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Canon Facts Backstage Info Speculation

Starfleets approach to Starship design is significantly different than that of most Alpha Quadrant powers. The Klingons tend to regard a ship as a method of carrying heavy weapons into battle in order to engage the enemy, or to land troops on the surface of a planet. The Romulans tend to look upon their ships as a statement of political and military might, producing large vessels intended to intimidate all who see them. Cardassian ship design tends to be led by the compromises necessary for of fighting against foes considerably larger and more powerful than themselves.

But a Federation Starship is an exercise in skill, almost a work of sculpture. Throughout its history the Federation has routinely pushed the envelope to the absolute maximum with each new generation, striving for an unmatched level of perfection almost for the sheer pleasure of it. This manifests itself in many ways; while a Federation ship typically devotes between 5 to 30% of its internal volume to combat equipment, they are usually more than a match for dedicated warships of similar size built by other powers. Starfleet ships tend to be faster, more agile and far more flexible than their competitors.

Starships also tend to have a somewhat longer life span than most Alpha Quadrant vessels. The recent Galaxy class has a designed life span of 100 years, by no means unusual for a Federation vessel, while examples of the Miranda class remain in full front-line duty more than one hundred and five years after they were commissioned. This allows Starfleet to maintain a significantly larger force for a given industrial capacity. For example the 50 year life span of the Cardassian Galor class battlecruiser means that their production of 63 ships of this class per year allows them to maintain a maximum fleet of up to 3,150 ships of this class; a similar production schedule for Norway class ships would allow a fleet of over 5,000 ships, while for Galaxy class ships the number would rise to 6,300.

Prior to first contact with the Dominion, Starfleets total production for all major ship classes stood at one hundred ships per year, allowing them to maintain a total fleet of almost 8,000 capital ships - a capital ship in this case being defined as any vessel capable of sustained independent operation. With the loss of the USS Odyssey at the end of 2370, the Federation began a series of dramatic and highly secret preparations. The president ordered Starfleet to halt all planned retirements and increase ship production to the maximum possible level; by the outbreak of the war three years later Starship production was up to three hundred ships per year and the standing fleet was at 8,726 ships. The onset of the war allowed the president to openly make ship production a top priority, and by the end of the first year of war a further 370 ships had been built. The second and final year of fighting saw 402 further vessels put into service. Production was almost entirely based around the more combat capable vessels, with production of heavily science-biased ships such as the Nova class cut back almost to nothing. Various measures were also taken to increase the combat capability of vessels already in service, resulting in a significant increase in Starfleets war fighting capabilities.

Unfortunately, the Dominion war took a heavy toll on Starfleet, far exceeding vessel production. The first three months of war alone cost nearly a thousand capital ships, leading many analysts to claim that the hostilities could not possibly be maintained for more than twenty eight months before it simply ran out of ships. Indeed, this was regarded by many to be an optimistic estimate since Starfleets ability to mount serious opposition to the Dominion would surely fall as its numbers reduced.

While ships losses continued to greatly exceed production throughout the war, those first three months proved to be the low point. The re-taking of Deep Space Nine is hailed as preventing any further Dominion reinforcements arriving via the wormhole, but that operation also led to the first major defeat suffered by a Dominion warfleet. The Romulan entry into the war just a few months later complicated matters for the Dominion, while the allied offensive into Dominion space shortly afterwards marked a major shift of initiative towards the allies.

Nevertheless, the loss rate remained above 220 per month for most of the remainder of the two year war. When hostilities ceased Starfleet had lost a total of 5,800 capital ships, nearly 60% of the total operated during the period. Fatalities totalled 1.6 million personnel, not including those lost on starbases or in ground combat. The post-war fleet numbers only 4,116 ships, and although ship production is highly unlikely to remain at its wartime level it is probable that it will continue at a higher than normal rate until the fleet has returned to something approaching normality.

The following table shows the number of Starfleet vessels both in service at the start of the war and built during it, the losses sustained by each class, and the number of ships remaining in service.
 

Name Type Strength Number
Built
Number
Lost
Number
Left
Original
Strength
Strength
Now
Sovereign Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 2,910 5 - 5 14,550 14,550
Prometheus (docked mode) Attack Cruiser 1,649 1 - 1 1,649 1,649
Defiant Escort 1,560 31 5 26 48,360 40,560
Akira Heavy Cruiser 1,530 191 57 134 292,230 205,020
Galaxy (Uprated) Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 1,351 18 4 14 24,318 18,914
Nebula (Uprated, weapon pod) Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 1,325 172 16 156 227,900 206,700
Excelsior (Lakota) Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 1,295 1 - 1 1,295 1,295
Nebula (Basic, weapon pod) Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 1,108 25 12 13 27,700 14,404
Galaxy (Basic) Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 1,000 31 6 25 31,000 25,000
Nebula (basic non weap pod) Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 835 25 18 7 20,875 5,845
Ambassador Explorer / Heavy Cruiser 720 58 7 51 41,760 36,720
Sequoia Cruiser 670 291 254 37 194,970 24,790
Yorkshire Cruiser 650 106 55 51 68,900 33,150
Surak Cruiser 635 101 53 48 64,135 30,480
Renaissance Cruiser 590 95 61 34 56,050 20,060
Merced Cruiser 530 98 53 45 51,940 23,850
Intrepid Scout 530 50 15 35 26,500 18,550
Chimera Cruiser 520 133 104 29 69,160 15,080
Steamrunner Light Cruiser 515 240 80 160 123,600 82,400
Rigel Explorer / Cruiser 500 84 70 14 42,000 7,000
Niagara Fast Cruiser 480 144 52 92 69,120 44,160
Freedom Cruiser 425 59 46 13 25,075 5,525
Excelsior (E-B) Explorer / Cruiser 410 102 44 58 41,820 23,780
Wambundu Light Cruiser 400 412 400 12 164,800 4,800
Cheyenne Explorer 385 136 106 30 52,360 11,550
Excelsior Explorer / Cruiser 370 414 212 202 153,180 74,740
Challenger Light Cruiser 345 42 33 9 14,490 3,105
New Orleans Frigate 330 456 358 98 150,480 32,340
Yeager Scout 330 13 10 3 4,290 990
Norway Destroyer 285 299 231 68 85,215 19,380
Griffin Destroyer 270 26 20 6 7,020 1,620
Hokul'a Destroyer 265 218 107 111 57,770 29,415
Nova Science Vessel 260 34 15 19 8,840 4,940
Korolev Destroyer 255 21 7 14 5,355 3,570
Antares Destroyer 250 45 3 42 11,250 10,500
Trident Cruiser 245 20 15 5 4,900 1,225
Miranda Destroyer 240 820 467 353 196,800 84,720
Constellation Cruiser (obsolete) 220 9 7 2 1,980 440
Saber Scout 205 724 572 152 148,420 31,160
Andromeda Frigate 165 211 200 11 34,815 1,815
Polaris Frigate 160 66 52 14 10,560 2,240
Centaur Frigate 150 403 100 303 60,450 45,450
Springfield Frigate 125 18 6 12 2,250 1,500
Oberth Science Vessel 110 2,186 1,049 1,137 240,460 125,070
Shelley Cargo Vessel 100 389 306 83 38,900 8,300
Olympic Medical Vessel 95 101 80 21 9,595 1,995
Deneva Freighter 85 120 61 59 10,200 5,015
Mediterranean Freighter 85 210 156 54 17,850 4,590
Istanbul Transport Ship 80 112 56 56 8,960 4,480
Apollo Transport Ship 80 111 52 59 8,880 4,720
Bradbury Transport Ship 75 116 55 61 8,700 4,575
Sydney Transport ship 60 118 54 64 7,080 3,840
TOTALS
9,911 5,802 4,109 3,090,757 1,427,567

In general, it is all but impossible to get a truly accurate picture of Starfleets shuttlecraft armada now that many Starships are both designing and producing their own models as needed. Thus while the following table is based on the most accurate sources available, it should be regarded as a guideline only.
 

Name Type Strength Number
Built
Number
Lost
Number
Left
Original
Strength
Strength
Now
Federation Scout Scout 80 775 275 500 62,000 40,000
Type 11 Shuttle 59 60 - 60 3,540 3,540
Type 9 Shuttle 57 13,600 4,815 8,785 775,200 500,745
Danube Runabout 52 1,865 665 1,200 96,980 62,400
Type 10 Shuttle 52 1 1 - 52 -
Peregrine Fighter 51 5,190 1,840 3,350 264,690 170,850
Trainer Trainer 45 1,135 73 1,062 51,075 47,790
Type 18 Shuttle 45 1,759 624 1,135 79,155 51,075
Work Bee Construction craft 45 20,436 7,251 13,185 919,620 593,325
Type 15 Shuttle 44 2,185 923 1,262 96,140 55,528
Type 8 Shuttle 43 3,851 1,366 2,485 165,593 106,855
Type 7 Shuttle 39 7,649 2,717 4,932 298,311 192,348
Orbital Shuttle Shuttle 37 1,496 266 1,230 55,352 45,510
Type 6 Shuttle 37 2,658 1,120 1,538 98,346 56,906
TOTALS
62,660 21,936 40,724 2,904,054 1,886,872

There are many who regard the Dominion war as the greatest disaster ever to befall the Federation. But while it cannot be disputed that the loss of life has been little short of disastrous, the unswerving dedication and self-sacrifice with which Starfleet and its allies faced - and, ultimately, defeated - their foe has gained the admiration of the entire quadrant. Throughout its history the fact that Starfleet not only regards its military role as a relatively minor one but is positively proud of this fact has led many to suggest that it is somehow weak, even soft. This is a criticism that has seldom been heard since the start of the Dominion war, even from the Federations traditional opponents.

With the end of the war Starfleet has already begun shifting its dispositions to a peacetime basis. While it is likely that several of the larger combat fleets will be retained for at least the next year or two as a deterrent to further hostilities, many ships are being transferred back to their more normal roles. The diplomatic mission especially is likely to take up much of Starfleets time over the next few years. During the war the Federation was desperate to make as many alliances as possible in an attempt to gain reinforcements against the Dominion. Such a hurried and haphazard process has already resulted in some severe strains, even leading to one major political scandal within the Federation itself.

Despite the many pressing concerns of the present, Starfleet is unlikely to forget that its main goal is to ensure the future. Ultimately the Federation must continue with its scientific and exploratory missions if it to remain the vibrant and active culture it has always been. Starfleet is the principle instrument of this process, and as such it will surely continue to prosecute to the fullest the mandate outlined in the motto of its most famous vessel - "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before".
 


Last updated : 10th March 2000.
This page and the story contained within was
written by and is copyrighted by Graham Kennedy, 1998.

Star Trek et al is Copyright Paramount Pictures.
No Copyright infringement is intended and this page is for
personal use only. This story may be copied and distributed freely
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