The Ship

The starship specifications on this site were originally created by Star Trek: A Call to Duty’s Advanced Starship Design Bureau

By Robert Siwak (from A Call To Duty)


Accommodation:  290 Officers and Crew, 60-110 visiting personnel

Classification:   Frigate [Defensive/Explorer/Diplomatic]

Funding for New Orleans Class Development Project Provided by:  Advanced Starship Design Bureau, Theoretical Propulsion Group, Jupiter Station Research and Development, Daystrom Institute, United Federation of Planets Defense Council

Development Project Started:  2334

Production Start Date:  2339

Production End Date:  2359

Current Status:  In Service – Undergoing Second Design Refit


Length: 345 meters
Width: 246 meters
Height: 75 meters
Weight: 1,100,000 metric tonnes
Cargo capacity: Dependent upon mission type

Hull: Duranium/Tritanium Hull

Number of Decks: 18

The New Orleans Class Development Project began in 2334 with the intent of expanding upon the successful Springfield-class design and ushering in a new era of warp propulsion originally conceived for the Transwarp project.  While falling far short of the expected speeds that the Transwarp project promised, new advances in warp geometry allowed computer simulations to postulate that speeds in excess of Warp 9.2 were possible, greatly improving over the Warp 8.9 limit that the Springfield suffered.  While retaining the familiar saucer section of the Springfield, the most noticeable addition to the New Orleansspaceframe is the engineering section and redesigned warp nacelles.  Coupled with a revolutionary isolinear computer system and the unique ability to be equipped with mission-specific pods, the New Orleansquickly became a favorite during the mid-24th Century.

Initial production of the New Orleans-class began at Starfleet’s San Francisco Fleet Yards before spreading to several other production areas within the Federation, most notably the nearby Copernicus Fleet Yards and the ship building facilities at Starbase 134, as well as other yards specialized in the construction of frigates, light cruisers and medium cruisers.

Taking the Springfield design to the next level, an engineering hull was attached to the lower saucer and, unlike the Ambassador and laterGalaxy-class, the absence of a connecting “neck” between the primary and secondary hull produced a smaller profile that was more difficult to hit.  This design would see further development with the Nebula andIntrepid-class designs, which also lack the vulnerable connecting segment that was blamed for the loss of several Galaxy-class starships during the Dominion War.  With the launch of a hull capable of separating and then reattaching some 20 years away, as well the New Orleans’s relatively small size, it was deemed unnecessary to develop the ability to separate the ship in a manner similar to the Excelsior and Ambassador classes.


While conceived in an era of relative peace in the United Federation of Planets, Starfleet Intelligence anticipated potential flare-ups on the Federation border, most notably the Tholian, Cardassian and Talarian frontiers, as well as the anticipated return of the Romulan Star Empire to the galactic foreground.  Running side-by-side in development with the Steamrunner-class, Starfleet Command required that, like the Springfield, the New Orleans would be superbly equipped to handle skirmishes and border conflicts because of developing delays with the Steamrunner, which was intended to become the choice defensive cruiser.  The standard hull of the New Orleans sports a total of six phaser array segments and two torpedo launchers, quickly replacing both the Springfield and Merced-class as the premier frigate in Starfleet’s inventory.  When approached with the daunting task of upgrading the design to support further armament midway through the project, a young researcher proposed the idea of attaching pods to the outer hull.  While opening the way for further developments, it also meant that specialized torpedo pods could be attached to further increase the fire power of the vessel.

These pods also saved the New Orleans from early retirement when the class took heavy losses in the Dominion War during the mid-2370’s, for it allowed the surviving spaceframes to be equipped with various pods types to perform specific tasks outside the ship’s original border patrol responsibilities, which has now been passed on to the completed Steamrunner line of starships.

