Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Elite: Dangerous Ship Size Comparison for 2.2 Guardians

With the addition of the Beluga Liner and the new Taipan fighter, I have created a revised version with the new ships added.

1080p version

For those of you with big screens, the 1080p version (above) and a 4K version are on an Imgur.com gallery here.

By request of CMDR Cullingworth on the Elite: Dangerous Facebook group, here is a PDF version. Be warned - it's a big file!

elite-ships-11.pdf (35.61 mb)

UPDATE: I had the Hauler and Adder's function transposed. This is now fixed. Well spotted CMDR Orpheus.

The Beluga Liner - What do we know?

The Beluga Liner has been a long time coming. The ship was first touted in Newsletter #10 back in August 2013 - three years ago!

Beluga Liner with Orca and Dolphin

As you can see it's design has evolved from concept to implementation.

Beluga Liner in game

The only other ships we've seen in concept that are not yet implemented are the small passenger ship, the Dolphin and the huge trade ship, the Panther LX. Although we did get a sneak peek at the final Dolphin, but Frontier did not confirm it for 2.2.

So how big is the Beluga Liner?

Frontier don't give out specifications - they let the players grab data from the game, however FDEV did post a photo from October 2014 that showed a whiteboard with the list of ships on it, which (even back then) included the Beluga and the Corvette.

Top secret stuff

As you can see (with a bit of squinting) the Beluga is the same length as the Anaconda with a narrower body, the Beluga's tail making it slightly longer and a great deal wider.

Obviously this is going to be a large landing pad ship

What's it's role?

The Beluga Liner is primarily a passenger vessel.

Like the Orca, it will be able to carry luxury and first class cabins that other ships won't, so the ship will be required to pursue a career in tourism and luxury travel, the profitable end of the new passenger industry.

The internal slots may also be restricted to cabins rather than other equipment, just as the Orca.

The ship has 6 utility slots and has the following internal module slots:-

  • 4 x Class 3
  • 1 x Class 4
  • 2 x Class 5
  • 4 x Class 6

This should give you massive passenger capacity. And maybe some cargo capacity too?

Is the Beluga armed?

It has been confirmed that the Beluga will have five medium hard-points. That would give it comparable fire-power to an Imperial Clipper (I rate fire-power by multiplying the number of hard-points by their class size).

But, in addition to five Class 2 weapons, the Beluga will also have a fighter bay. So it won't be a warship, but it'll be far from helpless either.

How fast is the Beluga?

Well, not very. But a ship that size is not going to be a racer. Sandro said on Tuesday's Lave Radio interview that the Beluga was the same speed as the Hauler, so it will be 200M/s with 300M/s on boost. Now that is faster than an Anaconda and Corvette, but slower than the Cutter. He didn't comment on agility, but we would expect something similar to the Anaconda's flight model as the ships are of similar size.

The ship will come equipped with a Class 7 FSD drive, but because of the Beluga's size, won't give a high jump range.


2.2 Guardians in mid-October

Frontier had a busy week at GamesCom and made a lot of announcements about the coming features of 2.2 and revealed a lot more detail.

Tourst destinations

No ships for ages, then two come along at once

The 2.2 update will bring a new ship; the Beluga Liner, which as its name suggests, is a vast passenger liner. Somewhere between an Anaconda and Corvette in size, this large ship is aimed at servicing the new passenger missions.

Beluga Taipan

Also added is a new fighter craft, the Taipan; this joins the F63 Condor and Imperial Fighter as ship-launch-able fighters. The Taipan is the “tank” of the three. With the fighters added to the main game, along with the Beluga, there are now 33 ships in game.

Guardians Guardian; singular

The reveal of the ship launched fighters show video of a BattleStar Galacica-esque ship launch and the power, speed and manoeuvrability of the new fighters – much more so than their CQC versions – we saw a Condor smack down a Python in very short order. But it was stated that we’d only be able to hold one fighter per ship. A Keelback was used for the demo and it was confirmed that Anaconda, Beluga Liner, Federal Corvette, Federal Gunship, Imperial Cutter, and Type-9 would all be fighter-bay capable mother-ships. You will be able to “hot swap” between your fighter and main ship.

Launching fighter

F63 Condor Imperial Fighter

NPC Crew

Before you deploy your fighter without flying it yourself, you need to hire crew to fly them. You can hire 3 crew and their skill level has a cost attached, although you can rank up your employees as they fly, so fighter pilot apprenticeships are going to be a thing. There is now a “crew lounge” in stations where candidates can be recruited. While you may have three crew employed, you can only take one of them with you.

The Crew Lounge

Station variety, capital ship docks and military bases

Stations will now have very distinct interiors, denoted by their economy so we now have refinery, high tech, tourism and agricultural stations in addition to the plain and palm tree versions.
Frontier are also adding a bit more space furniture in the form of capital ship docks and military bases. They have also promised other unique sights including a ship graveyard from Elite lore.

