Ariel aft dorsal starboard quarter
The Ariel-class Marine Expeditionary Vessel started life as Starfleet's first "supercarrier", birthed only after years of heated debate on the merits of her existence were settled in her favour by the Federation-Mirak War1 of 2275.
Successful if somewhat under-employed in the "civilian" life of peacetime duties, bitter experience and the learning of lessons from the Klingon Taal Tan Offensive2 of 2283 resulted in a shift of priorities.
Though her return to civilian life was more successful than ever, her replacement was already being designed. Once commissioned, these new supercarriers assumed the Ariel's mantle and allowed her to take on new responsibilities for which she found herself far more suited to:
Rapid planetary deployments or evacuation of personnel and equipment.
Coronado Starfleet's first dedicated shuttlecraft-carrier
Even up to the New Technology3 revolution of the late 2260s, carrier starships were still a relatively new and novelty niche in the Star Fleet. So much so that Starfleet's only class of purpose-built shuttlecraft carrier starships by that point was the six-strong Coronado4 class introduced in 2263.
All previous vessels nominally or functionally within the classification of fightercraft carrier were heavy frigates or light cruisers carrying a half- or full squadron respectively5 of Tycho6-class fighters or Arco6-class attack sleds, and these craft were only embarked when the vessel's planned mission profile required them. Further, these craft were not true fighters, merely the ubiquitous Work Bee with a specialised sled attachment for space superiority, and space & ground attack mission profiles.
Such was the ambivalence in the minds of Starfleet's Deployment Planners about a dedicated auxiliary-craft carrier that the Coronado's planned production run of around thirty (30) units was halted at only six (6)7, as even the Chief of Starfleet Operations had doubts about what tasks those ships could be assigned to perform, and how well they'd perform them.
As it turned out the role they'd been designed and built for was no longer extant, but the number of missions a cruiser full of standard and cargo shuttles could aid in turned out to be quite extensive after all. However, by the time the Coronado class had proven itself in these small-scale operations the Star Fleet Operating Forces Staff Committee (SFOFSC) was already seeing the possibilities of a "full-sized" carrier capable of holding around one hundred (100) auxiliary craft. Unfortunately, this meant that further units of the Coronado class were shelved as the Committee pursued supercarrier appropriations with the Federation Council.
The roles envisioned by the SFOFSC for their proposed supercarrier included but were not limited to:
Many such current operations had suffered delays from a lack of auxiliary craft and the ability to efficiently co-ordinate an entire flotilla's available shuttles from the disparate units assembled for a task. The SFOFSC proposed that a supercarrier hull loaded half with fightercraft and half with varying types of shuttlecraft, combined with the small craft co-ordination ability to utilise all of them simultaneously, would bestow some fair degree of flexibility for assigning missions to such craft.
The Council's representatives countered that, with a single supercarrier taking up the only available berth for their construction for six years at a time, construction of a class of them would be correspondingly slow. Not to mention that the resources used in the construction of a single supercarrier (as then proposed) could be used to build three Coronado-sized vessels all at once (in 3 different yards) in half the time, and be used for three different missions and/or in three different locations. For any mission that would require the shuttle complement of a supercarrier, all three of these hypothetical vessels could be assigned to the same mission to provide a roughly similar small-craft complement.
In this manner the debate looped on itself for several years with no agreement being reached because neither side wanted to compromise. With the "New Technology" uprating of most major starship classes now fully underway, appropriations for such a large and resource-intensive vessel were consistently voted down by the Council.
All this changed, however, with the Federation-Mirak War of 2275.
In this vicious and bloody six-month campaign, the Mirak used their newly-developed drone-armed "attack shuttles" to great effect. Operating in pairs, trios, quartets, and half- and full squadrons off standard warships basically, as many as their shuttlebays were safely able to re-arm the Mirak were able to negate Starfleet's qualitive edge and firepower by weight of numbers and massed drone launches. Though the surprise attack took a heavy toll on the unprepared Federation, that losses remained high after Starfleet had regained its balance was something of a shock to the Federation and Starfleet leadership.
