The number varies, I’ve heard reports of as many as six frigates
six, i can only imagine if you build all corvettes maybe, even then, would be a stretch with the amount of resources in the previous maps.
still, i don’t see the significance? is there some sort of achievement for protecting all 6 trays?
also, ions have a hard time hitting strike craft, so just swarm them, capture 1/2. i can’t see more than 3-4 trays being lost, leaving you enough room to finish the mission. making every mission super easy isn’t really desirable. in fact, i would throw some fighters in there too, which attack after you’ve captured the frigate, just for lulz. ;p
I’ve heard of nine+ showing up if you go overboard on corvs.
nine is alot, although i’ve heard lots of strange things in my time, and this one is certainly incredible.
(maybe they meant mission 04, where up to 9 can indeed show up behind the mothership, but you can capture 2 of them with only 2 salvage vettes, they don’t do much damage if you check their stats, much inferior to yours. the rest you can kill with strike craft.)
just for reference, i had a full fleet the entire first playthrough, barely lost anything of significance (i gave up on capturing due to bugs).
second playthrough, had better luck with capturing, ended up with 6 heavy cruisers (didnt build a single one), and 6 destroyers, got kinda lazy and lost a few destroyers, and over the cap on ion frigates/multi-beam most of the time. :\
although i did play the classics back in the day, which probably helps. but overall perspective is most are too easy.