The Starfleet Runabout is a development of the warp capable shuttle craft which have been in use since the earliest days of the Federation. The first requirement for the Runabout, issued in 2342, called for a vessel based on the Type 5 cargo shuttle but capable of short and medium range interstellar operations carrying out limited spatial and planetary surveys. The fuselage was lengthened from 10.5 to 14.8 metres, allowing a much larger antimatter fuel cell to be installed to increase the vessels endurance from 36 hours to fifteen days at Warp 2.2. The two person emergency transporter was replaced by a one person fully functional model, and the rear of the cargo bay was fitted with four bunks. The remaining cargo space was used to expand the front cabin and install extra electronics systems.
The Type 5A Runabout proved reasonably successful in service, though the small cabin size limited its operations somewhat. Starfleet has gradually enlarged and improved the Runabout concept over the next twenty years or so, culminating in the Danube class Runabout first fielded in 2367. This is a much larger, more capable craft than previous designs. It features a large front cabin for the pilot and co-pilot / navigator plus up to three mission specialists. A two person transporter is at the rear of the cabin, with a small cargo area and engineering spaces behind this. A short passageway to one side connects the front cabin to the cargo bay and rear area. This incorporates six bunks, each of which can be closed off behind a privacy screen. The rear cabin is thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide; it can be fitted out according to the mission type with scientific instruments, extra weapons, a first aid station, evacuation support system, or other such equipment. Below the main spaces are the warp core and power transfer conduits, impulse drive system and fuel tanks. The nacelle supports contain two small escape pods, a group of emergency communications beacons and various other equipment.
2342: Starfleet issues a brief for a long range shuttle. General brief is as follows. A larger version of the type 5 shuttle capable of holding 20 crew in emergency situations. Capable of a maximum of warp 5 and fitted with light armsand shielding. Interchangable science / weapons modules. To be able to be moved by larger starships to their desitnations. Design team begins work with computer modles.
2364: Data gathered from computer testing. ASDB release a general idea to Starfleet initially coded the Danube Class. Project is approved.
2365: Design work completed and prototype begins construction
March: Basic space frame is layed out according to the design. Mini computer core is developed at the labs on Jupiter. Mirco Cochrane engine is also developed from the Type 5 shuttle craft engine.
June: Warp engine is fitted, computer core is deemed operational and baisc testing on the ship begins..
November: Ship passes all regualtory control and proceeds with testing.
January: Ship is proved to be operational and Starfleet examines the performance. The Runabout, as nick named by the design team is officially commission as USS Danube and Starfleet places an order to 145 ships to be distributed within the Federation.
Duranium with added Ablative Armor Matrox.
length: 23.1 meters
width: 12.7 meters
height: 5.4 meters
power: Matter/Antimatter Reactor (dilithium mediated)
cruising speed: Warp 4
maximum speed: Warp 5.4
micro quantom torpedos: Type: Mk II Quantum, variable yeild
location: forward (1) aft (0)
main phasers: 2 Type-VII phaser banks.
shields: Grid-progected (TDS)/Distance-projected, double-layered
Crew and Auxiliary Systems:
crew: 2 (maximum 12)
transporters: 1×4 personnel/cargo