Starfleet Review: Dreadnoughts

Dreadnoughts are classified as a mission specific, multiple target engagement platform, designed to attack a specific group of targets and provide support for military actions both within and outside established boarders. The most notable aspect of recent dreadnoughts has been the addition of a third warp nacelle. The controversial decision to add a third nacelle does give the Dreadnought a tremendous advantage in combat. Because driver coils can be phased in and out of the warp field, even at high speeds, Dreadnought can use lighter engines and still maintain power levels equivalent to a Heavy Cruiser or Battleship. Dreadnoughts can reach higher top speeds than other starships and can often maintain these speeds longer than other high-speed vessels. Dreadnoughts are designed for quadrant defence, with weapons grouped to protect specific quadrants of the combat area while still maintaining a powerful striking ability against a single target.

The Dreadnoughts unique design does produce a reduced effectiveness for multi-mission roles. Dreadnoughts have even less space devoted to first contact and exploration missions, making them ineffective for exploration. The space disadvantage inherent in Dreadnoughts also extends to the engineering spaces. Most Dreadnoughts have very limited space for crew comfort due to the enlarged engineering and extra support systems needed to maintain the third warp engine. Balance problems with tri-engine designs have plagued Dreadnoughts since first launched. Even modern Dreadnoughts require larger crews to monitor and maintain the multi-engine designs. Dreadnoughts are often more expensive than conventional Battleships but are easier to maintain in the field. Dreadnoughts also have a significant Command-and-Control system allowing them to act as the centrepiece of a large fleet. Dreadnoughts, despite their weight and size, are surprisingly manoeuvrable, and have proved their ability time and again.

The Semi-Dreadnought is an amalgam of varied projected uses combined in a single medium to heavy combat platform, used to conduct a combination of ground assault and fighter support on a smaller scale than the Assault Frigate or Assault Ship.  The Semi-Dreadnought is more independent than most front line assault vessels, able to conduct Heavy Cruiser military operations with the added capability of using two the three fighter wings during it primary mission.  Most missions assigned to the Semi-Dreadnought are of an independent nature, freeing up escorts and other cruisers to conduct more detailed operations.  Most Semi-Dreadnought had a very small science department, no research capability, and limited first contact ability.  None the less, the Semi-Dreadnought can conduct some exploratory operation while maintaining the ability to operate as a Dreadnought when the need arises.  During their military missions, Semi-Dreadnought are often used to assault small outposts


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