Canon Facts Backstage Info  Speculation
General purpose construction craft / light cargo hauler
Unit Run
13,185 in service. 7,251 lost during the Dominion war.
2268 - present
Length : 4.11 m
Beam : 1.9 m
Height : 1.92 m
Decks : 1
1,680 kg
Defence Systems
Light Monotanium single hull.
Warp Speeds
(TNG Scale)
None : RCS Thrusters only
Strength Indices
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : -
Torpedo Firepower : - 
Weapon Range and Accuracy : - 
Shield Strength : -
Hull Armour : 0.3125
Speed : 0.01
Combat Manoeuvrability : 100,000
Overall Strength Index
Expected Hull Life
25 years
Refit Cycle
Minor : 1 year
Standard : 5 years
Major : None

Notes : One of the most useful and long lasting designs in Starfleet history, the work bee was first fielded in the late 2260's in order to replace deveral previous craft of similar type. The major feature of the work bee is the highly modular nature of the design. The initial requirement called for virtually every system on board to be designed as a modular unit which could be disconnected, removed and replaced with great ease. This made the initial work bee design somewhat more complex and difficult to produce, but Starfleet was betting that it would prove its worth in the long run - and so it has proved. The work bee is simplicity itself to maintain; minor parts can be swapped out literally in seconds, while even major systems such as the micro-fusion power core can be replaced in under ten minutes, and aven the hull itself can be broken up into four sections. This has given these bees one of the highest servicability ratings in Starfleet history, with an average availability of 99.97%.

The modular approach has also made the work bee extremely easy to upgrade - all updated systems have been designed to fit the same physical requirements, so it is literally a matter of pulling an old component out and putting the improved one in place. No component swap requires more than three persons, and typically the total maintanence work required by the bees is so low that a three person crew can perform all routine maintanence on a group of fifteen bees.

The upgrade program for the work bees has been generally limited to gradual imporvements rather than large leaps. Over their hundred year history virtually every part of the bees have been replaced many times over. The original design had a duotronic flight computer, an electro-optical passive scanner, and a hull constructed of carbon fibre plated with foamed aluminium alloys - a very old material which nevertheless met the strength and and density requirements. Today the bees exist in many variations according to how modern their equipment fit is; a typical work bee of the 2370's will have a small isolinear flight computer, a short range navigational laser radar, and a shell comprised of monotanium laminated with carbon tetride. The life support systems have been replaced several times as older systems reach the end of their operational life, or as newer safety standards come into force. Some have compared this rolling refit program to the proverbial thirty year old axe which has had four new heads and six new handles!

The work bee can carry out a multitude of tasks; there are two manipulator waldoes which can be tipped with a wide variety of tools for all kinds of construction and maintanence work on Starships and space stations. At the rear of the hull are standardized grapple points which can be used to attach various configurations of cargo containers, or alternately can be fitted with a tractor beam unit which can be used to tow small craft such as shuttles - a task the work bee would normally undertake only in emergencies. Some thought was given to designing drop tanks with extra fuel and life support supplies to extend the range of the bee severalfold, but although this was perfectly feasible there was never any real need for such an improvement and it was abandoned before serious development work was authorized.

Some thought has been given lately to replacing the work bee with a totally new design. However, with the start of the Dominion war Starfleet is engaged on shipbuilding on a massive scale. It is the measure of this remarkable little craft that, faced with such a huge demand for space-based construction work, Starfleet at once cancelled all development of a replacement and boosted production of the standard work bee instead. Given this level of confidence, it seems that the work bee may well be in service another century hence.

Last updated : 25th October 1999.
This page is Copyright Graham Kennedy 1998.

Star Trek et al is Copyright Paramount Pictures 1996/97.
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