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 late 23rd and the 24th centuries.
prototype of this class was the USS Excelsior (NX-2000)
was initially fitted with an experimental transwarp drive and
proclaimed as "the Great Experiment".
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 the 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.
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 space-frame 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. Two Mark II
Excelsior-class vessels, the USS Columbia and USS Galacta were also launched in the same year for shakedown trials.
years later, a new variant of the Excelsior-class design
entered service with added modifications to the basic hull
The first ship to be constructed to these specifications was the USS Enterprise-B which was launched in 2293. Although some
Excelsior-class vessels were built to these specifications, many new vessels used the original design.
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 Excelsior's were often relegated to
secondary duties by the 2360s, large numbers remained in service.
2370s, the Excelsior's 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, many Excelsior's were refitted with more advanced weaponry, such as
quantum torpedoes, to enable them to stay in a fire-fight longer.
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.
improvement in torpedo launchers technology allowed two further
launchers to be incorporated into the Mark II design
and remained in place through further models. 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.
deflector shields of the Excelsior-class were an improved
version of the quasi-transducer that was in use in the late 23rd
and was found to deliver more deflective power.
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 travelled. 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.
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 Yorktown and USS Hood were equipped
with the same ability to separate the saucer.