Duderstadt Class

From Bravo Fleet
This article is official Bravo Fleet canon.

Federation Faction Starfleet









The Duderstadt-class multirole light cruiser is a fast, versatile starship capable of being configured for specific mission profiles with an interchangeable secondary hull. This capability allows her to excel in one particular area at a time to the level of a much larger ship. The standard configuration for this class as of the early 25th century includes advanced long-range sensors that allow her to serve as a deep space reconnaissance ship.

Science and Exploration

The current default configuration of this starship is as a deep-space reconnaissance ship, often leading them to be called scout cruisers in Starfleet parlance. With their advanced long-range sensor suites, they are excellent at going out into deep space to locate new species and to identify threats from afar. This class is limited by its specialization; while it carries multiple sensor suites and lab types, it’s not as well-rounded as other classes.

All vessels of this class have dedicated planetary sensor domes above and below their primary hulls. In the scout configuration, this allows them to identify M-class worlds and then take fast but detailed surveys of them. They relay this information back to command for follow-up by dedicated surveyors or larger explorers for first contact. Some Duderstadt-class starships are being built as large surveyors, themselves, with the sensors in their mission pod tuned for analyzing life forms and geological formations. The surveyor and scout cruiser variants can operate as a team, with one finding interesting places to study and the other studying them.

Duderstadt-class starships are typically not capable of years-long exploratory missions on their own, but they make excellent partners for large explorers or Sutherland-class research cruisers that can support them. What’s more common is for a ship of this class to be based out of a frontier station, where they will explore in roughly a straight line for several months, then return for resupply and head out in a different direction.

Diplomacy

Most Duderstadt-class cruisers are not fitted out for diplomatic assignments. Indeed, the scout cruiser variant is not typically the vessel to conduct an actual first-contact mission, but performs advanced reconnaissance to allow Starfleet to decide on a course of action. When necessary, these ships can serve in that capacity, though, and they have a limited number of guest suites.

Starfleet is building some of these ships as long-range diplomatic couriers. Taking advantage of their speed, their mission pod is fitted with advanced communications systems and they have quarters for a VIP guest.

Engineering

With a circular primary hull and underslung deflector dish, the Duderstadt class outwardly resembles the traditional layout of Federation ships dating back to the Constitution class, but upon closer inspection, she varies from this formula quite substantially. The upper portion of the secondary hull is long, narrow, and tall. This area of the ship contains the impulse engines, warp nacelle pylons, shuttle bays, cargo bays, and both forward and aft torpedo launchers. It is connected to a roughly-cylindrical mission pod that contains specialty equipment, along with the ship’s warp core and antimatter storage. The entire secondary hull is modular, built to spec for a particular ship’s intended mission. The upper portion can be separated from the saucer, and the lower mission pod can be separated from the upper portion. This procedure would take many months in space dock, however, as the new sections would have to be carefully integrated into the ship for proper balancing of the warp field, structural integrity fields, and power systems.

In their early service, Duderstadt-class starships have proven themselves to be quite finicky and particular. Each configuration has its own engineering and maintenance protocols, separate from the class’s main specifications. Their unusual hull dynamics also require extreme precision in the engine calibration to avoid losses of efficiency. While they are by no means unreliable, they require constant attention from their engineers to keep them that way.

The ship’s main hanger is located on the stern and is relatively compact. Another hanger is located amidships behind the bridge, with a lift leading down into the saucer section near the cargo bays and engineering shops.

Tactical

Duderstadt-class cruisers have a torpedo-focused defensive suite, with four forward and two aft torpedo launchers located above the mission pod. This arrangement allows them to take advantage of their sensor range to fire from afar, rather than getting involved in closer-range knife fights with their four Type-XIV phaser arrays. These ships are reliant on first strikes, as their armaments are biased towards their forward quarter.

