When first introduced, the designation of Battle cruiser was considered the most controversial annotation for Star Fleet. But other governments and various conflicts soon cemented the use of these highly specialized large combat craft. Battle cruisers do not have the multi-project research capability of other Exploration vessels, but do bring together many other aspects of standard Cruisers into a surprisingly lethal package. Battle cruisers focus most of their abilities into a combat platform designed to engage both multi-vessel units or larger single combat vessels. Battle cruisers are often more heavily armed, but are more expensive to maintain.
The Thofsin class battlecruiser was 360 meters long and had a standard crew complement of 86. The ship was heavily armed, featuring particle cannons, but it lacked torpedo launchers. In total some 415 ships of this class were built.
The hull was made of duranium alloy. The deflector shields were strong for ships of the era, but the hull was weaker and particularly vulnerable when the shields were down because it lacked hull plating that could be polarized.
Because prior to the advent of the Federation, the Andorian empire was on the brink of war with the Tellarites and Vulcans, the battlecruiser was designed for war as part of a strategy of deterrence.
The Thofsin class was the equivalent of the Vulcan D’Kyr class warship. Five particle cannon emitters were positioned on the fore, port, starboard, ventral and dorsal hulls. Each of the emitters had a 180 degree firing arc. The cannons could be fired as continuous beams and projectile-like bursts.
The main bridge was crewed by five officers. The commanding officer sat in a command chair. The officer’s stations were visible to the commander, this highly efficient bridge design was mirrored in new designs after the founding of Federation Starfleet.
The hull consisted of an engineering section with two weapon/engine pods mounted on wing-like pylon structures. Shuttle and cargo bays were housed in the central hull. A The forward hull section housed crew areas and the main bridge.
The Kumari was one of the most notable members of this class, under Commander Thy’lek Shran.
Design from Star Trek Enterprise, Class name and some details from FASA.
The Scimater class was the ultimate development of the Battle Cruiser concept during the Romulan War. The collapse of Romulan resistance in 2159 led to the decision to cancel the construction of the Scimater class, and the related Elephant class in 2160. The incomplete hull of the UES Scimater was scrapped in 2161.
The Heston class, although now largely forgotten, was the leading Cruiser type in the four years war. Although not as powerful as the Constitution in terms of engines, it made up for that with its greater firepower and overlapping arcs of fire.
Advances in Klingon Ship design and weaponry capability led to concerns amongst some elements of Starfleet in the early 2240s. It was planned that the Constitution class would form the vanguard of Starfleet’s strength after they began commissioning in 2245, but the dual role nature of the design led to the military capabilities being reduced to allow for science and exploration capability. Additionally the advanced sensors and science instrumentation fitted meant that the class was prohibitively expensive to procure in quantity.
To counter this problem Military Operations Command pushed for a cheaper military roled heavy cruiser, which would dispense with th e extensive science equipment of the Constitution class, this ship became the Heston class. The first Heston class ship commissioned in 2249; it was in many ways a more heavily armed variant of the Constitution class design. Superficially, the ships looked similar, but externally, and internally there were a number of changes.
The Heston mounted the FWD-1 warp drive, as opposed to the FWC-1 of the Constitution. The only way to fit the required weapon load in the class was use the lighter warp drive which additionally was 20% cheaper than the FWC-1. of the ship. The cost of this change was that the Heston class was always short of power, but to remedy this the class was fitted with the revolutionary FSI shield generator, the first trinary shield generator. Because of leaving out the science facilities of the Constitution class, the ships had the capability to carry 200 marines as well as fighter craft and assault shuttles. It had been planned to make the ship larger, but suitable impulse drives were not available to power ships of more than class XI until 2256.
The Mark 2 Heston of 2253 was perhaps the ultimate laser equipped warship to serve in Starfleet. She adopted the new FWE-2 warp drive, which allowed additional structural reinforcing due to its lower weight, as well as being both more efficient and more powerful. All 7 surviving Mk 1s were upgraded to this standard. The Mark 2 was designed purely to counter the D10 class Cruiser.
Postwar the ships were deemed obsolete due to their reliance on lasers, and the lower power of the warp drives. Additionally the single role nature of the vessels meant that they could not be redeployed on exploration duties, which made them less attractive for refits than the Constitution class ships.
