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Most Powerful Federation Starships, Ranked

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Khan. The Borg Queen. Nero.

The Star Trek franchise is an extremely long-running one, with so many shows and movies that it can be hard for fans to keep track of everything that has happened. This becomes even truer when trying to discuss the most powerful ships that have been seen in the franchise.

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Between different timelines, leaps into the past and future, and mysterious vessels like the Borg cube, the Star Trek franchise has portrayed some incredible space-faring vessels. But the Federation starships are almost always the ones that triumph in the end. These ships have gotten pretty powerful over time, showing that no matter how much things change, they stay the same.

Updated on March 9, 2024, by Chris Harkin: The Star Trek franchise is ever-growing, despite there being a cinematic lull, several shows continue onwards as the franchise continues exploring many new eras and re-treading ground on some old ones. As such, the Federation is likely to continue releasing new ship brands, continuing to boldly go where no man has gone before. As the franchise continues to update, particularly with more futuristic capabilities attached to new classes of Starship, this article will continue updating and growing to signify the changes in the long-running franchise.

8 Inquiry Class

Active From The 2390s Onward

Inquiry Class Starship

  • Appeared In Star Trek: Picard (6 Episodes)

Heavy cruiser ships that were introduced only recently in Star Trek: Picard, the Inquiry Class are one of the newer brands of Federation Starship. Considered the new cream of the crop, these ships were the fastest available to Starfleet at the conclusion of the 24th Century.

Coming with a generally similar design to many previous classes of Starfleet class ships, the Inquiry Class contained the USS Zheng He and other ships that opposed a Borg Cube in 2401 and were shown at other points throughout Picard, proving them to be the main body of Starfleet’s major active ships at that time.

7 Prometheus Class

Active From 2370s to 2380s

Prometheus Class Starship

  • Appeared In Star Trek: Voyager (2 Episodes)

One of the strangest designs seen in a Starfleet vessel, the Prometheus Class ship, was seen in Voyager as a highly classified experimental ship that only four people in all of Starfleet knew how to command and control. Not only was this ship brutally fast, but it could also split into pieces.

The Prometheus Class, though it doesn’t seem to have become common, was capable of splitting into three pieces, each capable of attacking enemies independently. Capable of surpassing speeds of warp 9.9 and featuring regenerative shielding, this class was highly unusual but also incredibly useful.

6 Akira Class

Active From 2370s to 2400s

Star Trek Akira Class Starship

  • Appeared In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (9 Episodes)
  • Appeared In Star Trek: First Contact

The Akira Class of Federation Starships is a mighty one, and unlike most starships under Federation control, it was made with the thought of war in mind. During production, the hostilities with the Cardassian Union prompted the creation of a speedy battleship. However, during the creation of the Akira Class, the Federation became more aware of a potential Borg invasion and sped things up.

Brought into service in 2368, the Akira Class has been seen in Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: First Contact. Examples of this ship type include the USS Akira, USS Geronimo, and even the USS James T. Kirk. Major differences from other Federation ships include a high number of torpedo bays and a large shuttle bay, which enabled the Akira Class ships to be fighter carriers.

5 Defiant Class

Active From 2370s to 2400s

Star Trek USS Defiant

  • Appeared In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (68 Episodes)
  • Appeared In Star Trek: First Contact

The Defiant Class and the USS Defiant also had an intriguing build history. Initially, these ships began construction during the Borg threat, but when this was lessened, they were put away until the Dominion threat became a fresh problem for Starfleet. Despite initial design flaws, DS9’s Miles O’Brien was able to fix the USS Defiant enough to make it ready on a high level.

This caused the Federation to start building more ships to follow the USS Defiant, and thus the Defiant Class was born. These ships are small, highly powered, and heavily armed. They remain warships, the first ones ever created by Starfleet, and were introduced in the year 2371.

4 Galaxy Class

Active From 2360s to 2400s

Star Trek Galaxy Class Starship

  • Appeared In Star Trek: The Next Generation (All Episodes)
  • Appeared In Star Trek Generations

As if the Galaxy Class needed any more praise, the USS Enterprise-D ship flown by Captain Picard and his amazing crew throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation was a member of this class. The many achievements of Picard and his crew boil down to their tenacity, but the strength of the Galaxy Class Federation starships is not to be ignored.

A well-used ship by the Federation during the heavy losses of the Dominion War, the Galaxy Class is a heavy capital ship class that came into being in the mid-2360s. Unlike some of the Federation’s other most impressive and powerful ships, the Galaxy Class managed to be an all-in-one, with the capability to wage war, but a crew tasked with preventing it. Discovery and war, speed and majesty, the Galaxy Class has it all.

3 Sovereign Class

Active From 2370s to 2400s

Star Trek Sovereign Class Starship

  • Appeared In Star Trek: Picard (5 Episodes)
  • Appeared In Star Trek: Insurrection & Star Trek: Nemesis

The Sovereign Class was a follow-up to the Galaxy Class in many ways. This includes the fact that Picard’s follow-up ship, the USS Enterprise-E, was a member of the Sovereign Class. Judging solely from the ability of the Enterprise-E to take down the Borg Cube it destroyed in Star Trek: First Contact, it is safe to say the Sovereign Class was a worthy update to the Galaxy Class.

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Smaller in design and released in the early 2370s, the Sovereign Class was a major upgrade from previous classes in terms of warfare, including photon and quantum torpedoes as well as a large volume of phaser banks.

2 Curiosity Class

Active From The 2390s Onwards

Star Trek Curiosity Class Starship

  • Appeared In Star Trek: Picard (4 Episodes)

This ship has only recently made its entrance into the Star Trek universe. The Curiosity Class was introduced in Star Trek: Picard as the new wave of Federation starships. Released initially in 2389, ships such as the USS Curiosity and the USS ibn Majid are included in this class, which was primarily meant to replace the aging Galaxy Class vessels.

A mix between a heavy cruiser and an explorer ship, the Curiosity Class will be able to do everything that the previous main Enterprise ships were. Ready for diplomatic missions, discovery missions, and if all else fails, combat missions as well, the Curiosity Class is the next generation of Starfleet technology, which pushes beyond anything seen in Star Trek outside the new seasons of Discovery.

1 USS Vengeance (Dreadnought Class)

Active 2259 (Alternate Timeline Only)

Star Trek Dreadnought Class Starship

  • Appeared In Star Trek: Into Darkness

The USS Vengeance, seen in Star Trek: Into Darkness, is a very special case. Despite the technology being old in comparison to many ships in The Next Generation and other shows, this was one of the few Federation ships ever made purely for war. With the unholy pact that Khan made, helping to design this ship, and his heightened intellect, Starfleet was able to secretly create one of the largest and the single most destructive forces in Starfleet’s history.

Whether this is actually more powerful than the starships created over a hundred years later is hard to say for certain, but Starfleet has yet to put any ship together that is so brutally focused on combat. The capability of this ship to be armed and operated by a single man is also a terrifying notion. It enables one person to go rogue and operate one of the more deadly forces in the universe alone. If not for the quick thinking that enabled the crew of the rebooted Enterprise to destroy it from within with a huge payload of torpedoes teleported to the inside, this ship might never have been beaten.

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