As with smaller scouts, their priority is generally to fire with the intent to disable before leaving the battle to report back to Starfleet Command. The scout cruiser version of this ship can be used in a hunter-killer role when a specific vessel needs to be found and disabled, but they would not be able to handle a stand-up engagement with a determined aggressor.

Variants

Duderstadt-class ships are configurable for specific mission profiles, and they typically retain the same profile for years at a time. The process of reconfiguring them can take months, as the mission-configurable components of the ship are also essential for power generation and warp flight. There are three variants currently in service. Starfleet is considering others, such as a fast-response ambulance vessel.

Scout Cruiser Variant

The most-produced variant of the Duderstadt, the scout cruiser is a deep space reconnaissance vessel, designed to supplement Rhode Island-class scouts on missions requiring a larger crew. The pod is equipped with advanced long-range sensors.

Heavy Surveyor Variant

The heavy surveyor variant of the Duderstadt supplements Nova and Grissom-class surveyors on missions where there is greater danger and missions further from a port of call. The pod is equipped with finely-tuned planetary sensors.

Courier Variant

The courier variant of the Duderstadt is used for transporting ambassadors and other officials long distances at high speeds for important diplomatic duties. The pod is equipped with advanced long-range communications systems.

Shipboard Life

Still relatively new, Duderstadt-class starships are exciting assignments for their crew members. Though a light cruiser, the class is often assigned on missions that venture outside of Federation space. They are a little more cramped than the Echelon-class light cruiser, because of their smaller size, but this is made up for by getting a slightly more interesting mission profile. As with other new model starships, the interiors are sleek and polished. Crew recreation spaces are well-appointed, to make up for relatively small quarters. Medical areas are designed primarily to serve the crew, as these ships will take on humanitarian assignments only as a secondary duty.

Among Duderstadt crews, there is a friendly rivalry over which of the variants is the most useful or most interesting to serve on. Given the modular nature of the class, there is also a culture of exploring innovations and new ideas to optimize each particular vessel to try to be the best in the sub-class.

Duderstadt-class History

With the debut of the Inquiry-class heavy cruiser at the beginning of the 2390s, there was a desire to create a smaller vessel that could help fill in some of the gaps the Inquiry left as a generalist. While the Inquiry could do everything moderately well (and excelled in tactical missions), it didn’t have many peaks in other mission profiles. There had been light cruiser orders in the backlog created when Utopia Planitia was destroyed (such as the USS Intrepid), but no design had yet emerged. This project was put on the back burner several times, but by the middle of the decade, the design process began in earnest. Starfleet was interested in a modern version of the Nebula-class heavy cruiser, but that project became the Sutherland-class research cruiser, another highly-specialized vessel.

The idea of a smaller mission-configurable vessel guided the development of the Duderstadt, but it was found that a mission pod alone was not enough to allow this ship to excel in a particular area. Instead, it was decided that the entire secondary hull would be built as the mission demanded. In practice, Starfleet found that most ships with mission pods kept them for years at a time, so it was deemed acceptable to lose the ability to hot-swap between variants at a whim. Three initial variants were conceived, each of them relying on powerful deflector dishes: the scout cruiser, heavy surveyor, and diplomatic courier variants.

The first vessels of this class left the yards in 2397, and it is now in full production.

The Duderstadt Class In-Play

  • This class is conceptually somewhere between the Intrepid and Nebula, with a forward reconnaissance bent coupled with the ability to be configured for specific mission profiles. Unlike the Echelon, it tends to leave Federation space more often, but it is less well-armed and less versatile. The Duderstadt excels in one area at a time.
  • The idea that the pod is swappable on this class comes from production information on Twitter. Since the pod also contains the warp core, we have taken this to mean that it’s not as simple as just bolting a new one on over a few hours or days at a starbase. We’re extrapolating the reconfigurability to include the entire secondary hull, and suggesting that this class is built in several different variants. Once you decide which variant your ship is using, it’s pretty much stuck that way without months in spacedock.