For centuries the United Federation of Planets
refused to authorise the development of purpose-built warships, fighting only in self-defence and
insisting that any conflict could be resolved though skilful diplomacy and reasoned compromise.
This policy remained unchanged for over two hundred years, even through multiple interstellar
wars, but was finally violated in 2366, following First Contact with the Borg Collective, a
terrifying and monolithic foe that could never be bargained or reasoned with. The result
of this sudden leap into warship development was one of the most unique and impressive
spacecraft ever constructed by the Federation, the Defiant Class Escort.
At a length of 170.68 Meters, the Spaceframe of the Defiant Class abandons almost all existing
standards for Federation Ship design, instead adopting a highly-compact and incredibly sturdy
layout, presenting a far smaller target and allowing for a wide range of evasive maneuvers.
Virtually every system aboard the Defiant is overclocked almost to the point of serious
risk, including hugely powerful impulse engines, resilient shields and armor, high-yield weapons
systems and a power plant calibrated for a ship four times her size. Much of the Defiant’s
later design stages centred around simply reinforcing the ship to ensure she didn’t
fly apart under her own power. The Defiant’s weapons arsenal is characteristically
different from the Federation Standard, exchanging omnidirectional firing arcs for an almost
completely bow-oriented layout. The Defiant’s most distinctive weapons are a quadruple-mounted
array of Pulse Phaser Cannons, built into the forward bracings of the ship’s warp
nacelles. These weapons were able to inflict far greater damage over far shorter periods
than any conventional phaser array, but the pulsed nature of their projectiles demanded
predictive targeting, and sometimes led to inaccuracy over longer ranges. The Defiant’s
secondary weapons included a pair of conventional phaser arrays, an aft photon torpedo launcher,
and a linked pair of forward launchers loaded with Quantum warheads.
Easily the most famous example of the Defiant Class was the original Prototype USS Defiant
NX-74205. Under the command of Captain Benjamin Sisko, the Defiant was assigned to the critical
border Starbase Deep Space Nine, and played an imperative role in almost every major engagement
of the Dominion War. Given the existential threat posed by the encroaching Dominion,
the USS Defiant was equipped with a Romulan-Built Cloaking Device, provided as part of a limited
circumvention of the Treaty of Algeron, which normally prohibited the Federation from developing
or using cloaking technology. As the first true Federation warship, the
Defiant set the standard for every combat vessel that came after it, greatly influencing
the designs of the Akira, Norway, Steamrunner and Saber Class starships, all of which were
introduced in late 2372 as part of a new wave of Anti-Borg Spacecraft. The Defiant Class
has remained in service even into the early years of the 25th Century, and remains one
of the most unique and influential starship designs in Federation history.