Defiant Class

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This article is official Bravo Fleet canon.

Federation Faction Starfleet

The Defiant-class escort is a small, fast, powerful starship, designed and developed after the Borg incursions into the Alpha Quadrant of the 2360s. She proved her worth in the Dominion War and continued in service as a well-armed combat escort, usually assigned to well-supplied task groups or starbases. After the Attack on Mars, the Defiant-classes in active service were overhauled to extend their use to a Starfleet increasingly focused on protecting Federation borders. Advances in automation have led to a reduced crew size and larger facilities, and today the Defiant is a more versatile and independent ship, though just as fast and tactically capable.

Exploration and Science

The Defiant-class has a surprisingly capable sensor suite for a ship meant for combat, as the sensors on the Defiant are tuned in for defensive operations and intelligence gathering. Developments in sensor technology and ensuing upgrades since her initial construction mean these sensitive systems are more versatile in scientific applications than ever, and her high speed makes her capable of scouting unexplored systems and regions when necessary.

Upgrades to the Defiant in the late-24th century have freed up space aboard for the small selection of science laboratories aboard to be mission-configurable, particularly for space science. These facilities are still relatively limited, and the Defiant’s small crew complement has little room for specialised scientific experts. The Defiant of the 25th century is capable of effective, initial surveys of distant systems, or more detailed surveys if outfitted properly in advance. She lacks the resources for serious long-term deployments without support, so is unsuited to independent deep-space missions, but is excellent at scientific reconnaissance and surveys in potentially perilous regions.


The Defiant-class’s facilities for diplomatic hosting are much improved since the original launch. One set of guest quarters offers amenities comparable to those in senior officers' rooms, and the conference room for the ship’s staff can host negotiations if necessary. It could only host a small diplomatic function, and should not be used for guests or negotiations that might be deterred by a considerably more spartan reception than they might expect on other Starfleet ships. The ship’s medical facilities have been expanded and upgraded and can serve the needs of the crew, but would struggle to provide emergency aid to more than a small group or crew; she may provide rapid medical assistance but cannot offer serious humanitarian relief.

The Defiant does, however, make an excellent courier to ferry diplomats in circumstances where her tactical prowess is needed for protection. That firepower and rough-and-ready facilities may serve as an asset for negotiations in certain circumstances, where Starfleet needs to project strength and efficiency instead of comfort.


The Defiant-class is the first time in Starfleet history that a ship was built from the ground up with the idea of combat in mind. It was the first ship to offer the raw power of the Type-XII pulse phaser cannons, has an ablative armor matrix built into its hull, and was the first ship to field the new quantum torpedoes. Her only small craft facilities are for two small and hardy Type 10 shuttles.

The design elements of the Defiant are unlike any Starfleet vessel before it. However, the small, simplistic design allowed exactly what Starfleet Command desired: an easily and quickly buildable ship to combat the Borg. Its size also gives it a huge advantage in manoeuvrability as the rest of the Alpha and Beta Quadrant empires desire larger and larger vessels.

Improvements in automation have expanded the ship’s capabilities, but these are complicated and finely tuned systems. The staff of a modern Defiant thus usually includes excellent engineers, a requirement made even more challenging by the ship’s reduced crew numbers, as a very small team of specialists must work hard to keep the ship operating efficiently. This challenge, however, is one that Starfleet engineers often relish.


The Defiant was given the moniker of an ‘escort’ despite its original design serving little purpose beyond combat. She is, pound-for-pound, the most tactically proficient starship designed by Starfleet, built to fight against the Federation’s enemies. To call her a ‘warship,’ however, belies the fact that she is designed for and has been primarily deployed on escort missions, where her purpose is to defend other ships or chase off threats. Another empire might design her for search and destroy missions, which go against the ethos of Starfleet, and even in the Dominion War she would either operate alongside larger ships and shield them from enemy fire, or conduct hit-and-run operations.

The ship boasts most of its raw firepower by running a plasma conduit through the primary phaser coupling, almost doubling the phaser power. The class-7 warp drive powers the undersized ship so much so that initially the ship almost shook itself apart at full power. Many of these flaws were eventually solved by the crew of the USS Defiant and projected forward to the full production of the class.

Shipboard Life

Alongside upgrades to her scientific capabilities, it is the Defiant’s shipboard facilities that benefited the most from the latest upgrades. Developments in automation have freed up space aboard and reduced the necessary crew size to 40, allowing for more comfortable living conditions. The mess hall now more easily supports the crew, and space has been found for a small, additional lounge for social gatherings, whose facilities are supplemented by holographic technology. This technology also allows for versatile use of the ship’s cargo spaces, which are usually only filled for storage if a mission specifically requires it, and holographic projectors otherwise allow the bay, or sections of it, to serve as a gymnasium or recreation room.

Many crewmembers share quarters with one other, though in larger and more comfortable bunkrooms than before, and communal sanitary facilities are found on each corridor. Senior officers have their own quarters, which consist of a small room with combination living and bedroom area, and a small private head. Expansions and improvements to Sickbay mean the Defiant can now provide routine medical care for her crew, instead of being limited to emergency aid, where a serious injury might force the ship back to port.

These improvements extend to more than comfort; they have vastly improved the Defiant’s capacity to operate away from port for long periods of time. While life aboard lacks the amenities found on most Starfleet ships, most crews have reported enjoying the tight-knit sense of camaraderie and lesser division between the ranks that comes from living closely together and knowing everyone.

