The Hale was first commissioned in Mark 1 form in 2233, and was intended to act as a light scout for Galaxy Exploration Command, a heavier Mark 2 version followed two years later to suit the needs of Military Operations
Command. The design was intended to produce a compact ship with minimal surface area to reduce observability. GEC planned to use the vessels for covert surveillance of worlds subject to the prime directive which had not yet made contact with the outside universe. MOC also planned to use the vessels for covert surveillance, but of less benign targets.
The result of the low observability requirement was to produce an unconventional ship with nacelles mounted close to the side of ship, the nacelles were also shielded against sensors with hull plating. This gave the class an appearance of being armoured, but this was far from the case. The design was studied with great interest by many designers as it was hoped that the close in engine mounting would give major benefits.
In service the ships proved reliable, and were quite well liked by their crews, despite the cramped accommodation they offered to the 65 crew they carried. The crews also appreciated the distinctiveness of the design, which made them stand out from the more conventional designs used in Starfleet.
In 2242, the Hale Class USS Pace, while engaged in surveillance operations near the Triangle obtained sensor readings on a new Klingon Design, this is now known to BE the first time a UFP ship scanned a D7A class cruiser. The USS Pace managed to scan the D7A for 15 minutes without being detected, before warping back to its base.
The Commissioning of newer scouts such as the Bode, Sawyer and Nelson classes gradually reduced the importance of the Hale to MOC, and by 2249 all remaining ships had been transferred to GEC or assigned to the Academy as Trainers. The Hale Class continued in active service until 2253 when it was decided that given the tactical situation of the Four Years War, continued operation of such a small lightly protected scout was reckless even in ‘safe’ areas. The ships assigned to the Academy survived in service until 2256.
Production of the Hale totalled 60 Mk 1s, and 70 Mk 2s between 2233 and 2239, no ships were modified between marks. The Class was produced at Morena Shipyards. Remarkably the class was never refitted. A refit program was considered in 2246, but a gradual change in emphasis towards larger scouts (such as the Nelson and Hermes classes) meant that it was rejected as uneconomical and unnecessary, as such the ships retained their non-dilithium engines until they left service.
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