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Achilles class/History

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Achilles Class Heavy Cruiser

One of the critical strategic problems faced by Starfleet Command, if the Federation was going to win the Dominion War, was that the Federation forces were being spread too thin. Between defending the Federation territory from, and trying to go on the offensive against, the Dominion, and in addition to keeping a wary eye on the Romulans, Starfleet found it had too many obligations and too few resources. This problem became even more acute when Starfleet strategists had determined that the 'Achilles Heel' of the Dominion was the dependency of the Jem'Hadar on Ketracel-White. If the Federation-Klingon Alliance could destroy, or even severely threaten, the Ketracel-White facilities the Dominion's Alpha Quadrant Offensive would grind to a halt. Unfortunately the only ships that either Starfleet or the IKDF had that could do the job were the Galaxy and Negh'Var class ships.

Achilles Class NX Nemesis

Unescorted long-range strikes against heavily defended multiple targets currently could not be performed by any existing vessel. The Defiant class, with sufficient firepower, had too limited an operating range. The Galaxy and Negh'Var classes, while having the range, were too expensive to risk. Neither the Federation nor the Klingons were willing to commit the large fleets required to hit these targets; to do so would have entailed compromising defense of key Federation and Klingon systems.

A new ship of revolutionary design would be required. Ship designers of Utopia Planitia were up to the challenge. They not only designed a totally new class of ship, the Achilles; they designed and built it in less than two years. By adapting current anti-Borg designs to the new threat, they developed a ship with revolutionary features that would enable the Achilles to fulfill the role as long-range cruiser with firepower nearly equal to a Sovereign class cruiser. This was accomplished with the new micro-torpedoes arranged in a 'phalanx' array allowing an astoundingly high rate of fire that could cripple any Dominion ship. With the arrangement of the phalanx system, the Achilles can protect itself against the strike fighters defending Ketracel-White facilities, while still maintaining its focus on destroying the target.

Redundant warp and impulse nacelles were designed so the Achilles can sustain heavy damage and still maneuver. Dual rapid-fire quantum torpedo turrets, based on the turret from the Sovereign-class, and a pair of enhanced pulse-phaser cannons, based on Defiant-class cannons, enables the Achilles sufficient firepower to destroy most large fixed targets in one pass. Finally, the Achilles has an unsupported, self-serviceable range equal to the Galaxy class exploration vessels that is required to operate effectively behind the Dominion defensive perimeter.

The prototype, deployed for field testing in the closing weeks of the war under the command of Thomas Riker, performed admirably, destroying two key facilities on its single mission behind enemy lines. It also accounted for two full Cardassian fighter wings, as well as nearly a score of Jem'Hadar strike cruisers in its mission, the best record of any single ship in the war. However successful, a number of problems were identified and the Achilles was returned to Utopia Planitia at the end of the war for refitting. The remainder of her hull was filled out with the non-warfare facilities that were called for in her original design, including a basic science department, multipurpose holodecks and upgraded ship-wide holo-emitters. She was retasked for system patrol and deep-space exploration then moved out for further field testing near the end of 2375.

Black-and-white ship illustrations by Tim Davies unless otherwise noted. Used with permission. All other images are copyright to their respective owners.
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