Akula class: Saladin offshoot
Akula (DD278-A) class specifications:
Length: 229 metres
Width: 142 metres
Crew: 80 (20 Officers, 60 Enlisted)
Starfleet Marines: 30
The latest generation of Akula class escort only resembles the Saladin and Jenghiz class in hull form only. The newest members of the Saladin lineage has open architecture command systems with an upgraded combat and Co-operative Operations systems. The new baseline 8 phase 4 and DCLD software gives the Akula Flight Va escort the edge it requires for the modern border patrol and to counter threats both current and projected.
NXP2274DD was a escort design with a warp nacelle mounted above and below the primary hull; this was Akula class. NX 278-A was successfully trialled in the busy year of 2275, along with Oberth and the Miranda class prototypes- this was the formation of the successful family of Starfleet starships that was to serve the fleet faithfully until the turn of the century. USS Akula was a replacement for the previous escort of the same name, the keel being laid down as a Saladin class escort, the design being changed in the early stages to form the prototype of the new escort class.
The Flight I Akula class were smaller, basic escorts; they were designed for rapid construction and to bolster the escort numbers of the Starfleet in a time of Mirak, Klingon and Romulan aggression. The crew numbers were sparse and the Federation Starfleet Marine Corps could only provide a minimal compliment on these Flight I ships. Vickers turned their design team to a larger, more capable version of the Akula class design. This will allow more provision for crew, cargo, fuel and marines; this allowed a more flexible escort design with greater endurance. The Flight I Akula class were retro-fitted over time to the new Flight II standards.
After the Treaty of Nimbus, Admiral William Smillie reinforced the need for a strong escort force. A fleet made up of hulls not up to the task as not acceptable; a fleet-wide survey of ships was initiated. Early hulls that were not up to upgrading and hulls that had suffered extensive wear were decommissioned. The Akula class was built upon advances in warp generation and dynamics discovered from early fieldwork for the Constellation project, providing a more balanced warp performance. The Akula class was designed to mount heavier defensive weapons than her predecessors. The growing threats of new Klingon and Romulan warships meant a new breed of escort was needed with a capacity for future upgrades to stay ahead.
The 2290s saw the evolution of the Flight IV Akula class, evolving from the Flight III of the late 2280s. As Vickers and other Starfleet Advanced Starship Design Bureau teams worked on advancements and made breakthroughs, so these innovations were added to the Akula class. Successive Chiefs of Starfleet Tactical knew of the need for a strong defensive escort fleet; the Akula class were that strong design that could stand up against the best escorts of the neignbouring threat forces. With the attrition of numbers from the frontline role, the production lines in yards such as Bath Iron Works, Clyde Fleet Yard and L'Orient have never ceased building these escorts since 2275. The latest Flight IV and V Akula class have aft torpedo capabilities that enhanced their fighting ability. Over three hundred Akula class escorts are in service in the Starfleet, with many more having been constructed since 2275.
The escort force of Starfleet is one of the closest knit goup of all. escort badges can be found on some members of the Akula class, a visible symbol linking that starship name to her predecessors. Whilst USS Saladin and other early members of the class have been retired, replacements carry on their names and legacies with pride. The common Saladin/Jenghiz/Akula/Jupp hulls have spawned several variants including: ELINT, SEAD, scout, commando and torpedo heavy escort. Pre-Akula variants with lower hull frame hours were retrofitted with the improved warp nacelle and warp core configuration. A deep refit lasting several months allowed for the older duotronic technology to be swapped out in favour of the latest duotronic chips.
Starfleet's escort force are the principal defence against boder violation, piracy and threat forces. The escort has minimal science lab facilities, in place having enhanced security and commando facilities. The Akula class are the next level of support above the Okinawa class frigates. Some Akula class have enhanced command and communication facilities to act as either escort leaders or command ships for frigate squadrons. On these ships the commanding officers are ranked captain rather than commander. Fleet Yards have constructed Saladin class and her derivatives for decades and pride runs strongly through the workforces who build these defenders of the Federation. Many colonies forge affiliations to ships that last a lifetime in service. Whilst the escorts of Starfleet lack in the legends of exploration, their achievements in the defence of the Federation more than make up for this.
The Jupp class was a variation of this design, incorporating the twin nacelles in a more conventional side-by-side configuration. Despite the decommissioning or destruction of the earlier Saladin and Hermes class vessels, the design has seen many refits into the twenty-fourth Century, the Akula and Jupp classes set to be part of the fleet well into the middle part of the Century. The escorts of Starfleet have provided protection for the merchant fleets of the Federation since before its birth. With many powerful and influential corporations wanting to ensure are unmolested, pressure is on Federation senators to support the latest increase in escort production. After the ISC and Romulans have threatened Federation mercantile trade in recent decades, so escort numbers have been increased in response.
Akula class Batch 1 (War escort) and Batch 2 by Andrew Brown.
Akula class and U.S.S. Thresher images by Pheylan.
The Akula class starships were inspired by the Saladin/Hermes class design of Franz Joseph. The Akula class escort made it's first appearance in Interplay Games' Starfleet Command as NCC 278-A. This design was the Saladin with an extra nacelle added on the dorsal side to make the now-twin nacelle ship conform to Roddenberry's two nacelle rule. The smaller primary hull was evident in the original design and later represented by a stndad, larger saucer (see Andrew Brown's superb CGI above). The ship made a return in the later Starfleet Command installments and as the Apollo class in Star Trek: Legacy - a possible namechange to comply with copyright, or alternatively an adoption of the class designation of the unseen class from Star Trek: the Next Generation. The use of registry NCC 17706 suggests this, although most of the canon Apollo class are registry 11000-range. My own opinion is that the Apollo class is the Centaur design, being more of the correct 'look' of an NCC 11000 - era starship, although I don't doubt for one second that the Akula class is around for decades after Star Trek VI.