Ordered as an alternative in case of the failure of the Constitution Class. The delays to Constitution Class and poor performance of the Ranger II meant that the Pyotr Velilkiy served as an interim Heavy Cruiser, and was ordered in quantity in response to Klingon aggression in 2244.
The eventual entry of the Constitution Class to service in large numbers meant that the Pyotr Velikiy was relegated to less glamorous duties, and some were converted to serve as tugs. The Cruiser version was phased out by 2312.
The Pyotr Veliky class was conceived as fall back design in case of delays to the Constitution Class Program. The Protoype, USS Pyotr Veliky named for the Tsar who created Russia’s Imperial Fleet, entered service in 2241. The ship mounted the ultimate non dilithium warp drive to enter service, the FFTL-7B and was the only class fitted with this engine. The other technology of this design was also well proven, in direct contrast to the advanced systems chosen for the Constitution Class. The class was designed and built at Andorian shipyards in an effort to disperse the strategically important role of building heavy cruisers away from Earth, additionally much of Earth’s ship building and design capacity was tied up in the Constitution class program.
Delays to the Constitution Class led to the ordering of 5 Mk 2 ships, the first of which entered service in 2244. The Mk 2 featured improved laser weaponry and improvements to cargo handling systems. The Pyotr Veliky class, despite it’s old technology warp reactor did have the same nacelle design as would be used on the Constitution, and many minor improvements made to the nacelles on these ships found their way into the Constitution class nacelles.
As the Mk2 ships entered service, increased Klingon aggression prompted an order to be placed for 14 Mk3 ships. The Mk3, which entered service in 2245 mounted the brand new FAC-4 accelerator cannon, but the main advance was with shielding. The New unary shields were now coming into service, and the FSG was selected to replace the inefficient system mounted on earlier ships. The FSG required the addition of a new style M series computer, and the M3 was accordingly fitted.
With the Constitution class beginning to be available in quantity by 2250, steps were taken to refit the 20 Pyotr Veliky ships for further service. 14 Ships were refitted to MkIV standards for service with Military Operations Command, and 6 to MkV for service with Galaxy Exploration Command.
The MkIV adopted the FWD-1 warp drive, this drive at half the weight of the FFTL-7B meant that the ship’s mass dropped by almost a 100,000mt. The resultant ships, although less powerful, were more efficient in movement and had a higher maximum speed, useful for patrol duties. The only old technology system retained aboard the ships was the dependable FNSP-X impulse system, as no newer style engines could yet power ships of Class XI. The refits were all complete at the outbreak of the Four Years War, where this class served distinction.
The MkV adopted the even lighter FWE-1 Warp drive, and had a major physical change with the removal of the secondary hull. These ships had been intended for use in an exploration role, but the Four Years War saw them serve as Frigates until the Surya and Coventry classes entered full service. The MkV mounted the same weapons as the MkIV and the FIC-3 impulse engine meant that it had the same amount of power as its larger sibling, but the lighter structure could absorb less damage.
Postwar surviving vessels were used in second line roles, some for exploration (Mk6) and some as cargo tugs(Mk7) or transports (mk8), although a small number did remain in defence roles with the Blue Fleet (Mk9).
The last Pyotr Veliky was not retired from service until 2312, that vessel, the USS Salah Ad-Din is now on display in the Starfleet Museum.
- Class: IX
- Year: 2250 (Mk V)
- Ship Source: Starfleet Museum
- Ship Datasheet: Download PDF
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