Klingon starships

From Academic Kids

The Star Trek fictional universe has presented a number of designs for starships of the Klingon Empire. Klingon ships, in contrast to United Federation of Planets starships (especially Federation ships of the 24th century), are spartan and utilitarian in nature. Klingon ships are equipped with disruptor bolts and photon torpedoes as their primary offensive weapons.


D7 class

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A bow shot of the D-7
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A stern shot of the D-7
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The IKS Gr'oth, a D7 class starship as it appeared in Deep Space Nine

The D7 class is the first Klingon ship design seen on Star Trek and appeared throughout Star Trek: The Original Series. Designed by Matt Jefferies, the designer of the original USS Enterprise, it set the standard for the bulbous primary hull, long central boom, and wing-like secondary hull with wingtip-mounted warp nacelles. Jefferies wanted to emulate the shape of a predator, something akin to a manta, and so he made even the color scheme of the ship dark on top, lighter on bottom.

Although this starship was designed and intended to be a Klingon vessel, its first appearance was as a Romulan vessel in the original series episode The Enterprise Incident. In its next appearance in the original series episode Elaan of Troyius (which was actually filmed before The Enterprise Incident) it was identified as a Klingon vessel, as it was in Day of the Dove. It should be noted that the original airdates in 1968 for the above episodes were out of step with the actual order of episode production, but if we are to go by episode production number, its first appearance is in Elaan of Troyius in which it is identified as a Klingon vessel, and not in The Enterprise Incident.

The "D7" designation was never used on screen in the original series, but was referred to as such by the producers of the show. It was later made official by its use during the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", where the crew of the Defiant travels back in time and takes part in the events of the original series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". For this episode, Star Trek model-maker Greg Jein built entirely new motion-control models of a D7 class vessel and the original Enterprise.

The primary weapon of attack it used in Elaan of Troyius were engine-mounted disruptors, which were later indentified specifically as disruptors in dialogue in The Enterprise Incident. In Star Trek: The Animated Series, which Gene Roddenberry created and was executive producer for but later requested of Paramount that they consider TAS non-canon, Spock calls the engines of the Klingon ship "S-2 Graph Units, roughly comparable to our warp drive". It also seems to have seperate and distinct phaser weaponry firing from the command pod somewhere (More Tribbles, More Troubles). The opening in the forward hull was always presumed to be a weapon port, but it never saw use on screen in the original series. However, it was a photon torpedo tube in many of the episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, especially in More Tribbles, More Troubles and The Survivor.The ship has at least four deflector shields like the Enterprise, and can travel at at least Warp 7 (Elaan of Troyius).

K't'inga class

An upgrade of the D7 design, this class of ship had the same basic design, but the model which was originally built for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was given a more detailed surface for its appearance on the larger motion picture screen. The color of the model was a deep metallic green, but on screen it always appeared as a shade of metallic blue-grey. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the color was changed to light grey and maroon and it received detailed gold ornamentation, at first to signify its role as the vessel which was transporting the Klingon Chancellor, but was later used in episodes of DS 9 and Voyager apparently as a regular ship of the line (Sacrifice of Angels).

This class appeared in a number of episodes of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Like the D7, this class was not initially identified on screen, although the novelisation of The Motion Picture, written by Gene Roddenberry, identified it as K't'inga class. This designation became official in an episode of Deep Space Nine. In the Next Generation episode "The Emissary", we learn that some of these ships were converted into special "sleeper ships" which could travel for decades with its crew in suspended animation.

Assuming a date of at least 2270 for when this ship appeared in the first movie, that means this basic design has been in service for at least 100 years by the time of the last episode of Deep Space Nine.

The large port on the front of the bulbous forward hull is seen to launch photon torpedoes from its first appearance and throughout most of its later appearances, however in the Deep Space Nine episode "Sacrifice of Angels" ships of this class fire an orange phaser-like beam from the same location. Throughout DS 9 it also had a cloaking device, like all of the other Klingon warships seemed to have. On at least one occassion it used a pair of disruptor bolts which fired from the sides somewhere in the ST:TNG episode The Emissary. Visual inspection of the studio model reveals 6 cannon-like emplacements that are meant to be the disruptor mounts. Early blueprints from Lincoln Enterprises (a Gene Roddenberry-approved source) showed this ship with at least 8 of these cannon emplacements, the extra two being under the main wing hull, but which on the studio model were replaced by large unidentifiable greeblies. The Lincoln blueprints also (erroneously) label these eight emplacements as "sonic disruptors", probably based on the fact that the ST:TOS Klingon handweapon was a sonic one, but which of course ignore the fact that sound cannot travel through space, making it an unrealistic starship weapon. The Lincoln blueprints also call the ship a "D-4 Heavy Battlecruiser", but this appellation never became used or popular, probably because it seems retro when compared to the D-7 of ST:TOS, despite the fact that Gene Roddenberyy himself had aprroved this. Fans have substituted other appellations for this ship, like D-8 or some higher variant of the D-7, but none of these are canon.

