- Role: System Patrol
- Length: 432 meters
- Weapons Systems: One sonnematerial cannon, Four point-defense EMSEL batteries
- Country of Origin: American Empire
The James Polk was an experimental design, implementing many features that would later become commonplace. A single sonnematerial cannon is separated from the ship itself by a boom, so that the weapon could be quickly jettisoned if it experiences meltdown. The cockpit is a separate aerodynamic module, which can separate from the ship if the ship itself is compromised. These modules, intended to be detached near a planet, failed to save most crews as they starved to death or asphyxiated after jettisoning too far from a habitable world.
Designed alongside the Constitution-class frigate right before the German Civil War, the James Polk was rushed into production in 2241 shortly after the American Empire officially joined in the hostilities. It was to respond to emergencies at the furthest reaches of the Empire, armed with a sonnematerial cannon powerful enough to obliterate armies yet more compact than nuclear missiles. However, most of the cruisers would be forced to fight within American battlefleets against the communist foe, where they performed poorly compared to ships designed for the task, like behemoths such as the George Washington series of battleships. However, the powerful Alkaev engines given to the James Polks allowed them to escape the Collapse for far-flung worlds. A sizable contingent of the fleet that left for Columbia Prime was composed of these cruisers. The dependable designs would serve in the Imperial Navy until reforms in the 24th century forced them to retire. However, these ships can still be found in many modern navies, as they are cheap to manufacture.