Heavy Cruiser, U.S.S. Aldrin, NCC-1221, Walker class starship: General Plans
The USS Aldrin is a Walker class MK-XIII heavy cruiser, designed primarily for extended long-range research and exploration. Whereas the mission of the front-line Constitution class is to go, seek, and find, the Walker class ships follow up and conduct in-depth exploration and research into newly discovered systems and civilizations. Instead of a standard five-year mission with regular visits to starbases and ports of call, the Walker class is outfitted for "independent steaming," the ability to go into regions of minimally explored space and planetary systems and remain on station without support for as much as two years.
The Aldrin has the flexibility to perform in two radically different mission profiles: long-term deep space exploration, and defense/tactical action. For this reason, the Walker class is fitted with a "hot-swappable" auxiliary module, which is docked below the hull, between the nacelle pylons. The "Alpha" research module houses the massive Hawking sensor system, additional long-range exploration facilities, a multi-level research laboratory section, and a Winnebago class expeditionary lander. The "Bravo" C³I unit is a tactical hull containing an advanced combat information and fleet control center, eight torpedo launchers (four forward, four aft), torpedo storage, and six additional directed-energy emitters. Changing out these modules requires a shipyard's facilities, where reconfiguration can be completed within a standard 24-hour duty shift. This allows the USS Aldrin to quickly transition from highly capable explorer to combat-ready heavy cruiser in time to augment the fleet.
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