From an email posted to Baen's Bar BuShips dated November 12, 2004:

Arsenal ships based upon ammunition colliers

    Would it make sense to equip ammunition ships, which already have huge numbers of pods on board, with the fire control to effectively deploy those pods?

   

    Yes and no. In a desperate situation, when the alternatives are a successful self-defense or destruction, with no other option possible, it would make a lot of sense. In terms of providing ammunition ships with a capability which might tempt them into straying into the reach of enemy weapons, it would be a terrible idea. So far, the Manticoran Admiralty has preferred for ammunition ships to know perfectly well that they have no business at all in range of any enemy weapon system. Their ammunition ships have decent (at least for merchant hulls) sidewalls, counter-missile tubes, point defense, and EW, but those are designed solely to defend the ship while she runs away as rapidly as possible. The expense to mount fire control to let it make effective use of its pods defensively or offensively, plus providing the additional trained manpower to make effective use of the weapons in question, would not be trivial. Taken altogether, it is unlikely that the Manties, at least, are going to be doing this sort of thing. In their estimation, an ammunition ship is worth considerably more than a single SD(P), and they are going to do everything they can to keep the said ammunition ships out of the line of fire from the get-go.