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There were a number of important improvements made of this design which included a much improved power transfer grid which shielded the system from surges normally caused by overloads or damage to the vessel's plasma conduits. In addition, bio-neural circuitry enhanced the ship's computer performances, though the designers have significantly improved the bio-neural gel pack technology since its development in the 2370s by adding a filter system that shielded the technology from infectious diseases or agents.
As suited to Starfleet's belief in diplomacy over military action, the Oslo-class were designed to have strong defenses. Thus, they featured rodinium alloy hull plating as well as improved shield generators that could withstand phaser fire, disruptors, torpedoes and plasma weapons. The ship continues the design philosophy of the Norway-class by having its distinctive phaser array on its dorsal bow. Furthermore, five Type-XII phaser arrays along with two torpedo launchers that fired either photon or quantum torpedoes. Lastly, this class of ship could be retrofitted with plasma weapons, though they were not a standard Starfleet issued weapon for this type of starship.
Typically, these ships were favored by captains who wanted fast and maneuverable vessels that could end a battle quickly. Thus, it did not have the armor plating or level of redundant shielding of starships designed for surviving sustained attacks. However, its state of the art weapons array allowed it to disable foes with rapid firing as well as hard hitting assaults.
The internal structure of the ship had limited room for medical or scientific facilities. As such, these ships were often required to work in concert with other ships that had improved sensor arrays and laboratories. By coordinating with an engineering vessel, the Oslo class ships were able to continue fighting for longer than they could without appropriate support. This made it the ideal vessel for battle groups and fleet actions. (STO website: Star Trek Online)
The basis for the Oslo-class escorts began in the early part of the 2390s, when the Starfleet Corps of Engineers began an initiative for a modular ship design where components could easily be switched or replaced. This concept had been a part of Starfleet's designs for decades, but was greatly expanded upon after the Dominion War. The heavy losses sustained in remote sectors of space made it abundantely clear that the traditional methods of returning to a starbase or shipyard for repairs or upgrades was not a feasible idea during times of conflict or during deep space exploration missions. Thus, a modular design would allow the crew to make repairs in the field, or even salvage components that could be reused for other vessels. A further benefit of modular construction was the fact that the starship could be modified for specific mission profiles or to better accommodate the needs of the crew.
As such, the Oslo class was one of the first vessels to be designed in this manner and were based on the Norway-class of the 2370s. This class of ship was constructed in a way that allowed it to exchange many components with its sister ships such as the Akira-class or the Zephyr-class. However, as the Oslo-class was a heavy escort, which meant it would often be involved in frontlines battles, the ease of repairing and refitting the ship made it possible for engineering teams to make use of components already available on the starship to effect repairs that would bring the ship back to a combat ready state. This limited the delays caused by a ship returning to a friendly spacedock.
- Oslo-class at StarTrekOnline.com (web archived version).