Sherman class freighter
The Sherman class freighter is an old design that has survived through to the present by its robust nature and simplicity lending itself to automation. With the crew module attached the vessel is 470 feet long, 343 feet long for the automated version with no crew module.
The automation of these freighters was a controversial decision by Starfleet Transport Command in the 2260s.The destruction of the Woden, and disabling of two automated vessels NCC-G1465 and NCC-G1478 by the IKS G'roth when carrying a vital grain consignment, made the case for retaining a crew onboard.
The Sherman class is about a tenth of the size of the Constitution class and was lightly manned with 27 officers and enlisted crew. Linear warp drive was fitted to some of the later models as the Pershing class.
This is the oldest class of freighter still on the books of Starfleet. This veteran class from the 2200s is now on the final decline of numbers. Most are now automated. The last of these freighters should be decommissioned within a decade. When originally designed, their role included an ability to scout and study, resources with Starfleet being stretched to the point that any vessel could be called upon to survey a new world or anomaly.
This survey role diminished around the 2250s with the coming online of the capable Hermes class scout. Sherman class were able to focus more on the transport role, re-supplying the frontier colony worlds with regular agricultural and trade goods. By the 2260s, the Sherman class were selected for automation due to the regularity of the runs and the judgement call that the routes were safe from piracy. An incident involving Commander Koloth in 2270 highlighted that the routes were not safe and that automation may not necessarily be the answer.
As the Ptolemy class and derivatives increased in number, so the need for the Sherman class was reduced and calls started to be made for their replacement as an aging design. By the end of the 2280s only a handful of Sherman class remained in Starfleet service, the rest were either decommissioned or in private hands.
Author’s note: the commissioning date in the 2200s is provisional and based on Spock’s description of the Woden as an ‘older vessel’, something you would apply to a vessel over 50 or 60 years old.
NCC - Sherman
NCC - T'saura
NCC - Nowlan
Independence (NCC-F1300) class freighter:
Length: 82.05 metres
Width: 5.8 metres
Height: 34.5 metres
Crew compliment (6 officer and 19 enlisted):
Executive Officer (Lt. Commander)
Navigational Officer (Lt)
Ordnance Specialist x2.
Laboratory technician x3.
Medical Technician x2.
Engineering Specialist x6
Transporter Specialist x4
This smaller freighter was designed to supplement the Sherman class for regular colony re-supply runs. Whereas the Sherman class occasionally performed survey roles, the Independence was designed from the start as a freighter only.
The design consisted of a crew compartment at the bow of the ship and engineering aft, all of the space in-between was for cargo. The Independence class was not upgraded from PB-48 to linear warp drive, the existing systems being seen as sufficient for the purpose and functional. As the Ptolemy class derivatives, and their innovation of cargo pod trains, became more numerous, so the older more conventional concept of a freighter with the Independence class became obsolete.
As with the Sherman class, the Independence are still in service well into their eightieth year of service and with the potential of more. Decommissioned examples are proving popular with private companies.
e.g. S.S. Rogan's Reef NFT-1434, a private freighter with the Aleutian Trading Company operating from the Aleutian colonies. The distinctive blue markings on the ships make them stand out from those in Starfleet use. The warp drive is alleged to be the original one, the temperamental nature of the drives pays testimony to this.