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The Joshua Paul class heavy frigates were a type of Federation starship on active duty during at least the late 23rd century. Construction of the class was authorized in mid-2287 and the first ships of the class were commissioned probably ca. 2289 or 2290. (Jackill's Starfleet Reference Manual: Ships of the Fleet, vol. 3)
The design lineage of the Joshua Pauls was derived from both the Avenger-class heavy frigates and the Excelsior-class heavy cruisers. The LN-72 type (or similar) warp nacelles of the Joshua Paul class were mounted on pylons attached to an extended primary hull (similar to Avenger-class, Miranda-class, etc.). Ships of the Joshua Paul class had five hangar bays (cf. with Avenger's two).
The primary role of Joshua Paul-class frigates was to transport troops and attack fighters into battle. Up to twelve full wings of fighters were embarked. Standard crew complement was 900 officers and crew plus 153 surface action specialists.
As well, Joshua Pauls were capable of engaging other capital ships. They were heavily armed: four megaphaser units and four photon torpedo bays on a weapons pod above the primary hull, as well as 10 phaser banks.