti-warship missiles, combined with a far smaller silhouette than the Zentraedi vessels that had attacked Earth a generation before, the Tristar would have easily held its own against the far larger vessels of the alien giants. However, the enemy it encountered were the Robotech Masters, whose vastly superior technology meant that the Tristar could often only barely hold its own in combat. Like all second-generation Earth space naval vessels, and unlike those of the First and Third Robotech Wars, the Tristar-class was capable of easy landings on a planetary surface. The vessel's form was typical of ships of this period; The vessel was shaped not unlike a 20th century submarine, with large sponsons housing the hangar bays on port and starboard, and a smaller one on the keel. The bridge was located in a citadel tower on the topside hull, aft of most of the main turrets.
The Tristar was a fold-capable vessel, and it was this class of vessel that first employed a hazardous variation of the usual fold to create an "orbital warp blast", which was used to destroy an attacking force of Robotech Master battleships and bioroids by dragging them into an artificial singularity. It also had powerful conventional engines, arranged into a cruciform pattern on the rear hull. Indeed, because these and the other second-generation naval vessels were all of similar shapes and painted in dark colors to minimize visibility in space, it was often only the engine configuration that allowed one to distinguish one vessel from another.
The most famous ship of this class was the vessel that bore the class name, which was the flagship of General Emerson throughout the latter half of the Second Robotech War. This vessel led missions to refurbish Luna and ALuCE bases on the moon, before returning to Earth to lead the penultimate and final attacks on the Masters' fleet. She was finally lost in a ram against one of the Motherships. Some several dozen vessels of this class were built, and most were lost in the Second Robotech War.