View Single Post
Old September 21 2013, 06:54 PM   #1
Nob Akimoto
Location: The People's Republic of Austin
View Nob Akimoto's Twitter Profile
Starfleet Procurement Policy Draft

So this is built on a discussion started in the initial Yesterday's Enterprise thread and building a bit on some of the talks of how Starfleet's procurement patterns. I decided to take a page out of books like Conway's History of the Ship and describe the general procurement policy and shipbuilding attitudes taken by Starfleet's admiralty. The first completed section deals with the Post-Khitomer environment.

Let me know what y'all think.
Post-Khitomer Era: 2290 - 2310
The Cartwright Conspiracy resulted in wholesale resignations at Starfleet's top echelons. Heihachiro Nogura was coaxed out of retirement to once again take the position of Commander-in-Chief, while Margaret Sinclair-Alexander became Chief of Staff. With his experience in reforming Starfleet after the Rittenhouse Conspiracy, Nogura was viewed as the ideal candidate to oversee Starfleet's transition from war to peace.

While the post-Khitomer system lacked the overt hostility of the post-Organian Cold War, the Federation, Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire remained in a tenuous multipolar order. The weakness of the Klingons was matched by a Federation with expanding peacetime commitments and a Romulan Star Empire facing economic challenges within its own borders. Contrary to the concerns of Starfleet's more militant members, the post-Khitomer order would continue to require a strong Federation Starfleet. What remained uncertain was what form this strength would take.

Upon taking office Nogura tasked Sinclair-Alexander with a wide-ranging survey of Starfleet's strength to determine what size and composition the fleet could sustain over the coming years. The survey began with an audit of the material state of the whole fleet. Each ship was assessed on the basis of hull age, amount of dockyard attention received, and remaining hull life estimates with regular levels of refitting. With the knowledge of each ship's average lifespan between refits, Starfleet could then make informed decisions of force levels.

The Federation Council had signalled its intention to reduce fleet expenditures by at least 10-15% as part of a "peace dividend" over the next decade and to free up resources for economic aid for Klingon reconstruction. This provided Starfleet Command the necessary baseline expenditure levels to determine whether it was possible to maintain current fleet strength. With the fleet composition audit and the budgetary figures in hand Starfleet Command set a goal of a baseline of 350 cruisers, 600 frigates and 1,000 scout or destroyer sized vessels.

The building programs of the 2270s and the 2280s represented the bulk of Starfleet's available strength in 2295 when the first decennial plan was introduced. A consequence of the build-ups after the V'Ger Incident and the Genesis Escalations, Starfleet had a large number of ships scheduled for refit or paying off between 2295 and 2305.

The question raised after the Khitomer Accords was whether or not to continue construction of ship types with limited peace applications like strike cruisers and destroyers. Most combat oriented designs tended to have lower endurance, while their power and propulsion systems generated greater strain on their hull elements. With resources already allocated to the construction of these vessels Starfleet Command ordered them completed and fitted out in order to free up their dockyard slips for new construction.

This decision was rooted in the comparative life-spans of ship hulls on active service. Ships with strong multi-mission capabilities and exploration oriented designs were built with the expectation they would go long periods without refit or repair at dock facilities. Despite the component commonality and similar hull forms, the Belknap-class Strike Cruiser required refits every six years as opposed to the Constitution's ten. Pre-Khitomer fleet policy focused primarily on military capability over efficiency, but a more constrained budgetary environment meant less dockyard work would allow Starfleet to field a larger fleet.

The reality remained that Starfleet's short and medium term strength would largely be drawn from war era building and its hodge podge of designs. To maximize the longevity of new ships, Starfleet chose to employ its stock of militarized starship designs during the first half of the decennial plan. Newly completed strike cruisers and destroyers were placed into service within the tonnage/number restrictions of the Khitomer Accords, while brand new Excelsior, Miranda, Oberth and Constellation class hulls were placed in inactive reserve. Because the Khitomer Accords allowed both the Federation and Klingon Empire to keep non-activated hulls "off the books", this allowed Starfleet to continue to build a large number of hull frames while adhering to the letter of the agreement.

Although all of the new frames bore an exterior resemblence to existing starships, the post-war generation of starship hulls all took advantage of early truss and frame construction techniques pioneered on the USS Excelsior (NX/NCC-2000). The permanent integration of the Structural Integrity Field network into the ship's hull frames allowed Starfleet to make starship interiors a set of customizable modules. In turn this style of construction made hull frames substantially more durable while allowing a ship to rapidly be shifted from an empty spaceframe in ordinary into an active starship. Just as importantly it allowed these spaceframes to be fitted with the latest equipment even if the hull had been finished several years earlier.

Between the time the Khitomer Accords fleet limitations went into effect in 2294 and 2300 Starfleet operated a force little changed from its pre-Khitomer era. The backbone of the fleet remained a mix of Constitution, Belknap, and Miranda based cruisers maintained at a slightly reduced number at 200. A handful of block I and block II Excelsior-class starships took up the most demanding roles, while destroyers, frigates, cutters and corvettes filled in the rest. Older ships requiring extensive refits were retired and either sold to private concerns or placed in backwater surplus depots. Remaining war era ships in the dockyards and spacedocks were completed to fill the gaps left by retirements, but no new keels for these vessels were laid in this period.

