For a supposedly utopian setting, the universe of Star Trek features plenty of space warfare. This means that, throughout the thirteen Star Trek movies and six TV shows (one of them animated), we get to see some pretty deadly spaceships in action.
What makes Star Trek spaceships so memorable is that they aren't a mere plot element or a cool visual effect. Their appearance and design serve a larger purpose, telling us something about the alien cultures that built them. This, in turn, helps expand and develop the universe of the show. That's why the aggressive Klingons get to fight in the awesomely-named Birds of Prey while the mercilessly pragmatic Borg Collective attack civilizations using the giant space cubes. And then there's a number of space probes that just travel around the universe, leaving destruction in their wake. So, let's take a look at the 15 Deadliest Ships On Star Trek.
Klingon Birds of Prey may not be the biggest and the baddest spaceships on this list, but they are among the coolest-looking Star Trek warships - at least, when you can look at them at all. Their design practically screams "Look at us! We're the bad guys!" Also, they use the oh-so-practical cloaking device that can turn them invisible when not fighting.
Even though this particular Bird of Prey lacks the sheer firepower of, say, Borg Cube, it almost succeeds in causing unimaginable ruin. In the 1991 movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Klingon Empire starts peace negotiations with the United Federation of Planets after an environmental disaster renders their home world uninhabitable. A secret cabal of military hard-liners led by General Chang (Christopher Plummer) decides to sabotage the treaty talks by assassinating the Klingon ambassador. Their weapon of choice? A prototype Bird of Prey that can fight even while cloaked. And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and his meddling crew!
Was there ever a Star Trek movie so opposed to the original show's utopian ethos of cooperation and camaraderie as the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness? On the bright side, this cynical and paranoid story of government conspiracies and terrorist attacks did give us ominously-named yet impressive-looking USS Vengeance.
Designed by Khan Noonien Singh (Benedict Cumberbatch), the USS Vengeance was built in secret by Section 31, an officially-nonexistent organization tasked with ensuring the survival of Federation at any price. Under the command of Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller), this new ship was meant to be used in a war against the Klingon Empire. Instead, the USS Vengeance gets to fight the much weaker and smaller USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) under the command of young Captain Kirk (Chris Pine). The USS Enterprise barely survives this battle thanks to a timely sabotage of the USS Vengeance by the Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg).
By the late 24th century standards, Romulan spaceship the Narada is a junker. It is an old mining vessel retrofitted into a pirate ship under the command of Nero (Eric Bana). But once it travels through time to the early 23rd century, it becomes the most formidable warship around. The Narada easily defeats fifty Klingon Birds of Prey. It also destroys the entire planet Vulcan with the help of an onboard mining apparatus and the wormhole-creating "red matter" stolen from old Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy).
Nero's seemingly senseless attacks are his revenge for the destruction of planet Romulus after Mr. Spock failed to prevent its sun from going supernova in the year 2387. Nero's crimes provoke others to action: chiefly among them young Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) whose father was aboard the Federation starship USS Kelvin when it was attacked and destroyed by Nero.
The warbird Scimitar was built by the Romulan slave caste known as Remans. It was then used in the coup d'état that left the Romulan Empire in turmoil. The Scimitar is commanded by Shinzon (Young Tom Hardy!) who himself was created as a weapon. A clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Shinzon was supposed to become a Romulan infiltrator in the ranks of the Starfleet. After this project was dropped, Shinzon was left to die on the slave planet Reman.
Shinzon meets the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E) and his complicity in the coup is quickly discovered. He then goes on a killing spree with a plan of destroying all life on planet Earth using the Scimitar's thalaron cascading biogenic pulse weapon. What does that even mean? We have no idea, but is sure sounds dangerous! Luckily, Picard manages to stop Shinzon by ramming the Enterprise-E into the Scimitar.
Just because the Federation tries to resolve conflicts peacefully doesn't mean that its leaders are naive or stupid. All of the Starfleet spaceships bearing the name Enterprise are intended to be science and exploration vessels, but that doesn't mean that they lack firepower. All of them lead to Sovereign-class starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E), better known as Enterprise-E.
