2254 – Ares

From Star Trek Expanded Universe:

The USS Ares (NCC-1650) was the prototype of the Ares-class. It was commanded by Garth of Izar during the Four Years War. (Star Trek: Axanar)

During the first two years of the four years war, Starfleet was experiencing near constant defeat at the hands of the Imperial Klingon Navy’s D-6 battlecruiser. Whole systems were being seized, with the populations slaughtered at their hands. Changes needed to be made to save the Federation. The Starfleet Commander in Chief, Admiral Conrad Slater, was replaced by Admiral Marcus Ramirez. Ramirez’s first action was ordering the design and production of the Ares-class. The simulations showed promise, but its first real test would be on the battlefield. The Vulcans restricted their involvement to environmental, propulsion, and defensive sytems, though there were voices that demanded Vulcan remove their participation completely. In the words of Admiral Samuel Trask, “A Vulcan’s gonna do what a Vulcan’s gonna do. But the Andorians… they were happy to supply us the phasers.” The first ship in the class, the USS Ares, would be assigned to the Captain of the Destroyer Xenophon: Captain Kelvar Garth. There were over a dozen other member worlds waiting on the Ares class. Operation Pegasus would be the proving ground.

On stardate 2244.1, the Ares took part in its first combat engagement near the planet Cygnus III during Operation Pegasus. (“Prelude to Axanar”). In the words of the Supreme Warlord of the Imperial Klingon Navy (“Kharn the Undying”), “The new class Starfleet vessels were… unexpected.” Kelvar Garth, pushing his vessel’s capabilities to the maximum, surprised the Klingons and delivered a victory to Starfleet at Cygnus III. Following those events, Starfleet would go on to regain much of their lost territory. The USS Ares was faster, more agile, more heavily-armed than any operation Klingon vessel. With the new Ares-class and with the hard-won experience of their battle-tested commanders, three systems were retaken within 30 days. The Klingon ship captains began to give the Federation their due as a worthy adversary, primarily taking notice of Garth of Izar. The Captain of the USS Hercules, Samuel Trask, was quoted as saying, “That mad Izarian son of a bitch – that was his day.” Captain Sonya Alexander of the USS Ajax added, “Garth likes to play down what he did. Don’t you believe it. What he did that day no Starfleet Captain had ever done.”

In total 12 Ares class ships were built, production was curtailed in favour of additional ships of the Constitution class and related designs. The Constitution class was marginally cheaper and quicker to build,  was more combat efficient, and it was recognised it would be a more a versatile design to retain postwar.

9 of the Ares class ships survived the war, and post war they served as guard ships for key installations before being mothballed in 2262. All were recalled for service in 2267 when the fleet was put on a war footing prior to the Organian conflict, after the imposition of the treaty the ships returned to reserve.

Class: IX Year: 2254
Ship Source: Star Trek Axanar Ship Datasheet: Coming Soon
NB The write up of the Ares creates an issue in that it clearly states that the design is a product of the four years war, but at the same time places the first Constitution class ships under construction (which is 9 years too late). I have chosen to keep the wartime date and ignore the Constitution reference.