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|USS Anselm, an Excalibur III-class vessel.|
|Logo of the Excalibur III Development Project|
- For additional meanings of "Excalibur", please see Excalibur (disambiguation).
- "We can send her anywhere and she can do anything. The Excalibur will carry Starfleet into the 25th century, and she'll do it with style."
- — Graarvin Narl, primary designer
The Excalibur III-class was a multirole starship in the tradition of the Constitution, Excelsior, and Galaxy-classes before it. In peacetime it primarily served as a cargo vessel for logistical and humanitarian support missions, or as a science vessel for survey missions.
The Excalibur III-class was expected to eventually supplant the aging Excelsior-class and outright ancient Miranda-class as the workhorses of Starfleet. In practice the design's versatility proved both strength and weakness. While it could perform competently in most roles, there was nearly always a better choice for specific missions. Its small size limited its capability for extended or complex science missions due to the lack of internal space for laboratories and equipment, and the various classes of escorts and larger cruiser designs such as the Stargazer-class, Galaxy-class, and Sovereign-class outperformed it in combat. On the other hand, it also responded better to mission creep and unexpected circumstances than more specialized designs, and due to its smaller size and crew complement it was much cheaper to operate than the bigger starships.
The first several ships of the class, excluding the lead vessel USS Excalibur, were named after Knights of the Round Table from the Arthurian legend, but following the USS Gareth the theme was broken with the USS John Paul Jones.
Due to the rise in hostilities with the Klingon Empire culminating in the Third Federation-Klingon War in 2405, the Excalibur III-class proved short-lived and was taken out of production in 2403. It was replaced in the lineup by the more capable Exeter-class in 2405.
The Excalibur III-class was deliberately reminiscent of the Constitution-class heavy cruiser of 150 years earlier. Structurally it consisted of a circular, domed saucer connected by a slender neck to a roughly cylindrical secondary hull that contained Main Engineering. The nacelles were long, slender, and triangular, attached to the secondary hull by thin, upward- and aft-curved pylons.
The improved warp core of the Excalibur III-class gave it the power to extend its shields to protect friendly ships without affecting its own operations, an improvement that would be duplicated on subsequent construction and refits throughout Starfleet.
The Excalibur III-class mounted forward and aft phaser arrays and torpedo launchers. Its standard ordnance for the latter were photon torpedoes, but like all ships constructed since the USS Defiant its torpedo tubes were compatible with quantum torpedoes.
The Vesper subclass was designed alongside the Excalibur class as part of the Modular Design Program. In developing the Vesper class, Starfleet engineers took the basic design of the Constitution-class, which was the basis of the new Excalibur class, and applied some of the design principles from the old Excelsior-class.
Named to honor the 400 crew members of the USS Exeter who were killed by a biological agent in 2268, the Exeter subclass was an application of early 25th century technological developments and design principles to the Excalibur class.
- Main article: Category:Excalibur III class starships
|NCC-94547||USS Excalibur||(unknown)||Lead ship of the class.|
|NCC-94552||USS John Paul Jones||Active||Assigned to Beta Ursae Fleet Area, 2409. (B&S: "Reporting as Ordered")|
|NCC-94555||USS Szczerbiec||Active||Damaged during Borg attack on Vega colony, 2407. (B&S: "From Bajor to the Black, Part II")|
|NCC-94554||USS Ulfberht||Active||Damaged during Borg attack on Vega colony, 2407. (B&S: "From Bajor to the Black, Part II")|