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The Dreadnought, or more accurately the Class I Dreadnought, was Star Fleet's "next year's model" version of the familiar two warp nacelle Constitution Class Starship. It was found in Franz Joseph's The Star Fleet Technical Manual.

The Dreadnought class' most striking feature was three warp nacelles. (Later developments in the Star Trek universe established warp nacelles worked in pairs, which eliminated this class from official Star Trek canon.) It was a significantly bigger ship than the Constitution class. The dreadnought displaced 285,000 metric tons versus the original Constitution class' 190,000 metric tons. It featured a thicker saucer section and a more roomy secondary hull. Where the Constitution class featured one deflector dish, the Dreadnaught featured two, one fore, one aft. It also had its shuttle bay mounted in the fore section of the secondary hull.

The Dreadnought class has a crew compliment of 500 versus the Constitution class's 430. It had 10 phasers versus the Constitution class's 6.

While the Constitution class was officially a ship of exploration, albeit a well armed exploration ship, the Dreadnought was a ship of war. In some Star Trek novel references, it was claimed the class was designed to take on a dozen Klingon cruisers. The idea of a pure war ship was an early deviation between the Star Trek universe according to Franz Joseph's The Star Fleet Technical Manual and Star Trek according to the seemingly random and arbitrary pronouncements by Gene Roddenberry. In Franz Joseph's universe, Star Fleet was a military organization. Gene Roddenberry seemed to offer a hazy, inconsistent vision that Star Fleet was more geared towards science and exploration and was not at all a military organization.

Unlike images of the single warp nacelled destroyer/scout, no dreadnought officially appeared in any Star Trek movie or TV show. However, in the first movie, there's a spoken reference to the dreadnought Entente. It's mentioned during one of the opening scenes where V'ger assbones the Federation communication array. Franz Joseph's manual lists the Entente (NCC-2120) as the name of one of the dreadnoughts slated to be developed.

The Star Fleet Technical Manual lists the following dreadnought class ships as those planned for construction:

USS Star League (NCC-2101)
USS Unificatum (NCC-2102)
USS Compactat (NCC-2103)
USS Corporation (NCC-2104)
USS Konkordium (NCC-2106)
USS Star System (NCC-2107)
USS Affiliation (NCC-2108)
USS Concordat (NCC-2109)
USS Directorate (NCC-2110)
USS Organization (NCC-2111)
USS Star Union (NCC-2112)
USS Alliance (NCC-2113)
USS Confederation (NCC-2114)
USS Dominion (NCC-2115)
USS Star Empire (NCC-2116)
USS Trusteeship (NCC-2117)
USS Association (NCC-2118)
USS Consortium (NCC-2119)
USS Entente (NCC-2120)

A dreadnought is also core to the plot (ha!) of an early Star Trek novel called -- will wonders never cease -- Dreadnought!, which was written by Diane Carey. In Dreadnought!, the first dreadnought ship called Star Empire (a name borrowed from Franz Joseph, although according to the Technical Manual it's slated to be not the first but the 16th dreadnought to come out of the mighty shipyards of Incom-Hyundai) is stolen by terrorists and -- will wonders never cease -- the Enterprise is yet again the only ship in the sector able to respond to the threat before this nasty can make a warp 10 run at Earth, which being the seat of the UFP, is never left defended by anything more than hope and the strong clearing of throats to indicate a lack of social graces or some such crap.

Class I Dreadnought
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ASCII image liberated from:

http://services.tos.net/text/ascii/dreadnought

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