At the height of these attacks the Federation Council finally authorised Starfleet to develop its own shuttlecarrier classes. the SFOFSC took full advantage of this by pushing forward both its supercarrier design and a wholly-new cruiser-sized carrier. Fully twelve (12) supercarriers and twenty (20) carriers were authorised, though appropriations for only four (4) supercarriers came through while all carriers were funded. The carrier design had the full backing of both Starfleet and the Federation Council, based both on the stellar performance of the Coronados and the effectiveness of the Mirak cruisers when supported by their own quartet of fighters. Construction began immediately on the supercarrier hull SC 2200 while the design of SC 2213 was fleshed out by the various groups interested in her.
Soon after the close of hostilities three months later, however, cooler heads began questioning the purely military slant the SC 2213 design was taking. Without an active war, twenty of these vessels seemed like overkill. What would these vessels do during peacetime?
This debate raged on until it swung completely in the opposite direction. Much like the Coronado class, SC 2213 would now be more multi-purpose with only a secondary military role. She was not expected to take part in combat herself, merely to launch her fighters in support of a mission objective if combat were to arise. During peace-time she would be an exploratory cruiser like the Constitution-variant Tikopai class, with a mission brief of exploring worlds with non-Class M environments.
Having finally been given the green light after almost a decade of trying, however, SC 2200 now named the U.S.S. Ariel proceeded as planned.
Heavy Cruiser redesign concept aft dorsal starboard quarter
The Ariel in her final design configuration bears a remarkable similarity to an early concept for the heavy cruiser New Technology redesign by famed San Francisco Fleet Yards Chief Designer Ralph McQuarrie. This is because Ariel was indeed based on that concept.
In its original form the design was much smaller and possessed of only a single wide shuttlebay in the usual heavy cruiser location at the aft end of the secondary hull. However, with the decision to uprate existing heavy cruisers with New Technology rather than scratch-build an entirely new class a saving in time and resources as well as avoiding the creation of a fleet of suddenly second-rate ships this revolutionary design was shelved.
However, the delta-winged hull proven in simulation to be incredibly warp dynamic caught the sensory apparatus of the supercarrier design team, who were constantly updating their own design concepts for each time the SFOFSC went to the Federation Council to seek appropriations.
Ariel dorsal orthographic
The supercarrier project team first up-sized the secondary hull while maintaining dimensional ratios to a volume that could easily house eighty (80) Class-F standard interstellar shuttles which at this time was the Galileo Class-F Type-4 shuttle, immediate successor to the venerable and beloved Mark 12-B Class-F Type-3 while still maintaining the general engineering infrastructure of the original heavy cruiser design proposal. By doing so this allowed the designers to place four (4) light cruiser-style shuttlebays on both sides of the Engineering Hull's impulse engine housing, for a total of eight (8) bays on three (3) levels.
Individual landing space was at a premium due to the use of these more compact shuttlebays over a heavy cruiser's arrangement, but with eight bays to distribute landing shuttlecraft around no problems were foreseen. Extending deep into the secondary hull from the landing decks hangar space was prodigious, as was shuttle maintenance and cargo space.
Warp and Secondary Impulse Engineering was placed almost dead-centre within the delta-winged hull, forward of the shuttlebay volume on the centreline.
From previous design concepts the Ariel Project Team expected to require at least two massive or at least four standard nacelles to properly envelope a ship of this size in a warp field. With the incorporation of McQuarrie's revolutionary concept into their design the team was surprised to find this was no longer the case. A pair of slightly modified LN-65 nacelles designated LN-65A would be sufficient to the task.
Tests revealed that the warp dynamics of her hullform would actually be increased further by a deeper "belly" volume, and so the front end of this great delta-winged starship was built up in a slender fashion, with the dorsal neck stretching almost the entire length of the Engineering Hull.
It was originally envisaged that the saucer section would be dispensed with due to the volume available in the delta-wing hull. However, it was discovered that the shuttle, cargo, maintenance, engineering, and support facilities took up so much more space than expected that precious little of the hull volume remained for the actual crew and ship operations equipment.
The saucer section was thus kept for much the same reasons as the Balson's was. Unlike the command ship, however, the Ariel's saucer section had to be up-sized. Such a large ship required a large crew which grew further with the inclusion of the pilots and deck crews of the carrier shuttlecraft wing, and all these people had to be quartered and provided for with facilities recreational and domestic.
Incorporating a standard flag bridge module, sensor package, and impulse engine housing, the saucer was enlarged 158% from the Class 1-B standard to contain all the necessary equipment and infrastructure for her projected 700-strong crew.
With the secondary hull already as long and wide as the length of a heavy cruiser, adding a primary hull which was almost as long as a light cruiser meant that a truly gargantuan vessel was in the making.
