As well, several were involved in most of the major battles of the war. In 2374, they saw action during Operation Return and the First Battle of Chin'toka, where at least two ships of the class were destroyed by Cardassian orbital weapon platforms. (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels", "Tears of the Prophets")
The Akira-class design ditched Starfleet's usual saucer-secondary hull-nacelle design, and more closely resembled the NX-class with its catamaran shaped hull. The engineering section was tucked under the main saucer, which housed the main deflector, and some of the ship's tactical systems. The nacelles were connected via long catamaran type structures, which in turn connected to a large weapons pod, housing several photon torpedo launchers. The catamaran pylons offered a degree of protection for the main bridge, which retained its traditional location at the top of the saucer. (Star Trek: First Contact; DS9: "Call to Arms", et al.)
The Akira-class design incorporated a multitude of tactical systems, including at least three Phaser arrays, and housed numerous Photon torpedo launchers along the port and starboard sides of the ventral primary hull, at least one launcher forward of the deflector, and several located on the aft weapons pod. (Star Trek: First Contact)
- Star Trek: First Contact (first appearance)
- LD: "First First Contact" (model)
The name of the ship class was never mentioned on screen but is derived from production sources.
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 14), the Akira-class was named after the anime fantasy film Akira. "Along with the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the Akira-class starship helped to inspire Doug Drexler's design of the NX-class Enterprise from Star Trek: Enterprise."
According to designer, Alex Jaeger, "This was my gunship/battlecruiser/aircraft carrier. It has 15 torpedo launchers and two shuttlebays - one in front, with three doors, and one in the back. I really got into it with this 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." (Star Trek: The Magazine, July 1999, Issue 3)
A design sketch of the USS Akira shown the vessel bearing the registry NCC-2497. In an unpublished interview with author Larry Nemecek, designer Jaeger said he simply used the four-digit number of his then-phone extension for that registry; to conform to Starfleet practice, the number "6" was added by Mike Okuda and the film's art department to make "62497," a number then approved by producer Rick Berman. At the same time, Jaeger said, two other ship names and registries were approved as back-ups, if needed, to the USS Thunderchild actually seen on film as NCC-63549: the USS Rabin (named after former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin) as NCC-63293, and the USS Spector (NCC-65549). The ship scale sheet showing the back-up names and registries can be found on John Eaves' blog.
Neither of the latter ships ever appeared on screen, although the CGI file used for the Akira-class seen in the Voyager episode "Message in a Bottle" was ostensibly the Spector, and was used by the Star Trek Fact Files. The ship allegedly appeared in one of the battle scenes from the sixth and seventh seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but this has not been verified.
The scale of the CGI mesh, according to a January 20, 1998 post in the newsgroup alt.tv.star-trek.ds9, by DS9 Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes, was 860 feet or 262.13 meters, the length used when he blocked shots in DS9.  However, the measurement used by Visual Effects Supervisor Gary Hutzel, according to an in-house chart dated 5/15/98, was 840 feet.
According to a size chart of Alex Jaeger, the Akira-class would be roughly 500 meters (1640.4 ft) in length. 
- See: Akira-class model
The following information of specifications and defenses comes exclusively from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual:
- Production Base: ASDB Integration Facility, Antares Fleet Yards, Antares IV.
- Type: Heavy Cruiser.
- Accommodation: 500 officers and crew; 4,500 personnel evacuation limit.
- Power Plant: One 1,500 plus Cochrane warp core feeding two nacelles; one impulse system.
- Dimensions: Length, 464.43 meters; beam, 316.67 meters; height, 87.43 meters.
- Mass: 3,055,000 metric tonnes.
- Performance: Warp 9.8 for 12 hours.
- Armament: Six type-10 phaser emitters; Two photon torpedo launchers.
The Akira-class starship USS Gryphon (β) features heavily in the DS9 novels set after "What You Leave Behind". The Gryphon was commanded by Elaine Mello (β). In Lesser Evil, Kira Nerys is given command by Captain Mello when the Gryphon is sabotaged.
The USS Sentinel mentioned in DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River" is described as an Akira-class starship that Lt. Commander Sonya Gomez served on during the Dominion War, according to Pocket SCE: War Stories, Book 1 and had the registry NCC-68455.
The DS9 novel Original Sin features the Akira-class USS James T. Kirk (β) (NCC-63719), named in honor of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. The James T. Kirk was commanded by Elias Vaughn (β) and had an illustrious service history which included exploration and defensive missions.
The Star Trek: Destiny novel Gods of Night features the Akira-class USS Constant (β). During the Borg invasion (β) of 2381, the Constant was assigned to defend the planet Khitomer, along with the USS Ranger (β) and USS Arimathea (β). Although the USS Enterprise-E signaled of an incoming Borg cube, the fleet of three vessels had little chance of defending the Klingon planet. The Constant was destroyed first after the cube adapted to their weaponry; although the vessel was able to launch escape pods, they were all consumed by the ship's destruction.
The short story "On the Spot" in the anthology book The Sky's the Limit features the Akira-class USS Korolev.
The Decipher role-playing games supplement Starships lists several Akira-class starships, including USS Geronimo (β) (NCC-62501), USS Osceola (β) (NCC-62743), USS Black Elk (β) (NCC-62878), USS Nez Perce (β) (NCC-62891), USS Mateo (β) (NCC-63002), USS Red Cloud (β) (NCC-63306), and USS Susquehanna (β) (NCC-63419).
The Activision PC game Star Trek: Armada includes the USS Jupiter (β) (NCC-71267) and USS Templar (β), as well as many others. In both this game and the sequel, Star Trek: Armada II, these vessels have an advanced weapon called the "chain reaction pulsar (β)" which bounces a bolt of energy off of enemy shields, damaging several ships consecutively. The Jupiter was also a promotional card for the Star Trek Customizable Card Game, where it was listed as being "under the command of Captain Satelk."
The Akira-class is featured in the game Star Trek: Starfleet Command III, where it is classified as a heavy cruiser.
The Xbox 360/PC game Star Trek: Legacy allows control of Akira-class ships as cruisers with names such as USS Akira, USS Spector, USS Rabin, and USS Thunderchild.
The Akira-class is featured in Star Trek Online as the prototypical example of a "Strike Wing Escort", a class of tactical starship blending the weaponry an escort with the capacity to field smaller vessels such as shuttlecraft, runabouts, or attack fighters in combat. Other Strike Wing Escort classes fielded by Starfleet with designs derived from the Akira-class include the game-original Armitage (β), Alita (β), and Thunderchild (β) classes.
- Akira-class ship names from Starfleet Command III:
- USS Akira
- USS Aquino
- USS Begin
- USS Cristiani
- USS Galtieri
- USS Gorbachev
- USS Grant
- USS Kennedy
- USS Kravchuk
- USS Landsbergis
- USS Lincoln
- USS Mitterand
- USS Ramos
- USS Reagan
- USS Shamir
- USS Shevardnadze
- USS Sihanouk
- USS Thatcher
- USS Thunderchild
- USS Yeltsin