Frontier have rather quietly announced the next major update to Elite: Dangerous after Close Quarters Combat Championship (1.4) will be called "Ships"
When is being released?
After CQCC in September, but before "Horizons" which is being released in "Holiday season" (late November to early December), so some time in October or early November.
What else is in the update?
Well, ships. Clearly.
The update will take the number of unique ships (excluding variants we assume) to over thirty. We already know Horizons will bring the Cobra Mk IV and 1.4 will add the Dropship Mk II, the Federal Gunship and the Imperial Eagle.
There are still a number of ships hinted and teased to date we haven't seen confirmed for any release and they are:
The Panther Clipper - large trade ship. This ship from the earlier Elite Frontier game had huge cargo capacity and formidable defences.
The Imperial Cutter - a large ship which we know little about, but would speculate is an Empire equivalent of the Python, somewhere between a Courier and Clipper or perhaps larger than a Clipper? The concept art we've seen appears to show what became the Imperial Clipper, so will we see a Cutter or not?
The Federal Corvette - the largest flyable ship to be in the game, almost a third larger than an Anaconda. A slow moving weapons platform.
The Dolphin passenger vessel and Beluga Passenger liner - which with the Orca, are Elites passenger transport vessels.
With the introduction of these passenger ships it would follow that passenger transport would become a career path in Elite as well. Something many have waited for.
What else might we see?
Big on the wish-list is ship-in-ship transport and deployment. With SRV's being launched from all ships in Horizons, the idea of a "launch bay rack" for Class 6 & Class 7 internals sounds more plausible. And rather appealing.