There are more types of ships than I plan on discussing here. I have left out the plethora of civilian ships, and the large number of support ships that Starfleet would use. I am concentrating on the ships we would call "military" in nature.

About the Pictures: All drawings on this page are to scale. The scale is one meter to the pixel.


An escort is more of a job than a type of ship. During the Second World War a class of ship was built called a destroyer-escort. The British called these ships corvettes. They had one job, to escort the convoys across the Atlantic. The type was cheap and quick to build. At least to submarines they packed a punch out of scale to their size. In treknical terms an escort is any small heavily armed ship that protects other ships. The Defiant defines the type.

About the Picture: USS Defiant, defining the type


The destroyer is a ship that came into being with the invention of the Whitehead torpedo. Suddenly a small boat could pack a punch that could sink a capital ship. Something had to be done. The result was a slightly larger and faster ship called a "torpedo boat destroyer". The "torpedo boat" part of the name got dropped, but the purpose of the type has not changed. Destroyers are picket ships. They protect larger ships from threats. The job of the destroyer has expanded from torpedo boats, to submarines (the torpedo boat under water) to anti aircraft pickets.

Treknically destroyers are the redheaded stepchild. They don't really have a place. They can either fall into the escort category or are truly large enough to shoulder their way into the frigate category. These ships do not generally have enough room to do both science and fighting. If they have science they are called science ships, if not, light frigates.

About the Picture: USS Soley -- Launched 1944. The Soley was a "Short Hull" Destroyer of the Allen M. Sumner class. She was one of hundreds of similar ships built during the Second World War.


The scout is not a contemporary ship. A "scout" is usually a person, not a vessel. They do the job that at sea a frigate and later a destroyer is sent to do, look go see.

Two types of scout exist, or rather two jobs for the same ships. A Scout is a light cruiser heavily leveraged for long range sensors. They are often four nacelle designs intended to be long away from base. Four nacelles not for speed, but to run lightly on the drives.

In peace time scouts cast their sensor nets far and wild looking for things interesting enough to send a cruiser to look at. It's a boring but vital place in the exploration of space. Seldom does the scout crew get to personally discover neat stuff, too often they discover stuff that they don't return from.

In war the scout runs in front of the fleet in a wide net. They use those sensors to see before they are seen, and inform the fleet. It again is not a glamor job and has lots of ways to die.

About the Picture: The USS Bozeman -- Soyuz class. It is seen in the TNG episode "Cause and Effect".


Historically the frigate was a ship of the 6th to 4th rate. The role they filled was that of independent patrol, or fleet picket work. Later in time the former task fell to cruisers and the latter to the destroyer. The term has come back into fashion in modern navies for ships smaller than destroyers. Destroyers now being as large as cruisers used to be and filling both their picket role and that of independent patrol.

Treknically I call the frigate a ship leveraged to fight. Frigates are the concern of Starfleet's Military Operations Command. The MOC. Frigates can and do share hull types with cruisers, They can be every bit as large as a cruiser, or as small as the Defiant. No matter the size the frigate is a fighter first and flexible second. If they find themselves on a cruiser type of mission they can do a cruiser type of mission to the same effect that a cruiser is also equally well equipped to fight.

About the Pictures: USS Constitution -- Launched 1797. The oldest commissioned ship afloat. Undoubtedly the most famous frigate ever built. The most powerful warship of her size for her time. 200 feet long and carrying 42, 24 pound guns. Constitution could and did outfight everything short of a Ship of the Line.
USS Budapest -- Norway class frigate. First seen in "Star Trek: First Contact."


This is another term that has gotten kicked around. In the developmental phases of the age of steam cruisers replaced the frigate. The US navy had two types, the armored cruiser and the protected cruiser. Cruisers were lighter than the battleships, but had the legs to patrol on their own. They were intended to be able to either out fight or out run the opponent. In the later case they ran from a battleship.

