Specs of Steamrunner class

Commissioned: 2342 - 2363, class remains in service

Length: 244m
Beam: 160m
Height: 40m
Decks: 9
Mass: 375,000 metric tons
Crew: 185

6 x Type VIII phaser arrays, total output 13,000 TeraWatts
2 x Pulse fire photon torpedo tube
2 x Standard photon torpedo tube with 155 rounds

Defense Systems
Standard shield system, total capacity 891,000 TeraJoules
Standard Duranium/Tritanium Double hull plus 4.8 cm High density armor.
Standard level Structural Integrity Field
Admiral Janeway's borg armor

Warp Speeds (TNG scale)
Normal Cruise: 6
Maximum Cruise: 8.8
Maximum Rated: 9.5

Refit Cycle
Minor: 3 year
Standard: 3 years
Major: 24 years

Notes: During the late 2340's Starfleet became increasingly worried about the average age of the ships in the fleet. Although vessels such as the Miranda and Excelsior class were performing adequately as mid sized cruisers and destroyers, these designs dated back between 50 and 100 years and were lagging behind the latest technology despite frequent refits. Rapid expansion of the Federation was also putting a great strain on both the exploratory and defense capacities of Starfleet, and although the Nebula class was under development Starfleet was predicting that it would be unable to meet all of its commitments by 2365.

The Steamrunner design was fielded in the early 40's along with the Saber as part of a major fleet wide program of modernization. Essentially the Steamrunner's serve a similar function to the modern day Intrepid class - a smaller, faster counterpart to the cruiser class ships which would be deployed in large numbers to augment the more capable designs. The first of the class was launched in 2342, and series production began after a six month flight test program.

The Steamrunner introduced several innovations into Starfleet; she was the first to be equipped with an isolinear computer system rather than the duotronic system then in use. Her hull form was also rather unusual in appearance; the angular profile of the primary hull was claimed to be an inherently stronger shape than the traditional circular/elliptical shape, allowing a reduction in the thickness of the structural beams which decreased the overall vessel mass by some 12%. This made for greater acceleration at both impulse and warp. However, some flaws have surfaced in the design; Steamrunner class ships which engaged in extended periods of high warp speed found some cracking in the structural members of the primary hull. Several fixes were tried to correct this problem; Starfleet finally found that a combination of a modified Structural Integrity Field system and slight changes to the Warp drive itself eliminated the harmonic vibrations which were causing the problem. Those vessels already damaged had to have some of their main hull support structure replaced, a task which set construction of the class back some time.

Although the Steamrunner is relatively limited in its capabilities to perform scientific and exploratory functions compared to a larger ship, its real difficulties lie in the diplomatic area. Like the Intrepid class which is now replacing it, the Steamrunner is capable of holding only limited diplomatic venues. Despite this the Steamrunner's have proved their worth in diplomacy, helping to settle many matters in sparsely populated areas where Starfleets "big guns" rarely make an appearance.

Today the Steamrunner is beginning to take a more back seat as the Intrepid class becomes more common. The last few years have seen many units of this class moving from the outer territories to the core of the Federation. Thirty six of the class were recently been rebuilt as border patrol craft. This involves a reduction in Shuttle craft Facilities by approximately 50% in favor of a larger load of photon torpedoes and a refit to the shield generators. One of the Steamrunner's was reassigned to the SCE and recommissioned as the USS daVinci-A after the destruction of the original da Vinci.

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