During the course of the 2360s the Federation had seen it's fair share of increasing threats directly to the safety of its core territories; the reemergence of the Romulan Star Empire, disastrous first contact and subsequent hostilities with the Borg Collective and growing threats as a result of increased exploration abroad. After the extreme loss of life at the Battle of Wolf 359 Starfleet insisted that it was in need, for the first time in its history, of a dedicated tactical warship. Starfleet tasked the engineers at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards with designing such a vessel, which would be small and maneuverable, with Starfleet's latest defensive and offensive tactical systems.
In 2366, the engineering crew drafted a design that incorporated many new experimental technologies, including ablative hull armor, regenerative shielding and a new pulse-style phaser design while remaining small, compact and able to out maneuver most other ships in the quadrant. The Defiant Class was quickly shaping up into being one of the most powerful designs Starfleet had ever conceived, especially for a ship of its size, but suffered in other areas of design. The Defiant only had limited scientific capabilities, barely any medical facilities other then for battle triage and the crew accommodations were spartan at best. Engineers decided that with the limited nature of the Defiant's mission and role design that those problems wouldn't be critical flaws. The space frame and hull for the prototype, USS Defiant NX-74205, was laid down after over a year of design and began construction in 2368. Commander Benjamin Sisko, a veteran of the Borg attack of Wolf 359 a year earlier, was made the project lead as construction began. Construction took a little under four months and the shakedown cruise began. Some design flaws soon became obvious, including the Defiant's inherent ability to nearly tear itself apart due to over powered engines for a ship of its size.
Due to the critical flaw in the ships engines and the apparent subsiding of the Borg threat the USS Defiant was put into dry dock storage until engineers could figure out how, if at all, they could rework the ships engines. In 2371 the Defiant was pulled out of storage at the request of its former project lead, Commander Sisko, who was now commanding space station Deep Space 9. The need for a ship to help combat the growing threat of the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant required the ship's flaws to be refitted and repaired in the field. Throughout the coming months chief engineer Miles O'Brien and Sisko were able to modify the ship's main pulse phaser systems and its engines to allow for free flow of power throughout the ship and mostly eliminate the problem of the ship tearing itself apart, although if pushed too far the ship could still pose a risk to itself. The original launch design was equipped with a photon torpedo compliment of almost 120 torpedoes, but was refitted with the new quantum torpedoes and, with more limited space on the ship, it's compliment was lessened to 90 torpedoes. Still, it more then enough for any mission the Defiant could be sent on.
After the successful testing of the USS Defiant in the field under the command of Sisko, and the growing threat of the Dominion, nearly 200 ships of the class were scheduled to go into production. During the conflict with the Dominion, nearly 50 of the class were able to be launched before the Romulans joined the war and it subsequently ended. At that time the remaining ships in production were either completed or scrapped for other exploration-designed ships, depending on how far into construction they were. With the Federation returning Starfleet's efforts to that of exploration and discovery, the Defiant Class found itself going from the front lines as an "escort" to finding itself assigned to frontier outposts and high-risk targets. Still in limited numbers, with under 60 in service, the Defiant Class starships that are active, few and far between, are considered jewels in combat and are reserved for the possibility of war ever breaking out again and to combat the ever-looming Borg threat.
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