The later categories of "light" and "heavy" were a direct result of the Washington naval treaty of 1921. The treaty defined cruisers as ships of up to 15,000 tons, and being either "light" with guns no larger than 6 inches, or "heavy" with guns no larger than 8 inches. Size-wise the two types of ship were equal. The Atlanta class light cruiser was every bit as large as its heavy sisters. Light or heavy referred solely to the size of the guns.

For Epiphany Trek a cruiser is the multi-use ship. It is the most expensive and useful ship in the fleet. A heavy cruiser is the highest form of Starfleet life. Cruisers come in many configurations and sizes. In this case light does mean smaller, heavy does mean larger.

About the Pictures: USS Boston -- Launched 1943. Baltimore class Heavy Cruiser, one of the largest cruiser classes of WWII. the Boston and her sisters (8 in all) served well during and after the war. the survivors were upgraded into the first guided missile cruisers, some so radically their designers wouldn't recognize them.
USS Enterprise -- refit. A ship that needs no introduction.

Battle cruiserEdit

This is another bastard of the age of steam. It is the direct invention of John Fisher, First Lord of the Admiralty at the turn of the 20th century. The battlecruiser was a ship with battleship heavy guns, and cruiser swift speed. The trade off being to get the speed and keep the heavy guns your had to sacrifice armor. The theory being that speed was armor. The theory was sadly wrong as was proven in the HMS Hood disaster.

From the Epiphany Trek point of view the term is an inexact one. Any large ship whose primary purpose is to fight can be called a battle cruiser. The term is most often used to describe Klingon ships. They like it.

About the Pictures: USS Guam -- Launched 1944. Alaska class "large" cruisers. The Alaska class was armed with 9, 12 inch guns. Nearly the same battery carried by the 1906 HMS Dreadnought. Most navies would have called them battle cruisers. Neither ship of this class survived the end of the war as once the frantic fog of war necessity faded, they were seen for the white elephants they were.
K'Tinga class Klingon battle cruiser. The TMP update of the classic Klingon ship.


The battleship was once the highest form of naval life. A ship that could take on all comers and win. Battleships evolved from the wooden ships of the line in the days of sail bred through the American USS Monitor of the 1860s to the Iowa class monsters of the second world war. These were among the last battleships to be built, and the last to be commissioned battleships of any navy.

Starfleet does not build battleships. Large fighting units are called heavy frigates. Yes it's a quibble. But a point they think matters. Frigates have flexibility, battleships do not.

About the Pictures:' USS Iowa -- Launched 1943. Iowa class battleship. The Iowas were the last of the big gun ships. She and her sisters survived until the close of the 20th century. Last of the dinosaurs from a time when large ships fired on each other from ranges of 20 miles. Ironically the Iowa class ships never got to meet their equals in battle. They ended their days as shore bombardment units.
USS Royal Sovereign -- Class Ship of Starfleet's latest and greatest. At least not as expensive as the Galaxy.


Dreadnought was "a" ship, and later a name to describe all ships of her type. HMS Dreadnought launched in 1906 was the first all big gun ship built. Her 10 12 inch guns with no intermediate battery made obsolete every battleship in the world. The name is a reference to the family motto of First Lord of the Admiralty John Fisher "Fear God, and Dreadnought". All battleships of the all big gun type became known as Dreadnoughts.

In Star Trek fanon the Dreadnought has usually meant a ship with three nacelles. The idea started with the Franz Joseph Star Fleet Technical Manual that described such a ship. I use the term in that light. Dreadnought describes any ship with the unstable three nacelle arrangement. It also is usually gun-bunny armed to the point of ridiculousness. See Jay Hailey's "Why Dreadnoughts"

About the Pictures: HMS Dreadnought -- Launched 1906. First of her kind, the big gun battleship. USS Federation --a Dreadnaught of the 2280s. She was used primary as a diplomatic transport at the end of the Klingon Tensions.

