Class Description Edit
The Peregrine Attack Fighter is now entering its second decade in service, and some believe that it's beginning to show its age. Originally designed as a flight trainer for the Academy and then rebuilt as an assault fighter during the Dominion War, current doctrine calls for it to be used as a heavy strike fighter in fleet actions. Refitted for fast strikes against large ships, each Peregrine of a flight can rapidly deploy all twenty-four of its micro-torpedoes against a single target. Well-execute, such an attack run can be devastating.
Outside of combat, the Peregrine also sees use in an exploration role similar to that of many shuttlecraft and as a patrol vessel to monitor merchant traffic through busy sectors.
Small craft maneuver training has been a part of Starfleet's basic curriculum for most of its history, but up until the decade preceding the Dominion War the role of small craft in the tactical environment had diminished to the point of being almost unnoticeable. Conventional wisdom held that no twenty-meter craft could possibly mount sufficient power, shields or weapons to pose a threat to a real starship, and that wisdom was mostly unquestioned.
Two events combined to change that view. First, the new runabout designs assigned to distant outposts showed remarkable resilience in crisis situations and even stood off small starships in a pinch. Second, the highly successful Marquis deployment of small couriers and modified training flyers against the Cardassian fleet demonstrated that a cleverly handled small vessel loaded with as much weaponry as possible could be effective against a starship if it made use of group tactics.
With the threat of war with the Dominion as a spur to embrace more creative tactics, Starfleet decided to rebuild a modest number of Peregrine training craft into combat fighters and deploy them into harm's way. With the outbreak of war, the 1st Attack Squadron was thrown almost directly into combat and proved itself a highly effective weapon against the Jem'haddar. Losses were painfully high, but their tactical successes were sufficient for Starfleet to authorize the construction and deployment of additional fighter squadrons across the front. They continued to prove a valuable tactical asset throughout the war, and on the cessation of hostilities Flight Operations was established as a full department of Starfleet Command so that this new tool could be fully integrated into the Fleet.
While the Peregrine is no longer the most modern or the most powerful mount in the Federation's fighter forces, many of them remain in service - a testament to the fundamental soundness of their basic engineering and their well-established survivability in combat.