Pursuant to the revised design brief for the upcoming New Orleans Class, a request was submitted for a new torpedo launching mechanism that consumed a minimum amount of the ship’s internal volume. The solution, arrived at by engineers working on the ship, was to remove the launchers to the outside of the hull completely.
The original bolt-on cannon were prototypes for weaponry still on the drawing boards for the Galaxy and Nebula Class ships. While later internal versions were exceptionally streamlined, those on the New Orleans consisted of bulky loading and launching mechanisms and, in a break from the norm, multiple tubes through which torpedo fire could be rotated. This increased the New Orleans’ immediate rate of fire rather than its overall rate and was intended as a means of unleashing as much firepower as quickly as possible.
Drawbacks to this system stemmed from the launching mechanism’s extreme levels of work in combat situations and the maintenance requirements for the multiple tubes, five per cannon. Heat dissipation was paramount due to the sensitivity of the targeting equipment located at the rear of the cannon, leading to the installation of large exhaust ports to remove excess heat.
The design was updated in the late 2360s to take better account of newer technologies. While the multiple tube configuration was retained, the loading and launching mechanism was improved and reduced in size by 30%. This allowed for the installation of an upgraded targeting system and an advanced short-range tactical sensor system, aiding in the launch and control of a high number of torpedoes. Overall rate of fire per cannon is approximately 80% that of the Burst Fire launcher employed on the Galaxy Class.