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The Columbia-class was born out of the existing, and proven, NX-class design, and included retrofitted ships such as the SS Enterprise and the USS Endeavour. It was named, at the insistence of Admiral Jonathan Archer, after the first vessel of the NX-class to be lost in action, the Columbia. As of September 2162, the refit Endeavour was the last active survivor of the NX-class. All future vessels would be of the new Columbia-class. (ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: A Choice of Futures)
As part of newly appointed UESPA Chief of Staff Admiral Archer's fleet modernization program, eight new Columbia-class vessels were slated for construction. By July of 2165, the USS Buran and the USS Shenlong were completed, the USS Apollo and the USS Soyuz were expected to launch around October of the same year, the USS Ares and the USS Charybdis in spring of 2166 and the USS Phoenix and the USS Valiant by 2167. (ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: Live by the Code)
The most noticeable difference between the NX and Columbia classes was the addition of a secondary hull which was slung underneath the saucer section. This new hull had a deep rear undercut allowing it to be positioned in the warp field's secondary node while in flight and a more powerful, circular navigational deflector. It also housed the new, larger warp core which allowed speeds in excess of warp factor six. The extra room liberated in the primary hull by the removal of warp engineering allowed for larger senior officers' quarters.
The dorsal connector to the saucer was located where the NX's main shuttlebay used to be, so the shuttlepod drop bays were moved to either side of it. (ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: A Choice of Futures)
As well as polarized hull plating, the Columbia-class featured deflector shields of Andorian design. For a while after the class was brought into service, use of the shields while at warp necessitated an adjustment of the warp field. This adjustment, due to difficulties in reconciling Human and Andorian technology, meant that warp speed was limited to just over warp factor three.
The class was also equipped with a tractor beam of Vulcan origin which, but the Andorian shields distorted the targeting system. However all compatibility issues were solved in 2163 by Doctor Tobin Dax and his engineering team. (ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: A Choice of Futures)
The newly built ships were upgraded with more advanced impulse assemblies and navigational deflectors manufactured by the Rigel based Grennex Aerospace shipbuilding company. (ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: Live by the Code)
- SS Enterprise
- USS Endeavour (NCC-06)
- USS Buran
- USS Shenlong
- USS Apollo
- USS Soyuz
- USS Ares
- USS Charybdis
- USS Phoenix
- USS Valiant