Belt up: We've ranked 40 iconic Star Trek ships, probes and shuttles from the (relatively) least powerful to the (overwhelmingly) most powerful.
Our rankings are based on specs culled from StarTrek.com and Memory Alpha. The crafts have been assessed for their speed, size and ability to assert their will via either weaponry or overall world-destroying power. Craft from both the prime and Kelvin timelines were eligible for consideration, provided they belong to the Star Trek canon, which extends from the original Star Trek TV series to CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard.
Warp speed ahead for the rankings!
(Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company.)
Viewed on the screen of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) from the prime timeline of Star Trek the original series, the fun-sized Botany Bay is a pre-warp, 20th-century DY-100 class vessel from Earth. It's most famous for its de-facto captain, the genetically modified strongman Khan Noonien Singh, better known in Captain Kirk-speak as "KHAAAAN!"
The Phoenix may be a primitive ship, but it's über-important. Per the Star Trek canon, and as seen in Star Trek: First Contact, Zefram Cochrane's and Lily Sloane's refashioned nuclear missile is the first Earthling craft to use warp drive -- and achieve first contact with an E.T. species, the Vulcans.
As we learn in a Star Trek: Voyager episode, this deep-space probe is launched in 2067 -- or, four years after the Phoenix's game-changing flight. It represents Earth's early desires to seek out new worlds and new civilizations.
This 26th-century, Universe-class Federation starship, called a "distant relative" of the Enterprise (NX-01), is glimpsed in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "Azati Prime."
Owing to its presumed advanced tech, it should vie for a top spot on this list. But it's at the back of the pack because, one, it is only briefly glimpsed, and, two, a time-traveling Captain Jonathan Archer is told the Enterprise-J exists in a possible future timeline.
What this Class F shuttlecraft of the prime-timeline's Enterprise lacks in photon torpedoes, it makes up in significance: It is the focal point of the beloved Star Trek original-series episode, "The Galileo Seven," the original prop from which was on display at the official visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center.
The remains of this Federation starship are seen in the Star Trek: Voyager episode, "The Raven." In better days, the exploration vessel was the home -- and workplace -- of the Borg-studying scientists Magnus and Erin Hansen. Per StarTrek.com, the couple and their young daughter, Annika, the future Seven of Nine, are considered "perhaps the first [humans] to be assimilated" by the Borg.
On one hand, Deep Space Nine, the setting for the same-titled TV series, is just an old Cardassian mining station. On the other hand, it's an old Cardassian mining station that, by Season 4 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is retrofitted with 5,000 photon torpedoes. Klingons beware.
Don't let its waffle-iron looks fool you. This Federation ship is tricked out with a Romulan cloaking device, and is built for Borg battles. The Defiant is adept at taking out Jem'Hadar warships, and, from a storyline perspective, opening up Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It also adds spunk to Star Trek: First Contact.
This is the lone entry from Star Trek: Picard. According to Memory Alpha, this newcomer, captained on the show by Cristóbal Rios, is a Kaplan F17 Speed Freighter, a class of civilian ships equipped with shields, phasers -- and a whole lot of hologram capabilities.
Like other Freedom-class starships, the Franklin is small, but tough. The 22nd-century craft is equipped with cannons, torpedoes, stealth technology, and, in the Kelvin timeline of Star Trek: Beyond, seat belts. In the flick, Captain Kirk and crew salvage the rusted-up, long-lost Franklin, and use its warp 4 power to get from the planet Altamid to the Starbase Yorktown.
In much of the Star Trek universe, warp 5 power and a cargo-only transporter bay won't get you far. But in the 22nd century setting of Star Trek: Enterprise, this Starfleet ship, capable of carrying a crew of nearly 100, is a triumph of Zefram Cochrane's theories of space travel.
The Vulcans may be better known for logic than combat ships, but the pre-Federation years are a salty time, and Spock's forerunners are ready to throw down in this Star Trek: Enterprise-era craft with warp 7 power.
Introduced in Star Trek: Discovery, the Philippa Georgiou-captained Shenzhou is a Walker-class Federation starship of the 23rd century. It's possessed of cannons, phasers, torpedoes -- and bad luck. Following a mutiny, it's destroyed in 2256's Battle of the Binary Stars.
The Sarcophagus is a 23rd-century Klingon ship. It's larger than the Shenzhou, which it encounters in the Star Trek: Discovery pilot. Its most impressive feature is its most unique feature: Its armor is a patchwork of caskets containing the remains of Kilngon warriors.
You can't tell the story of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine without the Dominion, and you can't tell the story of the Dominion without its military branch, the Jem'Hadar, whose battleships can defy tractor beams and compromise an opponent's shields.
As seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this Nebula-class Federation ship is a floating science experiment. Its lofty goal: to reignite a dead sun. It gets the job done.
At 748 feet long (228 meters), and with the capacity for a crew of 430, this Klingon ship is the largest of its era. Per StarTrek.com, it is also the "pinnacle of combat warships in the 23rd century." It'd rank higher here, except, well, even cooler stuff came along in the 24th century.
A mainstay of the Star Trek universe, this powerful, heavily armed Klingon craft is nearly as long as a Galaxy-class Federation starship, a la the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
This Constitution-class starship is essentially a replica of the original, iconic Enterprise.
First seen blasting off in the prime timeline of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the Enterprise-A also appears in the Kelvin timeline of the J.J. Abrams-era Star Trek films. There is no known distinction between the Enterprise-As of the two timelines.
This 23rd-century, Excelsior-class Federation starship is a sleeker version of the Constitution-class Enterprise of the prime timeline. In Star Trek: Generations, Captain Kirk is aboard the Enterprise-B when it's damaged by the Nexus ribbon -- and Kirk is swept away (and presumed dead).
According to Gizmodo, the Kelvin timeline's Enterprise is more than twice the size of the prime timeline's Enterprise. Storyline-wise, however, the craft is still the product of the 23rd century, so it can't really kick it at more than warp 8.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and crew, no strangers to swank and size, are in awe of this baby -- and for good reason. Per StarTrek.com, the Romulan warbird is "the largest and most powerful of Romulan spacecraft."
In the 24th century, this Klingon craft is the flagship of its fleet. It runs more than 2,250 massive feet long.
This 24th-century, Galaxy-class Federation starship is the star of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard's ride is bigger and faster than the Constitution-class Enterprise of the prime timeline. With 250 photon-torpedo bays, it's also better equipped to battle the Borg than its 23rd-century counterpart.
Captain Kathryn Janeway's relatively puny ship from Star Trek: Voyager gets the edge over the Enterprise iterations we've covered so far, because it's smarter and faster. Powered in part by Borg technology, Voyager can cruise at warp 9.975.
This Sovereign-class craft, captained by Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis, was voted the best-engineered Federation ship (prime timeline) in a StarTrek.com fan poll. With quantum torpedoes and the ability to quickly dispatch a Borg cube, it's easy to see why.
This is a scary-powerful vessel from Star Trek's Kelvin timeline. As related in "Star Trek: Into Darkness," the Vengeance was developed off the Federation grid -- and with the help of Khan. The Vengeance is the one-and-only member of the Federation's Dreadnought battleship class.
There is no defeating this massive, cylindrical, power-sucking, starship-disabling, ocean-vaporizing threat from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. There is only placating it with what it wants to hear: whales.
There is nothing else quite like the namesake ship of Star Trek: Discovery. The Federation Crossfield-class starship is distinguished by a propulsion drive that allows it to jump (or, spore jump, if you prefer the technical term) from realm to realm. When last seen in the Season 2 finale, the ship had time-jumped nearly 1,000 years into the future.
This Xindi-dispatched probe fromStar Trek: Enterprise is a pure beam of destructive force. In a 22nd century attack on Earth, it wipes out more than 7 million people from Florida to Venezuela.
The promise -- or, rather, threat -- of this Star Trek: Voyager craft is awesome: Possessed of timeline-changing power, the ship, we're told in the episode, "Year of Hell," can "erase [an] entire species from time."
This craft is organic -- heavily armed and fortified organic. InStar Trek: Voyager, a Federation-Borg team-up is the only thing that can stop hundreds of these vessels from destroying pretty much everything they encounter. .
This time-traveling Romulan mining ship is arguably the most significant ship in the Star Trek universe.
In the 2009 Star Trek film, the Narada launches an attack on the USS Kelvin, and prompts Captain Kirk's father, First Officer George Kirk, to take his dying ship on a suicide mission. The resulting collision with the Narada is so massive it creates a whole new timeline -- the Kelvin timeline.
In the new timeline, the devastating Narada destroys the planet Vulcan.
Such is the dark legend of this inscrutable spacecraft that fans routinely debate which is more powerful: Star Wars' vaunted Death Star ... or Star Trek's Borg cube.
Before your next debate, consider this: The Death Star just wants to blow you up. The Borg cube, like the Borg itself, can blow you up, but it may just slice you up in bits instead -- the better to steal your technological soul.
As seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, V'Ger is a force-field cloud of destruction driven by an old Earth probe, Voyager 6.
That it wipes out Klingon Bird-of-Prey ships and a Federation space station without any apparent effort is one impressive thing. That it spans 7.6 billion miles (or 82 astronomical units) in diameter is another. Craft like this are not defeated; they can merely be managed. Hopefully.