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The class design was based on the single hull configuration that was employed by the Miranda-class. Mounted on the underside of the primary hull were two nacelle pylons connected to the warp nacelles. The aft section featured an enlarged tail section that protruded out behind the ship, surrounded on either side by its dual shuttlebays. Above either nacelle were mounted outboard sensor pods. (TNG: "Cause and Effect")
The Soyuz-class bridge shared a similar floor plan with contemporary Federation starships of its era.
Located in the front was the ship's viewscreen, with the captain's chair located near the center of the bridge. A stand-up console is located on the rear starboard side between the captain and the railing that separates the center of the bridge from the rear wall, which has various systems stations located along it. (TNG: "Cause and Effect")
- USS Bozeman (NCC-1941)
According to the script, the design for the Soyuz-class was simply described as "clearly an older style starship."
It is noted in several reference books, including the Star Trek Encyclopedia, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, that it was originally hoped that a new design could be developed for the Soyuz-class Bozeman, whereas, it was also suggested to make the ship a 1960s-era, pre-movie Constitution-class vessel. Unfortunately, budget demands put an end to that when the costs of creating and filming ships, props and costumes began to add up.
As a result, the art department was asked to modify the already existing USS Reliant miniature from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, minus the roll bar and with new sensor turrets, docking port and bridge. A preliminary idea for this "new" Soyuz design, was a modification of the Reliant, dated 14 February 1992, drawn by Mike Okuda on an image of the Miranda-class USS Courageous (NCC-1861), photocopied from the fan publication, Ships of the Star Fleet, Volume One. The final modifications were made by Okuda and Greg Jein.