This Article is an Intelligence Article, designed to help Captains and Crews in posts, and to alleviate confusion when it comes to warship sizes.
A Warship is defined as any starship that is built and primarily intended for combat. Warship construction is quite different from construction of merchant or transport vessels, as warships must withstand stresses beyond that which would be expected of a merchant or transport vessel.
Warships are the primary warfighting vessels used by Alpha Quadrant powers, the notable exception being the Federation, which will be explained later. The Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Breen, Valderans, and Tyderians all have fleets of purpose-built warships. The Ferengi fleet is made up of "Armed Merchantmen", or commerce vessels with a secondary combat role.
THE FEDERATION APPROACH Edit
The United Federation of Planets is the notable exception to the Warship rule. Starfleet is composed of Multi-Role vessels that use Warship building practices for ships that are designed for scientific and exploratory missions first, and battle second. Federation Starships of this standard are often considered inferior to true warships, although technology and training make up for the lack of pure firepower.
Since the Dominion War, however, Starfleet has maintained a relatively small force of purpose-built combattants. These ships are often more heavily armed than equivelent sized starships, and have little, if any capabilities for non-military missions.
CAPITAL WARSHIPS Edit
Capital Warships are the "Big" Ships in a fleet. Traditionally, three types of Warships are considered Capital ships, Battleships, Battlecruisers, and Carriers.
The term "Capital Ship" refers to the high monetary (capital) cost of building, manning, and sustaining such ships.
A Battleship is a large, heavily armed and exceptionally well protected warship primarily designed for fighting other ships of her type. Battleship size varries from fleet to fleet, although some strategists don't consider anything smaller than 800 meters to make a respectable battleship.
Battleships are not known to be perticularly fast or menueverable, but their heavy weapons load generally compensates for that.
THE BIGGEST OF THE BIG BOYS Edit
Banor Battleships (Identities unknown, at least two different vessels identified)
- 3200 Meters Overall Length
- 1500 Meters Abeam
- Not less than 60 Decks
- At least 20, probably 25, possibly more, heavy phaser cannons.
- At least 10 Torpedo Launchers
Conquerer Class (Valderan Superbattleship, 4 built, 3 in service)
- 2400 meters Overall Length
- 1800 Meters Long
- 109 Decks
- 25 404mm Disruptor Cannons, 20 202mm Disruptor Cannons
- 12 Torpedo Launchers
Ishkara Class (Tyderian Super Battleship 5 built, 3 active)
- 2389 meters Overall Length
- 1200 Meters Long
- 86 Decks
- 26 Heavy Phaser Cannons
- 16 Torpedo Launchers
Georgia Class (Federation Battleship, 4 built, 3 in service)
- 1011 Meters Long
- Most heavily armed ship in Lima Fleet
Battlecruisers, depending on who you ask, are either obscenely large and heavily armed Cruisers, or small and underprotected Battleships. Both descriptions are, truthfully, correct.
Battlecruisers are designed primarily as a cheaper version of Battleships, especially when the armor and shielding protection of a Battleship is not necessary. Battlecruisers are smaller and faster than Battleships, but are more heavily armed than Cruisers. They do, however, share the protection package of a Heavy Cruiser.
Carriers are vessels designed primarily to deploy fighter craft into battle. Some are heavily armed, such as the Federation Majestic class, others are not.
Only Fleet or Super Carriers are considered Capital ships. Smaller Escort and Patrol Carriers, common in the Valderan and Tyderian fleets, are considered independant combattants.
Cruisers are the next most powerful type of warship out there. Cruisers are capable of independant combat operations, and often form the backbone of Combat Action Groups and Task Forces. Cruisers fall into numerous and often confusing subcategories.
HEAVY CRUISERS Edit
Heavy Cruisers are large warships, often exceeding 500 meters in overall length, designed for prolonged combat duties. Heavy Cruisers are very powerful vessels, often capable of engaging numerous targets at once. Heavy Cruisers are considered by the Valderans to be "Enforcer ships" because of their abilities in battle.
Heavy Cruisers are used frequently as heavy escorts for large warships, and as command ships for combat action groups and task forces.
LIGHT CRUISERS Edit
Light Cruisers are large, fast, and agile warships, often similar in size to a Heavy Cruiser, but more lightly armed and not as well protected. They often act as forward scouts for large fleets, and also serve as command ships for patrol units. When paired with Heavy Cruisers, Light Cruisers provide a "Meneuver force" while Heavy Cruisers provide serious punch.
STRIKE/ATTACK CRUISERS Edit
Strike Cruisers combine the firepower of a Heavy Cruiser with the speed, menueverability, and protective package of a Light Cruiser.
Attack Cruisers are heavily protected Light Cruisers, sacrificing some speed and meneuverability for increased protection.
ESCORT WARSHIPS Edit
Any warship smaller than a Cruiser is considered an escort combattant. These ships' primary purpose is to escort and provide additional firepower for larger ships.
Destroyers are mid-sized warships. Fast, Agile, and well armed for their size, they are often built in big numbers. Destroyers do have a major problem, however. They are under protected, often refered to as "Heavily armed tin cans" by their crews.
DESTROYER ESCORT/FRIGATE Edit
these two terms are almost interchangable. Frigates and Destroyer Escorts are escort warships, designed to escort merchant convoys through hostile areas. They are similar in size, or slightly smaller than, a destroyer. They are fast and agile, but not as well armed as the larger Destroyers.
Webster's Dictionary defines a Corvette as "a lightly armed, fast ship used mostly for convoy escort and ranging in size between a Frigate and a Patrol Gunship." Corvettes can also be used for scouting missions and in support of Special Operations units.
Defiant Class Federation starships and Klingon Birds of Prey are considered Corvettes by most military analysts.