Lafayette Class VIII Research Cruiser

«Last Updated on January 3, 2024 »

cruiser - lafayette - research cruiser

design by John Bandow

The Lafayette class was a short lived attempt to field a full research cruiser in a lighter ship. Built to be roomy, the Lafayette class had extra large internal spaces designed to be used by it’s tremendous science crew during research and front line exploration. Specialized plasma wave guides allowed direct flow from the main intermix chamber to the warp nacelles, giving the Lafayette class a significant advantage in acceleration. The Lafayette class also mounted froward and aft primary deflector and sensor systems, allowing the vessel to conduct unusual maneuvers even while at warp.

The Mk I was also fitted with four accelerator cannons which doubled as probe launching systems. This gave the cruiser the ability to launch multiple probes simultaneously in nearly any condition. The Lafayette class cruisers massive research staff meant that the ship could quickly and easily focus multiple science disciplines on a single target or research multiple targets simultaneously. The Lafayette cruisers science capabilities was equal to even the beloved Constitution class, which would eventually incorporate several of the systems found on the Lafayette class.

Unfortunately, the Lafayette class cruisers abilities came with a price, which became apparent when war broke out. While all eight Lafayette’s had been launched and were operational by the beginning of the conflict, they were by no means as powerful or capable as a full fledged heavy cruiser. The Mk I was woefully under-powered, even for ships half its size. While this had not been a problem during it’s early exploration career, the Lafayette’s found themselves as the first line of defense as shortly after the battle of Axxanar. Seven of the eight existing Lafayette class cruisers were rushed to the front, serving in a heavy cruiser role. It was felt at the time that the larger crew could compensate for the reduced combat capabilities. At the Battle of Genmarx, three Lafayettes were severely damaged. Two weeks later at the Battle of Lea, two more Lafayette class cruisers were also severely damaged. While few ships involved in these battles were unscathed, it was soon clear that the Lafayette class was inefficient in a combat role. Even as shipyards attempted to rush a replacement cruiser to take the place of the remaining Lafayette class vessels, the Battle of Lyclydun would prove disastrous with the loss of two more Lafayette cruisers with all hands. The decision was made to remove the last Lafayette cruiser from combat and reassign it to exploration far from the front lines.

Ironically, the last Lafayette class would disappear shortly before the wars end. With most of it’s resources taken up by the war, only a cursory search could be made. The disappearance remains a mystery to this day.

While the Lafayette class was underwhelming in combat, once repaired, they continued to serve until 2262. As with other vessels of the time, a major refit to include new power systems and upgrade the weapons was deemed so costly that the class was retired and placed in reserve fleet status. The last Lafayette class was removed from service in June of 2262.

Of the 8 Lafayette class cruisers built, 2 were destroyed in the war. Two more were scrapped and one is listed as missing. The remaining two are now museums, one located at Andor and one at Merak. The Lafayette class was built at the Merak shipyards.

Construction Data:
Model – Mk I
Ship Class – VIII
Date Entering Service – 2248
Number Constructed – 8
Hull Data:
Superstructure Points – 20
Damage Chart – C
Length – 251.1 m
Width – 127.1 m
Height – 69.5 m
Weight – 118,135 mt
Total SCU – 493 SCU
Cargo Capacity – 24,650 mt
Landing Capacity – None
Equipment Date:
Control Computer Type – M-2
Standard 6-person – 3
Emergency 22-person – 4
Cargo – 2
Other Data:
Crew – 447
Passengers – 5
Shuttlecraft – 1
Engines And Power Data:
Total Power Units Available – 19
Movement Point Ratio – 3/1
Warp Engine Type – FWE-1
Number – 2
Power Units Available – 8 ea.
Stress Chart – G/K
Max Safe Cruising Speed – Warp 7
Emergency Speed – Warp 9
Impulse Engine Type – FIC-2
Power Units Available – 3
Weapons And Firing Data:
Beam Weapon Type – FL-1
Number – 4
Firing Arcs – 2 f, 1 p, 1 s
Firing Chart – D
Maximum Power – 2
Damage Modifiers:
+3 (-)
+2 (-)
+1 (-)
Torpedo Weapon Type – FAC-1
Number – 4
Firing Arcs – 2 f, 2 a
Firing Chart – F
Power to Arm – 3
Damage – 8
Shield Data:
Deflector Shield Type – FSC
Shield Point Ratio – 1/1
Maximum Shield Power – 7
Combat Efficiency:
D – 47.6
WDF – 9.6
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