Looking at the ship backbone by jump range, it becomes obvious which ships are the "explorers".
In the chart I am comparing stock maximum jump range (without any engineering).
The thing that stands out here is that there are three gaps of almost three light years in range between the top-end ships; a gap between the herd and the basic explorers, then a gap between the basic and top-end explorers and then another huge gap to the king of jump range, the Anaconda!
Personally I think those gaps need filling, probably with Passenger ships and medium traders..
Frontier have often referenced something they call the "Ship Backbone" a mythical construct where the ships from the game are placed. This backbone is supposed to have a complete and reasonably well distributed range of ships from least to best in all the various categories. But what does this backbone look like? Are there gaps? Does the game have a slight hunch?
I thought I would lay out the backbone to see. By rating the ships on various scales (max speed, best FSD range, max armour, max cargo) I would see the backbone visualised.
So here is the backbone of ships (2.2) by maximum speed (not boost and without any engineering).
What we see with max speed is a number of gaps and clusters. The max boost speed chart changes the layout a lot, with the Cobra Mk 3 jumping to top place. Interesting that the Clipper and Orca are the fastest of the large vessels.
In my next post, I'll look at jump range and cargo capacity.