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Matter/Antimatter powered warp drive
Multi-Layered Shielding System
Now often described as a solution looking for a problem, the Typhon-class carrier is a limited-production vessel that was developed during the Dominion War as a combat support platform, but which now has extremely niche applications within Starfleet. Sometimes classified as a mobile base, this relatively small starship carries two wings of fighters and is generally meant to serve as a command and control hub for an area of space beyond the normal range of a starbase, operating in support of other small starships.
Science and Exploration
Though she is not intended for exploratory missions, the Typhon class has a full science department aboard to analyze anomalies in the field and to support reconnaissance operations. Thus, there is a limited contingent of general science labs aboard. Compared to other small starships, the Typhon has a full complement of probes designed to support its operations in fringe regions of space, with a large number of advanced sensor probes that can linger in systems for years at a time. The Typhon’s greatest strength is its ability to secure areas of space for future exploration, rather than performing exploratory duties herself.
The Typhon class’s diplomatic capabilities are essentially non-existent, as the majority of the ship’s compact hull is packed with quarters for its pilots, engineering systems, and the hanger bays themselves. However, given their capability to serve as a remote forward outpost, these vessels serve as a link back to Starfleet Command and so can be used as an effective conduit for other starship captains to consult with headquarters during negotiations and first contact scenarios.
The design of the Typhon class has much more in common with bulk freighters than mainline Starfleet vessels, dispensing entirely with the traditional primary-secondary hull arrangement. The entire vessel is a roughly-rectangular, boxy monohull, which flares out amidships and narrows at the bow. The majority of the ship’s surface is covered in a substantial layer of ablative armor, though there is a lateral band of windows, sensor arrays, and defensive systems running around the hull.
This unusual hull geometry and a design brief that called for a minimized target profile requires four warp nacelles, mounted in pairs on either side of the ship’s aft section, where they are concealed from the front by the ship’s hull. The warp field is a unique four-lobed configuration that overcomes some of the inefficiencies inherent to the design, but limits the ship’s overall top speed to warp eight. This necessitated the inclusion of a series of docking latches on the dorsal surface which allows the Typhon to dock with large explorers to be transported to their deployments at higher speeds. Two large impulse engines give the carrier very respectable sub-light speeds.
The Typhon class is equipped with ten pulse phaser cannon turrets, two each port, starboard, and forward in the lateral trench and the remaining two on the ventral and dorsal surface of the hull, which provides comprehensive defensive coverage. While most ships of this size use phaser arrays, the turrets require less surface area and so allow the ship to have more armor to increase survivability. In addition, the individual turrets can be trained very effectively against small craft because of their faster firing time. The ship is also equipped with forward and aft torpedo launchers of the same design found aboard the Sovereign-class.
The Typhon is most effective in combat when being supported by its fighter group, and the two units work together in symbiosis to protect one another during engagements with other small craft. Critically, though, the Typhon is not meant to take down other capital ships, as it is difficult for it to bring enough firepower to bear on a single target to significantly weaken large vessels’ shields. Instead, it is typically accompanied by other starships or it must employ bombers. The ship’s heavy ablative armor and monohull design, however, makes it a tough nut to crack for all but the most determined attackers, so it can simply absorb fire until it has worn down the enemy or recovered its fighters so that it can retreat.
The primary function of the Typhon class is to deliver fighters and other small attack vessels into combat. A typical loadout is 26 Valkyrie-class fighters, though for strike missions it can instead carry 12 fighters and 6 Apsara-class bombers. A standard complement of a half-dozen shuttles and two runabouts is also available.
To accommodate this large number of small craft, the Typhon has multiple hanger bays to handle a wide variety of embarked craft. The ship’s main hanger is located in the center of the ship, and this is where its squadrons are stored, repaired, armed, and refueled. Craft exit the Typhon through a number of different avenues depending on the mission parameters; Valkyrie-class fighters are capable of using four lateral launch channels that connect directly to the main hanger, while larger vessels are deployed through eight underslung launch bays, which are housed in a retractable structure on the ventral side of the ship. The ventral hanger retracts for warp and certain combat situations, occupying the space within the center of the ship that is otherwise used to raise and lower craft via tractor beam down into the launch bays.
