The Cestus class, originally Altair class, was a 24th century Federation starship type, an experimental vessel and frigate in Starfleet service from the 2360s or early 2370s decade. (The Official Starships Collection Issue Bonus Edition 16: "U.S.S. Altair", STO website: 26 Century Dreadnoughts Stats!)
History and specifications
The first, and for a long time only, ship of the class was the USS Altair, launched in the 24th century. It was an experimental starship. (The Official Starships Collection Issue Bonus Edition 16: "U.S.S. Altair")
The 323-meter long hull deviated from Starfleet's default saucer/nacelle configuration. A vaguely boomerang-shaped triangular primary hull sat atop a long, tapering secondary hull. The segmented warp nacelles rested on short nacelle pylons on either side of the primary hull. The lean frame and small cross-section were designed for atmospheric flight and enabled the Altair to outmaneuver an Intrepid-class starship. Compared to the Intrepid-class USS Voyager}, the Altair could be operated by a smaller crew.
A temporal warp core was equipped on the Altair-class prototype. It enabled the Altair to travel 15 minutes up- and downtime but emitted high amounts of chronoton particles as an unintended side effect. Offensive and defensive systems consisted of deflector shields, phaser banks and photon torpedo launchers. (The Official Starships Collection Issue Bonus Edition 16: "U.S.S. Altair")
Due to the Temporal Cold War, the Starfleet of 2409 found ships of this type, now called Cestus-class frigates, in the hangay bays of Universe-class temporal heavy dreadnought cruisers. (STO - Agents of Yesterday mission: "The Once and Future Agent", STO website: 26 Century Dreadnoughts Stats!)
By the 26th century, the nacelle design of the Altair was mimicked by the Universe class, which included the USS Enterprise-J. A larger version of the Altair spaceframe became the secondary hull for the Congo-class. (The Official Starships Collection Issue Bonus Edition 16: "U.S.S. Altair")
Each Universe-class dreadnought served as a carrier and was, by default, equipped with two hangar bays that supported two Cestus-class frigates each. Temporal dreadnought cruisers were notably involved in the events surrounding the Battle of Procyon V. (STO website: 26 Century Dreadnoughts Stats!)