Inscription on Commissioning Plaque:
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it."
-- ROBERT E. LEE
Max Warp: N/A
Max. Impulse: 0.9995 lightspeed
Crew: 10 officers, 28 enlisted
Armaments: One Polaron cannon of 1.2 terawatt output, fwd; sixteen phaser cannon coupled to the multifunction phased array; four rapid-fire quantum torpedo launchers, 4 fwd; 12 Semi-Autonomous Remotely Piloted Expendable Vehicles (SARPEVs) carried in internal bays.
Type: System Defense Monitor
Status: One in service, one undergoing shakedown, four undergoing refit to current standards, twelve additional mothballed hulls are being evaluated for suitability to conversion.
About Ship: At one time, the idea of a system defense monitor seemed obsolete. In the light of two Borg incursions, the Dominion War, and too many smaller conflicts, the concept has been reevaluated and found to have merit.
The Merrimac-Virginia program is a stopgap measure until such time as a clean-sheet design can be put into service. The Merrimac-Virginia is therefore a re-fit of the Sheridan class system defense monitor. The Sheridan was the last monitor designed by Starfleet. Shortly before the Excelsior class went into service, all Sheridan production was halted and Sheridan hulls (eighteen) were stored at the Earth L-5 "boneyard". The Sheridan hulls are as sturdy and durable as anything made today. Internal hull volume and configuration allows mounting of almost any system desired.
The Sheridan hull is stripped of all obsolete equipment (single-core M/ARA, type IX phasers, etc.) The Merrimac-Virginia is equipped with two quad-core M/ARA coupled to a battery of quantum flywheels with a three-days' storage capacity. A new structural integrity field grid was necessary due to the installation of a high thrust impulse engine and reaction control thrusters. The outer hull has been refit with ablative armor and multifunction phased arrays. Each array includes sensors, phaser emitters, navigational deflector emitters, and tractor beam emitters. Each array can take a significant amount of damage before performance is noticeably diminished.
The Merrimac-Virginia's main weapon is a polaron cannon with an output of 1.2 Terawatts and a range of over 1 astronomical unit. Developed from studying captured Jem'Hadar vessels, the weapon is powerful partly because it is huge. It is huge because our understanding of the technology is incomplete. Fully 30% of the interior volume of the Merrimac-Virginia is given over to the polaron weapon. Secondary weapons are the rapid-fire quantum torpedo launchers and eight phaser cannon.
The Merrimac-Virginia carries twelve SARPEVs. Four are either phaser-equipped or photon torpedo-equipped Mk I or Mk II models and provide the Merrimac-Virginia with covering fire, should it be required. The other eight are Mk II models with a fire control telemetry module installed. In combat, the Merrimac-Virginia deploys three SARPEVs to gather accurate targeting information for the polaron cannon. This permits the Merrimac-Virginia to engage targets well before they are within retaliatory range.
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