Aircraft CarriersEdit

The Aircraft carrier was a British invention toward the close of the First World War. Between the wars the type was not considered a threat, and ignored by most naval limitation treaties. The sea-borne part of the Second World war revolved around them. Today the aircraft carrier is the highest form of naval life. All ships serve as hand maiden to the all powerful aircraft carrier.

I have often said that the naval analogy for Star Trek ship to ship battles is Jutland, the famous, battle of WWI. Aircraft played no role in it. I stick to this. No small single man vessel can pack the power and punch to do a great ship harm. Fighters are "shuttlecraft with a harsh opinion" as a friend calls them.

This is another ship type that I do not have in G-trek. Star Wars uses fighters. Star Wars is Midway. Star Trek is Jutland, not Midway. Not better, but a different flavor. I prefer no "wars" in my "trek".

About the Picture: USS Enterprise (CVN 65) -- Launched 1960 - Retired 2012. The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier and an Icon among the Star Trek set. The Enterprise was decommissioned and broken up in 2012. She was the eighth US Navy ship to bear the name. Sadly her belly full of nuclear reactors prevented her from becoming a museum.

Science ShipsEdit

The science ship is a product of the latter half of the 20th century. Before this ships used to do science were either old military types or merchant men dragooned to the task. HMS Endeavor was an old armed brig the Royal Navy really wasn't using at the time. RV Calypso, one of the most famous of all science ships, was a converted minesweeper.

Now ships are built for the science mission. Most carry various types of underwater gear, and resemble salvage ships because of their flat fantails and large cranes required to get said gear in and out of the water. They can be as sophisticated as the US Navy's NR-1 research sub, or as simple as a rubber raft and a line to sample water at depth.

Star Trek science ships are not restricted to space as a subject as the oceanographic ships of today study the sea. Star Trek science ships carry people to explore the planets and to explore space. They can be as specialized as a sensor ship dedicated to nebulas or as general as the USS Horatio Nelson in my story Destinations, a converted Miranda class ship.

In general the science ship is heavily leveraged to do science. She is usually armed. But only to the point or running like Hell and calling for help.

I consider the science ship a third tier vessel in the exploration of space. Scouts and light cruisers find, heavy cruisers refine and define, sciences ships squeeze every bit of data from the target.

About the Pictures: RV Calypso -- Tiny, isn't it? The Calypso is arguably the most famous oceanographic research vessel ever. Every school kid of my generation had to have seen the many television specials with Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the Calypso.
USS Equinox -- Nova class science ship first seen in Star Trek Voyager.

Ship ClassesEdit

What is a ship "class"? When a naval man speaks of a ship "class" they are referring to the design a ship was built to. Ship classes can encompass as few as a single vessel, or number in the hundreds.

While vessels may start with a single design if the ships are built in different yards they can have notable differences even on commissioning. Ships have always been hand built objects. Only once has the building of ships been managed as a assembly line task. Historically ships have not been needed in numbers great enough to require mass assembly construction. Only once has that circumstance occurred. During WWII cargo ships were required in record numbers. Henry Kaiser rose to the challenge, and in one case his yards built a Liberty ship in four days. (The joke goes; The local bathing beauty was awarded the honor of christening a liberty ship for the most war bonds sold that quarter. She arrived at the shipyard and was taken to the scaffolding. The bunting was in place and the required dignitaries present. The only thing missing was the ship. "Where's the ship?" She said. The chief builder replied. "Swing the bottle Honey, it will be there.")

Secondly, once a ship is built to a class that never changes. No matter what kind of refits the ship undergoes, she is always considered part of the class she was built under. The USS Tennessee was likely one of the most refit ships in the US fleet of the 1939 to 1946 period. Through all of that she remained a "Tennessee class" battleship. I am of the opinion that those fans that have the idea that a ship's class changes with refits are thinking of aircraft models. An aircraft can be sent back to the factory and upgraded to the next models. B52g models can be upgraded to B52h models. However, this is not the case with ships. I prefer the naval model of "classes" not the aircraft model. Enterprise prime no matter the changes remains a Constitution class heavy cruiser.

