For many of the naval ship classes portrayed in various media, it is often the sexy big combat vessels like the Dreadnought, the Carrier, or the Battleship that get the most attention. However, any naval organization is comprised of a vast amount of vessels that fulfill all manner of roles in peacetime and in war. These can be badly overlooked by creators and the audience. That being said, as FWS clicks down to the last classifications of naval vessels in this series, we are exploring the lesser known and lesser featured ships. For the next few installments of Ships of the Line, FWS will be covering several classes in one single post and the structure of these articles will be different as well. In this installment of Ships of the Line, we will examining Corvettes, Cutters, Patrol, Scouts, and Escorts.
What is a "Corvette"?
The Sci-Fi "Corvette Class" Starship
What are "Cutters"?
The Sci-Fi "Cutter Class" Starship
What is the "Patrol"Ship?
The Sci-Fi "Patrol Class" Starship
What is the "Scout" Ship?
The Sci-Fi "Scout Class" Starship
What is the "Escort" Ship ?
The Sci-Fi "Escort Class" Starship
Will These Combat Starship Classifications Exist in the Real World?
Examples from Science Fiction
The CR90 class Corellian Corvette from the Star Wars Universe
The Corellian Engineering Corporation's legendary 150 meter long CR90 Corvette is one of the most widely used general-purpose spacecraft during the latter Republic and Imperial period of galactic history with independent worlds, the Rebel Alliance, and corporations using the CR90 for all manner of uses. It was even used as personal starships for high level government officials and the wealthy, like Senator Bail Organa.
The Imperial Klingon K-22 B'rel class Bird-of-Prey Scout Configuration from Star Trek
With the Bird of Prey being an established Klingon warship, the production staff of TNG and DS9 would recycle the hell out of the green little ship and even developing an larger variant of the scout class vessel. In addition to the small screen, the Bird of Prey model was recycled for Star Trek V, VI, and Star Trek Generations. It has been widely reproduced for the model/toy/gaming market with the very first Bird of Prey toy being produced by ERTL in 1984 for their limited Star Trek III toyline.
The Yautja Scout Ship from the ALIENS/Predator Universe
The EarthForce Olympus class Corvette from B5
The Romulan Star Empire V-8 Bird-of-Prey class Advanced Scout and Perimeter Patrol Vessel
The Covenant SDV Class Heavy Corvette from the HALO Universe
The Federation Moscow class Scout from FASA Star Trek RPG Universe
The EDF Konisgberg Class Patrol Cruiser from the Space Cruiser Yamato Universe
After the end of the Gamilion-Earth War in 2200, the EDF began a storm of construction on new warships following the technology and design of the Yamato. This rearming project would allow the EDF to be ready to face the Comet Empire invasion of 2201. Among these new classes of Terran warships was the Konisgberg class patrol cruiser coming in at 150 meter and 23,5000 tons with a crew of less than 50. Heavily armed for a patrol vessel, this class was meant to serve in fleet sized engagement as a light warship but also as an independent for solo assignments. Armed with light wave motion cannon, shock cannons, and missiles, the Konigsberg could handle herself. But it was her enhanced sensor package that separated this class from her other hull mates that allowed for threat assessment, recon, and mapping missions.
During the October 2201 Battle of Saturn when the bulk of the EDF Fleet and the White Comet Fleet engaged, there were 85 Konigsberg patrol cruisers in the EDF Fleet with a number being destroyed or damaged during the battle. It is uncertain if these will make appearance in the reimagined Japanese series. While a relatively unknown and underrepresented EDF warship class in Yamato anime, there were models made of the class and they were profiled in the Starblazers Fleet Battle System tabletop war simulation game.
The Broadsword class Surveillance Scout from FASA Starfleet
The Alliance Cruiser The Grand Canal from the Legend of the Galactic Heroes Universe
The Romulan Talon Class Scout Ship from the Star Trek Universe
There are few confirmed or even seen Romulan warships in the 24th century prior to the Dominion War, but one was the 24 meter long Talon class scout ship. Serving in a number of roles similar to the recent Starfleet Danube class Runabout, the Talon class can perform offensive operations along with scientific endeavors. How many outside of the Romulan Star Empire know the Talon class was due to its use as an transport for agents of the Tal Shiar and as a ghost on sensors on their borders...watching. The overall design of the Romulan scout ship, whatever name it goes by, was designed in the style of the very cool D'deridex class warship by Rick Sternbach. The model was reused throughout TNG and DS9 with the actual studio model being much bigger in scale than expected.
The Gazelle Class Close Escort from the Traveller Universe
The Federation Remora Class Escort from the FASA Star Trek Universe
The Firespray 31 Class Scout/Attack Craft from the Star Wars Universe
The Federation Defiant class "Escort" from the Star Trek Universe
The Nelson/Hermes Class Type 1 Scout Class from Star Trek Universe
Until Trek made the jump from a television show to an major movie franchise, there were very few ships seen on-screen due to the budget. In the 1975 Star Trek Starfleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph, the classic Federation starship architecture was expanded on with about four classes of TOS era warships. Two of these shared identical hulls: the Saladin destroyer and the Hermes scout classes. The major difference lay in the armaments: the Saladin class destroyer got photon torpedoes launchers and the Hermes class was just outfitted with forward phasers. An single nucella Federation scout class starship was used by FASA for their Trek combat tabletop games: the Nelson class.
According to the Federation Ship Recognition Manual by FASA in 1985, the Nelson class was involved in more first While these classes of Federation starships with a single nucellus are semi-canon since Roddenberry laid down the "equal" nucellus rule, they have been on computer screens and in serve during the Dominion War.
The Dutton Class American Coast Guard Orbital Patrol Spacecraft from the ALIENS Universe
The Romulan "S-11 Bird-of-Prey" Class Scout from FASA's Star Trek RPG Universe
FWS often discusses a unique feature of Star Trek starships in these Ships of the Line blogposts: the FASA years. I grew up with a very different Trek than today. Back in the 1980's, there was the canon Trek films, the fully licensed FASA Trek RPG games, and the DC Comics For those of involved in all three visions of 1980's Trek, we formed a unified universe of all three of these works into some special that was eliminated by the pulling of the license by Paramount during the first season of TNG. That being said, to me and those of the same time period, the FASA Trek universe was part of our understanding of Trek and one of the more interesting ship histories in the old FASA Trek RPG universe is the "S-11 Vas Hatham" of the Romulan Star Empire or "the other Bird-of-Prey".
It is believed that elements of the original Romulan story elements echo into the final film with the bird-like design on the Klingon scout ship, the bridge design, and with character of Valkris original being an Romulan in the employ of Kruge that helps him commandeer the Romulan cloaking device enabled ship.
Next Time on FWS...