Out-massing the original Federation-class dreadnought by a factor of almost six (6) and an uprated heavy cruiser by almost eight (8), this nearly half-a-kilometre-long behemoth would take six years to complete from the first gamma-weld to the commissioning ceremony.
She was so big only Star Fleet Division (Starfleet's own construction group) was able to commit the personnel, resources, and yard volume needed to build her, in their San Francisco Orbital Fleet Yards. In order to get this class of vessel into service as rapidly as possible, as soon as Ariel was spaceworthy she was to exit her construction dock to allow the next vessel to be started. Ariel would be moved to a parking orbit to complete ship-fitting and systems integration.
Begun at the end of October 2275 as hostilities with the Mirak wound down, the U.S.S. Ariel NCC-2200 was launched under her own power four and a quarter (4.25) years later in January 2280. She was placed in a parking orbit over Luna in the Copernicus Ship Yards and spent another twenty-one (21) months fitting out while her first sister, U.S.S. Ichkeul NCC-2201, began her own journey to completion.
Amid great pomp and circumstance the Ariel was officially commissioned into active Starfleet duty on stardate 7771.84, 9:33am Federation Base Time (F.B.T.) on the 22nd of November 2281. All Federation citizens and visitors were invited to watch and take part in the proceedings on Luna where a grand procession of many different auxiliary craft were welcomed aboard Starfleet's first supercarrier as her embarked space group. They landed eight at a time in a fantastic display of synchronised formation flying, the culmination of which was shown from sensor feeds inside her eight huge landing bays as they landed and taxied to their parking bays as if performing a ballet.
They were followed by a stunning display of flying skill from Starfleet's own astrobatics team, the Star Blazers, who wowed the audience with their repertoire of nanosecond-timed complex solo, duo, trio, quartet, and squadron-level formation flying manoeuvres, before they too landed aboard the Ariel, distributed three each to her eight bays.
It was a very successful and crowd-pleasing event which was also broadcast Federation-wide on Starfleet Comms Channel 1 (SCC1), and carried by affiliates outwith the Federation to her allies and friendly nations.
After the recriminations Starfleet faced due to the hemming-in of and covert operations against the Mirak which in large part led to the war with them, it was a much needed Public Relations (P.R.) boost.
Ariel spent the following year putting into practice all the simulated operational doctrines her pilots would be using while also performing a goodwill tour of the Federation's frontier colonies, outposts, and starbases. During this time there were fortunately or unfortunately no major incidents which required the presence of a supercarrier.
In the years following the end of Klingon Privateering and the Mirak War, relative peace had decended on the Federation and her more belligerent neighbours. Rival Klingon Great Houses fought a minor civil war for domination of the High Council, focussing their attention inward after the fallout from their war with their erstwhile allies, the Romulans.
With both major fronts rendered quiet by rebuilding efforts, exploration once again became Starfleet's primary focus and there was not much for the sole supercarrier and her pilots to do except train, test their doctrine, and show the flag.
That all came to an abrupt end when the startling discovery was made that the Organians had mysteriously departed their homeworld. The Klingons wasted no time and mounted an immediate blitzkreig on the Federation along their inner border. The Klingons pressed to gain territory in essence to take control of the disputed zones so long denied them by first the Federation and then the Organians. They went about it with great dispatch and before a ceasefire was negotiated they had claimed several of the systems they already saw as theirs.
During this campaign the Ariel had her trial by fire. Her sister still only 60% complete, Starfleet's sole supercarrier flew to meet her destiny and perform the role she'd been created for.
The Ariel's Shuttle Carrier Battle Group (S.C.B.G.) consisted of the Ariel accompanied by the Soyuz-class ELINT cruiser Springfield at the centre of the task group. The Springfield was on station for Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Communications Intelligence (COMINT), & Electronic Warfare (E.W.) duties. Englobing them were the uprated Constitution-class heavy cruiser Indefatigable, the Belknap-class strike cruiser Concord, the Knox-class heavy frigate Swihizar, the uprated Loknar-class heavy frigate Akheil, the uprated Saladin-class destroyers Hashihiyun and De Ruyter, the Polaris-class destroyer Shran, and the Okinawa-class frigates Falklands, Kyushu, and Xir`tan.