Bird of Prey classes

First seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock this has become perhaps the most common Klingon ship design in the modern Trek era. Much smaller than the D7 and Ktinga class cruisers, the standard crew complement was only about 12 crew and officers. This ship class was the first Klingon design to be equipped with a cloaking device and was armed with both disruptors and photon torpedoes. They were also capable of planetary landings.

During the Next Generation era, larger versions of this ship were seen giving rise to the K'vort class. The smaller version associated with Star Trek III is designated the B'rel class. Arguably, the Bird of Prey is produced in higher numbers than any other Klingon Vessel.

Known Bird of Prey starhips:

  • HMS Bounty
    • So called by the crew of the former USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), who obtained the craft and used it to return to Earth. The Bounty's true name is unknown.
  • IKS Buruk
    • In 2367, transported Gowron to a rendezvous with the Enterprise-D.
  • IKS Hegh'ta
  • IKS Ki'tang
    • Fought in the Dominion war of the 2370s. The Ki'tang was a testbed for a successful means to evade a Breen energy-dampening weapon.
  • IKS Koraga
    • A ship upon which Worf served during the Dominion war. In 2375, the Koraga was ambushed and destroyed, along with the IKS Rotarran, by Jem'Hadar attack ships; much of the crew, including Worf, escaped in lifeboats and was recovered.
  • IKS Pagh
  • IKS Rotarran
    • Ambushed and destroyed by the Jem'Hadar in 2375, along with the Koraga.
  • IKS Vorn
    • In 2367, transported Duras to a rendezvous with the Enterprise-D.

Vor'cha class

The largest Klingon vessel seen on Star Trek so far excepting the Negh'Var-class ships and several alternate-universe Klingon vessels, it could match the Federation Galaxy class ship in fighting capability, although it is considerably smaller. It was first seen as the command ship of Chancellor Kmpec in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Sins of the Father'. Although a massive ship for most missions, it is the battlecruiser mainstay of the Klingon fleet and has mostly phased out the aging D and Ktinga class cruisers, the latter of which are still used as support vessels in a fleet.

The design of the Vor'cha class is similar to the classic D-7 class battlecruiser with a forward 'head' supported by a thick horizontal neck running aft and attaching to a larger secondary hull with an impulse engine module on the dorsal side. The Vor'cha class has two warp nacelles that point out to the sides and down supported by pylons. The warp nacelles of Vor'cha class vessels appear to have been influenced by Federation starship design as the nacelles are cigar-shaped with red Bussard collectors instead of traditional Klingon cruiser nacelles which were rectangular and emits a green or cyan color.

The Vor'cha class was probably first put into service during the mid-24th century in response to the growing tensions with the Romulans and the Federation. This starship class served in many of the major crises of the late 24th century such as the Klingon Civil War, the Klingon-Cardassian War, the Klingon-Federation War and the Dominion War; several cruisers were lost to Dominion and Cardassian forces.

The model for the Vor'cha class cruiser was designed by Rick Sternbach for Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Known Vor'cha class starships:

  • The Bortas
    • The Bortas was the flagship of Gowron during the Klingon Civil War (2367-68). The Bortas was ambushed by ships loyal to the House of Duras at the beginning of the war, but drove off the attackers with assistance from the IKS Hegh'ta. Lieutenant Worf briefly served aboard the Botas as her weapons officer during the war. In the Klingon language, bortaS means "revenge."
  • The Drovna
    • Circa stardate 49556.2, the Drovna was assigned to lay cloaked mines in the Bajoran star system but was damaged when one of the mines detonated, requiring the USS Defiant to tow the Drovna to Deep Space Nine for repairs. The mines were later destroyed.
  • The Maht-H'a
    • Commanded by Captain Nu'Daq circa stardate 46731.5 in 2369, the Maht-H'a destroyed all life on the planet Indri VIII while trying to decode a four-billion-year-old genetically encoded message from an ancient humanoid species. The Maht-H'a was later attacked by two Cardassian Galor class starships, disabling her warp drive. Presumed later repaired and returned to service.
  • The Qu'Vat
    • The starship Qu'Vat rendezvoused with the USS Enterprise circa stardate 46461.3 in 2369, carrying Governor Torak on an investigation into the death of a Starfleet officer at Relay Station 47.
  • The Toh'Kaht
    • Circa stardate 46922.3 in 2369, the Toh'Kaht was commanded by Captain Tel-Peh and travelled to the Gamma Quadrant to establish a Klingon colony on the other side of the Bajoran wormhole and explore new weapons technology. The ship was destroyed by a thalmerite device; the first officer, Hon'Tihl was the only survivor but died of his wounds at Deep Space Nine. The crew fell under the influence of some energy spheres on Saltah'na V, causing paranoia and factionism amongst its crew.
  • The Vor'cha
    • The starship Vor'cha is the pathfinder of its class.
  • The Vor'nak
    • Commanded by General Tanas in early 2374, the Vor'nak rendezvoused with the flagship of General Martok, the B'rel class bird of prey Rotarran to transfer five replacement crew members.
  • The Ya'vang
    • In 2374, the Ya'vang was commanded by Captain Lothorg when it transported Mistress Sirella of the House of Martok, to the Deep Space Nine for the wedding of Worf and Jadzia Dax. The Ya'Vang served during the Dominion War, taking heavy losses. Several crewmembers of the Rotarran, including Alexander Rozhenko, were transferred to the Ya'Vang.

Negh'Var class

Negh'Var class starships served as flagships and saw successful action during the Dominion War. They are the largest Klingon starships to date. A variant of these ships appeared in the alternate future depicted in the Next Generation episode, All Good Things. In 2372, the brand new Negh'Var was the Klingon flagship. This heavily armed starship class is the largest and most sophisticated starship in used by the Klingon Defense Force during the Dominion War.

Known Negh'Var class battleships

  • The Negh'Var
    • The Negh'Var was the pathfinder of its class. Commanded by General Martok of the Klingon Defense Force circa stardate 49011 in 2372, the Negh'Var was the flagship for Chancellor Gowron during the Klingon invasion of the Cardassian Union. Circa stardate 49011.4, the Negh'Var led a Klingon attack force to capture Deep Space Nine. The Negh'Var might have served during the Dominion War.

Raptor class

The Raptor class of Klingon scoutship was in use during the 22nd century. It seems well-armored and is equipped with photon torpedoes.

D5 class

The D5 class was used during the 22nd century. It was easily superior in speed and firepower to the NX ships in use by Earth during the same era. The D5 was built according to the basic Klingon battlecruiser shape: a small primary hull at the forefront attached to the larger engineering hull by a long, horizontal boom, an impulse drive module supported above the secondary hull at the aft end, and two back-set warp engines held by two downward-angled pylons. The D5 is distinguishable from its ancestor, the D7, by its (proportionally) larger, longer, less spherical primary hull, non-forward-angled engine pylons, and larger, tapered nacelles.

In the DS9 episode 'Once More Unto The Breach', Kor recalls that he once commanded a D5 class ship called the Klothos. Also interesting to note, the Klothos is the vessel that this same Kor commanded in the animated series episode 'Time Trap'.

Known D5 class starships:

  • IKC Bortas
  • IKC Klothos


The Bird of Prey was traditionally used to refer to the Romulan ships seen in the original series. Romulan ships in the Next Generation era and after were called Warbirds. More confusion is raised by reference to Klingon Warbirds in the television series Enterprise. These designations, along with the D5-D6 designations, may be Federation code terms. Also, originally the Bird of Prey was meant to be a Romulan ship that Kruge stole. However, they dropped that part from the movie and it became a Klingon Bird of Prey

During the D7s appearance in the animated series, animators incorrectly place a short tubular extension over the forward opening on the primary hull. This is due to the fact that the animators were working from s scale model kit which includes the tubular piece. It was mistakenly believed that it was meant to point outward like a cannon. It actually was meant to be situated inside the hole with only a slight lip-like portion bordering the opening. Admittedly, the model kit's instructions were misleading in their illustrations, and although never used on screen in TOS, fans did always assume it was a cannon of some sort.


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