"for i dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be..."
From stem to stern, the Intrepid class is one of the most advanced starships in Starfleet. The class employs a new warp core, variable geometry warp nacelles, and was the first to field both bio-neural gelpaks and the Emergency Medical Hologram system.
Nearly three-hundred-fifty meters long, the Intrepid class is built sleek and long, sporting the fastest top speed on record for a Starfleet vessel with the exception of the new Sovereign class and the ground-breaking Prometheus class in field trials currently. The tilting, wing-like nacelles can shift microns in their positions, emitting minutely adjustable warp fields that are more efficient and safer when traveling in subspace. This, combined with new verterion manufacturing and the APD-01 Warp Core, makes it’s propulsion systems super-advanced.
The class serves multiple functions based on its load out, as well as size. An Intrepid could be seen on patrol or escort duty as easily as long-range exploration or survey. State of the art computers give it unprecedented storage capacity, access speed, and rigor conditioning. This, combined with a wide array of sensors covering a large amount of the exposed surface, makes the Intrepid class a premier ship of the line for Starfleet’s scientific endeavors.
Fast, agile, and well armed, these science ships are among the more capable multi-role platforms when faced with combat situations. Advanced shielding and Type-X phaser arrays equip it admirably, with several representatives of the class serving during the Dominion War with amazing success.
voyager leaving spacedock
Perhaps the most visible example of the superior nature of the Intrepid class is one of its first members. Third of it’s class, the USS Voyager made it across the Delta Quadrant aided by it’s own technology to a huge degree. The data returned by its crew has placed it permanently in the pantheon of most effective ship classes in Starfleet history.
By most accounts, the Intrepid class Project was begun July 4th 2361, the day Starfleet Admiral Nobuo Imagawa, speaking at a gathering of Utopia Planitia Yard technical staff, called for the creation of a new family of fast interstellar vessels. By this date, the Galaxy class was in the final stages of development, but even as Starfleet pressed for large, multi-mission vessels, the need for smaller vessels was becoming apparent.
While the USS Galaxy NX-70637, USS Yamato NCC-71807, and USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D underwent final systems installations and testing, Admiral Imagawa spoke of the need for many different types of starships, shuttles, and support facilities to meet the growing need of crisis points in the galaxy.
Among the ship types outlines in the preliminary Starfleet requirement briefs was a fast, powerful, ‘troubleshooter’ initially listed as Planform SV-65. This ship concept, created in basic form by the combined structures groups of McKinley Spacedock and Utopia Planitia Yards, would need to maintain a low-cruise factor of 7.75 for 16 days, a high-cruise warp of 9.2 for 2.25 days, and a dash-cruise speed of Warp 9.975 for 12.65 hours. It would support a crew of 223, would have swappable interior pressurized modules, and would mount defensive weaponry at least equal to the Galaxy-class phasers and photon torpedoes.
A wide variety of primary mission types for the new ship – from threat-force point interception and large battle group support to covert intelligence gathering – was pared down to space defensive combat to protect Starfleet and Federation assets, and a continued scientific exploration during patrol intervals (C. Forrester, ASDB Journal, 05Nov2361)
voyager with borg modifications
The hull configuration adopted the saucer-type shape of previous starship classes, that of primary hull, engineering hull, and nacelles driven by the well-understood physics of warp generation and control. Contributing factors included available shell and framework alloys – tritanium and duranium – plus warp reactor and dilithium crystal morphology, deuterium and anti-matter tankage, shuttlecraft capacity, and impulse reactor size reductions.
Materials processing, fabrication techniques, and vessel maintenance cycles were evolved directly from those applied to the Excelsior, Ambassador and Galaxy classes.
By Stardate 38956.00, eight computer warp stress and volumetric studies yielded the first review configuration, SV-65H. This vessel featured a 61” elliptical saucer section integrated with engineering hull, fixed pylons and nacelles, and a large ejectable bridge module to augment the standard lifeboats. No saucer separation capability was required.
voyager fitted with ablative armour from the future
On January 1st 2362, the SV-65 program was officially titled the Intrepid class Project. Continued studies of warp fields and their interaction with the space and subspace environments led to six further planform modifications, with data on hull volumetrics, internal volume usage, and simulated warp and impulse performance being analyzed by the Advanced Starship Design Bureau (ASDB) for optimal mission efficiency. By the end of 2363, additional performance data from the USS Enterprise and USS Yamato shakedown flights had been incorporated into the Intrepid warp propulsion simulations.
In August 2364, an improved flight performance and mass-reduction plan was implemented, dropping the Intrepid design from 838,000 to 790,000 metric tons. The move required a change in warp reactor type from a heavier dilithium focus chamber to a dilithium-lined swirl chamber.
The design of reactor had originally been applied to the Constitution-class starships such as the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, and the return to the swirl chamber allowed Starfleet engineers an opportunity to increase structural integrity and power output.
The reactor’s magnetic constrictors, matter and antimatter injectors, and plasma transfer conduits (PTCs) were designed to be assembled by computer-controlled formers and gamma welders.
Advances in warp plasma containment and transport allowed for a hinged pylon. This modification was intended to give the ship a better warp factor-to-reactant usage ratio. It later emerged that it had the fortunate by-product of eliminating the kind of spatial damage caused by earlier designs of warp engine that had been uncovered by Dr. Rabal and Serova (Rabal, Journal of Warp Dynamics Vol. 1137).