Benjamin Franklin Class (2302)



Although the peak of the series production had not yet been reached, the Excelsior class had become the common design for high-performance cruiser-type vessels at the beginning of the 24th century. These new heavy cruisers, however, turned out oversized for many purposes. As the smaller Constitution-class vessels were slowly being retired, Starfleet called for a replacement of about the same size. The ships of the new class should be 50% less expensive in building and maintenance than the Excelsior, but still provide more than 50% of their internal volume. These very tight specs led to a design using many standard components. The warp power generation of the new class were based on the one employed on the Excelsior, but simplified in many points. Overall, the warp drive was designed to reach no more than Warp 7.5 for 48 hours, which was considered sufficient for short runs mostly at the Federation's "western" borders to the Alpha Quadrant. The warp nacelles, on the other hand, had to be newly developed. Recent research in warp field dynamics had suggested that a "flat ellipsoid" shape of the warp field would have advantages over of the rather cylindrical shapes on previous ships, including the Excelsior. The new YWC-6002 warp coils were especially designed to create such a wider but flatter warp bubble, which was accounted for by giving the saucer hull a transversal ellipsoid shape. The lead ship, USS Benjamin Franklin, was commissioned in 2302. 23 more ships followed until 2310 when Starfleet decided to switch to the all-new Renaissance class.

As the "western" border regions became more and more insecure in the following decades due to attacks by warlike Talarians, Tzenkethi and Cardassians, more and more military tasks were gradually taken over by the Benjamin Franklin class. Although the ship was easy to handle and to repair, owing to its simplicity, it eventually turned out inferior to the ever improved technology of the threat forces. Starfleet, now having many new combat-capable designs of this size like the New Orleans or Renaissance, did not consider to upgrade the few ships of the Benjamin Franklin class. In 2358 the last ship was decommissioned, heavily damaged after a Cardassian attack. The ships were subsequently replaced by newly built New Orleans-class vessels.





Class specifications
Ship type: Light cruiser
Length: 296m
Width: 172m
Height: 54m
Crew complement: 325
Max. speed: Warp 7.5
Commissioned ships
USS Benjamin Franklin NCC-3767
USS Camelot NCC-4987
USS Beowulf NCC-4988
USS Independence NCC-4989
USS Minsk NCC-5423
USS Scharnhorst NCC-5424
USS Arktika NCC-5518
USS Hong Kong NCC-5519
USS Vigilant NCC-5699
USS Praha NCC-5700
USS Amundsen NCC-5813
USS Aurora NCC-5814
USS Triumph NCC-6288
USS Titan NCC-6289
USS Illinois NCC-6290
USS Lightning NCC-6291
USS Assam NCC-7075
USS Penelope NCC-7076
USS Wallenstein NCC-7077
USS Pluto NCC-7782
USS Arabia NCC-8196
USS Morning Star NCC-8197
USS Orlando NCC-8198
USS Antioch NCC-8199


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