The USS Enterprise-E is launched under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the late 24th century. It and all of the other Sovereign-class starships, was designed by a team of engineers that included legendary Montgomery Scott (James Doohan). Enterprise-E and her sisters are among the largest and most technologically advanced Federation starships of their time. Over 2200 feet long and capable of speed of Warp 8, Enterprise-E comes equipped with 16 phaser arrays, 9 photon torpedo launchers, 1 quantum torpedo launcher and deflector shields. Enterprise-E makes appearance in the movies Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis.
First appearing on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, The USS Defiant is the first space ship built by the Federation specifically as a warship. Officially designated as an "escort vessel", the USS Defiant is an experimental prototype that comes equipped with a cloaking device (courtesy of the Romulan Star Empire). It also packs way too much weaponry for its size, leading to cramped living quarters and some serious problems with its structural integrity.
The USS Defiant was originally developed for a war against the Borg. Instead, at a request of Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), the ship is dispatched to the Deep Space 9 space station where Federation just made its first contact with a highly aggressive interstellar superpower known as the Dominion. In the ensuing Dominion War, USS Defiant is destroyed in battle but is soon replaced by the other ship of the same class - the USS Sao Paulo - that gets renamed Defiant.
The Dominion is a bit like an evil version of the Federation. The shape-shifting race known as the Founders rule over hundreds of different alien species. While the administrative duties are mostly performed by a race of clones known as the Vorta, the might of the Dominion is maintained by the genetically-engineered Jem’Hadar. Their unwavering loyalty is ensured by their crippling addiction to a life-sustaining drug known as ketracel-white.
Jem’Hadar fight their enemies from mighty battleships. Twice as big as Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation, these warships are over 3000 feet long. They are resistant to tractor beams and equipped with formidable firepower that can easily penetrate their enemies' defenses. Jem’Hadar battleships can fight and easily destroy Defiant-class warships. This is demonstrated in the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode Valiant when the inexperienced crew of the USS Valiant fails to destroy the Jem’Hadar battleship by attacking its perceived weak spot.
V'ger is a huge alien vessel hidden inside an even larger energy cloud travelling towards our solar system. On its way, it easily defeats at least three Klingon warships and destroys several monitoring stations.
USS Enterprise is quickly dispatched to explore this terrifying vessel. After they establish contact with the mysterious visitor, it kidnaps the ship's navigator Ilia (Persis Khambatta) and replaces her with an android. Through her, Kirk and the others learn that V'ger is actually from Earth. It is a 20th century Voyager space probe that travelled through a worm hole into another part of the universe populated by living machines. After it fulfilled its mission of gathering data about the universe and lacking any further objectives, V'ger is returning to Earth.
It's worth noting that, while filming Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the movie's crew got to use NASA's original full-scale mock-ups of the real-life Voyager probes.
1986 movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home begins with the Federation spaceships encountering a 40-miles long space probe heading straight towards the Earth. Its origins are unknown. Its effects are devastating. The probe is emitting a mysterious signal that disrupts the power of all the ships it passes by. Once it takes up an orbit around our planet, the probe's signal disables the global power grid and starts generating planet-wide storms.
Naturally, Captain Kirk, and the former crew of the USS Enterprise, is on the case. What they discover is that all of these disastrous effects are completely unintentional. The probe merely wishes to communicate with the Earth's humpback whales. Since they've been hunted to extinction, the crew has to time-travel to the 20th century and bring some whales back. Otherwise, this colossal probe from another galaxy will destroy our world... by accident! Now, that's a scary amount of power!
Xindi are a political alliance of five different intelligent species that all evolved on the same world. The entire third season of the TV show Star Trek: Enterprise revolves around their conflict with Earth. It turns out that the Xindi are merely pawns in the Temporal Cold War, manipulated by the legendary Sphere Builders who convinced them that in the future, their civilization will be destroyed by the Earth.
Using the future technology, Xindi scientist Degra (Randy Oglesby) develops several sphere-shaped weapons. Only the first prototype reaches Earth. This tiny probe crewed by a single pilot fires only one shot before being destroyed, but the results of its attack are devastating. Its particle beam cuts a destructive swath across the planet, killing seven million people. Luckily for Earth, second prototype was sabotaged by T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) while the final version of the weapon was successfully boarded and destroyed by Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula ) and his crew.
