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The multi-vector mode, also called multi-vector assault mode or MVAM, was an operation on the Prometheus-class vessels (and successive classes of advanced escort such as the Hephaestus-class) that allowed the ship to separate into three sections. The three sections, which are best used to engage a threat force, generally approach the target from multiple trajectories or vectors, hence the term "multi-vector". It was developed for the Prometheus-class following the USS Enterprise-D's successful deployment during battle of its saucer section during the Borg incursion of 2367. (Star Trek: The Adventures of Argus: "Messages From Home"; The War of the Masters: "A Good Compromise")
On the USS Phoenix-X, the three sections were numbered as "Vector's": 1, 2, and 3, counting from the top. In some cases, separating Vector's are used to complete separate missions for the crew. (Star Trek: Phoenix-X)
However, Hydrans seem to have developed MVAM before the Federation did, as the Paladin-class dreadnought was equipped with MVAM as early as 2346. They surmised that multi-vector assault mode could give their ships higher evacuation capability, not only because they could evacuate different areas of a facility at the same time, but also because they could share the load of the life support systems on several units rather than on one unit. (RIS Bouteina: "Spoiled Rotten")
Also, the Hydrans used MVAM on every ship that was larger than a frigate. Whereas classes like the Huron-class or the Shogun-class, which are heavy destroyers and battleships respectively, had it equipped, the Strelets-class, a frigate, did not have it. (RIS Bouteina: "Night of the Were-Hawks")