Tourist station   Agricultural station   Refinery station   High tech station

Captial ship dock

Galaxy maps and surface maps

The galaxy map now has an amazing new feature that allows you to filter routes. Why is that great? Because now you can plot routes that only include scoop-able stars or via high security (safe) systems. Looking in the system map now shows the planet surface in exact miniature, displaying the terrain.

Galaxy map route filters

Stored ship relocation

Why couldn’t we have had this when I needed to move 29 ships to SOL from Shinrarta? Well, now you can select a ship in storage in any station shipyard and for a small fee, relocate it instantly to your present location. What will the transfer fees be to Jacques I wonder?
You could therefore fly to a remote location in your DBX with a high jump range, and then summon your Vulture. You can also remotely sell your stored ships.

Ship relocation

Skins and ship kits

There will be a number of ship skins being added to 2.2 as well as (for the first time) SRV skins and skins for the new fighter-class ships. In addition, there are ship kits (wings and spoilers) for the Vulture, Asp Explorer, Viper Mk 3 and Python.

Python ship kit Vulture ship kit Viper Mk 3 ship kit Asp Explorer ship kit

Fighter paint options


So finally (big sigh) the Orca has a point to its existence! And with the new Beluga Liner (whatever that will cost) you can ferry bulk passengers around the galaxy, take passengers on luxury tours and visit the colourful corners of the galaxy and get paid.

First class passengers

Passengers can travel in economy, first class or (with passenger vessels) Luxury suites. You’ll need the passenger ships specifically to carry VIPs around in first class and luxury cabins. Standard ships will take passengers but only in economy cabins.

Beluga Liner

Volcanism (not Mister Spock, volcanoes!)

With 2.2 will come Volcanism, that means geysers, fumaroles and (hopefully full-blown volcanoes) and I hope, the ability to land on lava worlds.

Volcanic world Geysers and fumaroles

It came from LaveCon 2016

This year’s event was great and I think people enjoyed my VR shipyard. A couple of CMDRs even crashed my racing Courier, although Kerrash failed to live up to his name – he only dented the shields!

I had a hilarious game of Artemis with Frontier & the Elite Ambassadors – they made me captain (eek!) but we didn’t die, so that was a result even if I have no idea how our score rated.

The Q&A session with Frontier was a highlight and FD didn’t disappoint, giving out special edition LaveCon skins for the Eagle, Asp scout, FDL and Anaconda! For both PC and XBOX CMDRs.


Information obtained

I asked Michael Brookes some questions, carefully, because he was taking a six-foot-high axe out of his car at the time!

Will Elite support Nvidia’s new Ansel 360 degree pause and screenshot system?

There are no current plans, but maybe in the future.

Is there a (lore) reason the Imperial Eagle – a Gutamaya ship – has a Core Dynamics logo on the cockpit?

It’s a bug.

Michael also said that the new ship launched fighters would change the dynamic, making traders much more dangerous if they had them. Something we suspected would be the case.

The Frontier Q&A revealed more

Jacques station is going to end its wandering to start 2nd human “bubble”.

2.2 will introduce a local “player journal” containing a wealth of data for 3rd party interfaces and apps. Details to follow.

Passenger missions – CMDRs will need to scan objects at location to confirm they visited. These will include Battle locations and Historical sites. Some as far as 65-70,000 Lyr’s out. Frontier hope to expand the lore and story of the game though some of this “historical sites”.

Community Goals at Jacques will be coming, but will run for a month, to allow CMDRs to make the trip.

Q: System security around start systems?
Would like to increase system security.

Q: What did Frontier think was justified criticism of Engineers?
Material collection was too hard initially. Made mistakes with balance. Weapon effects were supposed to be super-rare. But FD changed tack when they became a role meta. Healer. Tank etc. so make the “exchange rep for desired effect” mechanic.

Q: Ship kits for more ships? More ship kits are coming.

Q: 2.2 A.I. Crew? Multi-crew is purely multiplayer. No AI Crew in the pipelines.

Q: Building based on planets? It's coming, but not this season.

Q: Group management tools? Changing over time. Nothing to announce right now.

Q: Why are all the stations the same? "GamesCon"

Q: Cross platform play with Xbox? Not currently possible.

Q: Planet tourism. Tour buses? Probably.

Q: Jump gates / faster way to get to Jacques station? Michael Brookes said “Like modded FSD drives you mean? Never say “never”, but Jump Gates unlikely.”

Q: Beluga liner? "Wait and see"

Q: AI wing men "escorts"? Can't say anything right now..

Q: Ship naming? "desirable feature" did not elaborate.

Q: Vive rendering any fix? One fix has already been issued, but the problem requires re-engineering - no ETA.

Q: Why no Landing lights when gear deployed? "Good idea"

Q: Decals? More soon.

