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Niagara Class

Size Comp
Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation : Federation
Class Name : Niagara Class
Type : Fast Cruiser
Unit Run :
USS Niagara - Active
NCC 28473 [1] USS Wellington [2] - Active
NCC 59804 USS Princeton - Destroyed [1]
plus 141 others built in total. 52 have been lost in all.
Commissioned : 2336 - 2349, class remains in service
Dimensions : Length : 443 m [3]
Beam : 260 m
Height : 130 m
Decks : 23
Mass : 2,950,000 metric tons
Crew : 520
Armament : 6 x Type VIII phaser arrays, total output 22,500 TeraWatts
2 x Standard photon torpedo tube with 80 rounds
Defence Systems : Standard shield system, total capacity 1,687,500 TeraJoules
Standard Duranium / Tritanium Double hull plus 0.4 cm High density armour.
Standard level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TNG scale) :
Normal Cruise : 7
Maximum Cruise : 9
Maximum Rated : 9.4 for 12 hours.
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 450
Torpedo Firepower : 250
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 735
Shield Strength : 625
Hull Armour : 140
Speed : 917
Combat Manoeuvrability : 2,400
Overall Strength Index : 480
Diplomatic Capability : 4
Expected Hull Life : 50
Refit Cycle : Minor : 1 year
Standard : 1 years
Major : 25 years


Starfleet has always preferred to design Starships with a two nacelle configuration, it being long recognized that this is the ideal layout for optimal warp field efficiency. [4] However, efficiency is not always the deciding factor and over the last few centuries vessels have been produced with one, three [5] or even four [6] nacelles. The Niagara class belongs to the three nacelle family [7]; this means that the class has a small decrease in efficiency compared to the likes of the Galaxy class, but it does confer certain advantages. Like the Rigel class, the Niagara is able to travel on the upper nacelle pair whilst resting the Lower nacelle, or vice versa. This confers both higher cruise speed or longer component life on the engines, as well as enhancing manoeuvrability.

The Niagara design was fielded shortly after the Ambassador class, and originally showed a high degree of commonality with that class. Then Engineering hull and Nacelles were closely based on those of the Ambassador, and the ship is fitted with phaser arrays [8] and a pair of photon torpedo tubes which, combined with its speed and agility, make it a formidable opponent in battle. The Primary Hull shows elements of the Ambassador design, but is also clearly a forerunner of the later Galaxy/Nebula/New Orleans family. Like all Starfleet ships its role is primarily one of peaceful exploration and diplomacy, and the Niagara has served well in these arenas. The ship is fitted with Grade 4 diplomatic facilities, and as such is capable of handling multi-planetary conferences involving several high level diplomats and their staffs. In the scientific arena the ships high average speed allows it to cover greater areas than would be normal for a ship of this size, while the sensor fit on commissioning was of a generally more advanced type than that of the Ambassadors.

In the mid 2360's the Niagara's, together with their smaller cousins the Freedom class, where refitted with Galaxy class nacelles in order to enhance their acceleration and turning ability, important to a ship which is more biased toward combat than most Starfleet ships.

Class production began in early 2336 and was completed after a thirteen year run which put one hundred and nine ships into the fleet. Like most Starfleet vessels the Niagara's saw very little combat activity in their early careers thanks to the stable nature of the Alpha Quadrants political situation prior to the 2360's. However, this state of affairs was not to last; several Niagara class ships fought at Wolf 359, including the USS Princeton. [7] The USS Wellington received a computer upgrade from the Binars, one of the first Starfleet ships to undergo this procedure [2] - the same ship was later involved in the incident at Garon II in which Ensign Ro Laren was held responsible for the deaths of eight people. [9] The ships have served with some distinction during the Dominion war, though they have suffered heavily with twenty three ships destroyed so far.

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Star Trek Encyclopedia
2 TNG 1 11001001
3 Speculative Scaled so that the nacelles are equal to that of the Galaxy Class in size.
4 Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual Page 57
5 TNG 4 The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2
6 TNG 1 The Battle
7 TNG 2 Shades of Gray
8 Visible on the shooting model
9 TNG 5 Ensign Ro
Book : Star Trek Encyclopedia
Series : TNG Season 1
Episode : 11001001
Source : Speculative
Comment : Scaled so that the nacelles are equal to that of the Galaxy Class in size.
Book : Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual
Comment : Page 57
Series : TNG Season 4
Episode : The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2
Series : TNG Season 1
Episode : The Battle
Series : TNG Season 2
Episode : Shades of Gray
Source : Visible on the shooting model
Series : TNG Season 5
Episode : Ensign Ro


The Niagara class USS Princeton is another of those ships built for the Wolf 359 graveyard scene, and is one of the ones we get a moderately good look at. We see the ship above and to the right of the E-D as it moves into the graveyard, and a vidclip of this scene is used on the images page.

There are some size comparison type images of the Niagara floating around which come from the Star Trek Fact Files and some of these are seen below. I originally took these images at face value and based this entry on them, but on later examination it appeared that these images cannot possibly be right - you can see a capture of the Wolf 359 scene on the images link above, and it clearly appears that the Niagara has a nacelle directly above the engineering hull flanked by two more, one on either side. This lead me to discount the Fact Files version of the ship entirely and come up with my own version of the ship, together with a rather extensive version of this comments page to support it.

Unfortunately, as it turns out the Fact Files was right after all. On a recent visit to the Ex Astris Scientia site - one of the best on the web for stuff like this - I found an image of the actual model used for the USS Princeton. Various damage had been inflicted on it for the battle, including having the nacelle struts significantly bent out of shape. In addition, the shot we see in Best of Both Worlds is not in fact from directly above the ship, but rather it is turned at an angle to us. This makes the elliptical saucer section look fairly circular, and also further distorts the positions of the nacelles.

So, we're back to where we started from with the Fact Files version of the ship being correct. Those who want more detail on this - including the picture of the Princeton model - should go to the Ex Astris site via my links page.

Below, then, is the real layout of the Niagara class nacelles.

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 85,655 Last updated : 31 Jul 2004