In another blow to the future of the Heston class, the Federation Class usurped the military role of the class, the Federation class was essentially a Heston class hull with the addition of a third nacelle. A limited refit was carried out in 2257, when three ships gained FWD-2 warp drives, but this was only a temporary reprieve, as the lasers and accelerator cannons were not replaced. USS Heston became flagship of the Federation reserve fleet in 2258, just 9 years after commissioning. Subsequently it was decided that the Heston class spaceframes could be most effectively used if refitted to Federation Class Dreadnought specifications.
To this end, all 13 surviving vessels were mothballed or in reserve by 2260. From 2266 onwards 12 of the 13 survivors were stripped back to their spaceframes with the intention of being be rebuilt to Federation class specifications, however when the Federation class production was halted early these hull were scrapped or expended as targets.
The USS Heston (NCC-1685) was the only ship not scrapped, and was later allocated for display purposes. She is still in the Starfleet Museum today.
Ship Source: Based on Federation Class From Starfleet Technical Manual, Name Reference FASA
“Because of the failure of the Tritium class, concern for defence capabilities results in the building of an advanced prototype battle cruiser. This ship doesn’t become part of the fleet, but many of its improvements do.”
The 2210 Battle Cruiser (Sigma Class) was another attempt to produce a front line combatant. Again the design was excellent in principle, but was again found to be underpowered. This time however the basic design (in terms of systems) was used, as it was integrated into the design of the Quetzalcoatl class semi Dreadnought.
Space Flight Chronology/Starfleet Tactical Database II
The Juggernaut uniquely represents one of the major intelligence triumphs of the Romulan War, and one of the major engineering failures of the post war era.
Snatched from it’s Romulan builders prior to completion by operation ‘Golden Pheasant’ in 2157, the ship was docked safely at Andor. It was stripped of its equipment by Intelligence and Engineering personnel in a bid to learn as much as possible about Romulan Technology. The ship was to be refitted with Earth and Andorian technology and turned loose against it’s former owners.
In the event, the war ended before the ship was completed, and work was slowed to such an extent that the ship was not completed until 2168. After competitive trials against the USS Goliath (a Federation prototype battle cruiser) she was quietly decommissioned as an expensive failure (as was the Goliath, as the new technology used was not yet mature enough to allow these ships to operate efficiently). Later she was moved to Memory Alpha as a museum ship, were she remained for almost a century until Orion pirates hijacked her.
Juggernaut was recovered, but not before the Orions had carried out considerable work in upgrading the shipboard systems and weapons to 23rd century standards. As a result Starfleet Corps of Engineers completed the work began by the Orions, and the ship was finally commissioned, over a century after being commenced, to act as a Training ship attached to the Academy at Andor. In 2295, the ship was again decommissioned, and rededicated as a memorial to lives lost on both sides in the Romulan War.
“During the darkness of the Romulan War, when the prospect of prolonged hostility seemed only too real, Star Fleet Command ordered this battle cruiser prototype built and feasibility tested, However the ship proved tremendously unwieldy and never entered active service. Its failure to perform to specification was a major reason why both the Horizon and Marshall classes enjoyed such an extended commissioned life.”
The 2168 Battle Cruiser program was intended to produce a new generation ship to replace the aging Romulan war era vessels. Although the design was in principle excellent experience in testing showed that the ship was chronically underpowered. Additionally the cost of the ship was deemed to be prohibitive and the design was cancelled.
The Conqueror Class battle cruisers were the final Bison class based ships to be built during the Romulan war
These cruisers, introduced in 2159, were basically improved Tannhauser class ships with the new more powerful EFTL-9 Warp drive with nacelles mounted outboard above the centerline, and an upgraded sensor suite.
New weapons included a forehead-mounted, high-velocity “missile rifle” with a rotary feed system for the ET-4 missile, and a ship-to-ship version of the ELC-2 Electron laser cannon first used in the Farragut class.
These immense cruisers gave invaluable service during the last year of the war, particularly at the battle of Cheron, where their steady missile barrages helped batter the Romulan fleet into submission. UES Charger was the flagship of Task Force 41, which led the final drive towards the Romulan Homeworlds.
However, when peace came in 2160 the class proved prohibitively expensive to maintain and crew, and accordingly all were retired by 2163.
The Conqueror class battlecruiser UES Charger is now on display at the Starfleet Museum.