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)
- TNG films:
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 In an unpublished interview with author Larry Nemecek, designer Jaeger said he simply used the four-digit number of his then-phone extension for that registry; to conform to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 features heavily in the DS9 novels set after "What You Leave Behind". The Gryphon was commanded by Elaine Mello. 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.
The short story "On the Spot" in 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 (NCC-62501), USS Osceola (NCC-62743), USS Black Elk (NCC-62878), USS Nez Perce (NCC-62891), USS Mateo (NCC-63002), USS Red Cloud (NCC-63306), and USS Susquehanna (NCC-63419).
The Activision PC game Star Trek: Armada includes the USS Jupiter (NCC-71267) and USS Templar, 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" 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."
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Dominion Wars includes the USS Singh.
Star Trek: Away Team includes the USS Leyte Gulf (NCC-71427).
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 a Commander level heavy escort. A slightly more powerful "refit" version is available as the Thunderchild-class which includes a point defense system. A second refit version, the Armitage-class is available at the Vice Admiral rank and is meant to pay homage to the designer's plans for the ship with a torpedo point defense system, and a fighter bay. The Armitage is significantly larger than the Akira, but the parts from both, and other sister classes, can be combined on the same vessel.
- 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