The Prometheus-class was a Federation advanced escort starship developed for tactical operations in deep space. The Prometheus-class entered service in the year 2374. Its main feature was the multi-vector assault mode, which allowed a Prometheus-class escort to split into three warp-capable, combat-ready sections designated Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
By the early 25th century, the design had spawned several subclasses. In a possible future, the Prometheus-class remained in service well into the 26th century. (VOY episode: "Message in a Bottle", STO - Klingon War mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock", ENT episode: "Azati Prime")
The Prometheus-class was one of several starship designs, along with the Sovereign and Defiant-classes, that were created in response to the Borg threat following the USS Enterprise-D's encounter with a Borg Cube in System J-25 in 2365. Starfleet Tactical's task was to design a vessel that could be fast, maneuverable, and be equipped with the latest weaponry that was being designed to fight the Borg.
However, none of the new designs or weapons were ready for the Borg attack in 2366 which resulted in the destruction of 39 starships and the loss of 11,000 lives. This created a new sense of urgency in getting better equipped starships up and running in the fleet. While the Sovereign and Defiant classes entered service in around 2371, the launch and testing of the USS Prometheus was put back until 2374.
The initial trials of the Prometheus went well, until she was hijacked by a group of Romulans keen on taking the Prometheus to the Tal Shiar so they could learn the latest starship secrets. While the Starfleet crew were killed, the Romulans were prevented from keeping the Prometheus by the starship's Emergency Medical Hologram and The Doctor from the USS Voyager. (VOY episode: "Message in a Bottle")
After the safe return of the Prometheus and the testing of the ships multi-vector assault mode were completed, Starfleet rushed the construction of two further vessels, the USS Cerberus and USS Heracles. Both of these vessels were in service by late 2375, and the Cerberus served as Admiral William Ross's flagship from 2376 to 2379. (DS9 - Avatar novel: Avatar, Book One; TNG - A Time to... novel: A Time for War, A Time for Peace)
The Prometheus-class was still in service in 2409, and by that time had inspired three variant classes: Phoenix-class; Cerberus-class; and Hephaestus-class. Some of these ships were fitted with 4 pulse phaser cannons. In 2410, a new subclass was launched: the Hestia-class. (ST video game: Star Trek Online)
The Prometheus-class was classified as an advanced tactical cruiser. It was a revolutionary design that had the ability to confront the enemy from multiple, warp-capable vectors for a formidable surprise attack. One innovation that was incorporated into the design was the installation of holoemitters that were outfitted throughout the ship. This allows the EMH Mark II doctor to project itself holographically across the ship allowing it to tend to the crew without it being restricted to sickbay. (VOY episode: "Message in a Bottle")
By the early 25th century, the Starfleet Corps of Engineers had developed sister classes to the Prometheus. These classes and the Prometheus were collectively categorized as advanced escort, with several refit and retrofit options. Furthermore, all advanced escorts were modular, and their components were interchangeable between these classes. In addition to the active Prometheus-, Phoenix- and Cerberus-classes, Starfleet introduced the Hephaestus-class in 2409. (STO - Klingon War mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")
In the 25th century, the design of the Prometheus-class advanced escort allowed its commanding officer to choose from different designs of livery, which could be modified further at starbases. These options were designated Type 1-5 and Veteran. (STO - Klingon War mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")
Furthermore, the installation of deflector shields from specific factions modified the hull appearance, including shields from the Reman Resistance, the Breen Confederacy and the Dominion. (STO missions: "Coliseum", "Cold Storage", "Boldly They Rode")
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References and notes
- Prometheus class article at Memory Alpha, the wiki for canon Star Trek.
- Prometheus Advanced Escort article at The Star Trek Online Wiki.