The Doomsday Machine makes its appearance in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode appropriately titled The Doomsday Machine. A miles-long machine of an unknown origin, it uses beams of anti-protons to destroy entire planets, devour them and turn them into fuel.
The crew of the USS Enterprise discovers the Doomsday Machine while following a trail of destroyed worlds left in its wake. Enterprise is contacted by the sole survivor aboard the USS Constellation, Commodore Matt Decker (William Windom). Decker wants to destroy this planet killer before it reaches the more populated parts of the galaxy. He steals a shuttlecraft and bravely flies straight into a maw of the Doomsday Machine... to no effect. It is only after Captain Kirk repeats this desperate maneuver using the USS Constellation, that the Doomsday Machine is finally disabled. Kirk theorizes that this weapon was built in another galaxy as an ultimate deterrent and was then accidentally activated.
One of the coolest ideas featured in Star Trek: Voyager is the Krenim Weapon Ship. Appearing in the fourth season two-part episode Year of Hell, Weapon Ship would be just another Death Star-wannabe if it wasn't for its time-travelling capabilities. Krenim Weapon Ship doesn't merely destroy other civilizations. Instead, it literally erases them out of history, replacing cities and civilizations with pristine nature.
When Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and the crew of USS Voyager first meet the Krenim, they are merely one of many local civilizations battling each other. But then the Krenim Imperium starts growing more and more powerful while other races begin to inexplicably disappear. However, Annorax (Kurtwood Smith) - the commander of the Weapon Ship - isn't satisfied by restoring the Krenim Imperium to its former glory. instead, he continues to cause temporal disruptions, hoping to revive his dead wife. Ironically, it's only after the Weapon Ship erases itself out of the existence and the original timeline is restored that Annorax's wife is brought back to life.
Behold the fearsome Nomad! It may look like an over-sized storage water heater, but it is in fact an insane artificial intelligence whose power is beyond imagining! Nomad can fire energy blasts as powerful as 90 photon torpedoes and travel at speeds exceeding warp 15. It single-handedly destroys all life in the Malurian solar system, including four billion denizens of the planet Malur.
Nomad makes its appearance in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode Changeling. It was created in 2002 by Dr. Jackson Roykirk as a humble space probe searching for signs of alien life. An accidental collision with an alien probe called Tan Ru vastly increases Nomad's powers. This crash also scrambles its programming, making it want to destroy all life forms in the universe. Since Nomad considers life to be imperfect and illogical, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) uses this against it, convincing Nomad of its own imperfection. This leads Nomad into a logical loop and self-destruction.
First introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation's second season, the Borg rightfully deserve their place in the pantheon of the all-time greatest Star Trek villains. What makes them so scary is that they're not satisfied with mere conquest of other civilizations. Instead, they assimilate the conquered enemies into their collective hive mind, stripping everyone out of their individuality.
Design of the Borg spaceships reflects their implacable nature. They're giant metal cubes, measuring about two miles across. They're bristling with weaponry and are capable of travelling at warp and trans-warp speeds. Each cube is capable of defeating and assimilating an entire planet. Even if over 80% of the Borg Cube gets destroyed, it remains operational. In one battle, forty Federation starships attack a single Borg cube. All but one are destroyed. The Borg do occasionally build spaceships using other geometric bodies as well - like the Borg Sphere - but it's the Borg Cube that remains their most iconic vessel.
When the new alien species leaves the remains of fifteen Borg Cubes in its wake, you take notice. Officially designated by the Borg as Species 8472, these xenophobic aliens first appear in the season three finale of the TV show Star Trek: Voyager. Species 8472 hails from a parallel universe filled with some kind of organic fluid. Their ships are also organic: They're made of flesh and bone and their computers are akin to a nervous system.
The Borg try to invade this extra-dimensional fluid space only to have their cyborg behinds promptly kicked by the Species 8472. The species can't be assimilated and their bio-ships are immensely powerful. Although small enough to be crewed by a single alien, each of these bio-ships can fight against the entire Borg armada! Even worse, Species 8472 occasionally uses slightly larger bio-ships that combine and focus energy beams of standard bio-ships into a blast capable of destroying entire planets!
What do you think: which Star Trek spaceships are the deadliest ones? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!