The Avali have 3 major standing fleets: the exploratory fleet, defense forces, and merchant navy. All three can be best described as "lithe", lacking giant capital ships and carriers, instead preferring to use smaller, highly specialized craft that are cheaper to build, quicker to escape, and harder to hit.
These fleets are designated in Human language as follows:
- AEF - Avalon Exploratory Fleet
- ADF - Avalon Defense Fleet
- AMF - Avalon Merchant Fleet
Private/civil spacecraft have been known to be found under a separate "ACF" designation as well. In Starbound, the player's default starting ship is a commonly-used multi-role dropship which is produced in both military and civilian models.
The backbone of the defense force is made up by its rail gun platforms. These ships are little more than a huge, high caliber spinal rail gun with gimballed engines and over-sized heat reservoirs. They are operated by a skeleton crew, usually just a pilot and flight engineers.
They target the hardest foes in a hostile force, either the capital ship or the hardened bunkers and structures on the ground, unleashing a volley of shots from extreme range. By internalizing their heat signature in their wing-like heat sinks, these ships can mask their presence from sensors long enough to fire their shots; after which they will drop below the planetary horizon to dump heat.
The other major component of the fleet is made up of drone command vessels, small gunship-like ships with strong armor, CIWS, electronic warfare suite and a crew of no more than a single pack. This pack commands swarms of drones to draw attention away from the actual fleet, which masks its heat signature when possible to avoid detection until it is too late. Drones are also used to intercept torpedoes, other incoming projectiles, or even hostile fighter craft and drones.
The main idea behind this composition is to fool enemy sensors with swarms of drones, electronic countermeasures and reduced sensor signatures from the actual fleet, to enable the real fleet to soften up the hard targets with volleys of rail gun fire. They seek to whittle down the enemy numbers while preserving their own through superior mobility. They are masters of hit-and-run, aiming to break the enemy fleet and drive them away or reduce their numbers to the point that the Avali fleet can engage them from a more advantageous standing.
Whether in space or on the ground, the Avali's experience as nomads is deeply entrenched in their combat psychology. Their craft are designed to be quick and easily withdrawn from a fight gone bad, and are fitted with superior sensors, tactical and electronic warfare suites. Like nomads they travel light and fight smart.
They fight like a guerrilla force even when they have the enemy out-gunned. Their strategy is to whittle the enemy down down, flanking, feigning and picking them apart. They strike hard and push the enemy on the back foot, then fade from the field the moment the enemy force tries push back.
This superior strategic capability is maintained through the use of spotters, drones and advanced sensor arrays, which ensure their commanders have almost complete awareness of the field. Updated to the second, commanders use this data to pick apart enemy forces from relative safety through indirect-fire weaponry: primarily air burst munitions, guided missiles and orbital strikes. Their spacecraft mount the recognizable wing-like heat reservoirs that minimize their infrared profile, while their infantry and tanks typically mount thermoptic camouflage making them difficult to spot.
This highly evasive technology comes at a cost. Making their stealth systems work ubiquitously means building smaller, lighter and efficiently to reduce infrared and electromagnetic profiles. Their vehicles have comparatively less armor, and wield smaller caliber weaponry than that fielded by other races in order to remain mobile. It's not unfeasible that an enemy race might field a dreadnought vessel so large that the Avali fleet's weapon systems simply cannot destroy it outright (Think Borg cube) due to its immense mass and redundant systems.