User:MJ/sandbox/Columbia Class

From Bravo Fleet
Columbia Class .png
Columbia Class
Information
Affiliation

United Earth Starfleet

Role

Explorer

Date Entered Service

2156

Expected Design Duration

50 years

Expected Refit Cycle

10 years

Time Between Resupply

2 years

Crew Capacity
Standard Complement

140

Emergency Capacity

275

Dimensions
Length

225 meters

Width

135.8 meters

Diameter

(starbase only)

Height

60

Decks

15

Propulsion
Propulsion System

Matter/Antimatter powered warp drive

Cruising Speed

Warp 4

Maximum Speed

Warp 5

Emergency Speed

Warp 5.5

Armaments
Energy Weapons

14 Phase Cannons

Torpedo Launchers
  • 4 Forward
  • 3 aft
Torpedo Payload
  • 100 Photonic Torpedoes
  • 50 Spatial Torpedoes
Shields

Hull Polarisation System

Auxiliary Craft
Shuttle Bays

2

Shuttles

4

ColumbiaMSD.jpg


The Columbia class represents the United Earth Starfleet's decision to upgrade and refit their successful NX class ship at a time when United Earth Commonwealth found itself engaging in many conflicts with nearby neighbours. The need to improve on the design was a necessity to ensure the security of Earth and its many colonies.

Class Overview

Even though its older sister had only been in service for a few years, the need to radically change and improve the class had been decided by 2153, shortly after the Xindi attack against Earth. Recognising the fact that Starfleet needed ships that were tougher and could take on others to protect the interests of the Commonwealth was at the forefront of the design phase. Reviewing the success of other classes, including the Daedalus class and Yorktown class, designers and developers felt that the success of these two classes came down to their versatility down to the fact they had more room to contain reactors that would power the ship as well as the ability to store more specific items and give room for more crew. Even though the Daedalus class was cheaper, quicker and more efficient to build, the ships weren't as strong in comparison to the Yorktown class. However the latter was expensive to build and took more time. Starfleet needed a middle option, as such it was decided due to the fact they had the materials and construction knowledge, the simple solution to add (what would later be known as) a stardrive section appeared to be the right decision. The additional space to house the ship's powerful warp 5 engine, along with more cargo bay space and crew quarters meant that the space taken up in the primary hull (the saucer section) could be dedicated to larger quarters, more laboratories and weapons.

By 2154, the designs for the refit were being put into place. System operation data that came back from Enterprise (NX-01) highlighted the need for the drastic improvements. Minor updates were made to Columbia (NX-02), however Starfleet decided to hold fire on building the rest of their NX-class fleet to the new refit. It was decided that resources should be spent to complete the first six ships by the end of 2155. Nevertheless conflict with the Romulan Star Empire changed this, even though Starfleet was able to achieve its dream of launching the first six (followed by the seventh and eighth thereafter), it was soon seen that the refit was required to ensure Starfleet could keep ahead of the Romulan war machine. After an extensive battle against the Romulans in mid-2156, Starfleet ordered Columbia to return to dry-docks for repairs and the upgrades. It took almost six months to make the alterations and install the add-on, but by the end of the year Columbia was back out in the fight. The refit was named after its first ship's namesake.

It was decided during this time to also upgrade Challenger (NX-03) and Endeavour (NX-06). Both of these ships had been involved in fierce battles along the frontlines. While they undertook their refits, the other NXclass ships took over their duties, defending the border and holding the line. Eventually by 2157, a majority of the first batch of NX class ships were upgraded. These ships proved their worth during countless engagements against the Romulans.

Exploration and Science

At the time the design was used, the Columbia class represented the pinnacle of modern day starship design as it was equipped with the latest technology. As a result of the added room and space, it meant that ships of this configuration could spend longer on exploration and scientific projects. Improved computer data processing units allowed for multiple experiments and investigations to take place alongside one another. The space for a range of mission specific probes ensured that they could collect data on a range of spatial anomalies and bodies without having to rely so much on the ship's vast senior array.