Finally assembled in the third week of the conflict, they set course for Archanis IV where intelligence suggested the Klingons were about to launch a full-scale invasion. Ariel's S.C.B.G. succeeded in repulsing the Klingon Strike Fleet assigned to clear the region of Starfleet forces, but it was by no means a rout.
In order to stop the Klingons it was realised late on that while sixty (60) fighters and their ten (10) E.W. and Spaceborne Warning And Control Systems (SWACS) support shuttles made an impressive force, bringing an enemy fleet to battle was still the province of starships. The fighters, while capable of warp speed, could not hope to catch the Klingn strike fleet heading at high warp to clear out the Archanis system of "real" ships. In order to lure the Klingons away from their primary objective a proper threat had to be offered. A cruiser and a couple of escorts would not divert the entire strike fleet from Archanis, and using all Ariel's escorts for this required leaving the carrier undefended. This was deemed too big a risk to take as once her fighters were detected the Klingons would know Ariel was close by and go hunting for her.
Thus Ariel herself was included in the action, in a fight that no one from Earth's 21st Century could have imagined: the equivalent of a Nimitz-class supercarrier and her battle group fighting with a Kirov-class heavy battlecruiser and his battlegroup within visual range.
The battle itself was brutal for Ariel's escorts. Defending the supercarrier at all costs was a nightmarish situation where all-out attack was the only workable defence. Leaving the frigates and Springfield to guard the Ariel, the cruisers, destroyers, heavy frigates, and Ariel's fighters went for the Klingon heavies like grape and canister shot aiming for the mainmast. Starfleet's weight of numbers and firepower as supplied by Ariel's fighters carried the day, but greivous damage was done to both sides.
During the battle the Klingon Strike Fleet's commander saw the Ariel in action and observed the nature of the supercarrier's recovery and re-launch operations massing the fighters to the rear as per doctrine. Already losing the action, the wily Klingon directed his most maneouvreable ships to attack from the flank with lightning decloak-attack-cloak-reposition (DACR) strikes. He hoped to destroy the fighters landing and launching, and damage the Ariel herself through the lowered shields. Even if no damage was done it would still most likely prevent the supercarrier from both recovering fighters for repair and re-launching them to attack anew.
This design characteristic, which the designers had thought would protect the fighters at their most vulnerable by shielding them with Ariel's massive hull, actually allowed flanking enemy units to simply saturate the landing bay approach vectors with proximity fire in an almost continuous barrage. The D-17 Qud and K-22 B`rel-class ships cloaked to evade the Ariel's guardians and once having a clear shot they decloaked, fired off a barrage of proximity-fused photorps, and re-cloaked, evading any response and forcing the Starfleet ships into a permanent defensive, reactive stance.
It was also realised that, while the Ariel's design was indisputably warp dynamic, at sublight speeds she was a barge. Implemented as a heavy cruiser as originally planned she would have been as maneouvreable as a Belknap-class, if not moreso. As a supercarrier though the sheer mass of her hulls defeated the otherwise excellent positioning of her thrusters, which needed to have their number at least doubled to match even a Federation-class dreadnought's handling characteristics. However, no one had envisaged this battle and Starfleet's first supercarrier suffered for this lack of foresight.
Caught in the heart of the battle outside the star system, the Ariel's escorts could not safeguard their primary or her fighters. It was a difficult first battle and her landing bays took secondary damage from photon torpedo blast waves as her aft shields had to be down to allow her fighters back on board. It was never envisioned that a supercarrier would be involved in direct combat or have to perform flight operations in the heat of battle. While Ariel herself had been mostly protected with her dreadnought-level shielding and the still-potent E.W. prowess of the Springfield, the harrassing operation by the cloaking enemy destroyers and frigates had come as a complete surprise and thus was poorly defended against. Even so, the Klingon group was defeated and Archanis was saved, but doubt had been thrown on Ariel's survivability and utility in a fixed-point fleet battle.
Being too valuable a fleet unit to come so close to destruction, Starfleet re-tasked her to supporting strikes from the sidelines. Here, out of direct danger, she and her wing performed well and in this manner she survived the war while still making a significant contribution, though always guarded by at least a strike cruiser and two escort destroyers.
Towards the end of the conflict, Starfleet had beaten back the Klingon navy but still needed to liberate several planets from their ground troops. It was here that the Ariel found her true wartime calling.
