The Federation class was a class of starship in service to the Federation Starfleet in the mid-to-late 23rd century. The class was authorized for construction in 2257 using components similar to those of the Constitution-class.

Although Franz Joseph's Technical Manual listed 20 ships authorized for construction, only six of these are known to have been built, and one of those never entered active service.


The "space battleship" of the Starfleet, the Federation-class were the largest and most powerful ships until the advent of the refitted Enterprise-subclass Constitution refits, in 2272. As it turned out, the Federation was slightly inferior to the dreadnoughts of other powers.

The original design concept of the dreadnought was to include more capabilities but only a minimal increase in firepower over Constitutions. This was found to be inadequate after other powers began fielding dreadnoughts that reflected a 50% increase in firepower over their respective heavy cruisers.

Each late-23rd century Starfleet fleet and Starfleet task force was usually commanded by an admiral in a dreadnought, but during peacetime the dreadnought is usually docked at a starbase because it is too expensive to operate. (ST video game: Starfleet Command)

The SFC game description was based on the usage of the ships in the Star Fleet Battles game, which was not licensed to use the Star Trek name.

One of the reasons that the Federation design was not as efficient was the three-warp nacelle configuration, which was found to be much less workable than a vessel with an even number of warp engine units. (TNG reference: Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual)

USS Star Empire

USS Star Empire

One of the Federation-class vessels, the USS Star Empire, was based on a greatly enhanced design authorized by Vice Admiral Vaughan Rittenhouse. The vessel caused a great deal of controversy and was decommissioned without having been put into active service. (TOS novel: Dreadnought!)

The Star Empire illustration by Boris Vallejo had numerous design similarities to Excelsior-class starships.

By the 2280s, the Federation-class vessels had been modified into a refit version based on similar changes made to Constitution-class vessels. (ST comic: "Who's Who in Star Trek, Issue 2")

The uprated Federation-class was illustrated by Arne Starr.

Known shipsEdit

Miscellaneous informationEdit

  • Admiral Fitzpatrick kept a model of a Federation-class dreadnought in his office at Starfleet Headquarters in 2273.

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