Diplomacy

For the first time, several dedicated VIP guest quarters were created to allow for the Columbia class to host vital diplomatic talks. At a time when it was down to the captain of these starship to put Earth's best foot forward, the room to do this was not always as spacious in the NX class. VIP quarters are almost as big as the senior staff quarters.

The bigger conference room (or state room as they were nicknamed by many) gives the opportunity for more people to congregate as well as provide space for functions like state dinners to take place. The multiple computer interfaces allows for everyone in the room to a see a screen in any location.

Engineering

The proven design of the famed Warp 5 engine was one element of the ship that Starfleet wanted to keep. As Starfleet was still several years away from testing and developing the Warp 7 engine, the decision to place the reliable warp 5 engine in its own section of the ship seemed the most logical. Engineers had commented on other ships with similar layouts that made the most sense.

To support both the warp and impulse engines, a secondary computer core was installed in the stardrive section. This allowed the pressure of operating the two engines to be lifted from the main computer core (located in the saucer section) and allocated to other systems. That said, in an emergency both computer cores could take over from one another in an emergency capacity until repairs could be completed on the other. However this does impact on the limit of what systems can be used.

The extra space also allowed for further fuel reserves and supplies to be added, allowing the ship to survive out in the wilderness of space by itself for longer periods of time.

Key points that make the Columbia class work so well is down to the proven, well-tested and reliable computer systems used. Instead of trying to match with the impressive touch-screen computers employed by their allies from the Confederacy of Vulcan or Andorian Empire, the more simple and rudimentary approach of using buttons, levers and keyboards to access a range of systems ensured that maintenance on these systems were few and far in-between. Alongside this, by 2156 Starfleet had proven that their computer systems could easily defend itself against the Romulan use of their tele-presence capturing devices. Even though these systems made Earth's allies "nostalgic" (as quoted by an Andorian officer), they had upstaged the more advanced systems used by the likes of the Andorians, Vulcan and Tellarites.

Another unique feature is the additional transporter bay located in the secondary hull. This, alongside the one located in the primary hull, allowed for more equipment and personnel to be transferred.

As this design was rushed out during the war with the Romulans, the need for Starfleet to ensure the longevity and survival of their fleet was paramount. Hence the reason why the class, had two deflector dishes. The lessons learnt, especially from the Daedalus class showed that two deflectors improved the ship's ability to sustain its cruising speed for longer as the power from the two deflectors ensured barely any space dust could enter the warp bubble. However, if one was damaged or offline, the other could protect the ship but higher speeds could not be maintained for long periods of time.

Tactical

Not as superior as a Yorktown class, nevertheless the Columbia refit did improve the tactical ability of the NX class further. With additional coverage, especially in the aft, the ship was capable of staying longer in the fight. Even though Starfleet, like its warp 7 engineer, was a few years away from perfecting starship based energy shielding, the increase in power allowed for the hull polarisation system to be more effective allowing the ships of this design to last longer in a battle. Storage for more torpedoes gave the class the upper-hand as they were able to last longer in a fire-fight and had the punch to back them up.

One particular distinct aspect is the specialist designed area for the MACO detached unit. Since its inception of deploying MACOs on its ships, one piece of feedback that kept on coming back from MACO leaders was the lack of room to train their elite units. Even though originally this forced both Starfleet and MACO crews to train together, providing a more cohesive unit, as MACO units became standard on most Starfleet ships the need to unite the two dwindled by 2157. Nevertheless a larger bunker room for a majority of the MACOs was created along with allowing some of the more senior members of the units to have their own quarters (or shared quarters in some cases). A dedicated briefing room and training areas were created, but this did not stop either MACO or Starfleet personnel from working together.

