There may be other science-fiction franchises that are known for awesome ships and massive space battles, but Star Trek made a name for itself when “Deep Space Nine” ramped up the action to massive levels. With the outbreak of the Dominion War, the show established Star Trek as a franchise that wasn’t afraid to throw down and give the people what they wanted: thousands of ships going at each other on screen.
With the new “Deep Space Nine” documentary in the works, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit this gem of a show and take a look at the amazing ships it brought to the small screen. Which ones are the most bad ass? Check out the list below to see where your favorites rank.
Before the glorious days of the U.S.S. Defiant, all the Deep Space Nine crew had to get around with were three Danube-class runabouts. More capable than a normal shuttlecraft, the Runabouts had larger interiors, a tractor beam and warp engines that could reach warp five. As far as weapons go, it’s outfitted with phaser arrays and a photon torpedo launcher. While they certainly don’t match the destructive capabilities of proper starships, they still give the ship a sharp set of teeth.
During the Dominion War, Runabouts were mainly kept out of the fighting but still saw occasional skirmishes. In the episode “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River” Odo managed to disable a Jem’Hadar fighter with a well placed shot. During the larger engagements of the war, however, a Runabout was all but useless. Very seldom did they see front line fighting and only in very extreme circumstances. When the Defiant wasn’t available, however, they made excellent transports.
The most powerful warship in the Klingon Defense Forces at its introduction in the late 23rd Century, the K’t’inga-class battle cruiser became the primary vessel for their war-machine. Featuring disruptors, phasers, and photon torpedo launchers, this ship was a powerhouse for its time, so much so that it actually aged pretty decently. Like the Miranda and Excelsior-class starships, the K’t’inga-class saw service well into the 24th century. By then, what had become a feared symbol of Imperial power had turned into a respected ally of the Federation.
Though the ships went through many updates over the years, the K’t’inga eventually started to show its age by the time the Dominion War started. Too weak to take on the newest Dominion vessels, the K’t’inga was usually passed over in favor of the Bird-of-Prey. Still, they remained an iconic part of the Klingon Navy until the end of the war and beyond.
Introduced in the late 23rd Century, the Miranda-class ships were extremely adaptable ships that could fit any mission required of them. Some were outfitted for exploration, others for scientific roles, and many for patrol duties. Their arch above their saucer section can be outfitted several different ways, allowing the ship to have more sensor equipment or weapons. The standard configuration for the ship involved six dual-phaser banks on the primary hull, though those were replaced with phaser arrays in the 24th Century. It was also featured forward and rear firing torpedo tubes.
During the Dominion War, the Miranda-class filled out the ranks of the Federation fleet. Though it was never the toughest or the most powerful ship, it helped hold the line during several important battles of the war. Two particular ships, the U.S.S. Sitak and the U.S.S. Majestic, served as flanking guards for the U.S.S. Defiant during the rush to retake Deep Space Nine during Operation Return.
12. KLINGON BIRD-OF-PREY
One of the oldest and most honored ships in the Klingon Defense Forces, the Bird-of-Prey (also known as a K’vort-class, B’rell-class, or a D12) is an incredibly versatile vessel. It’s a testament to the ship’s capabilities that, even though it was introduced in the 23rd Century, it saw continued use even in the late 24th Century. Armed with forward and aft firing photon torpedo launchers as well as two disruptor cannons on the wings, it makes for the perfect strike craft. It’s also incredibly fast for its size, able to reach speeds in excess of warp eight.
Despite its popularity, the ship would often find itself outmatched by larger Constitution-class (the make of the Kirk’s classic Enterprise) and Galaxy-class ships (Picard’s Enterprise from “The Next Generation”). As a result, they would travel in groups and attack like fighter squadrons. This allowed for surprising tactics that would scramble an enemy. During the Dominion War, the ships were especially effective at taking out Jem’Hadar attack ships.
11. JEM’HADAR FIGHTER
The most common ship in the Dominion fleet, the Jem’Hadar attack fighter was mostly used as a scout for patrols. Armed with phased polaron beams, disruptors, torpedoes, and later energy dissipaters, it was extremely powerful for its size. Its strong deflector shields and ability to reach speeds above warp 7 make it extremely effective at hit and run attacks that would throw any enemy off balance. Unlike ships in the Alpha Quadrant, they didn’t have any viewscreens, replicators, chairs or medical facilities.
