Inscription on commissioning plaque:
"Who sees farthest, sees best."
Max. Warp: 9.97
Cruise: Warp 8.9
Max. Impulse: 0.925 lightspeed
Crew: 100 officers, 270 enlisted
Armaments: Four phaser cannon coupled to phased array; Three quantum torpedo launchers, 2 fwd, 1 aft; one squadron of Strategic Mapping, Astrometric, Reconnaissance and Tactical Sensing (SMARTS) runabouts; one squadron of semi-autonomous remotely piloted expendable vehicles (SARPEVs).
Type: Exploration Cruiser/Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Cruiser
Status: Two in service, Two more are undergoing refit from Shenandoah specifications.
About Ship: The Michelson class is essentially a refit of the Shenandoah class cruiser. The SMARTS system requires a support vessel with adequate internal volume for the maintenance of the SMARTS runabouts and a large amount of processing capacity to extract useful data from the large volume of raw data the system is capable of acquiring. The Heston class could have provided these capabilities, however none were available, since all were needed for the Dominion War effort. As the Shenandoah class was not directly required for the war effort, four of these vessels were selected for refitting to Michelson-class specifications.
The individual phased arrays of the Shenandoah were removed and the hull was given multiply redundant layers of multifunction phased arrays, embedded within an ablative armor matrix. The hull was modified by lengthening the stardrive section and installing more efficient nacelles. Additional space for the SMARTS runabouts was added by enlarging the hangar bay. The bridge module was relocated to one side, allowing the shuttlebay to incorporate a straight-through flight deck, speeding the launch and recovery of the SMARTS vessels.
When the SMARTS runabouts are deployed, they, along with their mothership, comprise a very-long-baseline-interferometry array. This array allows the detailed mapping of very large volumes of space. The acuity of the array is such that it can precisely locate and analyze the characteristics of objects as small as 10 centimeters in diameter from a distance of just under 40 light years.
The Michelson class has a single M/ARA for power, augmented by quantum flywheels. As less continuous power is available, cruise velocity is somewhat lower than the Shenandoah (warp 8.9 as opposed to the Shenandoah's 9.1). Refinements in the hull configuration have, however, resulted in a slightly improved dash capability, up to warp 9.97 from 9.96.
When utilized as a C3I cruiser, the Michelson class (with SMARTS vessels deployed) provides distant early warning, identification, remote fire control data, secure subspace communications, and, when operated by a skilled sensors crew, is even capable of detecting the presence of several types of active and passive cloaking systems that ordinarily require much more elaborate sensor arrays to detect.
Starfleet currently projects a requirement for four of these vessels. Two have already undergone refit and are in service. Another two are undergoing refit and will become available within a few months. As there are still five other Shenandoah hulls available, more can be converted if the need arises.
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