Section 7.0 - Conclusion
7.1 - Rapid Reaction Force
The Phoenix-class starship will become the centerpiece of Starfleet’s new Rapid Reaction Force, a specialized task force designated to respond to potential crises with hostile entities in short time. The RRF was designed from the beginning to take advantage of the advanced technologies developed in the aftermath of the Dominion War and the Sheliak War, including the alien technologies obtained by the USS Voyager during her seven-year journey across the Delta Quadrant. The primary goal of the RRF is to ensure Federation security through the rapid deployment of starship assets to a distant theater of conflict and to provide superior firepower against potential threat forces. Therefore, all starships in the RRF are equipped with hybrid warp/slipstream drives to allow previously unheard-of deployment times, and also come armed with advanced military hardware of both offensive and defensive natures.
There are four major components of a RRF battle group: the first being the Phoenix-class heavy cruiser (already covered in the previous sections of this document), which forms the centerpiece, contains the battle group command staff, and also comes equipped with powerful offensive weapons for long range attacks and a formidable facade of defensive systems. Heavy cruisers also carry limited support weaponry, such as a handful of specialized torpedo munitions and four intra-system tactical missiles. In combat actions to date, RRF battle groups have included one or two cruisers; plans have been developed for the assignment of up to five cruisers in a single task force once the Phoenix-class is deployed in sufficient numbers.
These ships are designed for close-quarters combat and interception, based on the succesful tactics developed for the now-legendary Defiant-class destroyer which first entered service during the Dominion War. They are small (relative to the Phoenix), nimble, and very well armed. Their primary armament is two Type-12p pulse phaser cannons, and a complement of eight Type-12a phaser arrays. These snub-ranged weapons are specialized variants of the Type-12 standard designed for greater offensive firepower and the ability to change firing vectors rapidly while firing (a common occurrence in short-range combat), respectively. For extra punch and for defense at longer ranges, a turreted torpedo launcher augments two smaller, fixed launchers that are affixed to the very front of the bow. Current RRF plans include the deployment of two or three destroyers with no other starship support, making a sort of "wolf pack", while full-fledged task forces will likely include eight or more destroyers.
The Scimitar class is currently in full production, with starships being built at three separate Starfleet construction facilities across the Federation.
Dimensions: Length, 185.98 meters; Beam, 54.32 meters; Draft, 26.63 meters; Decks, 8
Mass: 395,000 metric tons
Accommodation: 12 officers; 93 enlisted; 120 Marines; 250 person evacuation limit
Power Plant: One 7,500+ Cochrane quantum induction core feeding two nacelles; 4 Class-VIII impulse fusion reaction chambers
Performance: 9,300 m/s^2 (sublight); Warp 9.2 (cruise); Warp 9.98 (maximum); Warp 9.9905 for 36 hours (burst); 120,000 TSL (quantum slipstream)
Armament: 2 Type-12p pulse phaser cannons; 8 Type-12a short-range phaser arrays; 1 Class-VIIb rapid-fire torpedo turret; 4 Class-VI burst-fire torpedo launchers; 250 quantum torpedoes; 4 transphasic torpedoes
Defenses: Regenerative shields (7.4 exajoules); Polarizing reactive armor (4.0 centimeters)
Robert April-class Frigate
The third component of the Rapid Reaction Force is the frigate, which provides defensive and support roles to a battle group. The ships of the Robert April class carry a large load of quantum torpedoes, almost three times as many long-range tactical missiles as a Phoenix-class starship, and a proportionately larger load of special-purpose torpedoes. They also have enlarged cargo bays to increase the duration that the battle group can stay away from a logistical source. A large, powerful sensor array rounds out the support capabilities of the frigate. A medium-sized battle group will have one of frigate assigned it, while larger groups will have several. Due to their large mission loadouts and specialized combat systems, however, frigates will seldom be deployed unless accompanied by other RRF starships.
The Robert April class is currently in full production, under increased security protocols after the hijacking of the prototype from the Antares Fleet Yards in April 2402.
Dimensions: Length, 495.15 meters; Beam, 148.49 meters; Draft, 79.53 meters; Decks, 24
Mass: 1,950,000 metric tons
Accommodation: 38 officers; 310 enlisted; 480 Marines; 7,500 person evacuation limit
Power Plant: One 7,500+ Cochrane quantum induction core feeding two nacelles; 2 Class-VIII impulse fusion reaction chambers
Performance: 6,420 m/s^2 (sublight); Warp 9.2 (cruise); Warp 9.98 (maximum); Warp 9.9905 for 36 hours (burst); 120,000 TSL (quantum slipstream)
Armament: 12 Type-12 phaser arrays; 1 Class-VIIa rapid-fire torpedo turret; 4 Class-VI burst-fire torpedo launchers; 1,500 quantum torpedoes; 30 transphasic torpedoes; 10 Arc Light long-range ambush missiles
Defenses: Regenerative shields (8.7 exajoules); Polarizing reactive armor (4.0 centimeters)
Paladin-class Light Cruiser
Although Starfleet traditionally relies on large starships to perform most of the exploration and combat missions in local space, experience has shown that sometimes the largest starships are not the best choices for a specific duty. Conversely, the smallest starships, while less costly in terms of resources and manpower, tend to be extremely mission-specific and unsuitable for multi-purpose assignments. The Paladin-class light cruiser is intended to bridge these two disparate classifications. Designed as a long-range "troubleshooter" vessel, these ships will be deployed singly or in pairs to specific trouble spots within the Federation or in nearby sectors. They will carry sufficient armament to hold its own in combat against known threat vessels up to twice its own displacement. Furthermore, the class will carry limited survey systems to perform short-term exploration missions.
