In order to fill the gap in ships created by the extensive construction time on the Excelsior-class ships, Starfleet Command ordered dozens of shipyards to design and begin fabrication of various light cruisers. These ships would act as escorts for colony ships and also as patrol vessels until the Excelsior-class ships had enough individual units to perform the task. Biraktes designers came up with the Durkan-class, using spare engine and hull components left over from other construction projects. The seventeen ships built used slightly modified Oberth-class warp engines and impulse decks, Constitution II-class bridge modules, and structural framework salvaged from Neihardt-class heavy cruisers. The resulting ship was surprisingly reliable, and could hold its own against many threat forces of its day while sustaining limited damage. Of the seventeen vessels built, none remain in active Starfleet service; nine have been sold or scrapped, and eight were destroyed while in service.
The first ship in this class to be destroyed was the U.S.S. Casthes, during an incident that took place only fourteen years after she was commissioned. During a patrol run in Sector 1517 the Casthes encountered an area of space seemingly devoid of normal subspace properties and became trapped there, unable to reactivate her warp drive, send a subspace message, or even use the FTL-assisted main computer. By the time a carrier signal reached the closest Federation facility, the Casthes had been torn to pieces by localized subspace distortions. This condition has not been encountered since.
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This page was created on September 7, 1998.
Last modified on February 10, 2005.