The Loknar Class frigates were built during “The Great Awakening”, a period of expansion by the Federation. During this time, many research and exploration vessels were designed and built to aid in the efforts to solidify an enlarged and growing United Federation of Planets. Also during this period, a smaller number of warships were built. The Loknar, the most noted of these warships, is still in service to this day, a tribute to the quality of the Andorian design.
Soon after the Federation Appropriations Committee granted Starfleet the funds necessary to construct fleets to expand and patrol the limits of the UFP, Andorian factions began pushing for warship construction. The basic Andorian philosophy was that, in expanding, the Federation might come upon races as hostile as the Romulans and Klingons, leading to another protracted war for which the Federation and Starfleet were unprepared. The Andorians argued that, were this to happen or were the Klingons or Romulans to escalate hostilities, Starfleet needed to be better prepared and would need ships to protect the new borders and colonies. The Andorian arguments were successful, and Starfleet began a limited build- up of warships. Several ship building facilities were constructed by Andorian firms to design and manufacture these warships, the most notable of these on Sol IV and Salazaar, the largest and most productive in the Federation.
Introduced in October of 2247 (1/90), the Loknar class frigate mounted the new, but already proven, FWE-1 warp drive, in Starfleet’s inventory for only two years. The FIC-2 impulse engine was introduced on the Loknar and has since proven itself to be one of the most reliable of all production. The Loknar Mk I was considered a ‘muscle’ ship because of its four heavy lasers and single accelerator cannon, making it equal to all but the largest Klingon vessels and more powerful than any ship in the Romulan navy. In addition, the Loknar mounted FSH shield generators, more efficient than any used by the enemies of the Federation.
During the Four Years War, the Loknar saw more action than any other vessel in Starfleet. As the war dragged on however, Starfleet realized the need for vessels with more firepower. When they could be spared, Loknars began being refitted at forward supply and repair stations. The Mk Ib Loknar mounted two additional laser cannons and an aft accelerator cannon. The lasers were banked to provide more flexibility in combat. Late in the war, the Mk Ic was introduced. This version of the Loknar mounted a curious blend of old and new technologies; it retained the lasers of its predecessors, but replaced the accelerator cannons with FP-1 photon torpedoes.
Although it was considered to be successful, the Andorian designers felt a need to improve the Loknar. The FWE-2 warp drive systems, still being tested, would produce 60% more power than the FWE-1 and would increase the ship’s overall performance. The Mk II was commissioned into service in January of 2256 (1/98) mounting the FWE-2, even though this engine was not officially adopted by Starfleet until February of 2259 (2/00).
The most significant advance in starship technology came with the phaser and photon torpedo. The phaser delivered more firepower at longer ranges, weighed less, and required less structural reinforcing than the laser. The newly developed photon torpedo delivered the same explosive power at 75% less power requirement, was considerably lighter and required less structural reinforcement than the accelerator cannon. Eight FH-5 phasers and new photon torpedo technology were incorporated into the Mk II, making it more powerful than anything in the Klingon fleet with the exception of the D-10. The Mk II also mounted an upgraded binary shield generator, the FSK, giving 33% more protection at the same output level as the earlier system. The Mk IIa Loknars were refits from surviving Mk Ic’s- no new builds occurred of this version. The Mk IIb mounted 3 FP-3 photon torpedoes forward and 1 aft (the FP-3 was experimental when first mounted to the Loknar). This arrangement favored redundancy: during the Four Years War, several Loknars were placed at a severe disadvantage when their single forward missile weapon was damaged during combat. The Mk IIa’s were refitted to Mk IIb standard by 2260 (2/03). Both versions saw limited action in the Four Years War.
The next major change in the Loknar’s design came with the introduction of the FWD-2 warp drive to the Mk IV. Along with the FIC-3 impulse drive, this increased the power output and overall performance by 40%. Furthermore, this model replaced the 4 FP-3 photon launchers with the FP-1. The Mk V is the latest model of the Loknar class and is armed with FP-6 torpedoes.
Loknar class frigates have served Starfleet faithfully for over 40 years and will remain in the inventory for many years to come. A major push was begun by the Andorians to create the next generation of Loknar- the Mk VI. However, with four newer frigate designs already being produced, Starfleet Appropriations did not accept the proposal. The final Loknar was constructed in May of 2288 (2/24). Loknars were produced at the Salazaar and Sol IV facilities at a rate of 2 ships per year, including refits. At the behest of the Andorian government, all Loknars are to be refitted to Mk V standard and retained in active service.
The Loknar class frigates are named after cities and provinces of the Federation. More than half of these vessels are crewed by Andorians and the majority of these are assigned to the ‘Blue Fleet’, ships whose officer contingent and crew are entirely Andorian. The USS Loknar was the first ship commissioned into the Blue Fleet, serving as the flagship for many years.
The infamous IKSV Staav’e Mara (Slave Of Justice), was originally the USS Morgan City, a Loknar Class frigate captured by Admiral Kamato’s forces during the Four Years War and later used in Kamato’s abortive coup attempt on the Klingon throne. After failing, Kamato retreated into the Triangle, taking the Loknar class frigate with him. From their location in the Triangle, the Klingon rebels began attacking unprotected convoys and merchant vessels by using the Staav’e Mara to lure them in. This ruse lasted for several years, then a general recall of all Loknar class vessels made it difficult for the Klingon vessel to operate as though it were from Starfleet. The IKS Admiralty then decided to have the vessel painted in the standard steel-gray color of their Navy. The Staav’e Mara still operates with the IKS Navy and has been seen as recently as January 2287 (2/23).