Nike (big BC) clarification
I think this has been addressed at least once before, but the answer (in large part) is an error that got made in the copy-editing phase. The actual line which appeared in the book (page 328 in the hc) is:
"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons, fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters."
What the passage was supposed to say was:
"The new Nike mounted no lasers, thirty-two grasers -- eight of them as chase weapons -- fifty missile tubes (none of them chasers) and thirty counter-missile tubes and laser clusters [in each broadside]."
In the copy-editing, the rough draft passage was read as saying that there were fifty missile tubes and the chase armament specified in each broadside, which was obviously an error, since it would have given her 100 tubes. The "in each broadside" got deleted to "fix the problem" (as did the em-dash, for some reason I was never able to figure out), which ended up turning it into a description which cut the ship's defensive armament in half.
The main use of all that extra tonnage is in thicker armor, individually more powerful (and therefore more massive) energy mounts, the bigger tubes needed to fire the Mark 16, the increased magazine capacity (and remember, each individual Mk 16 uses up more volume), improved/enhanced com gear, more powerful impeller nodes, the "belt and buckler", hugely increased counter-missile magazine capacity, and twice as many individually bigger and more powerful (and, in the case of the laser clusters, more rapidly-firing) active anti-missile weapons. In addition, the lt;em>Nikes are designed to carry Marine complements which have not been downsized.
They are, in short, intended as the new iteration of the old Manticoran "generalist" BC, adapted to survive in the new MDM environment. In many ways, they are the RMN's "Mighty 'Ood," I suppose, although they would be Hoods built with the Nevada-style "all-or-nothing" armoring scheme.
Remember that historically the BC has been the Manty ship of choice for almost all missions outside the wall of battle and that prewar Manty doctrine specifically cut the BC loose from the wall, whereas the Peeps' prewar doctrine incorporated the BCs into the wall as a close-in screening element.
The exigencies of the war, with ships forced to stand in for other, heavier ships on occasion, and with all of the classes (and their weapons fits and defensive vulnerabilities) in flux has caused a considerable rethink. In fact, it's created what I deliberately intended to be viewed as a "muddled" period in mission priorities and design evolution. (Although, at least the RMN hasn't built the Spurious, Curious, and Outrageous!)
The new Agamemnons are limited-endurance strike ships which are reasonably well suited to raids on enemy infrastructure and which can be used (in a pinch) as an adjunct to the wall. Their weaknesses are (a) that they are extremely fragile compared to any waller (or to any BC without a hollow core), (b) that they have few enough pods that they can shoot themselves dry very quickly, and (c) that they have neither the internal capacity for really big CM magazines, nor the tonnage to mount additional laser clusters, which the Nikes have.
The Nike is far more survivable, has the energy armament and ruggedness to go in close against anything short of the wall, has a lower maximum rate of fire but a much "deeper" engagement profile, and is far better suited to the "space control" function, with capabilities which include the traditional BC's ability to put down a full battalion of nasty, pissed-off , battle armored Marines if that seems desireable.
If the RMN's planners were not currently at war with another podlayer-equipped adversary, they would probably be building nothing but Nikes at this point. As it is, they were more or less forced to build more Agamemnons for two reasons. First, it was politically acceptable to the Janacek Admiralty (because BCs are somehow less "imperialistic" than wallers), which means that they were laid down in at least some numbers, whereas Nike was seen as a one-off (and expensive) testbed by Janacek & Co. Second, the RMN needs podlayers, and BCs can be built faster than SDs. As a result, more Agamemnons were laid down in the early days of the White Haven Admiralty before Apollo had proven itself. Now, of course, the ships are seen as too small for Apollo, and therefore the building programs were once again switched to concentrate on "proper" wallers (with the new system) once the BC(P)s in the pipeline had been launched to clear the ways.
Does any of that make sense?
From a post to Baen's Bar Snerkers Only dated November 18, 2006:
Sigh. If you go down and look in the very next paragraph after the one I cited in my original post on this topic, you'll see that it says that because of her off-bore launch capability, she can fire 50 missiles in a single salvo, as opposed to the 25 of the older Nike. So, children, how many missile tubes are there per broadside? 50, divided by 2 = ?
Come on, I'm sure we can all do the math! This [the reference to 50-bird salvos], by the way, is the reason the copy-editors knew that there could not possibly be 50 tubes in each broadside, thus leading to the correction which caused the confusion about her defensive armament in the first place.
Oh, and I did forget to mention one little thing Nike has in each broadside besides her grasers, her 30 PD clusters, 30 CM tubes, and her 25 Mk-16 capable missile tubes. She also mounts Keyhole I, which is where a lot of tonnage went.