- For other uses, see Excelsior.
The Excelsior-class was a type of battleship and explorer that was first built in the 2280s and went on to be used by Starfleet throughout the 24th and 25th centuries. (FASA RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual; Decipher RPG module: Starfleet Operations Manual)
The prototype of this class was the USS Excelsior (NX-2000) was initially fitted with an experimental transwarp drive and was proclaimed as "the Great Experiment". (TOS movie: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Although the Dallas may have been intended to be the final ship, it seems this decision was reversed, since, in 2409, Starfleet has ships of the Excelsior class and the Enterprise-B refit subclass in service 125 and 116 years after the first ships were commissioned, respectively.
The "great experiment" of transwarp drive was meant to revolutionize faster-than-light transport by capturing the warp envelope in a transporter field and beaming it ahead of the ship and increasing the speed in which it could travel. However, the Excelsior's first test of the transwarp drive to apprehend the stolen USS Enterprise in 2285, was thwarted when the drive was sabotaged by Montgomery Scott. (FASA RPG module: Federation Starship Recognition Manual; TOS movie: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Despite the ignoble start, tests continued to be ran on the Excelsior but the transwarp drive continued to prove unreliable and was declared a failure. However, the Excelsior's spaceframe proved to be very stable and reliable and it was decided to replace the transwarp engines with standard warp drive and continued with production of further starships. A further Mark I Excelsior-class starship, the USS Proxima was built and she underwent shakedown trials in 2288 (reference stardate 2/2400).
Several years later, a new variant of the Excelsior-class design entered service with added modifications to the basic hull design. The first ship to be constructed to these specifications was the USS Enterprise-B which was launched in 2293. (TNG movie: Star Trek Generations)
Although some Excelsior-class vessels were built to these specifications, many new vessels used the original design. (Star Trek: The Next Generation; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; ST video game: Legacy; DS9 episode: "Paradise Lost")
The production run of the Excelsior-class ran well into the 24th century, which highlighted the adaptability and soundness of the basic design. However, by the early 2330s, construction on new Excelsior-class vessels was down to just two a year, as new starship classes such as the Ambassador-class came into service. Although the Excelsiors were often relegated to secondary duties by the 2360s, large numbers remained in service. (ST short story: "Hour of Fire"; TNG episode: "Tin Man"; VOY episode: "Endgame"; DS9 episode: "What You Leave Behind")
During the 2370s, the Excelsiors served in the bulk of engagements against the Borg and the Dominion, although there was a high attrition rate in combat missions. Due to this, at least one Excelsior-class, the USS Lakota, was refitted with more advanced weaponry, such as quantum torpedoes.
The initial Mark I design of the Excelsior-class included 16 phaser banks (8 FH-11's, 8 FH-5's) and 4 photon torpedo launchers. The two varied phaser types was to make sure that all weapons arcs were covered by both long-range and short-range weapons. However, the evaluation teams decided to replace the 8 FH-5 banks and replaced them with two further FH-11 banks, which meant that the Excelsior's only had ten phaser banks, but the field of fire overlapped more effectively.
The improvement in torpedo launchers technology allowed two further launchers to be incorporated into the Mark II design and remained in place through further models. (FASA RPG module: Federation Ship Recognition Manual)
By the 2370s, the Excelsior design had been outfitted with improved phaser emplacements, quantum torpedoes and other tactical improvements which brought it into line with later starship designs and proved necessary during the conflicts with the Borg and the Dominion. (DS9 episode: "Paradise Lost")
The deflector shields of the Excelsior-class were an improved version of the quadri-transducer shield that was in use in the late 23rd century, and was found to deliver more deflective power. (FASA RPG module: Federation Ship Recognition Manual)
By the mid-24th century, Starfleet began to allow civilians to travel aboard Federation starships and allow an officer to have their families with them as they traveled. While the newest starship designs such as the Galaxy-class and Nebula-class were built to accommodate civilians, the older Excelsior-class ships weren't designed to carry them. In fact, one of the administrative reasons for family accomodations on exploratory vessels was often cited as the attempted disciplinary action against an officer of the USS Excelsior itself, who had to demand a leave for an important family matter. (FASA RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual)
However, minor refits allowed for some accommodation of families. The presence of civilians also made their safety a top priority, as the larger Galaxy-class vessels were equipped with a facility to separate the saucer section and allow civilians to escape from a field of battle. With this procedure in mind, several Excelsior-class vessels, such as the USS Excelsior, USS Yorktown and USS Hood were equipped with the same ability to separate the saucer. (TNG novelization: Encounter at Farpoint; TNG novel: Ghost Ship; TNG novelization: Generations)
|This article or subsection has an associated category.||Excelsior class starships|
- The RPG The Dominion War Sourcebook: The Fires of Armageddon, published by Last Unicorn Games after they had lost their Star Trek licence listed several other Excelsior-class starships: USS Caldos (NCC-32628), USS Kolno (NCC-41069), USS Carpathia (NCC-43118), USS Blackeagle (NCC-46200), USS Vasidrun (NCC-47936), USS Apache (NCC-57924), USS Tyr (NCC-58314), USS Sunchaser (NCC-63185) and the USS Bolsetu (NCC-63744).
- The RPG Ship Recognition Manual, Volume 2: Starships of The Original Series Era, published by Last Unicorn Games after they had lost their Star Trek license listed two other Excelsior-class starships: USS Valorous (NCC-2053) and USS Retribution (NCC-2017).