After being hastily reconfigured internally, then fully loaded with an 1,800-strong reinforced battalion of the Federation Starfleet Marine Corps (F.S.M.C.), their organic vehicles, heavy weapons, and support units, the Ariel's massive shuttle-launching capabilities truly came to the fore.
Now within a battlespace cleared of at least the major enemy units, a planet at her back, and with frigates and destroyers able to protect her flanks, the massive delta-wing hull fulfilled its purpose of shielding the terribly vulnerable and fully loaded cargo, heavy transport, and assault shuttles as they departed to descend through the atmosphere. The Klingon harrassing forces found they could not maneouvre as freely as before and had to expose themselves to attack, which Ariel's guardians took vicious advantange of.
It was entirely due to Ariel that the pergium mines of Janus VI and the heavily contested colony of Donatu V were retaken, which in turn led indirectly to the negotiated peace. Ariel's troop and equipment transfer capabilities in this area gave the Federation Council confidence in Starfleet's claims of being able to liberate planets even while under constant attack by Klingon forces determined to prevent that. Starfleet was given the go-ahead to take back the Klingon-captured star systems one planet at a time, and troop freighters and transport pods began marshalling at Starbase Six.
This did not happen, however, as Federation diplomats, horrified by the impending loss of life on top of the greivous losses already sustained, desperately tried and eventually succeed in bringing the Klingons to the negotiating table and keeping them there until a ceasefire was negotiated.
In the aftermath of the war the Ariel's combat record was scrutinised and analysed endlessly. Starfleet Tactical came to the conclusion that, as she was, she could not be used to take control of a battlespace. Her purported greatest strength had become her greatest weakness when directly threatened by enemy warships. As a direct result of this report the other two Ariel-class ships on order were cancelled and their appropriations reassigned. Ichkeul was permitted to be completed as she was over 60% there already and scrapping her would have been a complete waste of resources. This did mean that Starfleet was short on a needed class, however, but before that need could be filled, a solution for situations like the Battle of Archanis had to be found.
Further, the SC 2213 Jenshahn-class had also been found wanting in combat. Configured as an exploratory starship with limited tactical capability, members of the Jenshahn class pressed into war service had proven their need for dedicated escort vessels so that their fighters could be used for more than merely self-defence duties. In light of this, a redesign of the Jenshahn was authorised to provide two new classes: a fully-capable multi-role carrier; and a dedicated cruiser-sized fighter carrier to be used solely by TacFleet.
The war over, Ariel returned to her peaceime roles, performing them ably and efficiently. She was in fact much in demand now as despite a negotiated end to hostilities, the Klingons continued to attack Starfleet interests and Federation settlements in or near the remaining disputed zones. Colony rebuilding support and regrettably mass evacuations were becoming the norm for her.
Meanwhile, work on the new carrier designs proceeded apace. The new cruiser-carriers had their designs finalised and authorisations and appropriations were given for twenty-seven (27) SC 2263 Youngblood-class and ten (10) SC 2610 Chosin-class ships. The new supercarrier's development teams were learning the lessons of Archanis: initial proposals had a similar eight landing bays but with multiple approach vectors; the bays themselves were up-sized to match that of a heavy cruiser's landing deck and bay door size; greatly increased active and passive self-defence systems were incorporated; all placed in an even larger hull that could be completely compartmentalised to mitigate dangerous hull breaches; and with a hull cross-section that allowed for the efficient placement of sufficient thrusters for better sublight maneouvreability. This new supercarrier took shape even as Ariel's sister neared her launch date.
With so many carrier-type starships now in service, under construction, or in development, their hull classification codes were re-organised. The Coronado class, initially classified as Shuttle Carriers on construction with hull code "SC", were reclassified as Through-Deck Cruisers with hull code "CD" when Ariel and Jenshahn began construction in 2275-76. This was so that Ariel and her anticipated sisters could assume the mantle of Starfleet's Shuttle Carrier. Now that the Coronado, Jenshahn, and Ariel classes were in service and the Youngblood, Chosin, and and SC 2202 classes were under construction, the cruiser-sized carriers were redesignated as Carrier Vessels with hull code "CV", The Coronado was redesignated as a Through Deck Carrier Vessel with hull code "CVD", TacFleet's Chosin class was redesignated a Strike Carrier Vessel with hull code "CVS", and the supercarriers were re-designated as Full-sized or Fleet Carrier Vessels with hull code "CVF".
