|Edison-class Heavy Frigate
|Expected Design Life
|Expected Refit Cycle
|Expected Resupply Cycle
M/AM Warp Drive
Multi-Layered Shielding System
The Edison-class heavy frigate is a well-armed, modern starship designed for generalist patrol, humanitarian, and scientific duties within the Federation and at her borders. Working in concert with the smaller Reliant-class frigate and the more heavily-armed Gagarin-class heavy escort, the Edison provides advanced long-range sensor capabilities to border task groups and can substitute effectively for dedicated science vessels during planetary surveys.
Science and Exploration
Exploration is always a priority for Starfleet vessels, and the Edison is no exception. Even when assigned to border patrol duties, these ships are able to carry out secondary exploratory missions. In particular, the long-range sensors of this class are excellent at performing interstellar surveys. They can also be used effectively to survey planets and star systems as well, when a dedicated science vessel is either not available or not required.
Given their greater internal volume compared to other frigates, they have standard science labs for most common scientific disciplines, as well as mission-configurable space to add specialist facilities. While eclipsed by light cruisers or actual science vessels, an Edison is a reliable choice for scientific inquiries where the vessel's ability to withstand danger (either from threat vessels or from natural phenomena) is more important than the sophistication of the equipment it is able to bring into the field. Edison-class starships are good fits for exploratory squadrons in need of both tactical and scientific support, as they are a good balance between the two.
Between the Gagarin, Edison, and Reliant, Edison-class ships are the best equipped for diplomatic duties, and they maintain dedicated conference facilities and guest quarters, but the Edison is not a first choice vessel for important negotiations. Generally, they would be used to handle minor diplomatic interactions with Federation colonies and non-aligned worlds within the Federation's sphere of influence. Anything more complex would likely require a larger ship, or at least one more suited to such a task.
Edison-class starships have an unusual design profile, as the typical saucer-secondary hull-nacelle arrangement has been compressed to have these three sections on top of one another, giving the ship's whole silhouette a scrunched appearance. The ship was designed this way to improve the efficiency of her warp engines and to reduce her target profile in combat. The ship's primary hull is mostly circular, while the secondary hull is flat and arrowhead-shaped.
Located on the stern of the primary hull, the ship's main impulse engine has a small thrust aperture and relies on advanced subspace driver coils to move the ship. This main engine is supplemented by secondary impulse thrusters built into the nacelle struts. The impulse engines and warp drive system are tied together, as on the Reliant, to maximize energy efficiency. This complex system culminates in the warp field governor on the keel of the ship, which is located at the base of the warp core. Unlike most starships, the antimatter pods and injectors are located near the top of the ship, close to the impulse deflection crystal. In an emergency, the antimatter pods can be jettisoned rearward through two doors, and the warp field governor on the stern must also be ejected to eject the warp core.
Small craft capabilities aboard the Edison are modest, with a single shuttlebay on the stern of the secondary hull. This bay is, however, quite wide, and so this class can handle scouts or runabouts more effectively than other small vessels. Typically, the missions assigned to the Edison only call for a handful of shuttles, though. The shuttlebay is connected to a large cargo hold, often used to transport colonial or humanitarian supplies.
The Edison was designed to serve on the outer edges of Federation space as a patrol vessel, so it is designed to be able to handle light to moderate threats on its own and more serious tactical situations accompanied by the rest of its squadron. With nine type-XII phaser arrays and six forward-firing type-XII pulse phaser cannons, this class has excellent energy weapon coverage, approaching that of an escort. Torpedo coverage is much more modest, however, with just two forward and two aft launchers located in spurs under the engineering hull. All four of these launchers share a common magazine for ease of servicing. With stronger energy weapons coverage than torpedo coverage, these ships are geared towards close-range combat, making them excellent partners to the Gagarin class, which has significant torpedo armaments.
Like other vessels of her era, the Edison has significant hull armor and is able to withstand heavy fire while remaining operational. Her shields are particularly impressive, as they are tied directly into the ship's primary propulsion systems. Eight advanced shield emitters are located directly forward of the primary impulse deflection crystal, which concentrate and reinforce the ship's shields. This system was designed to allow Edison-class starships to delay threat vessels by continuing to engage them for long periods of time while they wait for reinforcements, rather than fleeing like most frigates must.
The ship's oversized deflector and powerful long-range sensors make the Edison an ideal starship to monitor the border and alert other vessels of incoming threats. This technology also assists the Edison in cutting through localized interference during combat, making it difficult for a task group containing one of these ships to be deceived.
Though not luxurious, Edison-class ships have a relatively large internal volume and thus allow for a comfortable standard of accommodation for their crews. Most officers have solo quarters with windows, and the layout of this ship manages to avoid residential hallways or bunk rooms for enlisted personnel. In terms of recreational facilities, this class is biased towards holodecks and holosuites, with only a handful of "real" facilities. Most ships of this class are configured with an officers' lounge on the forward end of deck two and a larger lounge and a mess hall located in the forward-facing sections of the two wings on either side of the impulse engineering complex. Generally, these lounges take on very specific personalities for each ship, given that the crew has less to work with than on larger ships.
Medical facilities on the Edison are large, allowing them to supplement the crew support needs of any Gagarin or Reliant-class ships they happen to be working with and to facilitate medical response missions. These facilities are located near the center of the primary hull adjacent to the primary transporter complex, giving them maximal survival and quick access to patients being beamed aboard. These ships are well-suited to getting patients out of combat zones and taking them to hospital ships incapable of entering such areas.
Edison-class ships tend to remain close to Federation starbases and outposts in their role as border patrol ships. Because of that, crews are often in direct contact with their loved ones, thanks to their proximity to the subspace relay network. This often provides a level of emotional comfort that can be tough to acquire further out in the field. Their closeness to home also means that transfers in and out of the crew are common, and few members of the crew stick around for years at a time.
Edison Class History
The Edison-class heavy frigate was developed alongside the Gagarin-class heavy escort as a larger companion to the Reliant-class frigate. Task groups and squadrons of Reliant-class ships were proving to be effective in their border patrol role, but there were some valleys in their performance that Starfleet did not want to solve by re-designing the Reliant herself—namely, sensor range. With greater internal volume but a similar mission, Project Edison intended to create a well-armed generalist starship that could bring more advanced sensor equipment to the border.
With more powerful sensor arrays, additional labs were included in the Edison design to allow it to substitute for science vessels in light and medium-intensity exploratory assignments. With this more advanced equipment taking up more room, it was also decided to focus on energy weapons in this class, with a corresponding reduction in torpedo armament. As the design solidified, Starfleet identified the Edison as a natural successor to the Steamrunner.
The Edison class was green-lit in 2395, and the first units entered service in 2397. Production is expected to continue for at least two decades.
The Edison Class In-Play
- Edison-class starships are in the same family and role as the Reliant and Gagarin. Intended to work in concert for border patrol duties, a border patrol squadron might consist of three Reliant-class ships, and one each of the Gagarin and Edison classes, balancing their strengths to keep the Federation safe. These ships wouldn't often be in the same system, except when responding as a unit to a particular threat. They would operate out of starbases and outposts along the borders. This configuration of ships would be common for local forces--those ships not assigned to the Fourth Fleet.
- Edison-class ships can handle a lot of different tasks, with more scientific capabilities than the Gagarin and heavier armament than the Reliant, as well as a larger crew, so this is a good choice for stories where you don't want to be the smallest ship on the block, but still want some limitations.
- As with the Reliant, these are likely fairly common across Federation space lanes, but they're newer.