The Paladin-class starship is currently in the preliminary design phase. Construction of the prototype has not begun, nor has a registry number been assigned. The class is not expected to enter service before 2404.
Eidolon-class Reconnaissance Cruiser
The fifth component of the RRF force is the reconnaissance and surveillance ship. Currently in the early stages of construction, the Eidolon-class starship will provide Starfleet with unparalleled sensor capabilities, especially for long-range monitoring of known or potential threat forces, and for battle group coordination and observation during combat situations. The current profile of the Eidolon-class will also lend itself towards deep-range patrol missions and covert intelligence operations in hostile territory, thanks to the planned inclusion of stealth technology based on the low-observability systems originally developed for the Nighthawk-class of 2384.
The prototype USS Eidolon is currently in the early stages of construction, and full production is expected to begin some time in 2403.
The quantum slipstream drive offers incredible potential for the exploration of the Milky Way. Capable of speeds up to 30 times faster than most exploration platforms in service today (including the venerable Galaxy- and Ambassador-class starships), slipstream-equipped explorers will be able to pioneer regions of the galaxy previously considered unreachable except through wormholes or other natural phenomena. The Bonaventure-class explorer will be the first class of starship to fully launch Starfleet into this new age of galactic exploration.
The Bonaventure class is currently in the early design stages. Unfortunately, development was dealt a severe setback by the Q’tami attack on Utopia Planitia in 2402. Construction of the prototype is not expected to begin until 2406, as engineers continue to refine the slipstream engine, which will require an induction core of unprecedented power to propel this large explorer.
7.2 - Plans for the Future
The Federation is going through drastic changes in order to better protect its citizens from outside threats. Additional starship designs for the Rapid Reaction Force are already in the works, and research and development continues to enhance the technologies already developed for the next generation of starships.
Construction of hull frames is ongoing at the Starfleet construction facilities at Utopia Planitia, Beta Antares, and three more classified locations. With the start of full production of the Robert April-class, the Rapid Reaction Force will soon become the fastest-growing segment of the Federation’s peacekeeping forces.
The benefits represented foremost by the Phoenix-class will not be limited to strategic advances alone, however. Already Starfleet has plans for a specialized slipstream-capable deep-space explorer, tentatively designated the Bonaventure class. Resources are limited for these plans, so Starfleet has contracted an outside party, Dyson Corporation, to assist in construction. The quantum slipstream drive certainly offers the potential to greatly expand the range and value of Starfleet’s exploratory programs. However, at this time some technological limitations of the engine design (as described in Section 3.0) are delaying the beginning of construction of the prototype.
Starfleet has decided to continue the production of warp drive-equipped starships for the time being, refusing to adopt the QSD as the primary propulsion system for all new-built starships until the designs can be perfected. Production of the Pelagic-class continues in limited numbers, and the Joan of Arc-class remains on its previous construction schedule. Nevertheless, the decision to halt development of warp drive-only starships may come in the near future.
As the flagship class of the Rapid Reaction Force, the Phoenix-class represents the cutting edge of Starfleet technology as the Federation makes its first steps into a bold new era for the galaxy with the benefits of the quantum slipstream drive and the many other advanced technologies. Like all other starships, the Phoenix-class will undergo a schedule of regular refits and system assessments, and new technologies will be added to the ships’ complements as they are approved for general service.
7.3 - The Future of the Enterprise Lineage
Starships named Enterprise have a long and notorious history of being destroyed or otherwise damaged beyond practical repair well within the expected spaceframe lifetime of their class. From Admiral Kirk’s sacrifice to save the secrets of the potentially dangerous Genesis Project from the Klingons, to the Captain Garrett’s valiant stand at Narendra III against impossible odds, to the Enterprise-Fs mysterious disappearance, the starships Enterprise have always been at the forefront of Starfleet activities, often representing the entire Federation in matters of galactic import.
Starships serving in such critical positions, however, also tend to encounter unusually dangerous or unanticipated situations on their journies. The average duration of service of the previous seven starships Enterprise is approximately 18 years, far less than the half century or more of all starship classes of the 24th century. In this period of galactic turmoil, the Enterprise-G is not likely to be an exception.
Plans for the next class to have an Enterprise in its ranks are already in the works, as Starfleet slowly begins the Advanced Starship Design Cycle anew after the deployment of the Phoenix-class. All specific details on the ship class are either classified or not yet laid out. However, it remains certain that regardless of what the future may bring, a starship Enterprise will remain at the forefront of Starfleet, proudly representing the grandest traditions of the Federation: “...to boldly go where no one has gone before”.