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The USS Defiant (NX-74205) is a fictional starship in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) and the feature film Star Trek: First Contact. The lead ship of her class and one of the Federation's first purpose-built warships, the Defiant first appears in the DS9 episode "The Search, Part I", after which it plays a significant role throughout the series in the ensuing Dominion War. While the original Defiant is destroyed in the show's seventh season, Starfleet sends a replacement ship of the same class, the USS Sao Paulo, which receives special dispensation from the Chief of Starfleet Operations to be renamed as the Defiant.
In the episode "Defiant", the character Gul Dukat describes the ship as "one of the most heavily armed warships in the Quadrant," while in the film Star Trek: First Contact, William Riker describes her as a "tough little ship."
The Defiant was initially designed by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine art illustrator Jim Martin with contributions from visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel and modelmaker Tony Meininger. The Defiant's addition to DS9 was intended to solve the problem of cramped runabout sets according to statements by Robert-Hewitt Wolfe. Original designs called for a "beefed-up" runabout-type ship, but this gave way to a full-fledged starship design, initially called Valiant. This name was dropped out of fear that it would conflict with Star Trek: Voyager and its titular starship, also beginning with a "V". For a brief time it was considered to retain Valiant as the name of the class: but dialog in "The Search" and the ship's dedication plaque firmly establish the Defiant as the pathfinder.
The name Valiant would later be given to another Defiant-class ship in the DS9 episode "Valiant". Although not an actual initial design in the real-world, one of the in-universe designs for the Defiant appears, somewhat modified, as the Nova class USS Equinox in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Equinox".
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