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- For additional meanings of "Ambassador", please see Ambassador (disambiguation).
- Passenger Birthings: Up to 3,000 Maximum
- Propulsion Systems
- (Primary): 2 MKX-B 5th Phase Matter/Anti-Matter Propulsion Plasma Generators (9.5 Capable)
- (Secondary): 8 YPS-3232-B Inertial Magnatomic Pulse Fusion Impulse Generators
- Fuel/Power Sources
- (Primary): 1 Dilithium Crystal Array (Central)
In early 2290, a marked increase of hostilities along the Klingon and Federation border occurred. This disturbing trend reached a peak in 2291 when the USS Oberon (NCC-4998) was forced to withdraw from an engagement against 2 B'rel-class Birds-of-Prey. Up until the Ambassador-class was launched, several more incidents of Excelsior-class starships being forced to withdraw from tense confrontations due to being outgunned and out shielded by the newer B'rel-class Birds of Prey occurred. The withdrawals illustrated just how dated and stagnant the United Federations of Planets Starfleet had become. Immediately, the design teams at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards quickly addressed this situation and, blowing the dust off of their concept models, quickly began work on the Ambassador-class Starship. Official sanctioning by Starfleet occurred in 2311 after the Tomed incident and funding and resources were allocated for the development of a new Defense Cruiser.
The Ambassador project would prove to set a new standard in starship design for the Federation, giving Starfleet a starship that was better armed, better equipped and more diversely equipped than any other starship ever before. The design brief for the Ambassador-class starship called for a heavily armed battlecruiser which could also serve the non-combat roles of heavy transport and deep space exploration. The resulting design exceeded expectations and the Ambassador-class was quickly put into service.
Several design aspects of the Ambassador-class made the space frame unique and were carried over into future designs. Among these was the increased internal cargo, crew and fuel capacity combined with an increased lift capability that gave the Ambassador-class not only great size, but an endurance that rivaled the Excelsior-class and crew amenities allowing for much longer on station and patrol times, meaning more Ambassador-class starships could remain on patrol longer and with less crew fatigue. Some of the last Ambassador-class starships also had thick duranium armor, the precursor to the Defiant-class ablative armor, added to protect the vulnerable areas of the ship. Finally, the development of Phaser Array, which replaced the traditional Phaser Turret found on previous hull types such as the Excelsior and Miranda-class hulls, were made standard for the Ambassador-class. The arrays allowed for quicker recharge times and the ability to fire at multiple targets out of one array, rather than targeting turrets individually.
So successful were the Ambassador-class vessels, that the production team began looking at designing an improved Ambassador-class vessel. While shaving nearly 15 meters of length, resulting in a much smaller cargo hauling capability, the team was able to make the already hearty Ambassador-class more nimble in combat situations. The addition of 4 more phaser arrays also gave the class more bite. Further improvements in shielding, sensor, and computer technology would be implemented in the Ambassador-Refit design, but these advancements would not be enough to warrant a further production contract beyond the initial 1000 starships ordered by Starfleet. While the final 150 Ambassador-class vessels were of the Refit variety, the improvements and advancements made by the Ambassadors would be short-lived as a new age of Starship production was about to begin.
Construction of the first hull for the as yet unnamed Ambassador-class, designated NXC-9331NA, began in early 2315 a full four years after the project's official start date. The primary research team, being based out of Utopia Planitia while the engineering team being based out of San Francisco, let to a small increase in development and simulation testing times, along with an increased debate about final hull design and engineering assembly. This, despite the fact that the two teams were supplied with several completed hull structure simulations and theoretical spaceframe hull shapes through knowledge and experimentation gained from the Starfleet Experimental Propulsion Division. By the end of 2317, with the aide of computer models, sufficient progress had been made to the point that a working 1500 cochrane warp reactor - a version 3.5 NNEC Warp Core, the standard Excelsior-class warp core of the day - could be used to power a warp field capable of exceeding its design specifications for limited amounts of time.
Due to the increased tensions in the political arenas, and fearing the development of a comparable or superior craft to the NXC-9331NA project, and due to the hull's large size, Starfleet decided to announce the development of a new "Exploration Cruiser" and given the class name of Ambassador. This was done in the hopes that the title and benign nature of the class name would ease the tensions between the Federation and Klingons over rumors about the size and estimated capabilities of the new hull.
During the following year, NX-10521 saw rapid construction and the spaceframe was ready for testing in late 2319, two additional Ambassador spaceframes rested in drydock at Utopia Planitia as a ceremony was held at Earth's Spacedock 1 in November of 2320 as hull NX-10521, christened the USS Ambassador, left the space doors and warped out of the system to begin its shakedown cruise near the Tholian border. In December and January, the sister ships of the Ambassador, the USS Horatio (NCC-10232) and the USS Farragut (NCC-10233) launched from their drydocks, both bound for the Klingon border. The first real test of the Ambassador-class against threat vessels occurred in 2321 and would pit the USS Excalibur, responding to an SOS from a Neutronic Fuel carrier the SS Haro Maru against a Klingon raiding party of three B'rel-class Birds-of-Prey led by the IKS Burunk. In a brief firefight, the Burunk was destroyed and a second Bird-of-Prey was severely damaged. This would be the beginning of numerous forays between the new Ambassador-class vessels and the Klingons; the new vessels turning the tables against the IKC D-7's and Birds of Prey.