The Larson Class was one of the large numbers of Destroyers that commissioned in the 2240s. Although not as powerful as the Saladin class it was still built in large numbers. It was generally employed as an escort vessel for larger fleets.
Designed at the same time as the Nelson class scouts and the Constitution class cruisers, Larson class destroyers shared many of the same physical features of these ships. An efficient ship that served well, it was intended to perform the same tasks as other dual-function vessels, namely both research and defense. Even so, most of the existing Larsons in service were employed by Starfleet’s Military Operations Command, with several serving in the Galaxy Exploration Command.
Destroyers such as the Larson frequently were employed on patrol duty along the frontier areas. In time of war or other military emergencies, such destroyers were assigned to escort convoys or used as scouts by squadrons or small fleets. This methodology is still practiced today with Starfleet’s modern destroyers. With its array of weapons, the Larson was a fine combat vessel, though not as powerful as a cruiser or larger ship.
As can be seen by reviewing the statistics, the Larson Mk I was introduced into service in January 2245 (1/8801), remaining unchanged until the outbreak of the Four Years War in 2253 (1/95). After several fierce battles with Klingon forces, it was evident that the Larson was weaker than their Klingon counterparts. As quickly as possible, all Larsons were scheduled to be upgraded to Mk Ib standard. This provided the Larson with more efficient shielding, allowing more power for its new FL-3 lasers and existing FAC-1 accelerator cannons.
Finally in early 2256 (1/98), the first Mk II Larsons were produced. The production schedule was split into two lines: the Mk IIa and the Mk IIb. All Mk Ia Larsons upgraded during the conflict were upgraded to Mk IIa standard and all Mk Ibs became Mk IIbs. This helped speed up the turn around time for upgrades because only the weaponry and single warp engine, now upgraded to the FWC-2, changed on the vessels.
The Mk IIa mounted the FP-2 photon torpedo system, still in its prototype stage. The Mk IIb mounted the powerful FP-1 system. Starfleet was split on this issue, however: Larsons were seeing heavy action, but they were vulnerable ships. If mounted with the FP-1, the Larson’s firepower would increase, but at the sake of exposing the FP-1 photon technology to the Klingons if a Larson were captured in battle. In addition and unforeseen in static tests, the superstructure of the relatively light Larson was not strong enough to absorb the shock of repeated firings of the two FP-1 launchers. In rare cases, some firings caused structural damage to the starship. This problem was never fully resolved and in the later Mks, all Larsons mounted the smaller FP-2. All Mk I vessels were refitted with new weapons by September of 2258 (2/0109). Several small interior changes were also made, but these did not affect the combat performance of the vessel until the introduction of the Mk VI.
The Mk VI mounted improved phaser weapons and the more efficient FSD shield generators. The Mk VII, introduced in March of 2269 (2/1403), mounted the newer style engine nacelle and a more powerful impulse drive system. This increased the overall power output by 25% and extended the service life of the Larson class by several years. By May 2285 (2/2205), all Larsons in active service at that time had been upgraded to the Mk VI, and several had been modified to
Production of the Larson class was halted in August of 2281 (2/1808) with the commissioning of the USS Juno. In October 2291 (2/2710), the last Larson class destroyer in service, the USS Tana Re, returned from its duty station and moored at Starbase 24. With this, the end of the Larson class era fell upon Starfleet Destroyer Command and all Larsons were placed in reserve fleets. As a part of Starfleet’s reserve fleet budget, a project has been underway since 2293 (2/29) to slowly upgrade all remaining Mk VI Larsons to Mk VII standard.
No ships sold to the private sector have been refit, and most retain the characteristics they had at the time of sale. All vessels sold were disarmed by Starfleet, though the weapon-mounting hardpoints usually were left intact.
Larsons were named for military leaders and battles of Terran origin. The class vessel is named for Admiral William G. Larson, hero of the battle at Gamma Hydra during the Romulan War. The only exception to this naming convention is NCC 4305, the USS Thelenth, which is named after an Andorian admiral who defeated the Klingons in a pitched battle at Donovan’s Star at the cost of his own ship and crew.
The ships Hammurabi and Troy were both destroyed while escorting a convoy of merchant ships bound for a frontier area. During this battle, seventeen freighters were destroyed and an additional four were taken as prizes by the Klingons. Of the five ships that survived the encounter, all reported that the Hammurabi destroyed two Klingon D-7 cruisers and crippled two others before being destroyed itself. The Troy apparently was disabled in the initial exchange of fire and left for dead. When a Klingon cruiser ventured too close to the derelict, however, it opened fire and destroyed the enemy vessel in a single volley. Of course, without maneuvering power, the Troy was later easily dispatched.
In August 2259 (2/0208), the Bolivar led a small detachment consisting of the Normandy, Alesia, Babur, and Tecumseh into an uncontrolled area near the Romulan Neutral Zone. The task force maintained radio silence and failed to report back at its scheduled time. When extensive communications attempts were made unsuccessfully, a rescue group was dispatched to the last reported position of the task force. Upon arrival, nothing was to be found, and an extensive search was begun, ultimately discovering the engine nacelle of the Alesia adrift in an unknown asteroid cluster. At the time no determination was made as to what had caused the loss of the ships, but it was suspected by many that the Romulans had ambushed the group and successfully destroyed them before they were able to send a call for aid. This theory was never proved, and no action was ever taken against the Romulans, largely because it was felt that the Romulans could not have crossed the Neutral Zone unnoticed. Since the discovery of the Romulan cloaking capability, the theory has been given new weight.
In February 2270 (2/1502), the USS Richtofen was recalled for an engine refit and scheduled maintenance to shipboard systems. As the ship’s refit and maintenance checks neared completion, spirited Ensigns and sympathetic workers painted it bright red in honor of its namesake. Starfleet Command decided to leave the ship this color despite the breach of regulations, though all Ensigns were mildly disciplined. The vessel was assigned to the Klingon sector.
On its maiden flight, the USS Sheridan experienced a critical overload in its warp drive system. All backup systems failed to correct the problem. It was decided to jettison the engine pod because an uncontrolled matter anti-matter mix was underway and could not be stopped. The systems used to eject the engine also failed, and the ship was totally destroyed in the subsequent explosion. Three crewmembers who had taken refuge in a shuttle survived.
The Larson class destroyers were produced at the Sol V and Proxima shipyards.
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