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Old September 10 2013, 06:01 AM   #34
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Yesterday's Enterprise: How is the Federation Losing So Badly?

I'd modify your numbers a bit because I still believe that the Federation has been expanding in an "onion layer" fashion for most of its history and uses the same types of ships in each layer, era after era. Thusly:

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
Well, let's assume a greatly simplified fleet composition for a moment.
In 2280 Starfleet has:
15 Constitutions w/complement of 500
35 Mirandas w/complement of 350
40 Soyuz w/complement of 300
75 Saladins w/complement of 200
75 Hermes w/complement of 195
For a total of 240 ships, and 61,375 personnel.
You're forgetting the Constellations, which are just coming into service around this time. There's also the Akyazi perimeter action ships, which are only about as canon as the Hermes/Saladin types but are basically the grandaddy of USS Defiant. Not to carry over from the other thread, but I happen to believe the Constitution class is a rather old design by this point (since we never see any other than Enterprise after TOS) and by the 2280s they're in the process of being replaced as the "layer" they helped to chart becomes more and more civilized, the worlds they explored experience colonization and development booms.

I also don't believe there were EVER that many Soyuz-class ships. I think that was a specialty design built for a very specific purpose or set of purposes and not that many of them would even have existed.

So I'd modify this. In the 2280s we'd have:
5 Constitutions w/complement of 400
10 Constellations w/complement of 500
35 Mirandas w/complement of 350
5 Soyuz w/complement of 300
45 Saladins w/complement of 200
55 Hermes w/complement of 195
80 Akyazi w/complement of 80
For a total of 235 ships, and 46,875 personnel.

The Saladins and the Hermes are old designs as well, being no longer even necessary since the patrol zones they once covered can now be handled by remote sensing devices and fast-acting speedsters like the Akyazi perimeter action ships. If anything we'd have LESS of those, not more. OTOH, the Excelsiors are just coming off the production line and moving into the "next layer" exploration zones just beyond the 5-year-mission exploration region while the old Constitutions continue to be replaced by Constellations in their increasingly busy neighborhood. the Akyazi's get upgraded too, so in 2290 they have:
5 Excelsiors w/complement of 800
4 Constitutions w/complement of 400
20 Constellations w/complement of 500
40 Mirandas w/complement of 350
30 Saladins w/complement of 200
35 Hermes w/complement of 195
85 Akyazi w/complement of 80
15 Akula w/complement of 85
For a total of 239 ships and 52,050 personnel.

In the Khitomer accords, the neutral zone outposts are either shut down or demilitarized (and thus converted into research laboratories). The Saladins and the Hermes no longer have a reason to exist; the existing Miranda production line is in full swing and new hulls can be built to take over their remaining border patrol duties, their security patrol duties are covered by the Akyazis and the outposts they usually defend don't exist anymore. THEY would be scrapped, but at this point they're practically ancient anyway, yes?

So Starfleet's priorities are changed, but only vis a vis the Klingons. More Excelsiors are being built, and at some point USS Ambassador comes off the assembly line. By the 2310s:
1 Ambassador w/complement of 2000
35 Excelsiors w/complement of 800
40 Constellations w/complement of 500
70 Mirandas w/complement of 350
55 Akyazi w/complement of 80
45 Akula w/complement of 85
245 ships and 87,225 personnel.

See the pattern here: larger numbers of larger ships are being sent deeper and deeper into space. By the 2340s there are probably dozens of Ambassadors and twice as many Excelsiors; the number of starfleet personnel has already doubled in the past 20 years, but most of the growth is in deep space, with the big Excelsior and Ambassador classes.

This, IMO, has implications for the Klingon war. When hostilities begin, Starfleet is spread fairly thin and has come to rely on a small number of small, specialized vessels for local security while its most powerful vessels are widely distributed and spread out into the far reaches of space. Arguably, the Klingons have the exact opposite distribution: they send their smallest ships to probe their enemies for weakness and keep their larger ships close to the homeworld as part of their "real arsenal." This would mean that at the start of the war, most of the heavy fighting takes place on the frontier as the largest and most powerful Starfleet vessels have these epic knockdown-dragout slugfests with equally enormous Klingon dreadnaughts. They spend the first years of the war fighting over new resources, over planets, over contact with new races, over trade routes, over allies; basically, the same shit Kirk was fighting them over, only the stakes are higher and so is the body count.

Unlike Kirk's time, however, the dispute works its way inwards: Klingons keep annexing planets the Federation has claims on, and while they're still wrestling over those, they start to get more aggressive and move in on planets the Federation has claimed for decades. This is when the Klingons discover that the INNER frontier if the Federation is mostly patrolled by Excelsior-types, which, while numerous, aren't nearly as tough as the Ambassadors. Diving in deeper, they find the Constellations and the Mirandas patrolling the core sectors, ship designs they have known how to fight for decades and aren't all that tough at all. It dawns on the Empire that the Federation's core is more vulnerable than they've been assuming all these years, and they start to lay claims to HISTORICALLY Federation worlds.

In this history, the Galaxy class is built as a ship that can close that weakness: it's got the size and muscle you'd expect from the Ambassadors and their cousins, but with its separable saucer and high troop complement it can perform the duty of a Constellation or an Excelsior just as efficiently. The redesigned Galaxy class is therefore exactly the thing the Federation needs right now, and goes into production earlier and faster and with fewer bells and whistles.

Where in the Prime Timeline they're following a pretty normal progression -- going deeper into space, build a deeper starship -- and thus it makes sense that there are only between 6 and 12 Galaxy class ships for a region of space only recently opened up to the Federation. In the alternate timeline, however, they're not in an exploring mood. The Galaxy is the "King Tiger" of the Federation's war machine, with at least twenty in service by the time the Enterprise-C comes through the rift. But even then, in all likelihood it's too little too late.

The only outstanding question is why Starfleet never put a ship like Defiant into service around this same time. I'd like to think they did, although maybe just mass producing huge numbers of Akyazi/Akulas would have been sufficient for that purpose. Either way, it doesn't seem to be working against the Klingon as well as a huge number of Galaxy class ships would, and at this point it's too late for that.

Long post. Heh.
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