"Destrier" class heavy battle cruiser
Inscription on Commissioning plaque:
"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving."
-- OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Max. Warp: 9.25
Max. Impulse: 0.85 lightspeed.
Armaments: Ten banks of dual-mount phasers (2 fwd, 3 port, 3 starboard, 2 aft); four photon torpedo launchers (3 fwd, 1 aft).
Type: Heavy battle cruiser.
Status: Class vessel comissioned in 2266, production halted due to Organian Peace Treaty of 2267, destroyed during the Tomed incident in 2311. No others produced.
About Ship: As the Constitution class entered it's tenth year of service, Starfleet issued a requirement for a fast, heavily-armed "battleship" which would give the Federation a decided advantage in dealing with the Klingons. The controversial decision to construct such a vessel was nearly overruled by the Federation council, but a series of minor incidents along the Klingon border shifted opinion in favor of the new vessel. Although production was authorized, the Destrier, through no fault of its own, never entered series production.
The first major setback to the Destrier program was the "outbreak of peace" brought by the Organian Peace Treaty in 2267, less than a year into the shakedown cruise of the Class vessel. All production orders for Destrier class vessels were immediately cancelled. Starfleet decided to go ahead with plans to make the Destrier itself operational, however, rationalizing that since it had already been built, it would be a waste to dismantle it. The Destrier was not only a warship but carried science and research facilities rivaling those of any ship in the fleet. Since it's primary function was exploration, and since it was equipped with a vast array of leading-edge technologies, its main mission changed from "battle cruiser with extensive science facilities" to "exploration cruiser with extensive combat capability". The advent of the Excelsior class in 2285 eliminated any prospect of resuming production of any more Destrier class vessels.
The Destrier was intended to be the fastest ship in the fleet, but that expectation was not realized. The new warp nacelle design (precursor to the nacelles used on the Constitution refit) required careful balancing to avoid runaway acceleration. This task was difficult as there was little real-world data to base calculations on, and the most efficient balance brought the engines perilously close to runaway condition. By the time the Destrier's engines had been tuned to perfection, the refit Constitutions were routinely outpacing it, having benefited from data collected while sorting out the heavier ship's drives.
The armaments of the Destrier were the heaviest ever mounted on a Federation vessel at that time, consisting of no less than ten phaser banks, supplemented by four photon torpedoes. A refit in 2285 eliminated the side-firing phaser banks installed in the stardrive section, but compensated for this by increasing the firepower of the remaining eight banks. An upgraded sensors array was also installed at this time.
The Destrier served for for 41 years and only engaged in battle once. During the Tomed incident, the Destrier provided defensive cover for the evacuation of Kandias IV. Although outnumbered by five Romulan battlecruisers, the evacuation was completed without the loss of a single civilian life. The Destrier single-handedly crippled three of the attacking cruisers and severely damaged the remaining two. By the end of the battle, the Destrier had suffered enough damage that there was no hope of rescuing the ship itself. To prevent the ship from falling into Romulan hands, the crew initiated autodestruct sequence and abandoned ship. Captain Garibaldi was posthumously awarded the Federation Medal of Honor for acts "above and beyond the call of duty".
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