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Shipyards are orbital installations that specialise in the manufacture, refit, repair and scrap of ships and defensive structures. Shipyards are rated by their maximum construction tonnage(capacity) and come in two variants: Naval and Commercial. They also have a number of slipways which let them build multiple ships at the same time. Commercial shipyards get a 10x size bonus for the same cost, but may only build Commercial ships. Naval shipyards can build either military or commercial ships.

Shipyards are critical because they represent the only method for constructing ships, whether for combat or for various other purposes, such as colonization, transport, surveying, trading, and so forth. You begin with only a small building capacity shipyard at your homeworld, so you should invest in building more shipyards and expanding their capacity. Keep in mind that a shipyard usually can only produce one class of ships at a time, and that retooling for a new class takes considerable time and money, so building more shipyards is a better way of quickly expanding a fleet with many different classes than adding slipways to existing yards.

Properly planning your fleet construction can save you time and costs, as sometimes similar classes can be build in the same yard without first retooling - see the Retooling section below for more details.

Notes: Every design that includes an Orbital Habitat Module can be built by industry as well as by a shipyard. This can be used to build arbitrarily large industrial bases that could include Terraforming modules, Sorium Harvesters or Asteroid Mining Modules without the need for a shipyard. After designing the class, retool a shipyard to build it or select "Build PDC/Orbital Habitat" in the industry tab.

Keep in mind that the expansion of shipyards consumes great amounts of Neutronium.

Shipyards can be towed to a different colony. Physically moving the shipyard away from the planet with a Tug will effectively shut down the shipyard, but note that shipyards will disappear if the tug releases them while not in orbit of a colony.

Shipyard Complexes

All ships greater than 500 tons have to be built in Shipyard Complexes. The cost of a Shipyard Complex is 2400 BP and it is built using construction factories. When completed, the Shipyard Complex has a single Slipway with a capacity of 1000 tons. Additional Slipways and extra capacity for existing Slipways are built by the Shipyard Complex itself (without affecting the building of ships).

Each Shipyard Complex is dedicated to building a specific class of ship and may build one of that class in each Slipway. The Shipyard may be retooled to build a different class of ship and this does not affect any ships currently under construction but once retooling is underway, no new tasks can be started. This simulates a shipyard getting ready for future construction while completing work on existing shipyard tasks.

In effect, a Shipyard Complex has two distinct levels. The Slipway level, where ships are built, refitted, repaired and scrapped at the Racial Shipbuilding Rate, and the Shipyard level, where extra slipways are constructed, extra capacity is added and retooling is carried out, also at the Racial Shipbuilding Rate. The manning requirement for a Shipyard Complex is equal to one million for each shipyard complex plus 100 per ton of total capacity. For example, a Shipyard with two 5000 ton slipways would be 1m + (10,000 x 100) = 2m. Commercial shipyards are treated as 1/10th capacity for manning requirements.

The Manage Shipyard tab of the Economics window lists the Shipyard Complexes in orbit of each colony. Below the grid control is a section entitled Shipyard Complex Activity.

Naval vs Commercial

Commercial Shipyards differ from Naval Shipyards in the following respects:

  1. Commercial can only build classes that are specified as Commercial Vessels in their class summary.
  2. Expansion of Commercial Shipyards costs only one tenth that of Naval Shipyards. For example, adding 2000 tons of capacity to a Naval Shipyard would cost 480 BP. For a Commercial Shipyard it would only cost 48 BP (and use 24 Duranium and 24 Neutronium). Retooling costs are the same as before.
  3. Commercial Shipyards require only one tenth of the manpower of Naval Shipyards for their size.
  4. The modification rate of commercial shipyards is based on one tenth their capacity, although as the cost of increase is also one tenth of normal, this will work out to a similar expansion rate in percentage terms as Naval Shipyards. Without this restriction Commercial Shipyards would grow amazingly quickly due to the faster growth rates for larger shipyards.
  5. The Build Rate of Commercial Vessels is based on one quarter of their size (see Ship Construction Rates below)

Shipyard Complex Activity

The Shipyard Complex Activity section, in the Manage Shipyard tab of the Economics window. This is where the expansion or retooling of the shipyard is set in motion. The player selects a Shipyard and can then choose can choose from a number of different activities. All the following rules apply to Naval Shipyards. Commercial Shipyards are similar and the differences are covered later in this section.

Shipyard Activity can be paused, to conserve wealth and minerals, or abandoned. If an Add Extra Slipway or Retool activity is abandoned then all work is lost. If an Add Extra Capacity activity is ended then the percentage of work done on the task will be added to the shipyard, rounded down to the nearest hundred tons. For example, if a shipyard has done 75% of an Add Extra 500 Capacity activity when it is abandoned, then the shipyard gains 300 capacity (500 x 0.75 = 375).


Shipyards industrial capacity can be improved by expansion of the capacity of slipways, increasing the maximum construction tonnage of ships they can handle; or by producing more slipways, increasing the number of ships that the shipyard can build concurrently.

It is important to note though that shipyards don't gain much benefit from construction ships smaller than their maximum tonnage, so don't expand your shipyards gratuitously unless you have resources to spare. Also, it rapidly becomes more expensive and takes increasing lengths of time to modify a shipyard as its number of slipways increase. Use 1-slip shipyards for ships you won't build many of, and reserve multiple-slipway yards for major classes you are building a number of. Additionally you cannot start new ship construction at a shipyard that is retooling to another class, so plan your shipyard retooling carefully to avoid unusable construction slips.


A shipyard has to have the appropriate equipment and supply chain to construct a ship and all of its components, and this is represented in Aurora by the Retooling cost. Each shipyard's slipways are geared toward production of one class of ships at a time, and retooling for a new project takes considerable time and resources. This can get very expensive if you change your tooling often.

