After 38 years from USS Hera getting in the hands of Section 31, all technology and the data information was used in many ships and one was the States Class Fast Assault Cruiser.  The “States” class is specifically designed to transport a smaller contingent of reactionary ground forces with only limited support to establish land-heads and defensible positions for larger forces to exploit during times of conflict. Unlike a standard frigate, the States fields twice the number of troops and rarely includes traditional Marine troops, opting for more traditional ground forces and their equipment. 

  The States can support ground vehicles and some support equipment, but it is designed to operate with other specialized rapid-reaction vessels to reinforce a quickly established landing zone. Once the States has beamed it’s troops down, along with their light infantry equipment, the ship will move into a defensive role, protecting other ships within the task-force as they transport heavier equipment and construction materials. The Ardennes troops can expand the initial landing zone in force to deter enemy activity while the land-head is secured.

The Mark 1 was first proposed in 2289 with the intentions of being a major combat support vessel the on-going conflict with the Romulans and other hostile’s.  When relations with the Tzenkethi began to deteriorate in 2285, the “States” Class project was given the go-ahead and the Terra Bluefleet Designs of Earth and Andorian was given the contract. In 2282, the design specifications were presented to Star Fleet Procurement, and the “States” class was approved for construction. While some sited the small troop compliment as a liability, most fleet planners recognized that the States main strength was not in it’s ground forces, but in the spaceframe’s ability to support ground troops and orbital operations with the firepower and capability of a cruiser. The Mark 1 mounted an impressive 22 main phasers, giving the vessel excellent fields of fire. The Mark 1 also had four rooms of 80 pad combat transporters, allowing the ship to beam down nearly it’s entire contingent of troops in 4 minutes or less.

The Mark 1 served admirably during the Tzenkethi conflict, fulfilling it’s mission parameters almost to letter-perfect functionality. On no less than Fifthteen occasions, taskforces based on multiple “States” class ships were called upon to rapidly transport their forces to various planets to secure landing zones. Followup troops were then able to quickly take advantage of the landing zones and force arriving Tzenkethi ground troops to fight both a ground battle and space battle, reducing their effectiveness. During the conflict, only one States was lost due to combat was the USS Andor.

The "States" class remained a tactical planning tool until the late 2300’s when planners began to realize that the conflict between the Klingons and Romulans (who had not been heard from along the Federation border for over 20 years) could eventually spill into a major conflict throughout the quadrant. While relations with the Klingons were, by no means cordial, the Border accords were still active, and should the Romulans push the issue, the Federation would need ground bases and established outposts on a wide range of planets quite quickly. Designers at Terra Bluefleet were tasked with finding improvements to a number of designs, including the States Subclass like Ares.  The Ares subclass “States” Mark 2 would see a significant improvement in the main sensors, with the intent to detect cloaked Romulans attack vessels before they threatened landing operations. The secondary weapon systems were also replaced with a much longer ranged phaser system. The main computer was also replaced to the classification, although some in Star Fleet felt this was an unnecessary expense. None-the-less, the Mark 2 was approved and 6 new vessels were scheduled.  

The conflict with the Romulans never materialized, however the days of the “States” were far from over, and in 2340’s the States were some of the first vessels to see action in the Cardassian war. As was their mandate, the States were used to quickly establish defensive position outside outposts and colony cities, preventing Cardassian ground forces from capturing lightly defended position. The States would go on to serve during the devastating Dominion war and were some of the only Assault Ships to server alongside Romulan assault forces during the war.  Although in 2370’s the “States” continues to be in serivce, there is talk about retiring the class, who is now nearly 100 years old. Many of the active spaceframes would require extensive refit and replacements of primary structural components to extend their service life. With newer ships in service, and other designs easier to upgrade, Star Fleet has announce that, baring another major conflict, the States class will be removed from service within the next five years.

  A total of 21 States have been built, including 14 Mark 1’s and 6 Mark 2’s. Of the 14 Mark 1’s built, 13 were converted to Mark 2’s and one was destroyed. Of the 6 Mark 2’s still in service. The States were built at the Terra and Andoria shipyards.

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