The Jem’Hadar fighters were used mainly in the Gamma Quadrant to patrol Dominion space, but thousands of the ships were brought to Cardassian space to prepare for an upcoming conflict with the Federation. During the war, they patrolled Dominion borders and spearheaded attacks on Federation forces. Even during the largest engagements, the Jem’Hadar would use their fighters for kamikaze attacks that devastated even the most formidable Federation ships.
Built by the Federation’s Utopia Planitia shipyards and introduced into the fleet just before the Battle of Sector 001, the Akira-class was a heavy cruiser that formed a large part of the Federation fleet during the Dominion War. Outfitted with six type-1o phaser emitters and two photon torpedo launchers, it was involved with almost every major battle of the Dominion War, including the battle to retake Deep Space Nine from occupying forces and both battles for the Chin’toka system. By the time the wayward starship Voyager returned home, they were still in active service and patrolling the space near Earth.
Outside of television and film, the ship has been featured heavily in other mediums. Video games such as “Star Trek: Armada,” “Star Trek: Bridge Commander,” and “Star Trek Online” contain the Akira as a playable ship. In all the games, the Akira is listed as a heavy cruiser and uses formidable firepower.
For a time, the Vor’cha-class attack cruiser was the most powerful ship in the Klingon Defense Forces. Sporting disruptor cannons, disruptor emitters, and photon torpedo launchers, the ship was considered extremely heavily armed for its time. It was also extremely large, dwarfing both the Bird-of-Pray and K’t’inga classes in size. Despite this, it had fairly strong maneuverability which makes it an excellent jack of all trades that makes for a sturdy backbone for the Klingon fleet.
One even served as the Klingon flagship for a time before the Negh’Var was introduced several years later. After that, the Vor’cha became one of the main front-line ships of the empire during the Klingon’s war with the Cardassian Empire. During the Dominion War, the Vor’cha-class were considered Klingon capital ships that played important parts of the battle to retake Deep Space Nine, both battles of Chin’toka and the final Battle of Cardassia.
8. KELDON-CLASS CARDASSIAN CRUISER
The Cardassians were known the quadrant over for their military might, but the Keldon-class is the pinnacle of the power. First introduced into the Cardassian navy in 2371, this vessel was the successor to the backbone of the fleet: the Galor-class. At one point early in their use, the Romulans outfitted a number of Obsidian Order Keldons with cloaking devices, but they were lost in an ambush in the gamma quadrant. In the years that followed, many Keldon-class ships were used to defend Cardassian borders during their war with the Klingons.
During the Dominion War, the Keldon-class ships fought alongside their Jem’Hadar counterparts and caused significant damage to Federation and Klingon forces. At the end of the war, when the Cardassian Union turned on the Dominion after months of mistreatment from overseers, the Keldon-class ships were instrumental in turning the tide in a way that allowed Federation, Klingon and Romulan forces to press on Cardassia Prime and end the war for good.
7. BREEN WARSHIP
While there doesn’t seem to be anything remarkable about the Breen Warship, it features one of the single most devastating weapons in Star Trek history: the energy dissipater. Also referred to as the “energy-dampening weapon,” this device fired a pulse at an energy ship that drained it of its energy and thus disabled all its major systems. One shot from this weapon could leave even the most advanced ship completely dead in the water and at the mercy of the enemy.
Such was the fate of the U.S.S. Defiant at the first battle of the Chin’Toka system. After the opening volley, she was completely disabled and eventually destroyed by Dominion Forces. After surviving several large battles of the Dominion War, it’s notable that it was the Breen that finally brought her down. Unfortunately, the ships are also one-trick ponies. While the energy-dampening weapon is fantastic, once it was negated they just became another ship in the Dominion fleet.
6. ROMULAN D’DERIDEX-CLASS
Prior to 2364, no one in the Federation knew what a modern Romulan ship looked like. During a mission of the Enterprise-D, however, they revealed themselves to the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. After the Dominion were revealed, a combined Cardassian/Romulan fleet featuring many D’deridex-class war birds under command of the Tal Shiar were sent to destroy the Founders. Unfortunately, the fleet was ambushed and the Romulan’s war machine was drastically reduced in capability. After the Romulans decided to join the Dominion War allied with the Federation and the Klingons, however, the remaining ships proved to be an invaluable asset that turned the course of the conflict.
