Huron class and Spetum class
Max. Warp: 9.7 (Huron); 9.95 (Spetum)
Cruise: 9.2 (Huron); 9.3 (Spetum)
Max. Impulse: 0.95 lightspeed (both)
Crew: 1 officer and 10 enlisted (Huron); 1 officer and 6 enlisted (Spetum)
Armaments: One phaser cannon, three quantum torpedo launchers (2 fwd, 1 aft, Huron); Three phaser cannon, five rapid-fire quantum torpedo launchers (4 fwd, 1 aft, Spetum)
Type: Cutter (Huron); Light Escort (Spetum)
Status: Three Huron class vessels and one squadron (four ships) of Spetum class are currently undergoing shakedown. Starfleet has ordered three hundred additional vessels to be constructed at the rate of six per month, two Huron per four Spetum.
About Ship (but first, a little background): The Roman spetum was a throwing spear about 6 feet in length. It had a wooden shaft for half its length, topped by a soft metal shaft and a hard metal point. As Roman soldiers approached an enemy, they threw several spetum at them. The enemy would catch these spears on their shields. When this happened, the hard point dug into the shield and the soft metal shaft bent. This left the enemy with an awkward, heavy object stuck to the front of their shields, rendering it useless. If they took the time to pry the now-bent spear from the shield, they would be overrun by Roman soldiers. They were forced to drop their shields and take their chances.
The Spetum class starship is based on a similar doctrine. One or more squadrons (called a four-ship) of Spetum race ahead of the rest of the fleet and loose a concentrated barrage of quantum torpedoes at one or more targets, weakening or destroying its shield (if not the target. At 5 torpedoes per second per launcher, a four-ship of Spetum can launch 80 quantum torpedoes per second). The squadron immediately breaks off the attack, pulling back behind screening fighters and capital ships. The larger ships in the fleet then finish the job the Spetum squadron started.
The design brief for the Huron class vessel called for a small vessel to perform search-and-rescue missions, anti-piracy operations, and shipping escort in relatively safe regions of space. They are roughly equivalent to the Coast Guard cutters used in the late 20th century on Earth.
The Huron project was initiated at the same time as the Spetum project. As these vessels were two of the smallest in development at the time, both teams were the target of more than their share of hazing from the more prestigious design teams. The two design teams banded together, and the result was two vessels with different capabilities, two different missions, but quite a bit of family resemblance.
Both the Huron and the Spetum class have identical sensors pods, engineering and drive sections. Both teams collaborated in the design of each ship. There is a noticeable "cutline" at the forward end of the engineering section. Forward of this line is the only appreciable difference between the two ships. The Huron has only two quantum torpedo launchers, and has a large saucer section grafted to the forward hull. The additional space is required as the Huron is designed to operate for long periods far from support. The Huron class has a larger crew, partly because of the law enforcement aspect of its mission. Four of the additional crewmembers are security specialists, plus one medical specialist. The Spetum has far less additional interior space than the Huron, but is expected to spend less than one week at a time away from outside support from a starbase or tender ship.
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