Hello and welcome to the premiere episode of this channels season 3 of Truth or Myth, a web series which speaks the “truth,” or canon, to dispel all the myths surrounding a given topic. In today’s episode, we’re taking a look at the Defiant-class of Starships in an effort to better understand this classes place in Star Trek History.
Hot on the heels of the tragedy of Wolf 359, Starfleet Command clamoured to come up with a new starship design. One that would be designed as nothing less than a warship. And so the Defiant Class was born…
The Defiant Class began development in 2366 as a small, immensely powered and heavily armed warship designed to fight and defeat the Borg.
The prototype, the U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205 had numerous design problems that had popped up during its shakedown cruise. These flaws, coupled with the decreased urgency of the Borg threat would see this ship mothballed and put into storage, effectively ending Starfleet’s first sole purposed warships career, at least so everyone thought.
In 2371, Commander Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine, who had originally overseen the Defiant Project, got permission from Starfleet Command to pull the ship out of cold storage and use it in an attempt to contact the Dominion, a governmental body in Gama Quadrant.
Deep Space Nine’s Chief of Operations, Miles O’Brien, was able to fix all the original design flaws through a series of upgrades he implemented. That, coupled with how well this ship performed in actual duty, would redeem Starfleet’s faith in the class and it would consequently be put into full production.
The Defiant Class was only approximately 170 meters in length and 4 decks tall. With a crew of only 50 officers and men.
The warp core spanned three decks in the aft section of the ship and was a class-7 warp drive, an extremely powerful Warp core for a ship of this size, and as such, Defiant-class vessels put out a warp signature equivalent to that of much larger starships. With energy diverted from its weapons systems, the Defiant Class was able to reach and sustain a speed of warp 9.5, though Starfleet’s Corps of Engineers believe it would be possible to get a ship of this class up to warp 9.8 in an extreme emergency and at extreme risk to ship itself.
The Defiant-class contained a total of 4 phaser canon assemblies that were located in the forward hull. These canons had a much higher damage output than that of its phaser emitter cousins. To supplement the Phaser canons, however, were 3 standard phaser emitters. These arrays were included to allow the Defiant to engage multiple targets simultaneously, protect against enemies to the rear, and to allow it to perform strafing runs, all of which could not be accomplished by the forward-facing phaser cannons.
The Defiant Class also contained six torpedo launchers, 4 forward and 2 aft. These torpedo launchers allowed the ship to fire both quantum torpedoes and photon torpedoes at any target.
Shielding for the Defiant was standard for that of the time. This class however also contained Ablative Hull Armour which allowed the ship to last longer in a firefight even with shields completely depleted.
The U.S.S. Defiant would also become the only Federation ship legally equipped with a cloaking device. On loan from the Romulan Star Empire, this cloak was given to Starfleet in exchange for all intelligence collected in the Gamma Quadrant about the Dominion itself, though the original stipulations on the use of the device limited it to being used only in the Gama Quadrant. After Cardassia joined the dominion however this restriction was lifted.
Due to the Militaristic design of the class, it’s interior would be one of the most spartan designs ever created by Starfleet. This ship had no holodecks, no lounges or recreation facilities what so ever. The ships mess hall was the only place crew members could meet up with one another, and often would be used a ships meeting area to inform the crew of an upcoming mission.
As mentioned early the Defiant Class contained 4 Decks, though a 5th smaller deck did exist which was full of equipment, conduits and Jefferies Tubes for the ship. This deck was accessible by hatches and ladders.
Like most Starfleet vessels, deck one housed the main bridge, but unlike most previous designs this bridge was not a module but an inlaid bridge design.
The Captain occupied a chair on a raised platform in the centre of the bridge while the helm and operations consoles were combined into a single curved console directly in front of the Captain. There were consoles to each side of the Captain’s chair which gave the captain access to all ships systems and information.
