- For other uses, see Achilles.
|Type:||strategic heavy cruiser|
|Service period:||from the 2370s decade|
|Armaments:||8 pulse phaser cannons; 2 torpedo tubes; 4 phaser arrays; 8 micro-torpedo launchers|
The Achilles-class starship was a strategic heavy cruiser developed by the Federation during the Dominion War in response to the massive warships used by the Dominion alliance, including the Cardassian Union's Hutet-class and the Jem'Hadar super carriers.
History and featuresEdit
The main spur for the development of the Achilles was a realization that what would be required to shut down the Dominion war machine was the destruction of the Ketracel-white creation facilities in the Alpha Quadrant. It was realized that the Federation and its allies lacked many ships heavy enough for such a mission, limited to Galaxy-class explorers and Klingon Negh'Var-class warships. A new ship class would be required to exploit this "Achilles' heel", from which the class's name was derived.
Slightly smaller than the Galaxy or the Sovereign-class, the Achilles was a far cry from the size of the Dominion heavy ships, but was of a sleeker design, and armed with several advanced weapons systems originally designed for the Defiant-class for fighting the Borg. It held a total of eight pulse-phaser cannons, two torpedo tubes for quantum torpedoes and eight new mini quantum torpedo tubes arranged in a phalanx configuration along the vessel's dorsal spine to cause massive destruction. (DS9 video game: Dominion Wars)
One of the critical strategic problems faced by Starfleet Command during the Dominion war was that Federation forces were being spread too thin. Between defending its territory, trying to go on the offensive against the Dominion, and keeping a wary eye on the Romulans, Starfleet found it had too many obligations and too few resources. This problem became even more acute when Starfleet strategists had determined that the Dominion's "Achilles' heel" was the Jem'Hadar's dependency on the narcotic compound known as Ketracel-white. If the Federation-Klingon alliance could destroy, or even severely threaten existing Ketracel-white production facilities, the Dominion's offensive in the Alpha Quadrant would grind to a halt.
Unfortunately, unescorted long-range strikes against heavily defended multiple targets could not be performed by any existing vessel in either the Starfleet or KDF inventory. The Defiant-class had too limited an operating range, the Klingon B'rel had the stealth but lacked the firepower, and while the Galaxy and Negh'Var had the range, they were considered too expensive to be feasible for this role. Neither the Federation nor the Klingons were willing to commit the large fleets required to hit these targets, since doing so would have entailed compromising the defense of key star systems. A new ship of revolutionary design would be required.
Ship designers at Utopia Planitia were up to the challenge. They not only designed a totally new class, they also built it in under two years. By adapting current anti-Borg designs to the new threat, the Achilles was able to fulfill the long-range attack role with firepower comparable to that of the Sovereign. This was accomplished with the new micro-quantum torpedo phalanx arranged in a broadside array along the ship's spine. Although their size limits their ability to do much damage individually, fired in large numbers the microtorpedoes are able to seriously cripple or destroy attacking ships, thus enabling the Achilles to defend itself while focusing on the primary mission. Quad rapid-fire quantum torpedoes and enhanced pulse phasers enable the Achilles sufficient firepower to destroy most large targets in one pass. Redundant warp and impulse systems were incorporated into the design so the Achilles can sustain heavy damage, and still maneuver as well ultimately return to base. The new retro-thrusters enable the Achilles to maneuver as well as any Class 3, and most Class 2 ships. And finally, the Achilles has an unsupported, self-serviceable range equal to the Galaxy-class that is required to operate effectively behind the Dominion defensive perimeter. (DS9 video game: Dominion Wars)