Shipboard life

Another area in which this design exceeds others, is the space for the crew. Larger quarters with impressive views are given to the ship's senior staff, while those who hold the rank of ensign above normally have their own quarters. Enlisted crew still share, however the need for more than six people to share cramped quarters is no longer needed. Only in specific areas, designed for the MACOs to have their bunker rooms, does this exist. Not only does the refit provide the same level of crew amenities as its predecessor, however the extra room allowed for the galley, crew mess hall and captain's private dining to be slightly larger. One unusual addition to this class, compared to others, is a library. Although it does not take up much room, the ability for anyone on the ship to take time to access the ship's large computer banks and through the use of books gave space for people to have a dedicated quiet place.

Those who serve on a Columbia class do develop a sense of family as it is rare for anyone wanting to leave, similar to the NX class. Captains of these ships are those with a range of experiences, normally coming from one particular specialist area and have developed their skills further through training or experience on other assignments. That said, crews of the Columbia class are quite aware of its tactical capabilities, meaning they know they are normally found being deployed to lead other ships into battle. This happened quite often during the Romulan War.

Sickbay is configured exactly the same as the NX class, however the nearby recovery ward is larger and the ship's actual medical staff has room for two doctors (one who acts as the chief medical officer and the other as their deputy) along with several nurses and support staff.

The captain's office, just off from the bridge was made slightly bigger and included the use of a private bathroom (it included a toilet and a sink) to the side of it. One additional design bonus is on the bridge. Behind the captain's chair now sits a solitary wall with the ship's master situation diagram on a large screen, thus almost isolating the situation room (normally used for mission briefings). As well as this, the need for an additional bridge station was added. No longer did a pilot have to navigate the ship as well as try to fly it, instead the helm was split into two allowing for a position for the pilot and navigator to sit side by side. Both officers would require training in flying and navigation. Alongside this, a separate helm and navigation station was part of the countermeasures developed to prevent the Romulans from using their telepresence units to take control of a ship. The separated systems was one part of the countermeasures that defended the ship from being overwhelmed and taken over. This design eventually became standard on all Starfleet ships.

Class History

By 2154, the designs for the refit were being put into place. System operation data that came back from Enterprise (NX-01) highlighted the need for the drastic improvements. Minor updates were made to Columbia (NX-02), however Starfleet decided to hold fire on building the rest of their NX-class fleet to the new refit. It was decided that resources should be spent to complete the first six ships by the end of 2155. Nevertheless conflict with the Romulan Star Empire changed this, even though Starfleet was able to achieve its dream of launching the first six (followed by the seventh and eighth thereafter), it was soon seen that the refit was required to ensure Starfleet could keep ahead of the Romulan war machine. After an extensive battle against the Romulans in mid-2156, Starfleet ordered Columbia to return to dry-docks for repairs and the upgrades. It took almost six months to make the alterations and install the add-on, but by the end of the year Columbia was back out in the fight. The refit was named after its first ship's namesake.

It was decided during this time to also upgrade Challenger (NX-03) and Endeavour (NX-06). Both of these ships had been involved in fierce battles along the frontlines. While they undertook their refits, the other NXclass ships took over their duties, defending the border and holding the line. Eventually by 2157, a majority of the first batch of NX class ships were upgraded. These ships proved their worth during countless engagements against the Romulans.

By the end of the war, it was decided that Columbia class ships were the way forward to expand Earth's deep space exploration efforts with a ship that was capable of multiple missions. Even though the NX class was still in service, their successful kid brother soon took over as the flagship of the fleet for the next twenty-fifty years.

In Play

  • The Columbia, in the 22nd century, is the most advanced ship in Starfleet based on its reliable systems that have been used in other classes prior. A versatile design, these ships are able to hold their ground longer compared to other ships of Earth design.
  • The class came into effect in 2156, as such between this date up until the end of the war they were often found on the frontlines but not in large groups. They were always leading a task force. Not many were made due to resources being spent on the Daedalus class.
  • A majority of those who command this class will find that they are highly trained and experienced captains, a Columbia class is normally their second command if they had not served on an NX class or the current ship as the first officer.