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Cardassian combat tactics have always favored flotillas of cruisers over heavier starships, but in the wake of its defeat by the Federation in the mid-24th century the Cardassian military was forced to concede that the lack of a heavy starship design suitable for taking on the largest Federation explorers had been a serious detriment to its strategic position. With that defeat fresh in mind, leading figures in the Sixth Order began design work on a class that would be a match for the most powerful starships of all their neighbors. The Keldon-class was the fruit of their efforts, and it was not entirely successful.
Beginning with a template only somewhat larger than a Galor type cruiser, the Keldon crams in enough firepower to give even a Sovereign-class explorer pause. While it lacks much of the technological refinement of its Federation cousins, it compensates by being willing to cramp its crew to accommodate the massive weapons arrays that provide it that punch. Unfortunately, the designers were unable to match this developmental triumph with a similar increase in defensive capabilities, leaving the Keldon badly under-defended for her intended purpose. Cardassian tactical ingenuity, however, has not failed to take note of the fact that the defenses are perfectly adequate for engaging Federation cruisers, against whom the Keldon's firepower is a crushing advantage.
Heavily used in the Dominion War, the Keldon enjoyed a considerable reputation among the Alliance fleets. Repeatedly refitted with the best weapons technology available, including Dominion weapons on occasion, they became the ship of choice for a Cardassian commander looking to stiffen the spine of a Galor formation moving against heavy odds. After the end of the war, the surviving Keldons have become the pride of their respective Orders - the ship called on when a task is grim, or the persistent relevance of the Cardassian Union to quadrant politics must be demonstrated.
They have been, for the last decade, worked extremely hard.
PAYLOAD 200 photon torpedoes
Isolinear Computer Systems
3 six-person transporters