Defiant class/Class Profile
|Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards|
The first in a new line of Starfleet Escorts, the Defiant Class marked a new direction for Starfleet and the Engineers who designed the ships piloted by the crews. For the past twenty-three years, the Defiant class has proven to be a viable test-bed for new weapons, defensive systems, and other technologies before adoption in the rest of a better-armed fleet increasingly seeing the need for equal parts exploration force and invasion repellant.
After the Battle of Wolf 359 in 2367, Starfleet recognized the need for a new class of starship: a heavily armed, single purpose escort. A radical departure for Starfleet, the new class of ships would hold no civilian staff, no science labs, or many of the other tools typically used for exploration or science missions. The new Defiant class project was left in the hands of then-Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko, himself a Wolf 359 survivor, and overseen by Admiral Batelle Toh.
The original design of the Defiant class began as a modification of the more traditional Pathfinder spaceframe, which would go on to form the basis of the Nova class. During the project’s design phase, several modifications were made to the frame to improve battle performance: compacting the nacelles into the engineering hull, surrounding the hull with multi-layer ablative armor, and submerging the bridge into a larger deck 1 than originally designed. The end result is a largely unrecognizable derivative from the Nova class.
During the design and testing phases of the prototype USS Defiant (registry NX-74205), the testing team identified several problems in the design, mainly related to the size of the engines in relation to the ship. Engineers described the problems as if the vessel were trying to "shake itself apart" when flying at full speed. Due to its focus on weaponry, engine power was routed through its weapons systems, resulting in higher combat yields, an arrangement which caused problems with its structural integrity field. Problems such as these coupled with what was seen as a diminishing Borg threat ultimately led the Defiant project to be shelved until 2371, when the Dominion destroyed the USS Odyssey and Starfleet once again saw the need for a heavily armed escort.
The first full crew of the Defiant class prototype, based on space station Deep Space Nine, operated the ship heavily during the Dominion War and worked in the field to correct these problems, passing along their enhancements to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers for inclusion in subsequent vessels, such as the USS Sao Paulo (later renamed Defiant after the original’s destruction at the hands of the Breen), the USS Ajax, and the USS Alaska.
Ultimately, the trials-by-fire faced by the initial crew of the Defiant prototype and the hard work of the SCE allowed the Defiant class to play an important part in the Dominion War and also allowed the USS Defiant to come full circle when the ship participated in repelling the Borg invasion of 2373.