Class History

During the course of the 2360s, the Federation had seen its fair share of increasing threats directly to the safety of its core territories: the reemergence of the Romulan Star Empire, disastrous first contact and subsequent hostilities with the Borg Collective and growing threats as a result of increased exploration abroad. After the extreme loss of life at the Battle of Wolf 359, Starfleet insisted that it was in need, for the first time in its history, of a dedicated tactical escort. Starfleet tasked the engineers at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards with designing such a vessel, which would be small and manoeuvrable, with Starfleet’s latest defensive and offensive tactical systems.

In 2366, the engineering crew drafted a design that incorporated many new experimental technologies. The Defiant-class was quickly shaping up into being one of the most powerful designs Starfleet had ever conceived, especially for a ship of its size, but suffered in other areas of design. The Defiant only had limited scientific capabilities, barely any medical facilities other than for battle triage and the crew accommodations were spartan at best. Engineers decided that with the limited nature of the Defiant’s mission and role design, those problems wouldn’t be critical flaws. The space frame and hull for the prototype, USS Defiant NX-74205, was laid down after over a year of design and began construction in 2368. Commander Benjamin Sisko, a veteran of the Borg attack of Wolf 359 a year earlier, was made the project lead as construction began. Construction took a little under four months, and the shakedown cruise began. Some design flaws soon became obvious, including the Defiant’s inherent ability to nearly tear itself apart due to overpowered engines for a ship of its size.

Due to the critical flaw in the ship’s engines and the apparent subsiding of the Borg threat the USS Defiant was put into dry dock storage until engineers could figure out how, if at all, they could rework the ship’s engines. In 2371, the Defiant was pulled out of storage at the request of its former project lead, Commander Sisko, who was now commanding space station Deep Space 9. The need for a ship to help combat the growing threat of the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant required the ship’s flaws to be refitted and repaired in the field. Throughout the coming months, chief engineer Miles O’Brien and Sisko were able to modify the ship’s main pulse phaser systems and its engines to allow for free flow of power throughout the ship and mostly eliminate the problem of the ship tearing itself apart, although if pushed too far the ship could still pose a risk to itself.

After the successful testing of the USS Defiant in the field under the command of Sisko and the growing threat of the Dominion, the class was scheduled to go into full production. During the conflict with the Dominion, nearly 50 of the class were able to be launched before the Romulans joined the war, and it subsequently ended. With the Federation returning Starfleet’s efforts to that of exploration and discovery, the Defiant-class transitioned from serving on the front lines as an escort to assignment to frontier outposts and high-risk targets. While Starfleet wished to increase the exploratory utility of the Defiant, designers were limited by the vessel's compact size and the amount of space taken up by her tactical systems and structural reinforcements. Improvements in automation allowed for reductions in engineering crews to accommodate additional scientific personnel, while a fully new spaceframe, the Aquarius, was developed in tandem as a larger and more generalized version of the Defiant.

The Attack on Mars and ensuing crises to both Federation psychology and Starfleet starship development saw engineers re-examine the Defiant, as Starfleet was much more interested in protecting its borders than venturing into deep space. Initial plans were made for a new ship class until a full review of construction facilities, limited by the loss of Utopia Planitia, made it plain this was untenable.

Starfleet set out to, as such, refit the Defiant with updated technology to expand her mission profile and extend her durability. Increased automation reduced crew numbers, improved facilities aboard, and extended her scientific capabilities. With this new profile, the Defiant could be deployed with much less support to fraught borders for much longer, allowing Starfleet to deploy a relatively low-resource ship that did not need to rely on outposts or local infrastructure as much. By the late-2390s, the Defiant class was a regular sight in borderlands, and her improved scientific and diplomatic capabilities have kept her invaluable into the 25th century as Starfleet returns to missions of exploration and outreach.

In Play

  • The Defiant-class was once tantamount to a warship, with little to no capabilities for science missions or deep-space assignments. Today, it is a small but versatile ship, with capable scientific and diplomatic facilities, and a primarily, but no longer exclusively, tactical profile.
  • Life aboard a Defiant is not comfortable but it is intimate. Small crews form a tight-knit bond with a close, rough-and-ready lifestyle. A Defiant is a great platform for stories about a very small crew still in a starship setting.
  • The ship can operate independently for months at a time, like many other small Starfleet ships. Her limited crew facilities may encourage a captain to stop off for shore leave more often, which offers opportunities for stories set in a variety of places across the galaxy rather than the same ship's lounge or holodeck.
  • Though smaller, since her refit, the Defiant is comparable to the successful Rhode Island-class scout - a swift, versatile, and relatively modern ship with a low crew complement, sent on interesting missions and tending to have a close, collegial atmosphere aboard. The Defiant is smaller and more combat-oriented, but this makes her more likely to get in the thick of local politics than the more exploring Rhode Island.
  • The changes in crew quarters are not luxurious. These bigger rooms are envisioned as comparable to those on the Enterprise NX-01 - still small and simple, but appropriate for 25th century Starfleet officers to live in for months at a time.
  • The Defiant's upgrades reflect that she is a popular 'hero ship' class, and members may now enjoy writing it as more than a small combat vessel shackled to a starbase. She is still one of the most combat-capable ships available to Starfleet, small and powerful, a 'tough little ship' with utilitarian facilities. Upgrades have made her more versatile, but have sacrificed none of her firepower, nor the rough-and-ready aesthetic that can make her appealing.