By 2265 the Hoover Class was starting to show its age and Starfleet R&D started work on a possible replacement for the ageing ship class that could fill the same operation roles and would incorporate the most recent advancements in ship design and technological advancements. As part of the design process the operational history of the Hoover class was studied to pinpoint areas that required improvement. This study showed that while the overall design was successful there was one major problem, namely the poor coverage of the aft firing arch.
The final design of the Miranda Class was very close in looks to the Hoover class it was replacing. A saucer shaped hull with under slung warp nacelles and a raised superstructure on the aft dorsal area of the hull. A roll bar with two phaser pods and a torpedo pod was added to secure the aft firing arc. With both the forward and aft facing torpedo launchers housed in the torpedo pod this freed up room in the main hull allowing for more science labs. Another difference was that the shuttle bays were changed to face aft to make way for large steerable deflector emitters to improve the navigational deflector systems.
In 2271 the design of the Miranda Class was finalized and construction of the USS Miranda was started. The USS Miranda was launched from space dock in March of 2273 for a shake down cruise through the inner systems of the federation. The Miranda returned to space dock in May of the same year to fix problems with the ships systems that were identified during shake down. The two most pressing short comings were the navigational deflectors were only operating at 65 percent of their design specifications and the targeting scanners located in the torpedo pod would not properly align causing loss of target tracking during the hand off from the ships targeting sensors and the targeting sensors onboard the torpedo. Once all repairs were completed the Miranda departed space dock once more in March of 2274 for another shake down cruise and in January 2275 the Miranda once more returned to earth for the commissioning ceramony.
One of the best, albeit unfortunate, examples of the Miranda’s new found performance came during the Genesis Project experiments of 2278. A small group of genetically-enhanced augments led by Khan Noonian Singh boarded and took over the USS Reliant. With this vessel, Khan attacked and disabled the heavier Constitution Class Refit USS Enterprise, under the command of Admiral Kirk, in a daring surprise attack. The Reliant suffered minor damage in the conflict from phaser fire only after Admiral Kirk used Reliant’s prefix code to disable her shields. Khan then headed to Regula One, stealing the Genesis Device and killing a majority of the scientists stationed there. In the battle for the Genesis device, Khan and his Miranda were defeated only by superior strategy on the part of Admiral Kirk, and Khan was still able to detonate the Genesis device in the middle of the Mutara Nebula, with the Enterprise left barely able to escape.
After the turn of the century the Miranda Class was a common sight and helped form the backbone of the Federation fleet, alongside the Constitution Class and Excelsior Class. Serving as both explorers and cruisers, the Miranda Class fleet aided with the exploration of the galaxy for nearly five decades until Starfleet finally decided to pull the plug on the class and replace it. Upgrades in starship technology since the Miranda Class’ original commission allowed for a ship of similar size to be twice as advanced, twice as fast and twice as powerful.
By 2365, 90% of the Miranda fleet had been retired and decommissioned. However, when conflict with the Dominion broke out, large portions of the Miranda fleet were recommissioned and upgraded as much as possible to help defend the Federation. After the end of the war most of the fleet was mothballed once again, but a number of ships were still put to use in a variety of roles, serving as cargo vessels, explorers, escorts to task groups and freighter lines, and assigned to starbases in direct protection duty. By 2385, the last of the Miranda Class vessels were decommissioned once again