Canon Facts Backstage Info  Speculation
Attack Cruiser
Unit Run
NX 59650 USS Prometheus
no decision yet taken on class production.
None to date.
Length : 415 m
Beam : 163 m
Height : 64 m
Decks : 15
950,000 tons
Armament, Docked Mode
12 x Type XII Phaser arrays, total output 60,000 TeraWatts 
2 x Pulse fire quantum torpedo tubes + 290 torpedoes
Armament, Separated Mode
Primary Hull :

6 x Type XII Phaser arrays, total output 30,000 TeraWatts 
2 x Pulse fire quantum torpedo tubes + 115 torpedoes

Secondary Hull :

4 x Type XII Phaser arrays, total output 20,000 TeraWatts 
3 x Pulse fire quantum torpedo tubes + 175 torpedoes

Tertiary Hull :

8 x Type XII Phaser arrays, total output 40,000 TeraWatts 

Total :

18 x Type XII Phaser arrays, total output 90,000 TeraWatts 
5 x Pulse fire quantum torpedo tubes + 290 torpedoes

Defence Systems
Auto-modulated high capacity regenerative shield system, total capacity 3,915,000 TeraJoules 
Heavy Duranium/Tritanium double hull plus 18 cm Ablative armour.
High level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TNG Scale)
Normal Cruise : Warp Factor 8
Maximum Cruise : Warp Factor 9.9 in testing - engines still under development
Maximum Rated : Not yet established; expected to be Warp 9.99+
Strength Indices,
Separated Mode
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam firepower : 1,800
Torpedo Firepower : 3,375
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 1,180
Shield Strength : 1,450
Hull Armour : 3,100
Speed : 4,400 
Combat Manoeuvrability : 12,500
Overall Strength Index
Strength Indices,
Docked Mode
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam firepower : 1,200
Torpedo Firepower : 1,350
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 1,180
Shield Strength : 1,450
Hull Armour : 3,100
Speed : 4,400 
Combat Manoeuvrability : 12,500
Overall Strength Index
Grade 2
Expected Hull Life
84 years
Refit Cycle
Minor : 1 year 
Standard : 3 years 
Major : 12 years

Notes : The Prometheus is the culmination of several separate research projects which have been combined into one prototype test bed. Starfleet has long recognized that, all other factors being even, vessels with high manoeuvrability can gain a significant combat advantage. The physics of warp drive dictate that for a given engine capacity the least massive vessel will have the greatest manoeuvrability - but minimizing vessel size is at odds with the large number of scientific and diplomatic functions which a Starship must be able to perform. One obvious solution to this problem was to design ships that are able to configure themselves for the mission at hand, but the non-military nature of Starfleet gave research in this area a relatively low priority. However, the Galaxy class did incorporate some of these ideas in that the saucer section was built to be easily separated and re-attached without outside support. Without the bulk of the saucer the stardrive section was much more manoeuvrable, in theory giving it a significant combat advantage over a saucer-equipped Galaxy. In practice, however, this operation is somewhat unwieldy on the Galaxy class and leaves the saucer (which does not have an independent warp drive) extremely vulnerable to attack. In addition, the saucer section contains the Galaxy's two longest phaser arrays and can provide a significant reserve of power from its fusion reactors. The Galaxy class has therefore not used this capability very often.

In 2359 Starfleet initiated a research project intended to explore the possibility of a true multi-section vessel. The requirement called for a vessel able to separate into at least two independent sections, each with a fully functional warp drive of its own. One would be capable of launching an attack with almost the full ships weaponry, at high speed and manoeuvrability. The other, comprising the scientific, diplomatic and accommodation sections, would clear the area at high warp carrying the civilian complement. Much of the technology being developed for the Intrepid class project was included in this design, with the result that the theoretical model finalized in 2363 bore a close resemblance to the Intrepid herself.

In 2364 Starfleet was considering moving to a production basis with the multi-section Starship. However, during this year contact with the Romulans was re-established when the USS Enterprise-D encountered a Warbird at the Neutral Zone. Since the Warbird appeared to outgun the Enterprise - then Starfleets most powerful ship - by a considerable margin Starfleet was confronted with what appeared to be a powerful and aggressive enemy. As part of their response Starfleet requested a complete re-design of the multi-section starship. The new requirement called for an almost totally re-designed vessel; the ship would be in three sections, each of which would have an independent warp core and drive system. The scientific and diplomatic sections were removed in favour of increased armament and power for the weapons.

During the development Starfleet also encountered both the Borg and the Dominion, both hostile and powerful enemies. This led to an ever-accelerating effort to turn the new ship into a pure combat vessel; much technology from other projects was put into what was now dubbed the "multi-vector attack Starship". This came most especially from the Sovereign project - in place of the Type VIII phaser arrays that the original ship had shared with the Intrepid class, the Type XII phaser arrays from the Sovereign project were included. The shield system was massively upgraded and, in light of the subsequent Borg attack, closely based on the auto-modulating shields of the Sovereign. The advanced warp engine design also included many elements of the Sovereign class, while the ablative armour, high capacity structural integrity fields and quantum torpedo tubes developed for the Defiant project were also included.

This technology combined to make the new Starship one of the most most massively armed and armoured vessels of its size ever contemplated, let alone built. The small size combined with incredible speed and manoeuvrability when in multi-vector mode; when the prototype USS Prometheus was launched in late 2373 she was thought to have a combat capacity an amazing nine times that of the equally-sized Intrepid class, while her Type XII phasers made her a formidable foe for any vessel in the alpha quadrant.

The power of the Prometheus was graphically demonstrated when the ship was stolen by rogue operatives of the Romulan Tal'shiar in 2374. Although the prototype was still in the test phase, she was able to inflict devastating damage on a Nebula class ship and withstand a combined attack by two Defiant class Escort vessels and an Akira class cruiser. In the same battle she used multi-vector assault mode to destroy a Romulan Warbird with ease.

The performance of the Prometheus during this accidental live-fire trial has exceeded all expectations for the ship. The ability to pack firepower little short of a Sovereign class into a ship the size of an Intrepid class offers the prospect of a huge increase in Starfleets potential combat capability. With Starfleet loosing ground against the Dominion, this could prove to be of vital importance. Starfleet has decided to complete the evaluation as rapidly as possible, and a decision to press ahead with full series production is expected very soon.

Last updated : 7th January 2000.
This page is Copyright Graham Kennedy 1998.

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