Cardiff class/Class Profile

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Cardiff Class Explorer
Commissioned: 2390

Class Profile by Cassandra Egan Manno

The Cardiff class is a joint product of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers and the Vulcan Science Academy. It employs a Vulcan-style annular warp drive and two massive sensor pods, similar to those aboard Oracle class starships, that occupy the space taken by a traditional Federation starship's warp nacelles.

An initial launch order of four commissioned starships of the class were announced as part of the Federation’s commitment for Starfleet in the final decade of the twenty-fourth century to turn its eye most seriously to the joyful goal of seeking out new life and new civilizations -- and to thoughtfully avoid technologies and ship classes that would seem to seek war and conflict.

Multi-cultural Innovations

As the Klingons’ Vor’cha class cruiser incorporated aesthetic and technological designs from their alliance with the Federation, so too is the Cardiff class representative of the many relationships and alliances the Federation has throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.

Cardiff class

The annular warp drive is the most obvious feature, allowing the Cardiff class to sustain an impressive cruising speed of warp 8. Further systems benefitted from alliances both within and beyond the Federation. The innovative computer systems were developed in part by researchers cooperating on Andor, Betazed, and Bynaus, and the easily alterable diplomatic accommodations -- which can tolerate quick changes in atmosphere, pressure, temperature, and a host of other important variables -- were designed by the Xindi.

The class was selected as the initial class to employ an experimental new computer system that combines the now-standard bioneural cybernetic systems with Starfleet’s first positronic system. While nowhere near as advanced as the android Data, the positronic computer represents a real step forward in computing and increases the number of calculations the Invicta’s computers can simultaneously perform by three orders of magnitude.

The Cardiff class is one of the most advanced scientific vessels in the fleet, easily on par with the likewise-newly-commissioned Oracle and Horizon classes. But whereas those ships are designed primarily for research, the Cardiff is split between science and service to its two advanced sensor pods and all the equipment and personnel they contain and to its diplomatic missions.

Research and Diplomacy

The Cardiff class provides accommodations for a large civilian contingent, including not only permanent diplomatic and research personnel but also civilian scientists and engineers from those organizations that contributed directly to the class’s development. These vessels house the highest concentration of Vulcan Science Academy researchers found anywhere outside the VSA itself

Cardiff class

Described at the class’s launch as a luxury diplomacy and exploration vehicle, the ships of the Cardiff class do their utmost to live up to that name as the ship of choice to carry ambassadors, resolve disputes, and engage in first contact missions. Spacious VIP suites with accommodations for species of all types ensure that hosting of any dignitaries go well, and the ship’s interior is such that its scientific and operations personnel need never interact with ongoing diplomatic missions except on the ship’s bridge.

While equipped with type 10 phaser arrays and photon torpedoes, the Cardiff class is not designed with an emphasis on combat in contrast to such classes as the Sovereign and Odyssey. The Cardiff class's offensive systems are for use primarily in emergencies and have been customized to better serve as an additional set of tools during scientific missions and in rendering aid (planetary drilling, destruction of asteroids and comets, and so forth). Its defensive systems, on the other hand, are quite advanced, and represent some of the most powerful shields to be found anywhere in the quadrant.

Cardiff class design by Paul Lloyd. Used with permission.

Black-and-white ship illustrations by Tim Davies unless otherwise noted. Used with permission. All other images are copyright to their respective owners.
REV SD 239208.18