Meanwhile analysis into the data gathered by Sinclair-Alexander's team allowed Starfleet to choose a handful of hull types suited for long-term standardization. The Miranda, Constellation and Excelsior classes were chosen as baseline vessels for their combination of durability, future expandability, crew size, and capabilities. All new construction orders after 2294 were in one of these classes, with the hull frames carefully constructed in Starfleet shipyards and placed in Ordinary reserve. Existing shipyard slips at Beta Antares, Tranquility Base, and Utopia Planitia built Miranda and Constellation class hulls, while new yards capable of building the much larger Excelsior-class were built at Earth Station McKinley, San Francisco Fleet Yards, and Utopia Planitia. Between 2295 and 2310 an average of 50 Miranda-class hulls, 12 Constellation-class hulls and 9 Excelsior-class hulls were built each year.

The last generation of pre-Khitomer starships started requiring refit in 2300. Rather than occupy dockyard slips that could be used for new construction, Starfleet decommissioned most of these starships and instead fitted out the hulls in Ordinary. Due to continuing production of new hull frames, the process took longer than original estimates from a lack of available dockyard space. Between 2300 and 2305 Starfleet commissioned an average of 30 Mirandas, 8 Constellations and 6 Excelsiors each year compared to the 60-75 vessels decommissioned. This shortfall was expected to grow as new ships required maintenance and repairs, tying up valuable dockyard space. Hoping to expand its ability to commission new ships without sacrificing new hull production, Starfleet chose to source some new construction to civilian owned shipyards.

Starfleet's record with civilian shipyards building starships was mixed. Most shipyards were able to produce good work given time, but a lack of experience often led to long delays and cost overruns. Further, when conducrting repairs, civilian shipyards were liable to take far longer than their initial estimates when confronted with damage or hull stress types unencountered in private sector operators.

Worse, many shipyards tended to cut small corners when constructing the ship frames. These corners were harmless for civilian equipment given the tendency for overengineering of safety margins, but hampered starships used in more strenuous roles in Starfleet. The system of fitting out preconstructed frames allowed Starfleet to avoid the pitfalls of their older public-private partnerships while retaining the greater capacity. Further by having three ships of different levels of complexity shipyards were able to "practice" on Miranda hulls before moving on to more complex Constellation and Excelsior frames. Yoyodyne Propulsion took advantage of this system to rapidly expand its shipyard business at facilities on Luna, Copernicus and 40 Eridani A.

A stable interstellar political environment allowed the first decennial plan to proceed with only minor changes. Nogura retired from Commander-in-Chief at the end of Ra-Ghoratreii's final term in office in 2300, but with Sinclair-Alexander appointed as his successor, the standardization and building plan continued over the next three presidential administrations. The only significant change between planned forces and final forces was ending production of the Constellation class in starships in 2301 and focusing resources on more Excelsiors and Mirandas in the wake of rising tensions with the Romulan Star Empire.

Fleet Strength as of 2295
Excelsior-class Starships
  • In Service: 12
  • Ordinary Reserve (Hull only): 3
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair: 0
  • Lost/Missing: 5
Miranda-class Starships (Note Includes only post-2293 builds)
  • In Service: 50
  • Ordinary Reserve (Hull only): 25
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair: 0
  • Lost/Missing: 9
Constellation-class Starships
  • In Service: 16
  • Ordinary Reserve (Hull only): 18
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair: 0
  • Lost/Missing: 2
All Other Ship Classes
  • In Service: 1007
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair or in Reserve: 872
  • Lost/Missing: 19
  • Decommissioned: 63
Total Fleet:
  • In Service: 1,085
  • Ordinary (Hull Only):46
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair or in Reserve: 872
  • Lost/Missing/Decommissioned: 91

Fleet Strength as of 2310
Excelsior-class Starships
  • In Service: 91
  • Ordinary Reserve (Hull only): 75
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair: 6
  • Lost/Missing: 2
Miranda-class Starships (Note Includes only post-2293 builds)
  • In Service: 566
  • Ordinary Reserve (Hull only): 385
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair: 50
  • Lost/Missing: 8
Constellation-class Starships
  • In Service: 39
  • Ordinary Reserve (Hull only): 0
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair: 8
  • Lost/Missing: 2
All Other Ship Classes
  • In Service: 555
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair or in Reserve: 208
  • Lost/Missing: 13
  • Decommissioned: 70
Total Fleet
  • In Service: 1,212
  • Ordinary (Hull Only):460
  • Undergoing Refit/Repair or in Reserve: 272
  • Lost/Missing/Decommissioned: 95

Last edited by Nob Akimoto; September 21 2013 at 11:55 PM.
Nob Akimoto is offline   Reply With Quote