It should be noted that the class performed admirably during the Galen Border Conflicts of the 2350’s, where the first production line of New Orleans-class vessels, serving alongside the aging Constellation-class, mounted a successful defensive against Talarian forces encroaching on the disputed Galen System.  While the colony on Galen IV was destroyed in 2356, the heavy losses in the Talarian fleet resulted in the successful peace accords later that year.  The Cardassian Wars of the 2350’s and 60’s was the result of the first large-scale conflict between the Federation and the Cardassian Union in the Galactic Northwestern most portion of the Federation’s holdings in the Alpha Quadrant.  Several New Orleans-class starships represented the bulk of a mixed fleet that included Miranda and newly produced Akira-class vessels responsible for defending established colonies in that region.  The first disappointment in the New Orleans’s service record occurred in the Borg Incursion of 2366, where a relatively small handful of ships were lost in the total of 39 at Wolf 359.  That handful, however, contained the U.S.S. Kyushu which acted as the pride of New Orleans line.  Her loss was somewhat dimmed by the overall scope of the battle, where many more ships of the line were destroyed while intercepting the Borg Cube on its way to Earth.

Many years prior to the engagement at Wolf 359, the first production line of the New Orleans-class was entering their 20th year of service and in 2359 the first of four scheduled refits in the spaceframe’s 80-year expected lifetime began as the U.S.S. Salzburg entered Drydock 14 at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards.  On March 28, 2359, after nearly three months of overhauls, the Salzburg left the dock a practically new ship.  The metal decks that had been a signature design feature for the past 100 years were now being replaced with carpeting and softer color tones throughout the ship, in some respects reflecting the change in overall look aboard Starfleet ships as Nebula and soon-to-be launched Galaxy-class starships did in promoting a family environment, even while these ships were on the edge of known space.


No New Orleans-class ships were present when the Borg attempted a second assimilation attempt of Earth in 2373, but the class incurred its heaviest losses to date in the same year as minor skirmishes erupted into a war on the Cardassian frontier.  Forces of an alliance between the Cardassian Union and the Dominion engaged Federation and Klingon forces across the former demilitarized zone.  Forced to take on larger Galor-class ships on their own in some instances, the shortcomings of the New Orleans became apparent.  Further losses occurred at the unsuccessful defense in the Battle of Betazed while the Federation Tenth Fleet was caught out of position on a training exercise, allowing the planet to be taken and putting nearby Federation worlds at risk of invasion.  Elements of the Fifth Fleet, including severalNew Orleans-class vessels, did however help in the rapid evacuation of key facilities in the area before the Dominion could secure its hold on the planet.

Pulled away from hotspots along the Cardassian border, the majority of the remaining New Orleans-class ships still in service were assigned interior defense duties or attached to outposts and deep space stations along the Federation’s relatively quiet borders to the galactic west.  The remaining vessels were immediately put into drydock where components originally destined for the class’s second refit in 2379 were installed earlier to increase the effectiveness of the ship.  Now revamped with Type-X phaser arrays and increased power output, as well as defense against Breen energy dampening weapons, several ships made it back to the frontlines to participate in Operation Return in 2374 when station Deep Space Nine was taken back from its Cardassian captors.  Seeing only limited participation in the final Invasion of Cardassia Prime in 2375, the New Orleans remains a member of the peace keeping force in that area to date.

Approximately one-third of the remaining New Orleans-class vessels are presently equipped with their torpedo pods and on duty around the Federation border, steadily being replaced by the Steamrunner-class.  The majority of the remaining two-thirds are presently assigned to various mission-specific tasks throughout the Federation, ensuring that while their numbers have fallen sharply, the class still stands as a proud symbol of the Federation.  The remaining ships are in drydocks throughout the Federation, undergoing their second refit.  Projections show that the class will most likely be retired before the end of the century, twenty years short of its original design lifetime.  This early retirement is the result of current predictions in overall fleet production.  Several hulls that were originally decommissioned or only partially completed prior to the end of the class’s production run in 2359 were brought back to full operational status during and after the Dominion War in an effort to reinforce the falling numbers in the Federation fleet.

With most of the New Orleans-class’s original mission objectives taken over by starships developed in the past half-century, it is not surprising to see that the ship has been tailored for more mission-specific applications.  The use of the design’s pods has allowed for the starship to easily be reassigned for multi-mission applications, making it one of the smallest designs capable of handling an endless amount of customized applications in the medium-sized starship range.  Still, design shortcomings will no doubt eventually lead to the retirement of the class as state-of-the-art ships launch from various drydocks.  Until that day, however, it will continue to be a lasting symbol of Federation ingenuity and pride.

Copyright 2001 – 2011 Star Trek : A Call to Duty.

The starship specifications on this site were originally created by Star Trek: A Call to Duty’s Advanced Starship Design Bureau