“The Portsmith class was a small cheap destroyer designed for mass production. During the four years war vast numbers were built to act in numerous roles. Despite its size and low cost, the class was amongst the more powerful destroyers in service during the war. Post war the class was not fitted with phasers as the cost of conversion would have exceeded the cost of construction.”
The Mk1 Portsmith Class entered service in 2246 as a cheap simple customs cutter, and was produced at numerous merchant and military shipyards throughout the Federation. The design had no weapons save for four lasers, and was powered by the heavy but effective FWH-1 warp drive system, In all some 300 were built between 2246 and 2252.
The growing hostilities prior to the advent of the Four Years war in 2252 found the Federation desperately short of effective escorts. A program was instituted to design a new escort destroyer class for mass production. It was realised that designing a new class from scratch would take a number of years. It was suggested that the existing Portsmith class could form the basis for a very capable Light Destroyer.
The FWH-1 engines of the Mk1 were replaced by the new FWA-2, and the ship had three accelerator cannons crammed into the former cargo hold. The resultant ship was a revelation to Starfleet Commanders, the more efficient Warp Drive, coupled to the heavy weapon load (for the size of vessel) meant that the Mk2 had a combat efficiency better than full size destroyers, and indeed better than some cruisers.
The price paid for this efficiency was two fold, the range of the Portsmith could not compare to that of the larger destroyers, and the superstructure, although reinforced compared to the Mk1 was not as resilient as that of the larger destroyers. However when deployed in groups escorting convoys the capabilities of the Portsmith meant that they were a force to be reckoned with. Some 360 Mk2s were built, and a large number of Mk1s were upgraded.
Postwar, the Portsmith class had no real role, although a large number were retained in reserve fleets until the 2270’s. A large number of these ships were sold onto planetary defence forces, or onto the civil sector after being disarmed.
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