Properly planning your fleet construction can save you time and costs. Note that it is possible that other ship classes can be built in the same shipyard without retooling. For a second class to qualify as eligible for construction, it must be possible to refit a ship of the primary class to that class for less than 20% of the primary ship class cost.

See the "DAC/Rank/Info" tab in the Class Design window for eligible secondary classes.

To begin Retooling, go to Shipyard Complex Activity, "Task Type" and select "Retool for Selected Class". The class selected for retooling is chosen from the adjacent ship class dropdown. Only classes that are small enough to fit within the shipyard's capacity can be selected. A brand new shipyard (one without a class assigned) may be retooled for free and no time, otherwise this task costs 0.5x of the ship class build cost plus 0.25x ship class build cost per slipway. So if a shipyard with two slipways wanted to start building a class that cost 800 BP, the cost to retool would be 800 x (0.5+0.25+0.25) = 800 BP. If there were four slipways, the cost would be 800 x (0.5+(0.25x4)) = 1200 BP. Mineral use is based on the minerals used in the class.


Shipyards allows the Construction, Repair, Refitting and Scrapping of ships currently present at the body. This can take place concurrently with Expansion and Retooling activities, with the exception that no new ship of the existing primary class can be laid down once retooling begins.

The length of time is takes to build a ship depends on several factors. The primary one is the cost in build points. If there are two ships of the same size and the first costs fifty percent more than the second, it will also take fifty percent longer to build. The rate of ship construction is also affected by the actual size of a ship. The basis of this is that while a supertanker costs perhaps 1000x more than a fishing boat, it doesn't take 1000x as long to build. The larger shipyard needed for the supertanker can work on many more things at once than the small shipyard needed for the fishing boat. However, the reason the change in construction rate is based on ship size and not shipyard size is that it would hardly be efficient to build fishing boats in the shipyard intended for the supertanker.

The base racial Shipbuilding Rate apples to ships of size 100 (5000 tons). If a ship is a different size, the rate of shipbuilding at a naval shipyard will be:

Normal shipbuilding rate x (1+(((Class Size / 100) - 1)/2)) 

This is less complex than it looks. What it means is that the class size is divided by 100 to get a multiple of the base class size of 100. So a class of size 150 (7500 tons) would have a multiple of 1.5. This multiple is then reduced (or increased if less than 1) to half the distance between the multiple and 1. So for the size 150 ship, the final multiple would be 1.25.

So if the shipbuilding rate for a size 100 ship was 1000 BP per annum, the annual shipbuilding rate for a size 150 ship (7500 tons) would be 1250, for a 10,000 ton ship it would be 1500 and for a 15,000 ton ship it will be double (2000 BP per annum). A 25,000 ton ship will be built at triple the normal rate and a huge 125,000 ton Star Destroyer will be built at 12.5x the normal rate. Bear in mind that these ships will still cost the same as before and require the same resources. The shipyard will just use up wealth and resources at a faster rate.

Commercial shipyards operate under the same formula, but use 400 as a base class size.

Smaller ships will take longer than the racial shipbuilding rate would suggest. Still assuming a Racial Shipbuilding Rate of 1000 BP, a 2000 ton ship is 0.4x the size of a 5000 ton ship. Half the difference takes it to 0.7, so its annual construction rate will be 700 BP. A 1000 ton ship will be built at 600 BP per annum.

The rate at which each ship is being constructed is shown on the list of shipyard tasks and the estimated completion dates reflect the build rates. This enables large ships and very large ships to be constructed in a reasonable time while still taking longer than small ships. Of course you still need to build the shipyards capable of constructing monster ships.

The same general principles apply to shipyard modifications so you can increase the size of large shipyards more quickly. So if you want to add extra capacity to a 10,000 ton shipyard, you can do it 50% faster than adding extra capacity to a 5000 ton shipyard. Adding extra capacity to a 15,000 ton shipyard can be done at twice the rate of a 5000 ton shipyard. This applies to adding capacity, adding slipways or retooling. This means that very large shipyards become possible as their rate of size increase will escalate. Modification costs remain the same, you can just make the modification more quickly

Note that this is different from the Shipyard Operations tech, which reduces the overall cost of modifying Shipyards. A combination of the two, reducing cost and increasing modification rates, will allow very large shipyard complexes to be built in a reasonable amount of time.

Shipyards in Combat

In combat shipyards show up as a separate contact type for active sensors and can be targeted and fired upon. All the shipyards for one Empire in one location show up as a single contact. The size of the contact is based on the total capacity of all the shipyards with the assumption that a single slipway is twice the size of the largest ship it can build. So a single slipway of 4000 ton capacity would have the same sensor signature as an 8000 ton ship. Two shipyards at the same population, one of which had two slipways of 10,000 tons and the second with four slipways of 6000 tons (total capacity 44,000 tons) would appear as a single contact of 88,000 tons.

With regard to damage, rather than get into slipways being reduced in size, with the complexity involved if it is trying to build a ship larger than the reduced size, I have stayed with a similar model to planetary bombardment where slipways are either destroyed or unharmed by a hit. Each time a shipyard is hit, there is a chance the hit will destroy a slipway. The percentage chance of destroying a slipway is equal to: (Damage / Capacity ) * 10000

In other words, if a shipyard with slipways of 5000 ton capacity is hit by a missile with a ten point warhead then the chance of one slipway being destroyed is: (10 / 5000) x 10000 = 20%

If the last slipway of a shipyard is destroyed, then the shipyard itself is also destroyed.

See Also