|Class Name :
||Class F Shuttle1
|Unit Run :
2,532 built in total. 415 have been lost in all. 2,117 have been retired from service.
2252 - 2275, remained in service until 2291
||Length : 7.32 m2
Beam : 3.2 m
Height : 2.44 m3
Decks : 1
5.45 metric tons
1, total capacity 74
1 x Type III phaser bank, total output 50 TeraWatts
|Defence Systems :
||Standard shield system, total capacity 810 TeraJoules
Standard Duranium1 Single hull.
Low level Structural Integrity Field
(TOS scale) :
|Normal Cruise : 5
Maximum Cruise : 6
Maximum Rated : 6.2 for 3 hours.
|Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
|Beam Firepower : 1
Torpedo Firepower : -
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 10
Shield Strength : 0.3
Hull Armour : 2.5
Speed : 124
Combat Manoeuvrability : 21,290
|Overall Strength Index :
|Diplomatic Capability :
|Expected Hull Life :
|Refit Cycle :
||Minor : 1 year
Standard : 1 years
Major : 4 years
The Class F shuttlecraft1
was undoubtedly one of the most important shuttles of its time. With the introduction of the transporter, Starfleet had come to believe that the day of the shuttlecraft was over, and by the mid 2220's it had begun phasing these craft out of service. Design and production of shuttles was abandoned in 2233; the total number of shuttles in Starfleet declined from some 850 in 2235 to less than 200 in 2245; of these, over 90% where in service with facilities or vessels too small or unimportant to have recieved transporter systems yet.
By 2249, Starfleet was beginning to have second thoughts about this policy. The transporter had proved to be somewhat less reliable than had been hoped, especially when operating in the presence of even moderate levels of radiation or other natural forms of interference. It was hoped that improvements to the basic technology would soon correct this problem, but until then a capability gap was forming. In addition, the transporter had a range limit of some 30 - 40,000 km; while many confidently predicted that this figure would soon be greatly extended, even to interstellar distances, Starfleet reluctantly decided to produce a new shuttle design to 'fill in the gap' until this predicted new technology arrived. The Class F prototype was duly launched in 2251. The design was a simple boxlike structure with a small engineering compartment at the rear and control position at the front. A pair of nacelles gave the craft considerable warp capability5
, as it was thought that once the transporter eliminated the need for orbit-to-surface and interplanetary missions, only the interstellar tasks would remain until these too where eliminated by the expected interstellar transporters.
Modest shielding and weapons capability where designed in, but the Class F was never intended to serve any serious combat role. Since it was expected to be retired within a decade or so at most, little effort was made to design the craft to last. The Class F was produced in limited numbers only, and at first only selected ships and facilities where equipped with the it.Of course, the interplanetary and interstellar range transporter never materialized6
- and in fact the transporter continued to be quite unreliable when presented with new operating environments.7
By 2266 Starfleet belatedly realized that its 'stopgap' shuttle had now been in service for well over a decade. Crews where still complaining of the problems lack of shuttles was causing them, including notable instances where even Starships were deployed on missions with no shuttles at all, leading to serious capability loss during emergency situations when the transporter was not available.8
Yet there was still no sign of the expected transporter technology revolution. Starfleet finally caved in and decided to end what frustrated Starship crews had taken to calling "the shuttle drought". Increased production of the Class F was initiated, and the long and costly - and unproductive - project to develop the interplanetary and interstellar transporters where quietly abandoned.
Despite this new attitude, it was still some time before the shuttle drought was finally ended for good. As late as 2266 frontline Starships where often equipped with only one shuttle, or even none at all.8
This situation did gradually improve, however, and by 2270 all starships once again had a full shuttle complement. Production of the Class F continued until 2275, when it was terminated in favour of the Type 3. The last of the Class Fs where retired in 2291.
This is the original TOS shuttlecraft as carried by the USS Enterprise during that series. It was specifically named as a Class F by the computer in "The Menagerie, Part 1". The computer claimed that it had Ion Power, yet in "Spock's Brain" Scotty would express incredulaity at an alien craft having such an advanced power source.
Obviously, the idea of a shuttle shortage and the reasoning for it is intended to explain the lack of shuttles to rescue Sulu's landing party in "The Enemy Within"; the simplest explainion of why they didn't send a shuttle is that they didn't have one to send!
The length of the Class F was stated to be 24 feet by Kirk in "The Galileo Seven". The other dimensions and some other attributes are gleaned from the scale diagram in the Franz Josephs Star Trek : Technical manual. That these shuttles were warp capable is established in the episode "The Menagerie", when Kirk and Commodore Mendez chase the Enterprise for some hours while it was on route to Talos IV.