Retrieval is primarily handled through two large bays on the stern of the ship, which connect all the way through to the central hanger. These bays also handle general small craft activity, such as launching and retrieving shuttles and runabouts.
Life aboard a Typhon-class carrier is quite different than aboard any other Federation ship, both in terms of the day-to-day routine and the ship’s command and control arrangement. While a standard bridge is used to control the ship itself, there is a second flight control center located above the bow which coordinates the movement of the ship’s fighters and other small craft.
Given how stressful piloting small spacecraft can be, the accommodations aboard the Typhon are comfortable. Pilots and other flight crew all have their own quarters, with generous lounges, gymnasia, and an arboretum available for rest and relaxation. The ship also has eight holodecks. A further four holosuites are reserved for pilot training exercises. Medical facilities are top-notch and significantly larger than other medium-sized ships. These crew support facilities both ensure that the Typhon’s crew is well taken care of, but also allow it to serve as a forward operating base for small starships like the Defiant and Saber-class, so that their crews can relax and recuperate between missions.
Developed after the disastrous encounter between the USS Odyssey and the Jem’Hadar, the Typhon was originally envisioned as a combat starship that would completely eliminate the structural vulnerabilities common to Federation starships, namely the connections between various hull components, such as the interconnecting dorsal and nacelle pylons. Based off of design elements more common to bulk freighters than to Starfleet vessels, the original space frame design was boxy and angular, studded with phaser arrays and left with open space to accommodate new weapons designs. It would be slow and ungainly, so it would be delivered into battle by other starships. However, early on in the design process, Starfleet managed to solve the problem that made the Dominion’s polaron weapons so effective against Federation shields, and so the need for an armored starship became less pressing. Indeed, the new Sovereign-class starships coming online in the early 2370s were markedly superior in terms of armament.
Instead of an assault vessel, the Typhon was redesigned to repurpose the space that the designers had left over for experimental weapons into large hangar bays, to deploy two squadrons of experimental Valkyrie-class fighters, when it was seen that existing starship designs were ill-equipped to deploy and support starfighters with standard shuttle bays. The design was further altered to add command and control systems, as well as scientific and medical facilities that would allow it to serve as a mobile outpost in support of Starfleet’s smallest vessels, many of which were not being built up to full spec anyway during the run-up of production for the war.
The USS Typhon was launched in early 2375, just in time to participate in some of the most crucial battles of the war, but by the time her sister ship, Prophyrion, left the yards, the Treaty of Bajor had been signed and the war was over. There were orders for an additional four units that were completed, as Starfleet was wary of how lasting the peace would be, but the majority of these vessels were held in reserve at shipyards rather than deployed on active service. The Typhon herself acquitted herself very well in combat situations, but her low top speed and lack of versatility meant that she was relegated to frontier areas that needed both her fighters and her fleet support capabilities.
During the 2380s, the Typhon-class carriers were deployed to protect refugee ships during the evacuation of Romulus, as well as to support the vast fleets of runabouts and shuttles that were in use for those missions. One vessel, the Theodamos, was destroyed during the attack on Mars in 2385. Following the destruction of Romulus, they were switched to a defensive posture along the Romulan border to ensure that the chaos roiling in their space did not spill over into the Federation.
By the 2390s, the Typhon class remains in service, but is seen as an unusual design that lost much of its utility when the conflict it was built for ended. However, they remain extremely valuable in situations where Starfleet needs to deploy a force of small craft that can be supported independently.
The Typhon Class in Play
- The Typhon class is an unusual design and it’s an extremely rare sight. You’re not often going to see them in the core of the Federation, as the ones that are in service are in frontier areas, and the rest are laid up in shipyards.
- This class has a very different feel than other starships; it’s much more like serving on a starbase or an outpost than an explorer, though they are comfortable ships.
- The ship itself is unlikely to be doing any knife-fight range combat of its own, as that’s what its fighters are for. Typhon captains must resist allowing the carrier itself to get caught up in the fray, and instead stay out of the battle and support their fighters with torpedo salvos. The phaser cannons are for point-defense purposes.
- It would be unusual for a captain of a vessel like this not to have experience with fighters, either as a pilot themselves or in some other capacity.