Designing the Akira Class

The Akira class was one of the four computer-generated starships that appeared in the battle with the Borg early in Star Trek: First Contact. It became the favorite of the Industrial Light and Magic artists who created it.

One designer, Alex Jaeger, recalled that the radically different look of the ships in the battle was born out 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,” he told Star Trek: The Magazine in 1999.

They initially 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 the one design the producers liked instantly, said Jaeger. “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.

Jaeger produced several drawings that depicted parts of the ship in greater detail for First Contact and the vessel went on to appear on several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager.