Launch Year: 2385
Overview: In the wake of the Dominion War, Starfleet began looking at how it gathered intelligence during the conflict. While most Starfleet ships could undertake such operations to one extent or another, a faction within Starfleet thought that a dedicated intelligence and interception cruiser would be a wise investment, especially since a vessel specialised in this way would be multi-functional in terms of peace and wartime capability. The result was the Duderstadt project, which was intended to develop a class of starships that would serve a dual role of light explorer and pathfinder/intelligence vessel. Resistance to the development of a ‘spy ship’ required compromises in terms of how many would be produced, especially as focus turned to evacuating the Romulus system. The class leader was launched from the Utopia Planitia yards weeks before they were destroyed, after which further construction languished as resources were poured in the Inquiry class. It was not until the mid-2390s that more of the class were constructed at the San Francisco Shipyards. Not a numerous class by any means, the Duderstadt nonetheless has earned a position of respect within Starfleet in the years since it was first deployed.
Capabilities: The Duderstadt largely used commonly available technology from its design period to cut down on required resources and design time. More innovation was made in terms of its hull construction and geometry, all designed to maximise both warp and sub-light speed. It was also designed as a sensor platform that was unequalled at launch in terms of range and sensitivity, albeit with a more material than scientific focus. As it was envisioned to potentially be operating in high-threat locations, the ship was well armed for its role, including a modest magazine of quantum torpedoes, although developed doctrine was that the sensor and intelligence capabilities of the class meant that it was not supposed to be used as a ship of the line. This level of armament proved beneficial as the class developed an additional role – that of a swift interceptor intended to track and engage individual vessels of interest or threat. The vessel was conceived of having mid-length missions, so is not designed for deep space exploration, however it can perform most Starfleet scientific missions adequately due to its exceptionally powerful sensors.
Refits and Variants: The planned refit cycle for the end of the 24th century involves upgrading the vessel’s warp engines to increase its top speed and high-warp intelligence gathering functionality. There is some discussion around maximising the vessels fast-interceptor role by forgoing engine upgrades and increasing its weapons load and it is likely one or two ships will be upgraded in this way in order to test this approach.
Suggested Mission Profiles and Campaigns: Pathfinder and Reconnaissance, Patrol, Espionage/Intelligence, Multirole Explorer. The ship can undertake most missions Starfleet might assign, including tactical ones, but is best used in a scout or exploration role.
Naming Conventions: The class is not a numerous one and naming conventions are not standardised. Some vessels are named after famous vessels from Earth’s past, others after authors, artists and famous fictional characters from across the Federation. NCC numbers can be lower than expected given the class’ modernity, largely due to previously reserved numbers for older classes being assigned to help divert attention from what is, essentially, the closest Starfleet has come to developing a ‘spy’ vessel.
Communications 10, Computer 9, Engines 10, Sensors 12, Structure 9, Weapons 9
Command +0, Conn +1, Engineering +1, Medical +0, Security +0, Science +1
Weapons: Phaser Arrays, Photon Torpedoes, Quantum Torpedoes, Tractor Beam
Talents: Advanced Sensor Suites, High Resolution Sensors, Improved Impulse Drive