The Diligent Class Combat Support Tender commissioned in 2249, the ships were intended to provide frontline support to damaged ships, towing them out of the battlefield with the powerful tractors, then assisting them with repairs.
The Class was based on the Coventry Class hull, but with a vertically enlarged rear hull which housed the massive spare part storage bins and the enlarged hanger bays. The Twin FTB-1 Tractors (also fitted in the aft hull) could each haul 300,000 mt. The maximum mass that the Mark 1 could haul was 330,250mt (this covered all class 14 ships, and some class 15), where as the later Mark 2 could haul 480,250mt (including all ships up to class 17, and the majority of class 18 ships as well).
The ships were armed with 4 FL-6 lasers which were meant to give a measure of self defence, in fact coupled with the state of the art shielding the Diligent was a surprisingly capable combat vessel, capable of a very robust defence. With the advent of the four years war these ships were plunged into action. They were initially used in there intended role of recovering crippled Federation ships, but their role developed as the war continued.
In 2255 the USS Stevenson and USS Brunel were employed in a most unorthodox operation, a Klingon Z-3 Station had been placed in a position where it could easily monitor Starfleet Traffic. All previous attacks on a Z-3 had failed as insufficient ships were available locally to push home the attack. The two Diligent class ships were tasked to pull the Z-3 out of its stable orbit and start it moving down towards the planet’s surface, a a Federation Task group was simultaneously attacking the station to prevent it diverting power to its station keeping thrusters. The operation succeeded, but the losses on the Federation side were such that the exercise was not repeated, the losses included the USS Brunel.
2256 saw a more daring but more conventional mission, Starfleet Intelligence learnt of a crippled Klingon D-10 with only a skeleton crew aboard in the vicinity of ‘Malta Station’ within Klingon controlled space that was awaiting recovery. The USS Diligent, the USS Sir Lancelot (an Eagle class Troop ship) and an escort squadron of Baton Rouge class cruisers crossed into Klingon space and successfully captured the vessel, then towed it back to the Federation at the painful speed of warp six. This was the first intact D-10 captured by the Federation and was the source of much valuable intelligence. In all 8 ships of this class were lost or destroyed during the war, but they recovered an estimated 4.5 million mt worth of ships from the battlefields to fight another day.
|Ship Source:||Steve Bacon, based on Coventry from Ships of the Starfleet.||Ship Datasheet:||Download PDF|