Ballistas were motherships of great capacity, able to host smaller ships in its bay, as well as carry a large amount of military. Ballistas should be commanded by a Tercero or higher.
Ballistas could carry the following additional armaments
- 1500 crewmen
- 20 troop transports
- 15 large shuttles for cargo and equipment
- 20 small passenger shuttles,
- 50 long-range patrol craft
- 200 kindjals.
Around 88 BG, Ballistas were updated with a new kind of model.
About 83 years after the Battle of Corrin, Manford Torondo blackmails Emperor Salvador Corrino into giving Manford's Butlerians a fleet of 200 mothballed Ballistae. This fleet attacks the recently rediscovered machine shipyards and the defending Venhold forces. While the orbital shipyards are destroyed with over 6000 Venhold employees aboard, the Butlerian fleet also sustains heavy casualties thanks to daring tactics employed by the defenders and also due to the fact that they are using outdated ships. Nearly 100 Ballistae were destroyed with thousands aboard. The rest are taken to Salusa Secundus to intimidate the Landsraad.
Following the destruction of the shipyards, Josef Venport began to arm Venhold ships to protect them against Butlerian aggression. Using top-of-the-line weapons and shields, Venhold ships proved to be far superior to the outdated Ballistae still in use by the Butlerians, and a number of Butlerian ships were destroyed in small engagements over contested worlds, with the Butlerians frequently opening fire first.