During the 2280s, Starfleet gave some thought to revisiting the classic Vulcan "ring-drive" warp propulsion system, which had briefly been used on a few early Earth starships. USS Mainzer was the prototype and test bed for a newly-engineered ring-drive system, to examine its benefits and/or deficiencies.
Mainzer coming out of high warp on a speed-test run. It was found that average speeds were a bit lower than available with contemporary LN-64 and -68 warp nacelles, flanking at warp 8 and cruising comfortably at warp 5. This was unacceptable for a front-line vessel, but acceptable for a science and exploration vessel.
The modular pod fitted to mainzer's lower ring hardpoint features a pair of long-range navigational deflecor units. These are less capable than the large, standard sensor/deflector dish used on many large vessels, but are servicable for a science ship's mission.
Having found her nich as science ship, Mainzer was sent on a number of low-risk survey missions in the company of veteran explorer USS Venture. Venture's Captain Sorensen gave good marks to Mainzer's performance. If the class is approved for further construction, newer ships would feature sensor pods, or possibly larger or additional hulls.
Mainzer's radiation shielding and station-keeping abilities were put to the test on observation station in the raging environment of a neutron star in the process of feeding from its binary companion star.
Mainzer arriving at a starbase in Andorian space for navigational trials. USS Potempkin has already arrived to supervise.
Each of Mainzer's tail booms houses a separate matter/antimatter intermix chamber, each feeding power to warp coils in one half of the ring structure.
Mainzer on the Starfleet weapons range firing photon torpedos from its modular probe/torp launcher. This unit can be replaced with a number of other pods featuring a variety of sensors or weapons, similar to the Miranda class' capability.
Mainzer on maneuvering trials, overseen by USS Belisarius. She matched the larger dreadnought move for move, showing the ring configuration to be no hinderance to nimbleness.
The model was created using Polar Lights' 1/1000 refit Enterprise saucer and a pair of "hyperspace rings" from Fine Molds' 1/72 Star Wars Jedi Starfighter, mounted together using fuel tanks from MPC's 1976 Space: 1999 Hawk kit. The torpedo pod is borrowed from Alliance's 1/1000 Reliant model. Other parts are various spare model kit parts.
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