The Classic Federation ship, the "A" Series" was made famous in the 5 year voyage of the USS Enterprise, Constitution Class. There were several subseries, known as "A Early" "A Standard" and "A Late".
The A Early Subseries had higher bridge sections than the other subseries, and also possessed larger deflector dishes (needed as the deflector technology in the 2250s was primitive compared to those of the 2260s and 70s) and unsual warp spines, believed to help stablise the warp field, protruding from the buzzard collectors of the warp nacelles. As a rule, ships of this subseries lacked Photon Torpedo tubes.
The A Standard subseries was the typical Federation ship until recent developments. With new more compact bridge life support systems, bridge module could be less proud of the saucer. In addition to this, new deflector technology meant a reduction in the size of deflector dishes, and this enabled the installation of twin Photon Torpedo tubes either side of the deflector housing, the difference from the A Early subseries externally being a series of smaller hull plates and a slightly wider section either side of the deflector, and naturally close inspection reveals the torpedo tubes themselves. The warp splines, found to be ineffective in the late 2250s were removed, and some improvements were made to the warp nacelle design, resulting in some small external differences on the rear of the nacelles.
The A Late was more of an interim than a full subseries. The oldest of the A Standard suberies vessels, often refitted A Early subseries vessels such as the venerable USS Enterprise, were given some small overhauls in the late 2270s to tide them over until the new Type II Series vessels could enter service to replace them. The only major difference externally from the A Standard was the retrofitting of the new Type II warp nacelle technology into the A Standard nacelles, resulting in a glowing rotoscope effect inside the buzzard collectors. Apart from the natural wear and tear seen on the hulls of such vessels due to their age, they differ only in this engine detail.
Type E Series
The last in a series of experimental vessel series designed to explore the future of Starfleet vessels beyond the A Series, the Type E series proved so successful that it was developed into the prototype USS Excelsior, fitted with the experimental transwarp drive. After the failure of this drive, all further development of ships of the Type E Series was halted, and although the Excelsior Class became a very sucessful battlecruiser, no further ships of the Type E Series were developed in the period from the beginning of the Organian Conflict to the War of Pacification. Several hulls laid down as Excelsiors, were majorly redesigned into the Freelancer and Washington Class starships, fitted with conventional Type II warp nacelles.
Historical Note: Post-2293, the E Type Series did become popular again, once the faults in the design had been ironed our, as proved in the USS Excelsior later in its career under the command of Captain Sulu. The Freelancer and Washington Class designs were amalgamated in 2325 into the Curry Class transport, which served admirably in the Dominion War until replaced by new, dedicated troop carriers such as the Iwo Jima Class.
Type II Series
Introduced to replace the aging A Series in the light of the failure of the Type E Series, the Type II Series also has several subseries
Type II Subseries M
In the mid 2270s, the Suyra Class light cruiser was one of the oldest vessels still in regular service with starfleet. Using brand new technologies, the Suyra was complete updated, and the Miranda Class was the result. Introducing a new, single hull design, along with swept warp pylons, integral deflector array and a heavy weapons rollbar, the Miranda was the first in the M Subseries.
During the Organian Conflict further development of the Miranda design lead to the Avenger Class, armed with Megaphasers on the ends of its rollbar. These were soon made obsolete after the new Point Type B Phaser emitters entered service, and the research team was trasnfered to the new Assault Phaser project. The torpedo tube pod on the M subseries was the basis of all torpedo tube mountings in the Type II series.
Type II Subseries D
Essentially a subseries based around the refit of the Akula Class, the D Subseries used the M subseries internal deflector array, and fitted the new torpedo tube pod to the ventral nacelle pylon, replacing the rather awkward nacelle mounted torpedo tubes on the A Standard Series Akula Class.
Type II Subseries O
A single class subseries composed of only the Okinawa Class, the O Subseries retained the deflector dish mounted torpedo tubes of the A Standard Series Davids Class, and introduced the new Sensor Dish Array. The O subseries also introduced a brand new type of warp nacelle, the Type II-O, which for supply reasons, never replaced the Type II nacelle as the nacelle of choice for light starships.
Type II Subseries A
A massive subseries that encompasses the Constitution Class refit, the Salazar Class, Ulysses Class and (with modifications) the Yamato and Ark Royal Class. Using the standard Type II warp nacelle, the Constitution Refit introduced new neck , mounted torpedo tubes, very similar to the ventral torpedo tube pod on the D Subseries. The Salazar Class redesigned this pod around a dedicated pylon, which allowed a cruiser sized vessel to mount a large number of torpedo tubes. The Ulysses Class brought into vogue the torpedo tube pod rollbar, derived from the more general heavy weapons rollbar of the M series. It also brought forward the design of the new Type II-U warp nacelle, that used a complex intercooler to increase output. The Yamato redesigned the Type II to function when alligned laterally, and the Ark Royal introduced another type of high power nacelle, the Type II-X. Neither the Type II-U or the Type II-X saw widespread use beyond these two classes/
Historical Note. The Type II-U and Type II-X were briefly revived in the quest for a further upgrade of the Constitution Class and the attempted refit of the Lexington Class. However both these classes were retired with the Khithomer Accords, and so all projects involving these nacelles were shelved.
Type S Series
Another development dead end. The Oberth Class, with its compact hull, direct mounted nacelles and underslung "canoe" for sensor equipment pioneered this series, and for the majority of the Organian Conflict was the only class of vessel in this series. However, by the beginning of the War of Pacification, the Missouri Class had been layed down and the first of the class was nearing completion. Essentially a scaled up variant of the Oberth, the Missouri used conventional Type II warp nacelles rather than the Oberths' long distance Type S-I nacelles. No further vessels of this series have entered service.
Historical Note. A hybrid of the Type S-I nacelles and S Series hull plating with the Type E hull structure resuled in the Lexington Class, which served during the General War. Soon after they were found to suffer from abnormal levels of fatigue, and so in a convienient diplomatic manouver, the Lexington Class was retired in accordance to the Khitomer Accords. Now that the cold war between these two powers had ended, the Missouri was also no longer required, and was also retired in accordance to the treaty. The Oberth however soldiered on well into the 2380s until replaced by the Nova Class.
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