After the first major encounter between the Dominion and the Federation at the end of 2370, Starfleet responded to the new threat by reactivating the Defiant project and continuing development of the Sovereign project. However, it was felt that further action was needed. The Sovereign class ships were relatively resource intensive and, while the Defiants were easy to build, they were also rather limited on range and endurance. Hence, it was decided to combine various technologies into the new ship. The ablative armour and quantum torpedoes that equip the Defiant and Sovereign classes were included, as were the advanced hull geometry and warp field technology of the Sovereign and Intrepid classes.
Starfleet also decided to incorporate the separation concept into the new vessel. Many Starfleet ships have had the ability to separate their primary hull from the rest of the ship but this has historically been an emergency measure intended to allow the engineering hull to be abandoned in the event of an imminent warp core breach. Moreover, reconnection has generally required the services of a starbase or drydock in a process taking several days.
With the Galaxy class, Starfleet took the separation process a step further. The primary and engineering hulls both had impulse engine systems, allowing them to operate as fully equipped STL spacecraft in their own right. The engineering hull was able to use its warp drive whilst separated, not simply as an emergency measure for a few seconds or minutes but as a viable interstellar drive system. The intent was to allow the primary hull to escape a combat area with the civilians and family members whilst the engineering hull kept the enemy occupied.
However, this concept was never really as successful as Starfleet wanted. The primary hull was essentially stationary by warp drive standards, making it an easy target for an enemy that defeated the engineering hull in battle. What was needed was a ship that could split into multiple sections, each capable of independent warp speed travel. This is the technology Starfleet decided to incorporate into the new Prometheus class. The ship that emerged from the drawing boards was capable of separating into three sections – the upper and lower engineering hulls and the saucer section. Both parts of the engineering hull had two nacelles while the saucer section had a small auxiliary unit that would deploy once separated.
The warp core arrangement was also unique. The efficiency of a warp core is in part dependent on its height, as the longer a core is, the more accurately the matter and antimatter streams can be controlled. Starfleet had initially wanted to equip each section of the Prometheus design with a Defiant-style warp core. This is very compact at only three decks tall but suffers from inefficiency as a result. It overcomes this by using multiple matter and antimatter streams, so achieving high fuel throughput and high power output. This gives the core a very high fuel consumption rate, something considered acceptable for the short range Defiant but not for the Prometheus.
To solve the problem, the designers came up with a unique core design for the engineering hull. The warp core has no less than three reaction chambers along its height. During normal operation matte,r is fed in at the top of the core and antimatter at the bottom, as in any normal warp core. The fuel streams pass directly through the upper and lower reaction chambers and continue down to their meeting point in the central chamber. The core thus operates in a manner similar to any standard model, achieving high efficiency through the long core design.
The central reaction chamber lies on the separation plane, and once the ship splits it is shut down. In the lower engineering section a secondary matter feed just under the central chamber comes into operation, feeding deuterium down to the lower reaction core. This process is mirrored in the upper engineering section, with an antimatter feed sending fuel up to the upper core. As a result, the combined engineering sections can operate at an efficiency level comparable to any contemporary starship, while the separated sections lose a measure of efficiency because of the shorter warp cores. The primary hull operates on a separate Defiant-style warp core when separated.
The original intent was to have the saucer serve to evacuate civilians as in the Galaxy class, but at warp speed. The idea of carrying civilians was quickly abandoned, however, and the saucer section up-gunned to match the remainder of the vessel. In separated mode the ship is thus able to attack an enemy from three different directions simultaneously, a tactic known as “multi-vector assault mode”.
The development and construction of the prototype vessel took three years, and the USS Prometheus was launched in April of 2374. The ship included all of the latest systems, including holographic projectors on every deck so as to facilitate operations of the EMH Mark 4 and other such holographic supplements planned to come into service in the future. Initial trials went well but, during the shakedown cruise, the Prometheus encountered external problems that resulted in a live combat situation. Although the prototype was still in the test phase, it 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, it 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 prodigious increase in Starfleet’s potential combat capability.
