Ajax Class (2166)
After the Romulans had launched surprise attacks on remote Earth outposts in 2156, the only line of defense consisted of a number of scout-type vessels, for instance of the Archer class or the San Francisco class. These ships were never designed for an extended military conflict, but as system patrol ships. Still, with their considerable armament consisting of pulse lasers and atomic missiles they performed well. Many historians believe that, without meeting any resistance from those ships, the Romulans may have regrouped quickly and launched a deadly attack on the inner colonies and perhaps even Earth itself. Yet, in the course of the war the endurance especially of the Archer class turned out insufficient. Most importantly the power plant was not designed for permanent recharging of the weapons and defensive systems.
The Ajax-class warships were developed as a more heavily armed variant of the Daedalus-class ships towards the end of the Romulan War to gradually replace the battered fleet of Archer-class vessels. The Ajax-class prototype was laid down in 2161. The relatively fast ships with their newly developed matter/antimatter reactors were intended to scout and to attack Romulan convoys outside star systems with Federation outposts. Fortunately the war ended sooner than expected. The political decision to establish the Neutral Zone and the outposts along its border made this type of ships expendable.
The first four Ajax-class ships were completed as late as 2166 and classified as destroyers. Since their benefit at peace was limited and the larger Hercules-class ships turned out superior and more versatile, no further Ajax-class ships were commissioned. The Ajax-class design considerably deviated from the Daedalus class in that only few components, most noticeably the warp nacelles were adopted, while the flat hull shape followed a new understanding of warp field dynamics at speeds beyond Warp 3. Unlike the coupled single-beam emitters of the Daedalus, the navigational deflector was implemented in the form of a characteristic "dish". Ajax-class ships were armed with one laser turret, one fixed laser cannon and three missile launchers, two facing forward and one facing backward. Instead of a shuttlebay two docking ports in the saucer underside allowed to keep shuttles permanently docked, also at warp speed. Ajax-class ships were mainly employed for system patrol, but taken out of service after only 25 years.
Ship type: Destroyer
Crew complement: 105
Max. speed: Warp 3.2
USS Ajax NDC-161
USS Prometheus NDC-162
USS Vostok NDC-163
USS George Washington NDC-164
Thanks to Terradyhne for his 3D model.