Starfleet NumbersEdit

The Epiphany Trek UFP is an amoeba 400 light years across and some 200 light years thick. The amount of space this covers is staggering. To even come close to an adequate patrol Starfleet needs 40,000 patrol capable ships. 80,000,000 people to man and support those ships. (That is a staffing level of 2000 per ship,and would include the crews of support ships and bases.) As a result the ship classes of Starfleet are not going to be small. The long list of Constitution class ships in the Tech Manual would be a bare start on the fleet required. I assume different fleet yards have their own favored designs, the good ones get upgraded and more of them get built.

See Also: The Size of Space

Being an old gamer I tend to lock things down where I can. Based on the old FASA maps I use to place things in the Epiphany Trek universe the Federation looks something like this. There are 150 Federation members spread over a rough area some 400 by 200 light years. The fastest ships take over two months to cross that space (warp 9.5 cruise, 6 lys/day), most take four months or more(warp 8 cruise, 3 lys/day). You are never close enough to the nearest person that needs help. If you turn the Federation into a sphere 300 light years across that means it contains (gulp) 7,951,924 cubic light years.

Based on that figure I estimate a Starfleet of 40,000 patrol capable ships. This does not count the ships that are required to support those 40,000 ships. That ellipsoid of 400x200 light years will take 40,000 ships and swallow them all while moaning for more. To support those 40,000 ships you need 80,000,000 people. It sounds like a lot but that is a staffing level of 2000 beings for every ship patrolling. If the US had armed forces of equal size on a per capa basis it would number 24,000. Eighty would come from my home town of Detroit.

That is one patrol ship per 198.7 cubic light years, if every ship patrols. I use 20 light year sectors. That gives each sector 40 ships to patrol its 8000 cubic light years. The Federation has one thousand sectors. If you spread them right you can get everywhere within one day of a starship, provided they are least the warp 8 cruise ships.

Consider again the scale. If the sun is a basketball, Earth is a bullet point. It is a city block from the Sun. The Kuiper belt starts about 5 miles out. Alpha Centari is 4200 miles away. A ship is about the size of a small molecule. Space is frigging HUGE. You could scatter the entire 40,000 ship patrol fleet, and the 80,000 support ships, plus a 500,000 estimated civilian ships into the Sol system, toss a planet though and never hit anything

If the whole model was a 10 mile diameter globe and the 620,000 ships were water molecules the globe would contain a vacuum harder than the interstellar medium.

Here is my breakdown of the 40,000 ship Starfleet. The numbers are based on the fighting strength of the Royal Navy in 1915. The height of the "big gun" navy, and the navy that fought the Battle of Jutland. My force multiplier is 68 to get the 40,000 ship Starfleet. I distributed types and numbers as I saw fit.</p>

Starfleet Type Based On
Frigates: 4,216Battleships: 62
Heavy Frigates: 612 Battlecruisers: 9
Heavy Cruisers: 3,196 Cruisers: 43
Flotilla leaders: 4
Light Cruisers: 4,352 Light cruisers: 64
S&R patrol cutters: 15,368 Torpedo boat destroyers: 226
Escorts: 7,208 Torpedo boats: 106
Scouts: 4,828 Submarines: 71
Patrol Strength: 39,780
Starfleet Auxiliary and Support Fleet
Warp shuttles (Runabouts): 20,332 Miscellaneous vessels (sloops, gunboats, depot ships etc): 72
Motor boats: 156
Yachts: 71
Civilian Contract Supply ships: 2992Armed merchant cruisers: 44
Science Ships 6392 Admiralty trawlers: 13
Admiralty trawlers (late fleet sweepers): 8
Oilers: 73
Couriers 1224 Fleet messengers: 18
Assault ships: 340
6 hours to move at various starbases.
Seaplane ships: 5
Support Ships: 38,080
All types from freighter and tugs to mobile repair ships. The numbers could be used to further break it down.
Ammunition carriers: 40
Store carriers: 25
Frozen meat carriers: 5
Squadron supply ships: 15
Flotilla supply ships: 5
Colliers: 467
Special service steamers: 3
Personnel Transportation Ship: 136
A few liners got acquired along the way.
Accommodation ships 2
Salvage ships: 68Salvage ships: 1
Subspace Relay tenders: 136 Marconi ships: 2
Hospital Ships: 748 Hospital ships: 11
Not part of Starfleet, but available on request.
Planetary Auxiliary Defense Ships: 95,268
All are part of various member world defense forces and represent all types from frigates to supply ships.
Mine sweeping trawlers, auxiliary patrol trawlers,drifters etc 1359
Paddle minesweepers 12
Mine carriers 7
Armed boarding steamers 23

