The Volga Class Runabout represents the Federation’s best effort at a compromise between the need to provide smaller Starfleet vessels with long range runabout support and the limited hangar space which is usually available on such ships. Smaller than many contemporary shuttle designs, the Volga is rated as a runabout due to the remarkable range enabled by her highly efficient warp core and the extensive instrumentation and advanced tactical systems adapted from the Delta Flyer project.
While the development of more powerful and capable runabouts has been a boon to Starfleet since their inception in the early 2370’s, the large size and extensive maintenance requirements of these high-performance craft have been a persistent barrier to their deployment on small starships or Starfleet installations which would benefit the most strongly from their enhanced capabilities.
Following the return of the Voyager from the Delta Quadrant, however, Starfleet found itself in possession of a highly modified shuttlecraft whose performance was more suggestive of a runabout than any of the shuttles currently in service. Taking the Delta Flyer as their starting point, the design team set out to build a craft which could match the flexibility and capabilities of the Danube Class plus the technological advances of the Dynasty Class, while retaining the size profile and modular ease of maintenance of a modest shuttle. They also wanted to keep the adaptability of the Danube Class, but in a smaller package. This is accomplished by swappable internals and holo-technology vs the swappable PODS that the Danube Class uses. In addition the crew section of the Volga can be stripped for use as a cargo carrier if needed. The Volga can be deployed with an optional set of external wings for stability within a planetary atmosphere, and added hard points for instrument PODS or other equipment.
The process took six years, but the result was the Volga – a runabout design which could be used by any starship capable of carrying a standard shuttlecraft without the need for external support equipment beyond standard replicated parts, and capable of custom mission adaptability.
A note on the Holo System:
The holo system will only be for ship-based equipment and systems use… handheld and portable equipment would be the real thing. Additionally, the Volga Class is equipped with a class 2 replicator that could be used for this equipment in addition to crew needs so that it would not have to be loaded every time. The holo system would be for lab equipment and stations, medical use, extra seating, etc. This would also be used for the cargo management system. For long distance trips the living quarters would be created this way as well. In short, the holo system would be used to change out the ships role designation instead of physically needing to swap out components or modules.
The Volga has 2 hardpoints on the ship itself, with 6 additional when the optional wings are mated to the craft.
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