The Freedom was designed at the same time as the Niagara class as a smaller, shorter ranged counterpart to that vessel. Unusually for a Federation vessel the Freedom has a single nacelle, not seen since the Saladin class of the 2260s. This reduces the efficiency of the warp field and leads to a significantly reduced average cruise speed. The Freedom is therefore generally deployed only within Federation borders.
The elimination of the Engineering hull required many changes in order to move the warp core and fuel supply into the saucer section, but Starfleet has accomplished this transition successfully with several other classes and few problems were encountered with the Freedom. There is a reduction in the volume available to other applications within the Freedom, and several accommodations sections and science and diplomatic facilities have been scaled back. This has led to a reduction in the crew compared to the Niagara.
The Freedom initially proved reasonably successful in service, but their low speed was more of a limiting factor than had been predicted. The planned run of over 100 was cut down to 50, then to 35, before production was finally terminated at 30 ships completed. The Freedom class USS Firebrand was lost to the Borg at Wolf 359, other ships participated heavily in the Dominion war. They have suffered heavy losses, including the class leader, USS Freedom.
2336: Starfleet issues a general design brief for a multi-role vessel capable of light exploration, as well as Federation defense. The general idea is for a modular starship, using a single warp nacelle. Permission for base designs are approved.
2337: Starfleet views the design schematics for the new class and after months of discussion, the primary design is approved and briefs propulsion, computer, weapons and spaceframe parameters are sent out to Starfleet Design agencies for consultation. Spaceframe design is approved and full specifications are forwarded to the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards for designations. Production begins with a projected 8 year turnover for the prototype ship.
2338: Saucer designed. Warp nacelle from the Cheyenne class project used.
2339: Theoretical Propulsions Dynamics Labs send a functional test core for fitting and alignment in the bare chassis. Nacelle pylon latching system passes Review 1. By the end of the year the Spaceframe is 45% completed.
2340: Mid year, computer cores arrive and are fitted to the Freedom. Propulsion dynamics labs deliver a fully functional warpcore for testing. By early August, reactors are on line and supplying primary power.
2341: Computer system are operating at 58% of maximum. System expected to become self aware late in the year. Warpcore begins primary testing. Bridge module attached to primary hull. Torpedo launchers fitted.
2342: Primary hull work complete. Habitat modules are attached and bridge unit is brought to functional status. Chassis is completed. Computer systems are uploaded and tested. Primary modules are attached and outer hull nears completion.
2343: Warpcore passes Review 3 and it tested to 86% peak. Computer system fully self aware and umbilical from the station are cut as the ship become self sufficient. Impulse systems pass Review 3 and being autonomous low level power control. Secondary back-up generators are shutdown and become auxiliary system control.
2344: USS Freedom leaves dry dock for primary testing estimate to last two years. Master chassis near completion for two Starships.
2346: USS Freedom returns to Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards early in year. Problems with warp nacelle and warp coils addressed and minor refits installed. Warp Stress Coating is applied and the ship is clear to begin deep space assessments. All primary tests have passed Review 4. Final exterior markings and paint applied. On 1, August 2346 the USS Freedom is officially commissioned by Starfleet during a brief Ceremony. Bridge Plaque is put in pride of place and Captain Gordon takes command of the Ship.
*2362: USS Freedom returns to Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards mid year. The ship's nacelles are refit with Galaxy class nacelles. These allow the ship to accelerate faster and reach higher speeds. All other ships of the class are built with these nacelles.