Q: How is placement of objects and events decided? It depends on context, there are no hard rules. There is no FD Community Goal dartboard!

Q: Where is Formadine rift? Can't help you.

Q: Any plans for group ID in game? E.g. Clan tags.  Michael Brookes said he would prefer to utilise in game minor faction as an ID. Sandro "would like this" but said there are some technical hurdles to overcome. Not straightforward.

Q: If my faction loses all rep, will it be removed from the game? No faction can be kicked from their home system.

Q: The Galaxy map for VR is hard to use. Any changes in the pipeline? "Being looked at"

Q: Slaves. If they "go off" can they be sold as meat or fertiliser? Sandro asked “don’t we vet these questions?” but the answer was “probably not!”

Q: Where are the race of felines from early elite? They are not in ED, so you can decide what happened to them!

Q: Rise of the alliance? Maybe soon-ish.

Q: Could CMDRs with little time drop autonomous materials collectors, then come back for them – say a week - later? Doable but not planned.

Q: Could we have player created ships? New ships are great, but player created ships are not going to be a thing.

Q: Large ships at outposts / supersize ships too large for stations. Can we have them? Outposts don't support large ships for gameplay reasons. FD could do it. If there was a reason.

Q: When can we summon ships? Nothing to announce now. {GamesCon again maybe?}

Sizes of coming ships behind the Frontier curtain

ship_size_smallOver the weekend a photo from Frontier offices, circa October 2014 surfaced. The photo was of a whiteboard concerning audio development, but posted on the corner of the whiteboard was a series of ship concept arts and ship renders.

This is where it gets interesting

Speculation alert!

From the concept art, I can identify all but the smallest ships. Interestingly the ships are all grouped by manufacturer.

The renders are all top-down. This gives us a clear indication of size, or at least the size Frontier planned.

Some of the ships are in their "early" form. The Imperial Clipper was still known as the Imperial Trader and was larger than the final Clipper became. The Courier was in the early concept stage and as we know changed a great deal in implementation.

inside secret

How big?

As you can see the Panther and Beluga top-downs show they are both longer than the Anaconda and Corvette. We are fairly certain that large pad is the hard limit of ship sizes and the pad would appear to be approximately 200m x 120m. The Beluga therefore is likely to be the same size as the Imperial Cutter and the Panther is that much larger, so probably very close to the maximum 200m long. That would make the Panther a pretty massive ship!

Panther Big


With Horizons 2.2 "Guardians" we are going to get passenger missions, so it follows that the most likely time for the Dolphin and Beluga Liner to sail into the game is in this version.

Orca and DolphinDolphin, Orca and Beluga

When will we see the Panther Clipper? Well 2.1 would be a nice surprise, but my bet is the ship and maybe some others of the same size class, are being held back for something special in 2.4. Currently passing cargo is a matter of eject-n-scoop between two ships, but with advent of super-heavy traders in the game maybe we'll see a ship-to-ship docking mechanism added for cargo (and passenger?) transfer direct.
This would allow for player-to-player cargo transfer and ships as large as the Panther could visit tiny outposts like Hutton Orbital and be unloaded by a group of Type 6 transports. It would also allow for the transfer of passengers to ships. Maybe you can take some guests to that wedding barge?

Guardians of the galaxy

buggyThe second announced expansion to Elite: Dangerous in Horizons is titled “Guardians”.

2.2 – Guardians - Coming Summer 2016

“Take what comes and strike back with double. Bring a second ship to every combat encounter with Ship-Launched Fighters and defend your passengers against the deadliest threats in the galaxy.”

Picking the text apart for the language used, reveals more detail.
What is said is “a second ship”.


Not ship-launcher fighter(s) plural, but instead a single deployable fighter or drone, depending on if you or the A.I. are flying it.

So my hopes for a “Type-9 Galactica” with half-a-dozen hangar bays are dashed! And I had a "launch fighters" voice-attack command all ready to go!

Have the fighters been limited to one-per-commander due to constraints of A.I.? The Mistress of Minions would probably disagree that her children of chaos are in ANY way limited, so I suspect that the limitation is to prevent richer commanders becoming one-man-armies of unstoppable A.I. fleets.

On the one hand, having three or four deployable Condors would not make me unbeatable, but having been on the wrong end of a Python with two Eagles attacking my rear, I can appreciate why it might be overkill. Still, a Wing of four pilots with deployable fighters becomes a Wing of eight. Ouch.

Something else mentioned, is the phrase “defend your passengers”. A similar wording slipped out of Ed during the recent live-stream from PAX and was thought to be the result of jet-lag, but the clear mention of passengers here would imply we are going to get the long-awaited passenger missions. This opens up more career paths to players and makes the likelihood of the Dolphin passenger vessel and the Beluga Liner making an appearance in Elite at long last a distinct possibility. No more sad little Orca. Friends at last! And hopefully a career path that warrants a 44M credit price-tag.