Indus Class (2289)



Although interstellar hydrogen may be collected with the Bussard ramscoops of a starship, this may serve only as an emergency supply. In normal starship operation the deuterium tanks are refilled at latest once the fuel level has dropped to 20%. By 2280, Starfleet had established a dense network of space stations with large supplies of deuterium and other consumable supplies. It was not necessary any longer to permanently assign tankers to certain fleet units and regions of space. Especially many older and smaller tankers became dispensable. On the other hand, delivering fuel to stations without their own deuterium collectors and refining facilities as well as emergency and combat supply still had to be provided by tankers. The Indus class was built particularly for the latter purpose, and with their top sustainable speed of Warp 5.0 the vessels were able to follow fleet movements. The project began in 2280, the prototype was launched in 2289.

Starfleet did not want to become the design of their support ships too expensive, so it was one demand to employ the same warp nacelles that had been developed for the Asia refit, and to create largely the same warp field geometry. This design objective limited the size and shape of the fuel containers to a certain window inside the warp bubble, but it was actually a benefit, since it allowed a both fast and cost-efficient ship. On the other hand, the warp core had to be redesigned to a horizontal orientation, to fit into the shallow spine on top of the fuel tanks. There are five tanks altogether. Each of them has two main compartments (port and starboard) and twelve sub-compartments which are physically separated and operated independently during the transport. The distributed temperature, pressure and leakage control facilitates the overall handling of the large amount of fuel, and it provides comfortable redundancy. In case of a failure, it is possible to vent each sup-compartment separately without impairing the other compartments. Each tank has an outer hull of duranium with structural enforcements, SIF and shielding, a first insulation layer, a compartment hull made of stainless steel, a second insulation layer, and a sub-compartment hull made of cortanium-coated steel. The total internal volume of one tank amounts to 28,619 cubic meters, the normal storage temperature is 17.7K. With five tanks, the Indus-class carries enough fuel for complete refills of ten cruiser-type starships of the late 23rd century (or, as a modern-time equivalent, for two Galaxy-class ships). Aside from the large deuterium tanks, the Indus is capable of carrying antimatter pods in a special section behind the main deflector. It was the original idea to make each pod separately ejectable, but safety and efficiency considerations led to the solution to jettison the entire section in case of a pending containment failure in one of the pods.

The Indus class has a bow shuttlebay with a standard complement of two shuttlecraft and eight work bees. Safety regulations require the tanker and the ship to be refilled to stay at least one kilometer apart. This is why the initial idea of deploying a fully automated manipulator arm to the refill port was dropped. Instead of this, work bees (usually remote-controlled) are used to tow a conventional hose. This rather old-fashioned procedure takes considerably longer than a fully automated refueling. On the other hand, modern starships with subspace driver coils need to be refilled at most once a year. Automated refilling has eventually been introduced as late as in the 2360s. Although the Indus class is 90 years old by now and not likely to be refitted with new tanks and automated fuel ports, the ships (which had become indispensable in the Dominion War) are expected to stay in service for another ten years.

As it was with previous tanker types too, the Indus class has no shipboard weapons. Tankers are always an easy target for threat forces, as a single shot penetrating the shields may blow up a fuel compartment which would destroy the whole ship. In order to lower the risk, tankers are always escorted by a cruiser-type starship. In tanker convoys, Starfleet usually assigns one escort ship to each tanker, as opposed to normal cargo convoys where there is mostly only one escort per five cargo ships.





Class specifications
Ship type: Deuterium tanker
Length: 236m
Width: 81m
Height: 53m
Crew complement: 19
Max. speed: Warp 5.0
Commissioned ships
USS Indus NCC-4025
USS ParanŠ NCC-4115
USS Mekong NCC-4116
USS Rhein NCC-4117
USS Thames NCC-4118
USS Elbe NCC-4119
USS Irtysch NCC-4120
USS Kura NCC-4355
USS Mackenzie NCC-4356
USS Ganges NCC-4357
USS Rio de la Plata NCC-4358
USS Daugava NCC-4359
USS Limpopo NCC-4360
USS Murray NCC-4361
USS Fleuve St. Laurent NCC-4362
USS Potomac NCC-4363
USS Huang Ho NCC-4364
USS Niger NCC-4365
USS Oranje NCC-4366
USS Arno NCC-4367
USS Douro NCC-4368
USS Krishna NCC-4369
USS BŁyŁk Menderes NCC-4370
USS Severn NCC-5084
USS Roanoke NCC-5085
USS Shannon NCC-5086
USS Guadalquivir NCC-5087
USS Loire NCC-5088
USS Strymon NCC-5089
USS Jordan NCC-5090
USS Onega NCC-5091
USS Brahmaputra NCC-5092
USS Tigris NCC-5093
USS Amudarja NCC-5094
USS Lena NCC-5095
USS Ob NCC-5096



Thanks to Lennier and Tadeo D'Oria for their 3D models.


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