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Pathfinder class (heavy explorer)

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The Pathfinder-class heavy explorer was a starship class in service in the late 24th century. (Star Trek: Miranda)

ConstructionEdit

The Pathfinder-class starship had its origins in the early 2360s shortly after the Galaxy-class starship began their successful run in to the fleet as deep-space explorers. It was felt that Starfleet needed to diversify the fleet with command ships capable of multi-mission design specifications to cover the three primary duties of the Starfleet charter - exploration, defense, and diplomacy. Admiral Victor Murdock took up the gauntlet and began the process of designing a new starship class capable of meeting these requirements. While the project development peaked and waned over the next few years - usually at the whim of Starfleet Command - it was not until 2368 that the modern Pathfinder-class design was developed.

The following year, following confirmed approvals from Starfleet Command and the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, the Pathfinder-class Development Project. Continuing until 2373 the ship was not ready for the next encounter Starfleet had with the Borg, but the first superstructure was built in the following year. By 2375 the prototype was completed, USS Pathfinder, which began her shakedown cruise shortly thereafter. In 2377, the class entered service. Due to the recent loss of the USS Miranda (NCC-77000-A), the class ship was recommissioned USS Miranda (NCC-77000-B) at the request of Fleet Admiral Murdock.

The Pathfinder-class merges the catamaran hull design of the Akira-class with the maneuverability (both physically and mission-wise) of the Sovereign-class. The ship featured a brand new torpedo turret as its primary weapon and the type-XII Phaser arrays, (known as Sovereign-type) as well as two Type XV (commonly known as Defiant-type) phased pulse emitters.

The Pathfinder-class is one of the few Starfleet classes which has enough firepower for any combat role, but also carries the full capabilities of an exploratory starship. They are designed to go for extensive periods on deep-space exploratory duties. The ships carry an extremely heavy torpedo armament of 7 torpedo launchers. Four of these are mounted in the large roll bar pod, two forward and two back; the one is located on the underside of the saucer section, two of which face directly out to port and starboard : an unique feature in a Starfleet vessel, shared only with the Akira-class and Midway-class.

Another special feature of the Pathfinder-class is the hangar bay arrangements. There is one large shuttle bay in the saucer section, running the width of the ship with bay doors on both sides. These allow large numbers of launch and landing operations to be handled simultaneously. During peacetime this allows these ships to evacuate large numbers of small survey craft, or ferry evacuees on board at a high rate. During time of war, the ship can serve as fighter carriers; in this role they can carry up to thirty-six attack fighters.

The class also originally featured a Multi-Vector Assault Mode (MVAM), the same feature built into the Prometheus-Class Starship. The MVAM capabilities are negated with the upgrade to Pathfinder II-class.

TechnologyEdit

The Pathfinder design developed and evolved rapidly, and one point being the proposal for the Prometheus-class. Instead, Starfleet decided to go with the smaller MVAM capable proposal, and the Pathfinder design was commissioned as a separate class. New weapons, shields, computers, and other systems continued to develop rapidly. The design was modified constantly to incorporate all the new technology. As a result, the prototype emerged from the dry dock as Starfleet's most sophisticated and comprehensively armed vessel.

The vessel is equipped with a new variant of the Type XII Phaser array, formerly known as the 'Type X+' for security reasons, which equips the Federation's most powerful starbases and vessels. The Type XII has a raw beam power output some 60% more powerful than the Type X arrays installed on the standard Galaxy-class. In addition, the Type XII has a shorter recharge time and can fire a longer sustained burst, giving each bank a combat effectiveness 79.4% greater than a Type X array. All told, the Pathfinder-class has an overall 54.6% increase in phaser capability over the Galaxy-class.

The shield system of the Pathfinder-class is similar to any other large Federation vessel; the design was modified just prior to installation in order to increase effectiveness against both high energy tractor beams and phased polaron particles, measures clearly aimed at the Borg and Dominion respectively. Under normal operation, the shield modulation frequencies are under the control of the ships computer system, which continually evaluates incoming weapons fire and automatically re-modulates the shields to give the most effective possible defense. It is thought that this system will also enable the shield system to prevent beam-through by Borg transporter technology.

The warp engines of the Pathfinder-class are of a new design which eliminates subspace distortion effects inherent to standard warp drives, a feature now becoming common on most Starfleet ships. While nowhere near the fastest vessel in Starfleet's inventory, the Pathfinder's are still quite capable of traveling long distances in short periods of time.

The very high cruise speed is intended to allow the ship to deploy as rapidly as possible to potential trouble spots. Her impulse drive system is the most sophisticated model in production, giving the Pathfinder-class a maneuverability equal to that of a vessel one half its size.

Pathfinder class Mark IIEdit

In 2381, the Pathfinder II-class program began the process of upgrading all existing Pathfinder-class starships to newer specifications. The USS Miranda (NCC-77000-B) was the first Starship to receive these upgrades

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