"Pelican" class heavy fleet support vessel (refit version shown)
Inscription on Commissioning plaque:
"Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility. Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on its own dunghill."
-- Richard Aldington
Max. Warp: 7.25
Max. Impulse: 0.55 lightspeed.
Crew: 380; accommodations for up to 1,435 (Emergency conditions only).
Armaments: One bank of medium lasers (fwd); Refit model uprated to phaser armaments, including one additional phaser bank (aft).
Type: Heavy fleet support vessel.
Status: Entered production in 2256. 3 produced, with class vessel commissioned in 2258. All vessels refit beginning in 2266. All remained in service until 2340, and were mothballed in 2345.
About Ship: Before the Constitution class vessels began entering service in 2245, Starfleet began a review of it's ship requirements for the forseeable future. Starfleet determined that with the increased average speed of the fleet, a faster fleet support vessel was required. Current versions could only manage warp factor four (old scale) and lacked sufficient range to provision and repair vessels operating on the fringe of Federation territory. Without an improved support vessel, missions on the frontier would necessarily have to be cut short to reprovision, rotate crewmembers, and perform heavy maintenance. In 2250, Starfleet issued a requirement for a large, fast fleet supply vessel to perform a wide variety of duties such as repair, salvage, resupply, and crew exchange to deployed vessels.
Starfleet engineering considered several designs before settling upon the deep-bodied, extended saucer shape of the Pelican. Where it would not negatively impact performance, components from the recently-designed Aerie-class carrier were used, to speed the design phase. In all, approximately 30% of all components were either direct copies or modifications of Aerie components.
The Pelican class was nearly as fast as the front-line vessels it would support, but was equipped with less-capable armaments and shielding, as it was not expected to perform as a combat vessel. It had huge holds, high-capacity cargo transporters, and a large contingent of engineers. Its fabrication facilities were so extensive, that their crews boasted they could build any Federation vessel from scratch.
The Pelican's armaments consisted of two medium lasers mounted in a forward-firing bank. A routine refit in 2266 replaced the lasers with phasers, adding a second, aft-firing bank in a blister underneath the rear edge of the saucer. The refit also added an improved warp core, duotronic computer, uprated maneuverability and improved shield systems.
The Pelican class vessels provided invaluable support to the fleet during their service life, with very few incidents of note. The Pelicans had the best safety record of any fleet support vessel before or since, with the U.S.S. Penguin recording a record 5,231 accident-free days (more than 14 years). Crews dubbed themselves "Starfleet's best-kept secret" as the Constitution class vessels routinely eclipsed them in the public eye. One incident gained the Pelican class some of the accolades it was due when, in 2261, the U.S.S. Auk capitalized on it's obscurity by passing itself off as a prototype battleship, capturing an Orion smuggler. Once a security team had beamed over to capture the vessel, its captain was astounded to find he had surrendered to what he described as "an [EXPLETIVE DELETED] mobile warehouse!"
Starfleet began phasing out the Pelican class in 2340, as newer vessels were entering service to shoulder the Pelican's task. The class vessel was mothballed in 2340, followed by the Penguin in 2343, and the Auk in 2345.
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