Designing the Akira-class - By Alex Jaeger.
As ILM's Alex Jaeger discovered, creating a new Starfleet vessel is a task that involves combining traditional design features with some clever new variations.

The Akira-class was one of four computer-generated ships that were designed for Star Trek: First Contact, and it became the favorite of the Industrial Light and Magic artists. Alex Jaeger, a designer at ILM, says the radically different look of the new ships was born of necessity. "The main reason they look really different is that from a distance, the producers wanted them to be completely new looks, because we introduced a new Enterprise in the film and didn't want it to get lost," Jaeger explains. "They intially planned to have at least one ship that we could get closer to camera. That was the Akira, so it got the most attention to detail. It wound up being almost as big as the Enterprise-E - the E is longer, but the saucer section is almost the same size."

"It was one design they [the producers] liked from the get-go. It has some of the feel of the old USS Reliant NCC-1864 and its rollbar effect, but with a catamaran style with the split hull design. In the side view you almost can't see the bridge because between the sides of the hull, down between the two sections, is a protective device. "This was my gunship/battlecruiser/aircraft carrier," Jaeger adds. "It has 15 torpedo launchers and two shuttlebays - one in the front, with three doors, and one in the back. I really got into it with one, with the whole idea that the front bay would be the launching bay, and then to return they'd come into the back, because they'd be protected by the rest of the ship."

The Akira-class can supposably perform a saucer separation using the catamaran hull edging to define the start. The separation idea was not pursued, but the Akira-class made its appearance in the dramatic battle with the Borg at Sector 001, as well as in several battles with the Dominion, and on Star Trek: Voyager.