Along the port and starboard walls were various other consoles such as 2 tactical stations, engineering and science stations. The aft section of the bridge contained a small work table where officers could conference about mission-specific objectives. this area could also be easily modified to contain other consoles or even a holographic communications device.
While this class was not built for scientific or exploration missions, it was capable of taking high-resolution scans of both natural and artificial phenomena and engaging in scientific investigations.
Main engineering was also located on deck 1 with the lower section on deck 2. The Master Situation Monitor was located in the starboard wall bulkhead. The warp core was placed on an elevated platform in the centre of the section, opposite the control consoles.
The main sickbay was located on deck 2 between the mess deck and science labs. Containing four biobeds. The room was equipped with limited surgical facilities and was primarily intended merely to stabilize patients until they could be delivered to a nearby friendly starbase medical facility.
Crew quarters aboard this class were small and cramped and all quarters contained 2 bunks built into the wall for crew members to share quarters as space was a premium aboard ship. each room contained 1 replicator and 1 computer terminal. Only the ship’s commanding officer was given his own room on deck 1, which doubled as an informal ready room.
The mess hall was located on the port side of Deck 2. Like all the rooms aboard this class, the mess hall was compact and functional. At the head of the room were three replicators which served the needs of any crew member who wished to share a meal or drink with a colleague.
Defiant-class starships were equipped with two transporter compartments, one located on deck 1 and the other on deck 2. The transporter pads were much smaller than that found on other starships of the time and could not accommodate as many people at one time in its standard configuration. Like all Starfleet ships however, in extreme emergencies, the transporter buffer could be expanded to allow for many more and multiple transports.
Due to their compact size, the Defiant Class utilized a launch bay, instead of the larger shuttlebays used on other Starfleet ships of the late 24th century. The USS Defiant’s launch bay utilized Type 10 and 18 shuttlepods.
The U.S.S. Defiant herself would prove very useful to Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. participating in many major battles during her lifetime such as the Battle of Sector 001, the Battle for Deep Space 9, and the Battle of Chin’toka until it’s destruction in 2375 by the Breen who had developed an energy dampening weapon which they used against the Allied Fleet during the Second Battle of Chin’toka.
Given the U.S.S. Defiant’s exceptional record under the command of Captain Benjamin Sisko, Starfleet Command would assign a second defiant Class, the U.S.S. Sao Paulo to Starbase Deep Space 9 and the Chief of Starfleet Operations gave a special dispensation to change the ship’s name from Sao Paulo to Defiant.
This new Defiant would play a key role in ending the war with the Dominion during the battle of Cardassia Prime.
Another ship of note from this class was that of the U.S.S. Valiant. It was assigned as a training ship for an elite cadet corps know as Red Squad under the command of Captain Ramirez.
The ship was travelling through the Kepla Sector when the Dominion War began, and as a result, was subsequently trapped behind enemy lines. While attempting to return to Federation territory, the Valiant encountered a Cardassian battle cruiser and with in the first fifteen minutes of battle, all seven of the regular officers were killed or critically wounded, including the captain. The Valiant’s Cadets were able to defeat the Cardassian ship and the next day, just before Ramirez died, he appointed Cadet Tim Watters to take command of the Valiant.
Captain Watters overconfidence, however, proved to be the Valiant’s undoing. Rather than returning to Federation space with valuable information on a Jem Hadar Battleship, Watters decided to attempt to destroy the enemy ship by exploiting a perceived flaw in her design.
He was incorrect about the flaw and the Jem Hadar Battleship, in turn, made quick work of the USS Valiant. Out of a crew of 35 Cadets, only 1 survived the encounter escaping with Ensign Nog and Jake Sisko aboard one of the Valiants escape pods.
Though a radical concept for starship design by Starfleet, no one could ever deny the success of this classes performance. With continual upgrades to its technology and relatively short construction time, the Defiant-class earned its place as a hero ship with in the United Federation Of Planets…
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