Inscription on Commissioning Plaque: "Name the greatest of all the inventors: Accident."-- MARK TWAIN, Notebooks
Armaments: Six heavy laser cannon, 4 fwd, 2 aft. Three accelerator cannon, 2 fwd, 1 aft.
Type: Heavy Cruiser
Status: One prototype produced for comparison with the Constitution prototype, no further examples produced. The original was demilitarized and turned over to the Vulcan Science Academy in 2265.
About Ship: In 2235, Starfleet issued the most demanding specifications for a starship in its history. The "Starship class" specification would, it was hoped, result in a ship far superior to any likely to be fielded in the next 40 years. So demanding were the requirements, that the Federation Council required Starfleet to build one prototype of each of two competing designs, the winner of this competition would be the one produced.
The Friendship's design was quite a bit different from the typical Starfleet vessel of the day. Instead of two warp nacelles set away from the engineering hull upon long pylons, minimizing the amount of shielding required to protect the crew (as the competing vessel, Constitution, did), the Friendship had a single nacelle, mounted forward. This nacelle housed an enormous bussard collector and four warp coils. The bulky nacelle housing also held much of the shielding required to protect the crew from the strong subspace fields they emitted. This configuration provided a somewhat more stealthy warp field configuration than the Constitution's (single-lobe rather than dual). Warp field efficiency at cruise was somewhat improved, but at the expense of increased antimatter consumption.
While the Constitution could operate for 20 years without resupply, the Friendship could only manage 17 uninterrupted years of operation. Much of this capability came at the cost of crew size (the Constitution had room for 40 additional science personnel). The Friendship compensated for its smaller size by packing a far more comprehensive sensors suite than the prototype Constitution. The main sensor array (MSA) took the form of a large rotodome on the dorsal hull.
During trials, Starfleet test crews discovered that, while living up to most of it's capabilities, the Friendship turned out to be a rather temperamental beast. The quad-coil warp nacelles required a carefully-balanced flow of plasma from the matter/antimatter reactor assembly. This process was controlled by the duotronic computer system, which was barely able to respond to changes in plasma flow requirements at high warp speeds. The short mast upon which the MSA was mounted turned out to be slightly less strong than the actual requirements demanded, and tended to suffer severe damage at accelerations much more than one-quarter impulse power.
The Friendship was intended to out-perform the competing contender, the Constitution. In simulations, it did, but in the metal, the Friendship proved to be more maintenance-intensive than was practical. Ultimately, the Constitution went on to become the class vessel. Its only serious shortcoming against the Friendship was addressed by adding sensors to the main deflector array, giving the Constitution class vessels equivalent sensing ability.
As the Friendship represented a large investment in resources, Starfleet decided to utilize it as a science and research vessel. Two warp coils were removed from the nacelle, and the additional resulting space allowed enough additional internal volume for 30 additional crewmembers. Maximum warp speeds dropped from 7 and 8.5 to 5 and 7. Impulse engines were governed to one-quarter impulse, which could be overridden only in emergencies. The Friendship served as a travelling science vessel until 2265, wherupon is was demilitarized and turned over to the Vulcan Science Academy as a mobile classroom and research facility.
The Friendship leaves Earth orbit to begin shakedown.
The Friendship discovers a derelict ship during its last voyage for the Federation.
Return to the Starship Catalogue.