Multi-vector assault mode systems: When separated, the ship’s phaser arrays number 18 in total and the ship’s torpedo launchers number 5 throughout the saucer section (A), the upper engineering section (B) and the lower engineering section.
|Cruising Speed||Warp 7.5|
|Maximum Speed||Warp 9.94|
|Emergency Speed||Warp 9.982 (for 12 hours)|
|Shuttles||Type 11 Shuttle: 2|
Type 18 Shuttlepod: 2
Type 9 Shuttle: 4
|Defensive Systems||Ablative Armour|
|Shielding Systems||Auto-Modulating Shields|
|Phasers||Type XII Array: 12|
|Torpedoes||Pulse-Fire Torpedo Launcher: 3|
– Photon Torpedoes: 238
– Quantum Torpedoes: 190
– Polaron Torpedo: 22
Tri-Cobalt Devices: 4
|1||Main Bridge, Observation/Conference Lounge, Captain’s Ready Room|
|2||Saucer Upper Warp Nacelle, Captain’s Quarters, Executive Officer’s Quarters, Executive Officer’s Office, Environmental Controls, Mess Hall, Engineering Support Labs, Armoury 1, Saucer Engineering (Level 1), Deuterium Storage, Storage Bay|
|3||A – Primary Computer Core (Level 1), Saucer Warp Core Jettison Hatch, Deuterium Fuel Pumps and Fill Ports, Deuterium Injector, Anti-matter Fuel Pumps and Fill Ports, Anti-matter Injector, Anti-matter Storage Pods, Maintenance, Life Support, Waste Management, Crew Quarters, Gym 1, Saucer Engineering (Level 2), Forward Torpedo Launcher, Torpedo Bay 1, Transporter Room 1|
B – Docking Latches, Forward Torpedo Launcher, Torpedo Bay 2
|4||A – Junior Officer Quarters, Primary Computer Core (Level 2), Science Labs, Captain’s Yacht, Cargo Bay 1|
B – Crew Quarters, Anti-matter Storage Pods, Secondary Computer Core (Level 1), Phaser Batteries, Anti-matter Injector/Reactors
|5||A – Senior Officer Quarters, VIP Quarters, Primary Computer Core (Level 3), Holodeck 1, Lounge, Transporter Rooms 2 & 3, Cargo Bay 2|
B – Battle Bridge, Stellar Cartography, Astrometrics Lab, Sensor Control Room, Secondary Computer Core (Level 2), SIF Generators, IDF Generators, Armoury 3, Docking Latches, Junior Officer Quarters, Main Engineering, Power Distribution Controls, Engineering Support Labs
|6||A – Crew Quarters, Primary Computer Core (Level 4), Tertiary Deflector Controls, Tertiary Deflector Array, Cargo Bay 3|
B – Environmental Support, Impulse Reactors, Secondary Computer Core (Level 3), Crew Quarters, Waste Management, Emergency Batteries
|7||A – Main Sickbay, Medical Labs, Security Offices, Brig, Armoury 2, Holodeck 2, Transporter Rooms 3 & 4|
B – Battle Sickbay, Transporter Room 5, Holodeck 3, Cargo Bay 4, Crew Quarters, Aft Torpedo Launcher, Torpedo Bay 3
|8||A – Saucer Lower Warp Nacelle, Crew Quarters|
B – Crew Quarters, Secondary Deflector Control, Science Labs, Phaser Batteries, Deuterium Fuel Pumps and Fill Ports, Deuterium Fuel Storage, Deuterium Injectors, Upper Shuttle Bay, Shuttle Bay Control Room, Shuttle Bay Support 1
|9||A – Lounge, Gym 2, Docking Latches, Phaser Maintenance, Tertiary Tractor Emitter|
B – Crew Lounge, Maintenance Labs, Secondary Tractor Emitter, Storage Bay, Secondary Deflector Array, Lower Shuttle Bay, Shuttle Bay Support 2, Warp Core Jettison Hatch, Docking Latches
|10||Auxiliary Bridge, Forward Torpedo Launcher, Torpedo Bay 4, Auxiliary Sickbay, Deuterium Fuel Storage, Maintenance Labs, Deflector Control, Docking Latches|
|11||Crew Lounge, Transporter Room 6, Holodeck 4, Crew Quarters, Auxiliary Sickbay, Life Support, Environmental Support, Deuterium Fuel Pumps and Fill Ports, Deuterium Injector/Reactors, Main Deflector Array|
|12||Marine Barracks, Marine CO’s Office, Marine CO’s Quarters, Armoury 4, Tertiary Computer Core (Level 1), Tertiary Engineering (Level 1), Aft Torpedo Launcher, Torpedo Bay 5|
|13||Emergency Batteries, Cargo Bays 5 & 6, Anti-Matter Injector, Tertiary Computer Core (Level 2), Tertiary Engineering (Level 2)|
|14||Anti-matter Storage Pods, Anti-matter Fuel Pumps and Fill Ports, Phaser Batteries, Tertiary Computer Core (Level 3), Storage Bay|
|15||Warp Core Jettison Hatch, Main Tractor Emitter|
Ships of the Line
- USS Hera
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- USS Ares
- USS Daedalus
- USS Hercules
- USS Nimitz
- USS Ulysses
- USS Poseidon
- USS Artemis