Data on the strength of the British Royal Navy is supplied by the Royal Naval Museum, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, Hampshire E-Mail:

The source document is: Churchill, W S - Memorandum on state of the Navy, May 1915. We offer our thanks for their efforts on our behalf

The Ships of Epiphany Trek fall into the following classesEdit

USS Ulysses S Grant NCC-107Edit

Lenin '33 class heavy cruiser later leveraged as a frigate.

In spite of the small size compared to later vessels, the Lenin class ships are the heavy cruisers of their era. The Lenin design was built between 2120 and 2139 and had 36 examples built. The Lenin '33 class had five ships and can also be called the Grant class as she was the first ship of that construction group.

The Lenins were hard used ships. Over half fell in the Romulan war. Only the Ulysses S Grant remains in the Starflight Museum to remind people what the early days of Starfleet were like.

USS Kongo NCC-1710 Edit

Constitution II class heavy cruiser

The classic TOS Star Trek ship. The Kongo was in the second group of Constitution class ships built and slightly upgraded in internal systems. She also has a different bridge hump. (the Tech manual look, not the shooting model teardrop) Her second Captain also put his stamp on the ship with an extended deck one to create a Captain's day room and a small conference area. In 2263 she got an upgraded main deflector due to damage in service. This remained her look for the rest of her service life.

The Kongo was one of eventually over a hundred of her class. All were hard used and few survive even in museums. In spite of the USS Enterprise the class was not amenable to upgrades. Many different approaches were tried and over a dozen variants of the Constitution class exist in refit not counting the one off jobs like the Kongo.

The USS Republic remains at the Starflight Museum, the USS Kongo is in private hands and is docked at the El Nanth Spacedock.

USS Mitchell Paige NCC-1942Edit

Miranda class heavy frigate

The Mitchell Paige was built as a frigate. In 2180 she was pulled off active duty and turned into a tug/frigate as an experiment in a ship that could pull damaged vessels out of the line of battle during the coming War with the Klingons. The explosion of Praxis derailed that plan. The Mitchell Paige remained in service for over 100 years. She can be seen at the Starflight Museum. She was considered a Miranda class to the end.

The Mirandas where built in their hundreds. The type was in production even early into the 24th century. Dozens of variants exist. Frigates, cruisers, science ships, and even as supply ships. The Mirandas endure.

USS Kongo NCC-10455Edit

Ambassador class heavy cruiser.

The Kongo was one of the first of the Ambassador class ships. Indeed she as built in the first run of that class. Thirty five years into her career she underwent a drastic refit. The newly upgraded ship met the expectations of her redesign and two more Ambassadors where refit to the Kongo standard. Formally the Ambassador class, Kongo refit. No further plans exist to refit further Ambassadors as the number still in service is becoming limited, and the type has been supplanted by disodium

USS Hadrian NCC 10475Edit

Ambassador class heavy cruiser. Second ship of the Kongo refit.

USS Questing CB-5Edit

Manta Class Heavy Frigate
Manta 2358

The Questing is an Ane designed frigate. A pure fighting ship of limited legs. She is the newest ship in Epiphany Trek and hasn't seen much in the way of refits.

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