Design work was completed on CVF 2202 in 2285 and authorisation and appropriations were given for a class of ten. San Francisco Orbital Fleet Yards had launched Excelsior and Ichkeul the previous year so CVF 2202 and SO 2001 the second attempt at a Space Control Ship, the Ingram began construction.
Ichkeul was commisioned with as much pomp and circumstance as Ariel on the 10th of Januay 2286, almost a year after construction on her replacement had begun. To give Ariel's sister ship her time in the sun, it was decided not to announce the name for CVF 2202 until Ichkeul had been in service for six months after completing her shakedown cruise. Ichkeul was again well received by the Federation public, who after Ariel's well-publicised good-will tours and her aid missions after Taal Tan had come to see the supercarriers as potent symbols of the Federation's commitment to its citizens and Starfleet's ability to help in large-scale civilian assistance situations. With the the Klingons continuing and even increasing their belligerence despite the Archanis peace treaty, this massive ship and her demonstrated capablities inspired confidence for Starfleet in the Federation's frontier citizenry.
In the five years between her commissioning and the commissioning ceremony of the U.S.S. Ark Royal NCC-2202, Ariel and Ichkeul performed in the Fleet Carrier role when the occasion demanded it, though fortunately not having to do so in any full-scale direct combat actions. Most of the time however they performed even more valuable work as emergency resupply & reconstruction or evacuation vessels, helping to rapidly bolster outlying colonies with new defences, reserves of food and other essential materials, and offloading fighters for local defence. Many a colony was later saved when unsuspecting Klingon raiders encountered a full fighter squadron emerging from hidden bunkers on-planet.
When the Tabula Rasa systems were revealed to be a trap instead of a gift, the nature of the Metar Onslaught precluded the use of the supercarriers in their traditional role. The Metar Bioship weapons were able to track and hit even fast-moving targets like fighters, and were so rapid-firing that even a squadron stood no chance against them. When only an alpha strike from a dreadnought or a squadron of cruisers could even damage a solo Bioship, to use fighters would mean sending their pilots to certain death and merely to soak up enemy fire to allow the capital ships to launch their own barrage.
The Ariels were instead used to rapidly deploy entire reinforced battalions of the F.S.M.C. to planets facing a Metar incursion, while simultaneously evacuating all non-combat personnel and what resources could be saved. In this role both Ariels proved incredibly effective with the simultaneous, co-ordinated, and repeated launches of half-squadrons of cargo shuttles for their intended destinations.
During the three-faction Klingon civil war which resulted in Gorkon's ascension to the Chancellorship of the High Council, both Fleet Carriers and their shuttle groups were on full alert and actively patrolling different sections of the Federation-Klingon border. The threat of this bitter and highly self-destructive conflict spilling over the border was so great that Starfleet pushed up the ship-fitting schedule for the Ark Royal, enabling her to be deployed immediately after her commissioning ceremony.
With the entry into service of Ark Royal in 2292 amid even greater P.R. events than before, including a media campaign promoting how Ark Royal's C.V.B.G. would be taking on front-line deterence patrols in the disputed zones, Ichkeul was freed to be permanently assigned to emergency operations. With the General War in full swing between everyone else in Local Space it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before the Federation was dragged into it too. All three Fleet Carriers and their battle groups were on high alert. However, despite the rising tide of border skirmishes, the Federation managed to stay out of this one until the Klingon Empire self-destucted.
1. Inspired by the Kzinti Incursion in 2272 from Guenther & Sofia, Ships of the Star Fleet Volume One (2290-91), § State of the Fleet p7 ¶2.
2. Guenther & Sofia, Ships of the Star Fleet Volume One (2290-91), § Enterprise p33 ¶5.
3. Guenther & Sofia, Ships of the Star Fleet Volume One (2290-91), § Enterprise p33 ¶1.
4. Guenther & Sofia, Ships of the Star Fleet Volume One (2290-91), § Coronado pp23-26.
5. Schmidt, Starfleet Dynamics, § Operations Department sub-§ Starships, Spaceships, and Civilian Vessels pp76-77.
6. Diane Carey, TOS Novel #29 'Dreadnought'.
7. Guenther & Sofia, Ships of the Star Fleet Volume One (2290-91), § Coronado p23 ¶2.
20. Timo Saloniemi, Hobbyist's Guide to the UFP Starfleet - Parts II and III, § Shuttlecraft pp156-194.