Sawyer class Scout entered service in 2242. Designed as a fast scout for use
in non combat areas, a total of 69 were built.
On paper, the Sawyer was an excellent
vessel, being both efficient and fast. The
class was however always mistrusted by crews as it had earned an unenviable
reputation as a result of a number of ships being lost. The USS Gulliver,
destroyed at Axanar earned the class another unwanted footnote in history as
being the first ship to be destroyed in the Four Years War in 2252.
The growing area of hostilities meant that
few areas could really be deemed as being ‘non combat’ and during 2253
losses of the Sawyer Class mounted to an alarming extent. The situation came
to a head in November 2253 when three of the surviving 40 ships of the class
were lost with all hands. Starfleet Command immediately ordered that the
ships be withdrawn from active service.
The reason for the failure of the class is
hard to pinpoint, for their time they were not too badly armed or shielded,
and they had a fair turn of speed and good manoeuvrability. In all 36 ships
survived to be withdrawn from service, but they were soon pressed back into
service as Trainers for
. It was while serving in this role that a potential
cause of the losses was found. It was discovered that the warp nacelle
assembly, although rated for landing operations was in fact susceptible to
stress damage, examination of the service history of the lost vessels showed
that many were among the fleet leaders for number of landings.
result of this discovery all Sawyer class ships were withdrawn from any use
in 2261, and were subsequently sold for scrap.
The lessons learned from the Sawyer debacle
were implemented on all subsequent designs that had landing capability, and
were retrofitted to existing designs. Chief among these improvements was an
early type of structural reinforcement field that was used during take off
and landing, as well during atmospheric operations to reduce stress on the
hull and warp nacelle assembly.