«Last Updated – May 15, 2019»
design by John Bandow
Compact and maneuverable, the Columbus class of Exploration cruiser was design to focus on deep space phenomenon research and star mapping of the ever expanding Federation boarder. Smaller than other front-line exploration cruisers, the Columbus could still provide the required abilities while serving in other roles along the frontier.
Yet designers knew that the Columbus had the potential to encounter hostiles during it duties, and armed the Columbus with four heavy lasers. More significantly, the explorer was equipped with two heavy FAC-2 cannons. This gave the cruiser excellent defensive capability, which it would use less than five years after it’s launch during the Four-Year’s war.
The Columbus class would not actually face combat until part way through the war. At the beginning the the conflict, nearly all of the Columbus vessels were in service far from the Klingon boarder. When the Mk I’s finally entered the fray, the dangers of large scale fleet combat with the Empire were well known. None the less, the Mk I’s combat capability was sorely tested during the conflict. By war’s end, six had been destroyed and four more had been so heavily damaged that they were scrapped.
The Mk I would return to general service, despite it’s primary systems now being out of date. It was not until early 2262 that a successful upgrade was fielded. The Mk II saw a host of improvements of the older vessel, including a larger computer, larger impulse drive and upgrades to the primary weapons to the now standardized phaser and photon torpedo combination. It was the powerful FSI that would see the Columbus class through the next major encounter with the Klingons during the Organian conflict. The Mk II’s shields gave the Columbus class excellent defense against the aggressive Klingon vessels it encountered.
Although a Mk III was proposed shortly after the early launch of the USS Enterprise in 2271, designers quickly realized that an upgrade or refit would as costly and time consuming as a complete redesign. The decision to redesign rather than upgrade was made that very same year. The last Columbus was pulled from service in 2273.
Although 40 were originally intended, only 36 Columbus class vessels were fielded. 14 Mk I’s were eventually converted to Mk II’s. 7 Mk I’s were destroyed. 6 Mk I’s and 1 Mk II were scrapped. 2 Mk I’s and 4 Mk II’s were disarmed and sold. 6 Mk II’s are currently in reserve fleets. 11 Mk II’s were converted to other classes.
The Columbus were produced at the Merak and Sol VI facilities.
|Model –||Mk I||Mk II|
|Ship Class –||X||X|
|Date Entering Service –||2247||2262|
|Number Constructed –||29||7|
|Superstructure Points –||20||20|
|Damage Chart –||C||C|
|Length –||268 m||268 m|
|Width –||123 m||123 m|
|Height –||52 m||52 m|
|Weight –||159,755 mt||159,170 mt|
|Total SCU –||195.3 SCU||195.3 SCU|
|Cargo Capacity –||9,765 mt||9,765 mt|
|Landing Capacity –||None||None|
|Control Computer Type –||M-3||M-4|
|Standard 6-person –||4||4|
|Emergency 22-person –||4||4|
|Engines And Power Data:|
|Total Power Units Available –||38||44|
|Movement Point Ratio –||3/1||3/1|
|Warp Engine Type –||FWC-1||FWC-1|
|Power Units Available –||16 ea.||16 ea.|
|Stress Chart –||O/M||O/M|
|Max Safe Cruising Speed –||Warp 7||Warp 7|
|Emergency Speed –||Warp 9||Warp 9|
|Impulse Engine Type –||FIC-2 (x2)||FIC-3 (x2)|
|Power Units Available –||3 ea.||6 ea.|
|Weapons And Firing Data:|
|Beam Weapon Type –||FL-4||FH-5|
|Firing Arcs –||2 f/p, 2 f/s||2 f/p, 2 f/s|
|Firing Chart –||G||R|
|Maximum Power –||3||4|
|Torpedo Weapon Type –||FAC-2||FP-1|
|Firing Arcs –||2 f||2 f|
|Firing Chart –||G||L|
|Power to Arm –||4||1|
|Deflector Shield Type –||FSG||FSI|
|Shield Point Ratio –||1/1||1/3|
|Maximum Shield Power –||9||11|