Outfitted with a disruptor array capable of firing in both beams and pulses, the Romulan Warbird proved to be very versatile in combat. It also carried a torpedo launcher capable of firing long volleys of torpedoes. Overall, one of the most feared ships in the alpha quadrant.
While this is more of a “Next Generation” ship, we’re giving it a nod on this list because the ship class made a few sparse but notable appearances in the show. The product of an era that knew no war, the Galaxy-class ship had a crew compliment in the thousands that included families and various non-military personnel down to barbers. Despite their peacekeeping goals, these ships were armed with over a dozen phaser arrays as well as fore and aft torpedo launchers with a compliment of 250 photon torpedoes.
The Dominion famously made their presence known by destroying a Galaxy-class ship, the U.S.S. Odyssey, with a suicide run from a Jem’Hadar attack ship. After the outbreak of the war, these ships were converted for use as heavy support vessels used in groups called “wings.” They saw action in almost every major engagement of the war. When peace was reestablished, more were built and the ship became a common occurrence in the Federation navy.
4. JEM’HADAR BATTLECRUISER
This bad boy is the pride of the already incredibly formidable Dominion fleet. Among some of the first ships to fill up the Alpha Quadrant, it was the largest vessel used in the assault on Deep Space Nine just a few months later. Commanded by Gul Dukat, one of these vessels served as his flagship the day he retook the station in the name of the Dominion.
Armed to the teeth with directed energy weapons and torpedoes, it had enough firepower to help bring down a portion of Deep Space Nine’s shields. Its torpedo launcher was also capable of firing multiple bursts, which came in handy when targeting many ships at once. Typically, these ships are supported by a wing of Jem’Hadar fighters to back them up in a fight, but even one of these larger ships is seen as a threat to Deep Space Nine at any point in the show.
3. NEGH’VAR BATTLESHIP
The flagship of the fleet once commanded by Chancellor Gowron himself, the Imperial Klingon Ship Negh’Var was the largest Klingon vessel operating in the Empire during the late 24th Century. Introduced into the Klingon fleet shortly after the introduction of the Dominion, it was outfitted with all the usual systems you’d expect from a Klingon cruiser, including a cloaking device, heavy shields, and heavy armament. The weapons included incredibly powerful disruptors that breached the shields of Deep Space Nine and allowed the Klingons to beam over boarding parties.
By the end of the Dominion War, multiple Negh’Var-class ships were in service on the front lines. While the Breen energy-dampening weapon was deployed, the Negh’Var battleships and their accompanying fleets were all that stood in the way of the Dominion Fleet and allied space. Luckily, they held the line long enough for the Federation to come up with a counter to the weapon which set the stage for a final push in Cardassian space.
2. JEM’HADAR BATTLESHIP
Introduced halfway through the Dominion War, this Battleship made its debut in the episode “Valiant.” Said to be twice the size of a Galaxy-class ship and three times as powerful, the Jem’Hadar battleship was brought into the war to bring about a major power shift in the Dominion’s favor. First discovered by the U.S.S. Valiant while behind enemy lines, the all-cadet crew immediately knew how much of a threat this ship was to the Federation and aimed to take it down at any cost.
They identified the primary support braces in the antimatter storage system as a possible flaw in its design, as they were made out of viterium – a material that would destabilize when exposed to delta radiation. The Valiant’s crew modified torpedoes to be used against the ship, but the delta radiation proved to be ineffective. The Valiant was then destroyed and many more battleships were used over the course of the war.
1. U.S.S. DEFIANT
In “Star Trek: First Contact,” Commander William Riker described the Defiant as a “tough little ship,” which couldn’t have been a more apt description. Designed to be the anti-thesis of the Enterprise-D, the Defiant is less a floating city and more of a tiny but powerful dedicated military craft. Unlike most Federation ships, there are no families aboard, no holodecks and no bars. So much space is taken up by the weapons systems that there’s no room for anything other than basic quarters and work stations.
Armed with pulse phasers and quantum torpedoes, the ship was originally designed as a Borg-killer. It also sported ablative armor for when the shields are lost in battle. The best feature, however, was the Romulan donated cloaking device that the ship carried. Although it was only meant to be used in the Gamma Quadrant, the crew often broke the rules and ran it in the Alpha Quadrant on a regular basis. Not only did the ship survive a Borg assault on Earth, but also most of Dominion War.
What was your favorite ship from “Deep Space Nine?” Let us know in the comments if you prefer a ship from another “Star Trek” series.
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